So, mid point of the season has already arrived. It’s been a crazy first half of a year with a mixed bag of results on the European stage.
A huge thanks has to go out to all those who have helped make this year happen for me. After getting the bike together just in time for the World Cup round up in Fort William, I spent the following 5 weeks in Europe chasing races & learning the characteristics of the new build on my bike. To say I’m happy with the setup is an understatement, I feel faster & more confident than ever before with the bike.
It’s been a season of transition so far, after a couple of years aboard the same kit, this year I have picked up a few component deals & had to adapt quickly to the new feel of the bike.
Marzocchi suspension, provided by Windwave, have been a very positive upgrade. With the professional support from Pedro at Fort William & Leogang World Cups, I feel very comfortable & confident with the feel of the suspension.
FSA gravity light bars/stem, cranks/chain guide & seatpost, provided again by Windwave. Lightweight with a solid feel throughout.
The great feeling Sensus grips from Hookit Products. Extra long in length with a soft compound wave effect. The Swayze has held up well to wear. A great feeling grip.
Stans ZTR flow EX wheels, through Paligap, have held up to a beating from some brutal tracks.
The build was finished off by the guys down at Uberbike. With there own products, floating disc rotors & pads, brake mounts, Ti bolts, gear & brake hoses. They also did a cracking job of putting the whole build together for me on a tight schedule! Cheers guys!
Cheers to everyone for the help guys! Looking forward to the rest of the year.
So, Abi has commandeered my computer again and written about a recent trip she organised to a fairly local BMX track. Cycling can be enjoyed on a variety of wheel sizes (although, 26″ is definitely the most fun) and many useful skills can be transferred from one type of riding to the next. It can sometimes be surprising how many girls are out there who can be rallied together for a ride so it’s always worth getting the word out there. I was sacked from photography duties this time as my phone clearly wasn’t up to the job for the Parkwood Springs coaching session so all photos are kindly provided by Chris Ratcliff. Take it away, Abi!:
It’s been a long while since I last posted anything (and the majority of the words here aren’t mine either…). Anyway, the other week was a pretty big deal for the female contingent of the University of Sheffield cycling club. The club has grown in recent years meaning it is now possible for the women’s captain, Abi, to have any girls to captain…
Local Heros Steve Peat and Bike Track are hosting a Christmas ride and you’re invited! setting off from Hallfield Head Farm. Get there for 9am ready to set off at 9:30 for an XC ride around Wharncliffe and Grenoside.
Our main tog and lady slayer Dunc has been lucky enough to get voted in to the top 5 of Pinkbike’s Deep summer Wildcard comp. The last few years the competition has been open only to North American residents but due to a last minute rule change its all changed and its now open to all nationality’s, and our dunc is in!
If you aren’t familiar with how Deep summer works then have a look at the slideshows below, but basically the 6 photographers have 3 days to shoot their chosen riders within the Whistler bike park and the extended sea to ski corridor between Squamish and Pemberton. They then edit the pictures into a final slideshow during a last minute Cocaine/Monster energy fueled editing binge on fancy Macintosh computers to submit just seconds before the deadline.
As I said have a lookse at previous entrys below and get over to Pinkbike and VOTE for Duncan.
Parkwood springs is poised to host its first official race in just over a weeks time on Sunday 23rd June. Those sweet berms and tables will be pounded by many sets of wheels all vying to take the win. As Parkwood is only a 2km loop its a bit short for this kind of race so Dan Cook, who’s actually partly responsible for Parkwoods existence, has been plotting some interesting additions which will be unveiled on the day. This will make it up to a nearly 5km loop so there’s going to plenty of new trails to ride.
This is a mass start format with the number of laps depending on which category you enter. Everyone will line up next to each other in category and smash it out, shoulder to shoulder. With parkwood being as tight as it is, that start is going to be all important.
Now, you may have noticed, Sheffield doesn’t get many bike races. Other than the Steel City DH, Stilettos on wheels and Rother Valley events we’ve always had to travel to race (officially) so this is a great chance to actually race in the city centre (ish).
Entries are live and pre-entries end this weekend so you need to be quick. Personally I’ve entered the Sport Category, for 4 laps, so if you want to find out how sharp my elbows are, lineup next to me. They accept racers from 8 years old and upwards to bring your kids along to get a taste of racing.
As ever, they are a few Marshalls short of a race, so if you don’t fancy racing or are just coming to watch your loved one race, please drop Dan a line dan.cook@CTC.ORG.UK
This past weekend I headed abroad once more on the quest my those oh so valuable UCI points.. So here’s what happened..
