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Winter Dual – Round 2

Winter Dual – Round 2

That was the most mental dual ever. Last night, we raced dual in a blizzard, with temperatures well below zero, with gusting winds and the sloppiest of mud. We were all wet, cold and grinning. There were a couple of cases of near hypothermia, many hands didnt work well enough to pull brake levers let alone hold on to bars. The chattering of teeth could be just about heard over the wind and there were many shouts of  “Cant we just go home now?”.

In short.

WE LOVED IT.

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Winter Dual – Round 1

Winter Dual – Round 1

The clocks have changed, the nights have drawn in, it’s wet; which can mean only one thing.

Dual

Last night saw the season opener and it was a cracker. It pissed down all night, it’s was as slick as I’ve seen it and it was so much fun. In the brief history of TiS dual, this is the first night I can remember when Its rained all night. Thankfully I’d thought to pack a tarp so Steph, our timing angel, stayed relatively dry. As did the laptop.


With it being the start of the season, interest was peaked, and we had a total of 39 riders. Too many! This meant the first half an hour of the evening was spent with quails whittling it down to 32. Great fun though as the left lane had a killer 2nd left turn. You had to setup for the following traverse and stay high otherwise you’d be paddling or running up the little hill. Several fell victim.

Racing was tight from the off and the mud took many a victim, changing racers fate in a heart beat. Big wheels were in abundance, with the 4 mid sized versions in the top ten.

Its great to be back in the woods.

Heres the results

winter dual 1 2013-14 - Overall

winter dual 1 2013-14 - fastest

winter dual 1 2013-14 - Points

Sheffield Mates Races 2013 – Get Involved!

Sheffield Mates Races 2013 – Get Involved!

Its exciting times at TiS , the Summer Series of Mates Races is about to get underway. Now by the nature of these races they have to stay a bit under the radar and somewhat exclusive… well to mates. Unofficial throw downs they serve to pit amigo against amigo in a race for bragging rights and pub plaudits.

We get a lot of requests about how other people could get involved with them but unfortunately this just cant happen. They would have to become official, paid for, insured races and that’s what we run Peatys Steel City DH for. Until now that is. We run Dual races all through the winter to bring a little flood lit joy to the dark winter nights. Well, we’re bringing dual to the masses and hoping that this year it wont flood!

As park of Sheffield’s Cliffhanger outdoor festival we will be setting up the dual poles on a grassy hill in Graves park on Sunday 7th July. The course will be out all day for anyone to come and have a play. If you wish, you have one chance to lay down a qualification time. Should you be among the fastest of the day, you will get the chance to compete in the finals. A knock out competition pitting the best of the best against each other to decide the winner. This will be run in true TiS style with each entrant throwing down a prize as an entry fee and the winner getting first pick. Timing will be with stopwatches and fast fingers. As always, spiked tyres are banned to keep things even.

The race will start at 3pm sharp so all practice and quali’s will be done by 2:30pm, then it’ll be straight in to racing. We’ve raced on grass several times before and believe me it gets very interesting and very sideways especially with a bit of rain.

Theres a facebook event here which will be updated as the week goes on:

So come along and pit yourself again the best TiS has to offer.

On the Saturday at Cliffhanger our lycra loving Ride Sheffield brethren are helping to organise an XC Eliminator event , More details here

VDS, 1st of the year World Cup race report

VDS, 1st of the year World Cup race report

How things have changed over these past few years..

Since This Is Sheffield began, just a handful of us with a camera in some nearby woods on mediocre trails, we within this sport have seen one hell of rise through the ranks.

Me & my good pal Joe have come from dicking about together, to traveling the world, documenting & competing at the highest level in just a few short years.. And its great fun!!

For the last 2 years I have been chasing a bit of a childhood dream, to compete at a World Cup event (and to also catch up with the Steel City media team who have somewhat moved on from humble beginnings to world stardom!) I was given a brief glance at this dream in 2012 when I was called up to the British Cycling team to compete at the final round of the year in Norway, only for the harsh reality of riding a ‘proper race track’ taking its toll on my bike & body. Unprepared? Lack of resources? inexperienced? Naive? All of these & more are a good way to describe how I approached that race.. But this year things are different.

Since that race right at the back end of the year, with a glimpse at that dream, I realised what was possible, And I was going to make that dream happen…

Val Di Sole

Since seeing the coverage of the Worlds 2008, I have longed for this track. After the disappointment of having to miss Fort William World Cup, I was keen to make this event work for me. A real track. Long, physical, demanding, battering, all of which we don’t really have in the surrounding hills of Sheffield.
The opportunity has finally come around, I have worked hard for this moment. With an in-consistent start to my year, I was looking forward to going fast again.

Traveling with the PA & Steel City Media dream team along with Gee Milner, It was good to catch up with everyone & endure a proper Yorkshire trip! Sarcasm & laughs all the way.

