Mixed emotions from the national champs this past weekend.
A second top five finish in succession but what could have been if i were able to avoid another race run crash? 5th place and 8 seconds off the top spot left me feeling disappointed to have fallen so close to the finish line yet pleased to have finished on the podium.
Weather wasn’t brilliant with a low mist swirling around the hillside in the morning but the track up at AE dried up quickly throughout the day, speeding up the track but giving a false impression of what some sections would be like when the rain was due for Sunday race day.
The track was great fun, fast with the odd technical section thrown in, bug jumps and challenging but funny sections, all in all, just a fun track to ride on.
I did a few runs Saturday with Jack Reading as we line spotted and tried out a few different approaches to sections. the main focus being on the sketchy rock garden. After stopping to spy the line a few times and gapping into it, i went for the big gap at race pace, only to bottom out onto a rack and smash my chain ring and chain device up a bit.
Big thanks to Jack for sorting me out with a new chain ring and spare roller for the chain device.
Bike fixed and the rest of Saturday went well and things were really speeding up, the big gap was somewhat avoided slightly as i didn’t want to break more components, especially not my own. Jack posted the fastest timed run on Saturday, good work buddy.
SUNDAY – Race day
The rain had come in through the night and made things pretty wet and interesting for race day. I struggled massively with the tight tree section up near the top of the track and came off both practice runs and seeding suffering a pretty nasty dead leg which hampered me for the rest of the day. Seeding was reasonable and i came 9th knowing without the crash i would be able to finish well in the finals.
Finals came around and i was excited to go racing! I got to the top early so i could try to get my brakes working.. but i failed, thanks avid.
Nerves didn’t really set in as i was enjoying the track so much, all was going good until the tight tree section, i took it steady coming into and said to myself if anything looked like it was going wrong i would drop both feet off just to get through it! Felt like a rank amateur but my method worked, got through slowly with a stall but better than coming off the bike. The rest of the track was running well and i felt like i was hitting sections faster than all weekend, confidence was high and i felt comfortable, until i came off on the exit of a tree stump corner, right before an uphill section. I went on to nail the steep tech section and flew round the last few bends and sent it off the final sketchy drop and over the line. I went into first but with the crash new it wouldn’t be enough. 5th place was the result, stoked to be on the podium but devastated knowing the stall and crash possibly cost me the win.. Good weekend though.