Well the final British Downhill Series of the season was a manic weekend!
Arriving late at Antur Stiniog just as it got dark meant that setting up camp was a challenge! Especially when parked on slanting welsh slate!
Therefore an early morning track walk on Saturday to scope out what was between the tapes was essential.
The uplift at Antur was very organised! Not as quick as usual but with 300+ riders you could still get two runs in an hour if you wanted.
After an awkward first cruiser run and staring at the bottom drop for much too long I hit it on the second run! That was a personal target met. Every time I’m there on an uplift day I say “I’ll do it on the day!” Today was that day! It still scares me every time!
The rest of the day was spent dodging red and yellow flags (at both drops) whilst trying to stay smooth through the awkward switchbacks in the middle of the track. The warm and dry conditions meant you could have any line you wanted. Oh how that changed overnight…
Race day. Sunday morning is always an earlier start. A shower in the Stiniog building (a novelty when your at a race weekend) and a positive track walk to find more lines last night had me feeling positive!
The misty, intermittent drizzle and changeable wind strength made things tough. Any lines you had on slate were risky as you had no idea how much grip there would be!
I managed two practice runs which both felt awful. I’d lost a lot of my pace from yesterday but felt fresh even when pedaling into a headwind. Turned out my rear brake was seized on. The rest of practice was spent trying to free it up! Thanks to the @hopetech guys for getting it to run freely even though the seized piston couldn’t be fixed.
Seeding run was a solid run with little wind and a drying track. I hit all most of my riskier lines and soft pedaled the bottom section. Happy with the run I didn’t even look at my rank and wanted a sub 3 minute race run.
However the cruel mistress that is welsh weather drastically changed just as we hopped on the uplift. At the top it was misty with a strong headwind. I decided to go for it on the top section and carried enough speed to hit the hip jump with a crosswind! The run continued to be wild from then on! Having to adjust my line as and when the bike snaked below me. Halfway down I knew I was slower so focused on getting as much momentum from the jump section in order to make time up on the pedally finish. I crossed the line 3 seconds slower than seeding.
I was disappointed with my run. However it could of been worse as 10 riders in Senior didn’t make it to the start line. Once all the riders came down I was sat in 20th. Hit and miss because it was the highest finish of the season, therefore good for ranking points. However as with all performances there’s always a drive for a target and in my case that sub 3 minute time.
Jump on board to view one of my practice runs:
Thanks to the very long list of people who’ve helped me out this season! It’s been much appreciated!
In no particular order:
Manx Mud DH
Manx MTB Club
MTB Coaching IOM