Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Development Domination, The Sanctuary Bikes Penshaw Bike Fest, 14th April 2014

Hey guys and gals, I see that Zak's already broken his blogging virginity and now it's my turn!  I'm Ellen Tipple, one of The Development's glamourous new recruits getting to grips with downhill racing and all the thrills, spills and podiums that may come along the way, so "Hi There!".

The Sanctuary Bikes' Penshaw Bike Fest was my first race of the year, I was absolutely buzzing to be letting rip on my new FTW Industries bike and getting out there with my girlies alongside Zak and Coco-Bean.  The whole vibe of the event was dead chilled and friendly, just what I was after for my first race.  

(Photo copyright of Liam Moss, thankfully it was a National Trust sanctioned event!)

Unfortunately me breaking-in my FTW Industries animal this weekend wasn't to be as I was still waiting on a vital part to arrive and was absolutely gutted that I couldn't have a bounce on it yet, so for this race I got on it with my trusty enduro bike instead.

The Penshaw track was nice and dry, really fast all the way down, although maybe a little too fast for me when I had a sketchy moment nearly getting up, close and personal to a tree near the bottom of the course in practise!  Anyway I was straight back up to the top, soon sharing giggles with Angie and Jenny whilst admiring the view from the queue for the start gate, then ready to pick up the speed a little and learn the track a bit more. 

(Photo copyright of Jay Kellett)

My race run was at 12.30 and I decided to stay at the top by the start gate to cheer on Zak and the 'Bean for their race runs.  It felt like a lifetime for our own races to come around especially when the pre-race jitters kicked in, erk!  Finally, after what seemed like an age (but was probably just 5 minutes!) it was the women's turn to show the lads how to do it!  Our friend Jenny Campbell soon shot out of the gate and totally nailed the top section, especially admirable as she was on a hardtail, hardcore you know the score!  Not long afterwards it was my turn and I was very conscious that Angie would soon be following behind me, and of who is a much faster tree frog than me!  

(Photo copyright of Ron Angus)

I tried my hardest to get my lines and make the most out of the pedally sections hoping I didn't get overtaken... The top half was going really well, totally in the zone hitting all my lines, then near the end my back wheel kept washing out, it was a disaster, a bloody puncture!!  I made it across the line with lots of cheers from the spectators, thanks guys, and although disappointed at what had happened I was sitting in second place after Angie had crossed the line!  Hell yes!  Bring on the second race runs!  

After a big saving grace for the Coco-Bean with the new inner tube I went back up to the top for my second shot at the cherry.  This run went alright, not as fast on the top sections as before, I cross the line a second or two quicker than earlier, guess I lost my confidence a little.  All in all though I was pleased with my race times and the new experiences learned which will build my confidence for the coming races.

It was such a lovely venue and I saw so many good friends there, it was amazing to have my two girlies alongside me on the podium, Angie on the top step and Jenny in third place.  

Angie takes the win followed by Ellen and then Jenny in third, what an awesome weekend!

Zak roosted home to get first place in the junior men's as well, a total Development domination!  

(Photo copyright of Ron Angus)

Zak takes the top step in the junior men's, hell yes!

Absolutely buzzing, can't wait to get my purple downhill beasty built up and ragged down the hillside at my next race now!    

El x

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