The plan was crack out a top ten at the Norges Cup in Drammen, Norway. A quick Bank holiday weekend trip with a happy ending.. Well, it nearly wasn’t..
I had planned everything to run quick & smooth without taking any more time off work, who have so supportive of me these past two seasons, so I could save that valuable holiday allowance to book time off for the World Cup rounds I was hoping to head off to..
Friday night ship out, me & Mari (PA/wag) were on the road to the airport for 17:30, loads of time to get stuck in traffic in Glossop & still make our 20:45 flight. Easy done as it turned out Glossop was not even that bad! (For a first) Everything was going according to plan, on time, organized, right up until check in. Lost wallet. Uh oh. Hadn’t a clue where it could be. Last I remember I had it at the bus stop, damn. A quick call to the bus company but no sign of it. A 45 minute round trip with only 45 minutes to our flight time.. even bigger uh oh.. Jet Parks plus were awesome, they sent me a personal pick up from an Irish fella named Willy, top guy, cant thank him enough for ragging that bus around getting me back to the car park to search foe the wallet. But no joy. It must be either checked in with my bag.. or someone has it. Hoping for the former i was rushed back to the airport, bouncing over kerbs & worrying other drivers as we sped back to the terminal. Dropped as close as possible i ran to meet Mari, picked up both hand luggage bags & sprinted to the gate, girlfriend in tow. Just in time we made it to are gate, only to find the flight itself had been delayed slightly, which was nice. A bit more time to add that bit of worry as to where the wallet actually was..
A few anxious hours later & the time had come to collect baggage & see what situation we were in… was good news? At first no, no signs of the little fella. oh bugger, my heart sank a little, then success! Nestled away in between my shoes, there he was, sneaky thing! relief..
So, on we pressed. Rent-a-car, then hotel for a sound nights sleep.
Again all was running smooth but time was really getting on. Gone 01:00 in the morning & still traveling, I had been up since 04:30 am the day before! Starting to feel tired & really want sleep we pulled up at the hotel, Which turns out they mixed up our booking with another hotel some 15 minutes back up the road. So off we went again. 03:30 am we eventually got our heads down. 23 hours awake in total, great.
Up at 07:45 am for breakfast. An all you can eat mix of hot & cold buffet style delights & those that know me when it comes to food know this is never a ‘quick feed’. A little insight into how I ate..
It started with a large warm plate, A large helping (and large means what you would imagine as large, plus more) of eggs, beans, meatballs, little sausages, some onion omelet things & potato chunks, with a side helping of a couple of sizeable hand cut slices of seeded bread & coffee. The size of meal you’d normally look & think, ‘Wow, I’m gonna feel full after this!’
But that’s not all.. Onto a helping of porridge & more coffee, before helping myself to the cold buffet, a couple of bread cob sandwiches stacked with hams, cheeses & salads before heading back for another plate of warm. Not as much as first time around admittedly but considering the size of round one, even half that portion size was still pretty sizable.
Not done yet, a bowl of cereal & yoghurt, more coffee before another sandwich & a take away coffee.. That just about covered it I reckon.
Enough about food, Time to ride!
30 minutes down the road we arrived at Drammen Skisenter. Pulling into the car park a noticeable in feel between British rounds & this one. So much more relaxed, no one rushing about, no struggling to squeeze runs in, just calm & welcoming. The chairlift probably helped a lot, set just off the road, such easy access.
We set up our pits for the day, built the bike up & headed to the lift, around 11:00 for first runs.
The track was cool, a huge rock slab to build speed before dropping into a very loamy section. Due to pretty severe weather in the build up to the race, this section as littered with thick deep mud bogs that killed your flow, but as more riders descended, soon dispersed the most & dug down to the bare rock.
A tricky switchback before a large rock roller to build speed! A couple switchbacks later before opening up a bit. Building speed was fun on this track! Smashing through 2 very soft turns, easy to bury the front end & get pitched forward before opening up over large rolly rocks again. 1 more tricky wooded section before exiting onto the ski slope to the finish line turns & jump.
A rad track. so enjoyable it didn’t feel anywhere near as long as the race times suggest.
I headed straight back up.. no queue, at most it was 3 people deep, just pleasant.
Unfortunately this time around I clipped a rock in the high speed rock roll section, got bucked pretty bad but held her down! Determined not to crash! (it pays off being strong!!) damn rock though bent my pedal pretty bad, too bad to be able to ride it.
