Race Report; National Champs
1 month has passed since I massively bitched out of the last round of the BDS series at Llangollen. Now its time to go back to that venue and try and put something together for the National Champs.
Since my BDS disaster I have taken some time out, rested well and not been on the bike too much. I took a trip to Sweden to see good friends Joe Bow and Hanna which was amazing, it gave me a good chance to catch up on some zzz’s. It was the usual chilled holiday, we slept, we laughed, we played in the lake, we tinkered with bikes, we rode Jarvso, which turned out to be an amazing days riding, very wet but the tracks were top quality, and then came home.
The flights didn’t exactly run smoothly however, on the way to Sweden we got delayed and missed our transfer in Amsterdam (all due to bad weather apparently) after waiting in the transfer queue for 5 hours we were told all flights that day were cancelled and instead got put up in a swanky hotel with a flight first thing in the morning, and free food! Much was eaten..
On the way back things were a little worse, my bike missed the transfer and never turned up in Manchester (we landed Thursday morning and expected to leave for Llangollen Friday midday)
We waited and waited and a few phone calls later found it was in Manchester airport, it was Friday afternoon by now and the bike was still not shipped out! Anyway, bike arrived 10:30pm Friday night, then a frantic hour and a half was spent building it back up and then to bed for 5 hours. So, tired from little sleep and stressed at the thought I may not have got my bike back in time meant for a bad start to the weekend. Not really in the mood to race now!
We eventually arrived at the venue and I decided I didnt have time for a track walk, instead I would go to the top and slowly blind run it down.. ..this would have been a very very bad decision. Fortunately for me the track was that steep and tight at the top riders were falling all the time and red flagging the track. This made for a hefty queue at the top and gave me chance to walk the top half. Wow, this place was seriously steep, good job I didn’t drop in blind. I took my time looking at lines, deciding where to go and had a steady first run and went back into the uplift queue to head back up. UPLIFTS WERE BEYOND AWFUL!! Out of every race I have ever been to, never had the uplifts been such a failure. Many riders were grumbling and unhappy about the state of the uplifts, it really was rubbish. But never mind, no point getting wound up by something else I cant change.
The new sections of the track were good, a bit tight in places in the woods, and not too sure about the uphill bit, but coming out into the open and cranking across that traverse was great fun, dropping into meet the BDS tracks lower section seemed simple after riding that steep top section, then off the 3 drops to end.
I got 3 runs in Saturday and spent the day enjoying riding, slowly getting up to speed. Did a track walk to see some lines but I was happy to stick with what I already knew, all the track walk told me was that the track was getting dragged down the hillside wih the amount of breaking that was happening! An early nights sleep was on the cards as the early start meant I was out cold by 10:00pm.
Sunday, Up real early, 6:30, to prep the bike, eat and get ready for the day ahead. I got on the first uplift and trundled up top. Had a solid full run and jumped straight back in the queue for run 2, this time picking up some speed and pedaling a bit harder in places. Now, ready for Quali.
Qualification – went shit, crashed in the first left hander and rode straight over a berm up top. Nailed my favourite part of the track, the traverse, then buggered up the lower track, crashed in the last switchback, then rode into the mega tree beside the second drop down at the bottom.. somehow I managed to jump sideways off the bike as it hit the tree, down the drop and landed to flat on my feet backwards looking back up the track as I saw my bike tumble towards me.. ..a good landing to say the the least and a cheer from the crowed was nice after such an awful run. Crossed the line and ended 89th but with the 8th fastest speed trap recording! Boom! That gave me a bit of confidence for the finals.
Back to camp to gather my thoughts and get ready for the finals.