Well i left the house wearing two layer of howies merino today… rib vest and a long sleeve base layer! Yikes when did summer stop and the autumnal winterness begin to creep in? I can feel it creep in down my back and the wind wiping at my hands, making them feel like i’ve been holding a ice cube for 5 minutes.
Its been a great summer this year and im not just talking about the sunshine turning grim into great, no im on about my first committed season to racing DH. I decided at the end of last winter to retire my 10 ton ancient Commi Mini DH bike and replace him with a younger and more capable machine.. a Trek Session 8. Well what can i say this bike rocks.. its just so bloody fast. I remember using it for the first time at the Fod race in Feb, i nearly has a bowel malfunction, i couldn’t get over how much it just sucks up the bumps and compressions and flew over everything. Totally new experience but lucky not to alien that it had me running scared. You might read this thinking, what she on with but im from a background of 80 mm xc forks and knobbly road tyre (cyclo-X). Though my Commi was burly and capable of gunning it downhill… it really doesn’t have a patch on Shrek the Trek.
So with a new bike to show off and whole load of new skills to be learnt i entered my first BDS at Antur Stinlog up in North Wales. This venue was a great place to get the DH ball rolling, the course offered up some flat out sections, technical rock obstacles and a end run of doubles. I found it a little daunting to begin and felt conscious of holding other riders up in practice, but after a couple of runs down i decided that if i keep thinking like that i’ll never get anywhere. I did have Danny Hart come flying past me in the air on one of the final doubles.. that was pretty impressive.
Race day came round quick and before i knew it i was getting ready for my seeding run… looking back now at a couple of the photo my face did look pretty grey.. I have always suffered quite badly with nerves, bloomin wreck. I wasn’t that bad but i think it was just the anticipation of racing in a national level race. Mixture of excitement and the unknown. My seeding run went well, had a cleanish run, didn’t managed to clear any of the jumps at the lower section which was annoying but thats just something that will come over time and practice.
After trying to eat a small cereal bar and banana i was soon jumping onto the uplift wagon and setting off for the start of my race run. I always tend to feel a bit better for doing a run, kinda makes me see how i cope at race speeds and also highlights the areas where i can give it more beans. So now that the nerves had settled slightly.. I waited up at the start gates. Before long it was my time to go, so with the timing machine ticking down i got focused – 30 seconds— 15— 10– beep beep beeeeeep… and i’m off, BOOM. I’m pedaling as much as i dare myself to. Trying to be conscious of not clipping my pedals on any of the rocks sticking out of the ground and also flowing the corners without losing to much speed. I then approach the middle rock section.. this was a little tricky due to the slippery slabs of slate and also the holes that had begun to appear due to all us riders shredding the course. I managed to get through here near enough clean but did catch my right leg on a sharp rock, race memento! From here i just pedaled and pumped as much as i could whilst my heart did flips and my brain kept repeating ‘just get me to the bottom’.. ‘i really want to finish’… and i did! I flew into the finish and managed to win my first ever BDS race in the Senior Women’s category. Amazing experience and left me wanting to approved so the next time i can do those jumps at the bottom and hopefully go even faster! Woohooooo
Oh i do luves a bit of Downhill biking!! More race reports to follows