A quick call at the Norwegian Santa Cruz & one of their riders sorted me out with a fresh set of pedals, cheers guys! would have been really stuck without you!
New pedals fitted & back up the hill. 2 more runs but was starting to struggle with fatigue & tiredness. So headed back to pits for a lie down.
So, 4 runs, a lengthy pit stop & it was still barely 14:00!
A lie down turned into a nap.. nap turned into a sleep.. so I called it a day & went for a track walk. 17:45 & still riders on track, Norwegians have riding priorities dialed!
A couple of fresh lines had appeared in the tech sections, something I was keen to try out in Sunday mornings practice.
We headed back to our hotel, passed out pretty early on after scouring what delights Norway had to offer on telly. Why oh why do you guys seem to have a channel dedicated to breast feeding?! Its just creepy!
Back up for more breakfast (see above for portions) Before arriving for 09:00.
To the the lift for 9:30, practice closed.. oops.
So, First run Sunday with trying new lines would be seeding run, not the best prep but that’s the position I got myself in!
A gentle run scoping things out. Over the line & in 10th place. Pretty positive.
Top ten was the goal for the weekend, this would give me the points needed to compete at World Cups this year.
Off for race runs.
A bit different to what I’m used to this year, no trainer, no music, just myself & my thoughts.
Its easy to over think things & get wound up before a race run, something I have struggled with greatly in the past. So for now its off for a walk, a bit off warming up whilst picturing back to back clean runs of the track.
Into the start gate & a sudden flutter of nerves, before being able to shut them out with some clean thinking.
Onto the pedals & away! cranking hard I could feel I was under power from fatigue but no excuses, time to race.
A small error into the first woods dropped me off line slightly, not loosing too much time though as moment was kept.
Onto the open section & time to open up, some stiff pedal strokes before nearly ditching it in the soft switchbacks. Thrown over the front wheel as it dug in, foot dab to hold upright, before getting back on with it.
The final wood section was clean & smooth before smoothing out the final turns, squashing the last jump before crossing the line.
Slightly nervous as id crossed the line in 2nd & waited for the next man down to see where id end up.. A chance of missing out on that top ten was a possibility.
Fortunately for me that didn’t happen! 7th the end result, a little further back than id have liked but still, job done! Happy with the result & 100Euros better off! Cheers Norway!
So, back off to pack up with smiles on our faces. A good weekend of sun & bikes with a result that would give a life long ambition of competing in World Cups a reality.
Thanks Norway for having me! You were all so awesome! See you later in the year for Hafjel!!
May the forth be with you. Well it was, last weekend, for the 3rd Steel City DH as this great edit from Gee Milner shows. The biggest little race in the North just keeps on expanding. This year, aside the 200 racers who ensured the entry was sold out within an hour and a half, over 100o spectators filled Grenoside woods heckling and eating and drinking everything that was on offer in the bombhole. When was the last time (other than a fort bill world cup) a mountain bike race had that many spectators in the UK? Peaty had to think back to the Malvern classic’s way back when to remember a similar atmosphere.
This great edit from X Trail Films gives another angle of the day.
This years race was given a bit of a twist as it was on 4th May, we pushed May the forth be with you as much as possible with Cotic offering a BFe frame for the best dressed Star Wars character! It was won by a plastic bin tranformed in to a fully functional R2D2. Peaty himself was rocking a full on Storm Trooper outfit with a custom TLD lid aboard his Santa Cruz Brosnon Speeder Bike
Winner of the Cotic Prize for best Star Wats fancy Dress, R2D2
For the first time ever for the race, the sun had been shining for the fortnight leading up to the race and the woods and the track was dry. The funds raised from last years race had been ploughed back in to the woods by the Sheffield Wildlife Trust and improvements to the track made by local firm Bike Track and volunteers from Ride Sheffield made for the fastest racing yet. Gone were the days of the muddy slog pedal fest, pumping through the rocky course and carrying speed through the bermed corners was the order of the day.
As ever the generosity of the events sponsors was overwhelming with prizes galore for all podiums places and the every popular raffle. The race has always served to be completely inclusive with kids from age 10 upwards racing in the rippers category. This year we also had 30 ladies racing, amazing for a race of 200 people. They were split in to two groups; one for those racing for the first time and the other for those more experienced. Our oldest entrant was Pat Horscroft was in her 70th year and celebrating by racing for the first time ever. She was rewarded with a special award and bear hug from Peaty on the podium.
