Tuesday, 9 June 2015

British Downhill Series, Round 3 - Llangollen, 30th & 31st May 2015


Tom Newrick: We arrived at the venue early on Friday morning and set up the tents, even at that hour there were some murmurings about the course and the track-walk proved it to be true, it was steep, very, very steep!  

I knew then that it was going to be a struggle on the track. Headed up for my first practice run on Saturday morning and came off twice, each further run I was still coming off my bike and my body was starting to hurt.

Come Sunday morning I headed back up for my first practice run and landed really hard after being catapulted over the bars.  Being completely battered and bruised I could not justify racing on the course and sadly pulled out of the event.

Lee here: I fully understand the position Tom Newrick had been placed in, the course was very controversial, although it's a UCi sanctioned event and needs to challenge riders, this track may have exceeded the limit. I mean it says a lot when the pro riders are in agreement with how punishing the course was. I don't blame Tom for pulling out of the event at all as he could have had a serious injury.

This now leads me to what happened with the team's Tom Nelson.

Nelly made the ultimate mistake of not signing on in the morning before his practise runs, that is his own mistake and he knows it was wrong (and hopefully he's learned from it and won't do it again!).  I fully understand and appreciate his mother's anger after the event, and indeed must admit to being pretty angry with the carry on myself.

My question was in regards to how Nelly managed to have four practice runs without being pulled up by the start line commissaire in regards to not signing on.

The commissaire notes the rider numbers down however he can't check those against the start sheet until the Saturday evening as this is when the timing company collate the sign on sheets and produce the seeding list.  Nelly had tried to sign on at the end of the day however by this time the commissaires had left the venue.  One of the arguments was that some other riders had got late entries however those riders signed on before the commissaires had left.  Nelly however was too late and Si Paton was sadly placed in an unfortunate position, he could only say no, the BDS are sanctioned UCi events and his hands are tied to that, so unfortunately Nelly was unable to race.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Welsh Gravity Enduro - Afan, 24th May 2015

The great Afan Forest offered us all some technical climbing between stages for the second round of the Welsh Gravity Enduro Series with the first big climb up to stage one. I was lucky to have ridden the stages the day before although most the lines were fairly straight forward with being on existing trails. 

Stage one was the first of three pedal-like-a-demon stages it was great fun and ended with three small jumps however it was here where I was caught up by the rider behind me as I wasn't pedalling hard enough and my cold wasn't helping! So with a little bit of course marking tape wrapped around my bars (don't ask!) I crossed the line with the aim of getting my times up on the following stages.

Stage two was downhill from the finish area of Stage one which was a pleasant surprise enabling my legs to have a well deserved break. This stage had a freshly cut muddy section put in the top which linked to the main trail and this was followed by a track strewn with rocks, it was basically balls-out with a few short climbs which meant you could not loose your momentum or you'd stall. I had a clean ride down here, my Orange Five quite literally ploughed through the rocks and I made good time, very happy with that.

Stage three was the longest stage that I have ever ridden, to get to it you had a 45 minute climb back up the technical ascent. As soon as I got to the top I was set off straight away to complete the stage, the route was another pedal-fest down an undulating rocky track and I was grateful for my tubeless Michelin Wild Rock R2, no punctures for me and I took the third in Elite, hoorah!

My next races are Cwmcarn and Grizedale in June, bring it on!


You can follow The Development’s shenanigans on the team’s Facebook page: The Development Racing.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Scottish Downhill Series - Glencoe 23rd - 24th May 2015

The Scottish Downhill juggernaut rolled into Glencoe, a course I've done well on in the past and I was hungry for it.  Set off from home on Friday afternoon and arrived at dinner time, got everything sorted out and heading up for a track walk.  The course had hardly changed from previous events with the exception of resurfacing at the bottom while up top was boggy in places and I was hoping it would dry out before practice got underway.

Saturday morning and I woke up in an oven with the sun's rays beating down on my tent, sorted my kit, signed on, fitted my number board and with a cooked breakfast in my stomach I headed up to the gondola for the first runs.

The first few were good, got all my lines dialled in and my FTW was on rails feeling perfectly at home on the rough terrain, it caused me no problems all day.  Towards the end of practice I came to the most challenging part of the track and although pushing myself I was keeping the bike at a controlled pace when all of a sudden my front wheel washed out underneath me and I flipped off the bike smashing my knee up off a sharp rock.  Although I was wearing knee pads I couldn’t stand and had to sit trackside for a while.

The pain didn't subside so I cruised down to the car park to get it checked out, my knee had swollen up like a tennis ball and I had minimal movement in my leg. Absolutely gutted that this had happened, not only was I unable to race the next day but having gone to the A&E that evening I was advised that it would need time to heal and therefore I am not allowed to race the World Cup at Fort William, I am feeling absolutely devastated.