Slide1

On sign on, I was lumbered with the 153 plate. Top 150 racers were in A practice, the rest, B practice. So that instantly ruled out doing laps with the Syndicate boys then!

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That decided it then, I was pretty much on my own for this one so that’s how I approached track walk. I have to start making my own mind up about tracks & lines & be able to see what I can ride within my abilities, not just nodding & agreeing with those around me.
Heading up in the lift there isn’t too much to see of the track, just the odd glimpse of sections through the deep trees, then before you know it, the top has arrived & its a little walk down to the start hut.

The track is just how it looks in the videos, brutal rocky with tree roots everywhere, deep loam & dust on some crazy steep gradients. Looks rad! I was enjoying this track walk & eventually caught up with Duncan & Sven as they were snapping away & even got myself a little interview & feature in VitalMTB’s track walk slide-show, which was cool.

Photo: Sven Martin pinched from Vital Slideshow

Photo: Sven Martin pinched from Vital Slideshow

This track needed time & care in its assessment, to learn & figure out where your coming from to where you want to be, its great seeing a track wider than the usual 1 line we seem a little used to in the UK. I must have been 3 hours on this one without even realising it!

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Day 1 done, back to the hotel for an awesome three course meal with buffet appetizer & salad bar.. So much food eaten.

The heat was blistering all week, struggling to sleep at night followed constant sweating in the day, definitely not used to this!
Practice finally came around & my excitement was brimming! First time down the start ramp & I was thoroughly enjoying being apart of the World Cup scene.
A steady first run, the track seemed to run on forever!
Come second run, a little bit more speed. I heard Sven shout out “take it easy”, but I was enjoying that first testing section too much, it was easier, plus more fun, to go faster and skim the rocks & roots than try & go slow & burying wheels into the holes appearing.
A couple more lengthier runs later & I was starting to feel the effects of the long harsh track. Small mistakes with an unknowingly tired body made it much harder to ride the line in front of you. Only done 4 runs! How can I be tired?! But this track is harsh & could catch you out at any time, as many other riders found out.

Another mornings of practice before qualifying. A long wait from my last run at 10:00 until my qualifying run at 16:00! So a snooze & a little unwind back at the hotel before heading down to ask Greg how the track was running.
The whole Syndicate outfit were so helpful towards me all weekend, Steve, Gregg, Josh. Marshy, Dougie, Tom. Kathy. Rhino & Lars too! cheers guys, really appreciate the help & input!!
Off I went, up for qualifying.
Strangely, no nerves what so every in the start gate. I had headed up early to have a glimpse of a few other riders & how they approached the first section, which gave me confidence as knew I could ride that section strongly.

Things started well, fast through the first 2 tech sections before a stall in an awkward flat left before pressing on through the next rocks & across the bridge.
I backed off through the next section as a few tight flat steep corners had exposed some deep roots & I wasn’t sure of the conditions so was playing it a little safe before opening up again & into the final section.
That braking may have turned out to be my downfall, this track is harsh & soon realised I couldn’t actually tell weather I was braking or not.. Turns out I was, perhaps too harshly as a slow tight right caught me out & over the bars I went. Lodged behind a tree I struggled to get going again before finishing off the run.

IMG_0873

What an experience! despite the crash I thoroughly enjoyed that! It was so cool to hear my name being shouted a couple of times down the track as well as learning I was within throwing distance of qualifying for my first major finals. 39th at the first split, 50th at the second, 109th the final result, 5 seconds off that elusive top 80 place.
Such a shame but what fun. Yeah im pissed off, but not going to let it dampen the experience. I have rode a World Cup track, raced & was competitive (for the most part!) That’s more than I could have asked for merely a year ago.

So missing out on finals was a bummer yeah, but I enjoyed being their & watching too, plus we had a good laugh with Gregg & the marshals post race (hitting the big time! Now I know how Joe must feel!?)

Time to head home & prep for the next Nationals before Andorra World Cup. Not done yet!!

Cheers!

Slide1

 

World Cup Swinny – Val di Sole

Photo: Sven Martin pinched from Vital Slideshow

World Cup Swinny – Val di Sole

Our Man Swinny’s hard work has paid off and he is riding World Cups this year. He missed out on Fort Bill due to the UCIs inability to process his points in time, however, he’s out in Italy for the second round with the Steel City Media Whores.

See and hear the man himself (and plenty of Joe and Duncans self promotion) on slide 16 of this brilliant Vital Slideshow. Lets hope the nepotism continues and we get more Vital coverage of our lad.

Gwarn Swinny! We’re all rooting for you lad. What a track to start his world cup campaign on, but then again, have you seen his guns? VDS’ rocks had better watch out!

Photo: Sven Martin pinched from Vital Slideshow

Photo: Sven Martin pinched from Vital Slideshow

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