Track builder David Gregory of Bike Track makes the most of his hard work on race day. – Photo: James Brown
As ever the atmosphere all the way along the track but particularly at the gap jump and finish bomb hole was electric. With so many people out watching and banging the hell out of the noise makers they had brought the racers were often seen smirking from the hilarious heckles.
Well Prepared career marshal Rob Jolley came armed to the teeth
Shef Uni were out in force and the Stoke levels were kept high
Although most prizes were given away on the podium or in the raffle one very important one remains. A brand new Blur TR donated by Santa Cruz bicycles. In a size large it up for auction on Ebay with all proceeds (minus the ebay fees) going directly in to the charity pot. The frame with a Fox Float CTD Adjust Kashima Shock is worth over £1900 and we are open to reasonable offers. Please use the best offer system on Ebay to make your bids. Ideally You’ll collect from Sheffield to give cash on collection so we can avoid paypal fees.
So back to the racing. For the 3rd year running, Dr Peat took the win, this year on his Santa Cruz Brosnon. That means he’s won on a different wheel size each year. Maybe 20″ next year? Full results are available on roots and rain but here’s the podiums
Massive thank you’s to all the event Sponsors, Helpers and Marshals. Many people willingly give up their valuable time to make this race happen and it could not happen without them. Its part of what makes this race so special, the people and smiling faces that help year in and year out. Thank you!
The race is organised by a team of 4 riders, myself Nick Hamilton, Steve Hardcastle, Henry Norman and Joe Bowman. If you see us out on the trails or at the bar, give us a pat on the back if you had a good day in the woods.
Thursday afternoon and im buzzing with excitement ahead of the first BDS of the season! so excited in fact I cant stop eating.. anything in sight was consumed at a rapid rate!!
After my disappointing trip out to Portugal a few weeks back, I was feeling a little behind schedule with my preparation for this event. I didn’t want to start this season as I had started last, A disappointing start followed by a lot of “oh well there’s always next time”, which seemed to circle every event with me throughout 2012.. But not this year! This year I have come with a different mindset, something i’ve been able to work on with Dr Rob from Sheffield Hallam Uni. I’ve given myself more of a focus, a better drive to succeed, and now comes the time to put practice into play.
Friday and the new race truck is packed up and on the road. A 4 to 5 hour trip down south was ahead.. Until we broke down a couple of hours into the journey.. Not the best start to the weekend. Turns out my dad was working not too far away and was able to get to us within an hour to help out.
Turns out our alternator was faulty, and having to turn the headlamps on during a rainy journey must have drained the last of the battery and cut the engine out.. bit sketchy at 65mph whilst overtaking going up a hill in the pissing rain, cutting up a jeep with minimal vision whilst attempting to get onto the hard shoulder.. Fun.
After some time twiddling the same wires over and over again with no result, something clicked in Dads head and Boom! jump leads from truck to truck and see what happens.. success.. Now to get off the motorway for a proper look.. Run the jump leads from the truck battery through the window and attach to a leisure battery in the foot-well? why not!! Worked a treat!
We eventually got back under way after swapping batteries around and headed off, hopeful to make it before dark so we didn’t have to use headlamps and drain another battery! This didn’t happen, it went dark just before leaving the motorway. Noticing flashing blue lights approaching behind us made me panic a little as it was definitely time for lights, yet we were still plodding without.. fortunately they were not interested in us and pulled someone up only a couple cars back! We survived the rest of the journey with Dad leading as we followed closely, no lights just in case!
Arriving at around 22:00/22:30 we fed and got our heads down ready for the weekend of riding ahead of us.
Saturday – Up at 05:00 for track walk! Peaceful and quiet with no one else seeming to be around or even stiring, I was able to get to the top have a look and come a someway down before even seeing any else on track.
Nothing had changed from last year, still same old same old, just a nice refresher having a look around.
Saturday Practice and things started nice. the new V10 was running sweet and I was enjoying plodding down my first run. Then things didn’t seem to go as planned. The weather turned and rain came, 2nd run was a shambles, I hit my head and shoulder pretty hard into a tree and upset myself. As id got up early I was able to have a little hissy fit while Jamie and Ricky Bobby were tending to my ride. Having those boys around during the weekend helps so much, It gives me the chance to go away and leave my bike in their capable hands, have some food and a clean up and come back fresh knowing my bike is clean, prepped and ready to go as soon as I am. Cheers guys for all your hard work!
The rain was beginning to come down hard and eventually myself and Loosedog made the decision to head up for another couple
of runs. Again, things were not really going to plan and I was struggling to find my flow.
