Race Report: Steve Peat Steel City DH
What a Weekend!
Sorry for the delayed post.. to be honest i still haven’t come back to reality on what actually happened…
A moggy March morning is what it all came down to.. After weeks of preparation from our very own Joe Bow and Nick Hamilton, with help from Steve Peat and plenty of others (sorry, i don’t actually know who was involved but thank you all) the race was finally upon us and ready to go..
An incredible atmosphere was buzzing around the Greno woods, as soon as sign in was completed my heart started jumping, i hadn’t been this excited by a race event in a long time.. maybe it was because i had entered my self in Pro-am for, ‘the laugh’ to see how id fair against some top riders.
As soon as i entered the woods a sense of apprehension and excitement swirled around by head and body.. only for this all to be enhanced when i came across Rob Stokes at the top of the race track! Great to see and ride with you again bud! Rob made the trip over from Chamonix just to come race, amazing to see an old friend i haven’t seen for ages under such great circumstances.. the day really did start off well.
As for the riding:
Visibility was a bitch.. the mist had set low and goggles were getting wet instantly and cleaning them only seemed to make things worse! so they were soon ditched for some speed blinking! keeping mud out the eyes was hard work but funny trying to alternate blink whilst keeping one eye on the track at all times.
I had never ridden the track before race day so wasn’t too sure what to expect.. i put a couple of half laps in the morning with Rob and Jack, tried a couple of lines and was happy.. tried not to tire my self out too much as this really was a pedally, pumpy kind of track where keeping your speed and staying sooth was key. This was all made especially hard through the rocky mid section as Rob Jolley was marshaling! he is by far the best marshal ever and his enthusiasm all day spread throughout the racers and crowds around him. But he did make me laugh every time i rode past him! making concentration pretty challenging. But thank you Jolley, you were amazing.
Riding a track with people shouting your name is an incredible experience, it made me happy all the way from top to bottom of the track, every run, and coming into such an intense, buzzing finishing area was incredible! The guys really had set up a grand slam finish area with an amazing wrap around, 360 view of the finish drop and line.
Sat at the top i huddled up next to Rob for warmth, that and the fact i felt way out of my depth, i was sat at the top with regular world cup racer and legend Steve Peat, the charismatic Josh Brycland, slightly mental Jack Reading and a few other top riders like Rowan Sorrel and Dav Wardell, it was a stacked field to say the least!
So i did what i came here to do, ride my bike. The run felt good, i pedaled hard and flowed through the rocks, Jolley’s enthusiasm pushed me on but then i mad a small mistake before exiting the rock section, i fell off line slightly and lost some flow and speed, right before the bitch of a bog pedal! it was ok though, as i could still hear Jolley, his infectious shouting had started to spread and all down the track i could hear people cheering me on, what a feeling, i just wanted to pedal harder as the crowed got louder! before i knew it i was cranking into the power bang.. hit it hard then sprinted for the drop.. the noise was incredible and i had put a lot into that run.. i went into the lead. that was nice. rider after rider came down and no one had topped me, this was getting a little weird.. suddenly i realized Steve was coming off the drop and across the line and into the lead (expected) he battered me by 8 and a half seconds!! but i was in second place! Amazing, i couldn’t quite believe it.
For the next couple of hours i spent trying to keep warm before my second run.. i was paying attention to everyone’s time to see how they were doing compared to first runs… people were going slower, a lot slower! the track was drying but it meant the wet mud was getting stodgy and slow, as well as people surely were getting tired by now!
I couldn’t believe it.. was this actually possible? i went up for my second run knowing others will be gunning for that step on the podium. i was left at the top with Steve, just us two waiting for our final runs of the day.. i knew I had to put everything i had left in me into every pedal stroke but i really was tired by this point and had barely anything left. i small mistake mid run killed my speed and that was it really.. i came across the line…. walked over to the timing screen…. im still there! i finished second to Peaty! what an incredible day! i was in shock and disbelief as to what had just happened but it was right there in front of me in black and white.. i had beaten some good riders and finished second at an incredible event. All that was left was the podium.
An incredible sense of nerves and excitement had been with me all day long and these were only enhanced when my name was called out and i had to step foot out on to the platform in front of an amazing crowed.. i shook Rob Warner’s hand, got some amazing SRAM goodies and stood on my number 2 step. Peaty got called out and approached the podium, shook my hand and we stood there hands aloft smiling at this wonderful crowd. (Dave Wardel was a no show for step 3) I didn’t want that moment to end. Im sure i just lived two of my childhood dreams, to race against Steve, and to stand on a podium with him.. amazing.
All that was left was the after party! i returned home to my parents who had bought in some champagne to celebrate! we downed it, then off to the showroom for drinks and partying.. things soon got lairy as drinks were getting downed all night long, Marian made Peaty throw up. ‘Down it or your gay’ i believe as the clincher from Marian. ‘i don’t wanna be gay’ replied Steve and down it went.. soon followed by a run to the bathroom! Then off to Plug we went to finish things off.. and that was that.
What a day and what an amazing feeling.
A superb effort and event from everyone involved. i cannot thank you all enough for an incredible day. Joe, Nick, Steve and everyone who made this event happen, thank you. I had to try and return the favor somehow, hopefully, the result was enough.