Sunday- Race day. Up early again for First lifts! Knowing how bad the uplifts can get i was sure to be on the first lift, right at the end so the chance to be one of the first down the hill.. The track did not look to appealing. Thick gloopy mud caused by heavy rain through the night, conditions just look draining. I met Loosedog at the top and we proceeded to descend the track. Again, a shambolic morning, nothing I was doing seemed to be going right and I couldn’t figure it out. My final practice run was the worst of all. We stopped a couple of corners up from the step down into the open to see what conditions were like. As I dropped in to attempt to huck, I double un-clipped, reached fro the break levers and slipped of both only to grab again just as my front wheel dropped over the take off and landed me face first into a pile of mud. Funny i’m sure to the onlooking crowd, but not for me!
Back to the pits, leave my bike with Jamie as I sit on the turbo and go through the track in my head, Not thinking about any mistakes!
Qualifying – Just awful. First corner over the bars. Scrappy run, another crash dropping out of the second bus stop. Missed line in the tight woods, then one more crash in the lower woods. Wow, things really were looking terrible.
Once more, back to pits, refresh and forget. Then Irve came out with a cracker, “Forget it lad, its in the past now, Quali is only a ticket to the party”. And he was right, made me smile as I span on the trainer, first, get into the party, then its time to dance!
Finals – Arriving back at the pits with Fresh Jersey, fresh pants, fresh SKINS, fresh shorts, fresh socks, fresh shoes. Fresh head. Ricky and Jamie had set me up Pro with some tyre wraps to keep the thick mud out before the start.Feeling pro now!
I headed up early for a look and some prep work. Jamie traveled up too with the turbo for warm up. I gave myself a plan. Spoke to Loose and told him I had a plan, he replied, ‘Stick to it’, I said, ‘I’m going to’… Sat on the trainer, spinning away with my headphones in, then by accident the best thing that could have happened, happened. a few minutes before my run, “Ludacris, Rollout” came through the speakers. A tune that has always got me fired up not matter the mood. I smiled, eyes shut, felt calm and got pumped!
Race run started as planned, gently caressing the sticky mud, riding lines outside of the deep stuff. I am not the most skilled rider, nor the most stylish nor fastest, but what I have over a lot of riders is an ability to push my bodies limits. To put in more effort when others don’t want to. I payed attention to my weaknesses from quali, but didnt let it take over what I knew my strengths were. I rode the first awful turns cleanly, then it was power time. I shifted down 2 gears by mistake, so all that meant was pedal harder.. so thats what happened. I cleaned the sections I had previously Struggled on and now was time to push. Cranks were spinning as i felt composed and in control. Things seemed to be running slow, yet not. I was fast but in control, I had found my flow.
Back off again a little in 2 more tricky corners as I dropped back in to the middle woods. Clean the deep ruts then it was pedal time. Approaching the first double pedals were just turning, not good enough, on landing, down 2 gears and smash through the pedal strokes! Holding the bike down over the next few jumps I felt strong. The winter of training was showing.
The final wooded section and again I backed off a little earlier than practice, good as things rolled smoother and cleaner, holding momentum. Then just before the final sketchy crucial Rock roll, I snagged a tree root and get turned 90 degrees left, unable to un-clip.. A slight panic but just managed to get the left foot out. Dab the long way around a tree and roll the rock drop before really having to give it my all to get up the slight off camber incline. I cranked my arse off to the line and over. As I got off the bike I was happy yet frustrated a mistake happened where it did. Legs wobbled as I grabbed a needed Monster and I made my way off to the side to watch. Being 3rd rider down I ignored the hot seat as i didn’t think I had performed. Yet rider after rider were coming down with times slower than mine..
I was still holding onto the position.. how?! The last few descended and the end result was 8th! more than happy with that, but what maybe could have been without that mistake and lost time?.. Looking at the breakdown of times.. I was 6th at split 1, on the same second as 5 time World Champ, Sam Hill. That mistake at the bottom cost me dearly, with every one around me clocking 40.00 seconds I was back on a 43.00+ seconds, but still to manage a top 10 at the first chance of the year boosts my confidenc an joy! This then boosted even more to learn my team mate Josh Lewis bagged a 5th place finish in Expert, and then further boosted learning Brad Swinbank too placed 5th in Youth.
Well done to everyone on the team and again a huge thank you to Ricky and Jamie for keeping us all running smoothly throughout the whole weekend!
A cracking end to a challenging weekend, made better the fact Dad had single handily swapped the alternator in the truck in the pissing rain, and we got home safe and sound!
then to celebrate.. A Jaffa Cake!