Archives: Jack Reading

Jack Reading: Whistler


I’m just on the road down to catch a flight from Vancouver driving away from my Crankworx 2011 effort. This was my fourth visit to Whistler for the competition and has been my most successful yet. My Dad made the trip out with me to provide race support and do some riding himself, although that did get cut short for him when he got a bit too aggressive with the jumps and had a nasty crash picking up a shoulder injury.

I arrived in Whistler three days before the first race, just enough time to get back into riding the mountain I know and love as well as recover from the jet lag. With a re-organised Crankworx, meaning I had two downhill races stretched over four consecutive days, I was conscious that it would be a real challenge to get my body and my bike through the entire effort.

First up was the Canadian Open Downhill which races down a traditional downhill style course that is rough, fast and technical lasting just over 3 minutes. The track is amazing and easily comparable with some of the World Cup venues. I was 13th in this one last year and was aiming for a top 10 this time. The weather wasn’t typical for a Whistler summer, which made racing more of a challenge than usual with wet slippery conditions. I only take dry tyres to Whistler because it is usually all that is needed, and then even when it rains there is so much rock that spikes would probably be more sketchy. In some places the dry tyres really were crazy wild and I had to be very conscious of these spots come my race run.

I went well with a fast, wild run to come down into 2nd place with a 3.10 and only 2 seconds off the pace. This was good enough for 8th place overall when all the riders were down and I was 2nd Brit behind Danny Hart in 5th. So I got off to a great start and was feeling confident going into the second race.

I was 7th in the Garbanzo downhill last year and have been gradually getting closer to a podium finish over the past 3 years. It’s a race from the top of the bike park which takes about 14 minutes if you’re pinned and when you finish you can barely stand. This year was going to be a wet one and again I was aiming for a top 10 finish, and hopefully an improvement on last year’s 7th. Ellsworth were back in Whistler for Crankworx so I was really pumped up to perform with the added pressure to produce in front of the team.

I had a really great run and when I came through the finish I went into the hot seat by about 10 seconds with a time of 13.58. It’s such a strange race because when you’re on the way down it’s so hard that you feel like you’re about to come last! Until the final rider came down I was in 2nd, only 1 second from the win and it would have been such a disappointment to lose out by that much if it had stayed that way. However it didn’t, and Sam Blenkinsop went fastest with a 13.46, so I was 3rd and claimed my first Crankworx podium and $1000 prize money. I can’t use words to describe the feeling, only seeing my face on the podium tells you how chuffed I was!

Over the last month I have been thinking a lot about how I have been attacking my races. By mid season I had got myself into a rhythm whereby I was riding well within my limits, going for OK results and smooth race runs. Not only is this not my style, it is also a fantastically good way to limit my progression. I had been frequently going to big races like world cups, seeing lines that I would like to do and know that I could do, but deciding not to have a go at them. These lines would be the crazy ones that I know in my head I am capable of, but gave myself the excuses not to do them which would be – ‘you’re not here to win’, and limited training time means ‘you’re not as strong as the top guys’. Then a handful of the top guys would send these lines come race runs, and in the back of my mind I would be thinking, ‘man, you know you could do that’.

I have just had an amazing Crankworx, with results right up their with the full time professionals. I had the old feeling back from when I was the wild expert in 2009 who was mixing it with the elites in the UK. I felt fast and loose and sometimes out of control, but it pays off. I am now leaving Canada after two weeks solid training and racing in the best shape I have ever been in and a confidence level which has gone through the roof. I see a line I want to hit and I hit it. In previous years I have left Whistler at the end of season in fantastic shape but with no big races left. This year thanks to an early Crankworx I will be rolling to the French world cup in a week’s time. I’m not saying that thanks to this new attitude and a great riding/racing period I will be bringing home an amazing result, because who can predict racing, anything can happen. However I am saying that I have a plan to turn up and perform at the very highest level I can, in an attempt to prolong this successful period after Crankworx has shut up shop!

I’ll keep you posted!

Final 5 – Fort Bill

Final 5 – Fort Bill

Well, its taken a while but here are my last few shots from fort bill.

Gee applies some style for the Anthill films boys who were out shooting the whole weekend.

ThisiSheffield’s own Jack Reading doubles up some rocks higher than any other i’d seen.

The Monster Energy drop attracted large crowds throughout the whole of the final runs.

The girls were looking faster than ever, pinned through the rocks here.

Finally Sam Blenkinsop enjoying the rocky, rooty and wooded sections of the course.

Next few will be from leogang!

End of season training with Jack

End of season training with Jack

Spain. Sun. Mountains. Bikes. Mates. Riding…. Now that sounds like a good plan for a 4 day weekend to me!

After resting my wrist for 2 weeks and not really doing anything with myself except working I was chomping at the bit when Friday the 1st of April arrived and me and 7 other riders jumped on a flight to Malaga, Spain, at 6am for a 4 day riding holiday (well for myself it was more of a training trip). My wrist hadn’t fully healed but I wanted to chance riding and see how much I could get away with. But with the second round of BDS the following weekend I didn’t want to make the situation worse!

We arrived in Malaga at 10am, the sun was out, and with a full day of riding lying before us. To say we were excited was an understatement! After building up our bikes at the airport and getting some rather funny looks from ‘normal’ tourists while waiting for the van to arrive, we headed to the tracks to get started. I taped up my wrist with a support bandage and as I tied my shoe laces and felt it tweaking away I really worried about how much riding I’d actually be able to do.

The first track we went to was mental! It was so loose and rocky words can’t describe how loose and rocky it actually was. Me and Joe , both of us who have never been to Malaga before, were initially slightly worried I have to admit! If every track had been like that one I don’t think all 8 of us and all our bikes would have made it through the weekend! The second track we rode was called the ‘Antenna’ track, solely because it started at the top of the mountain where the Antenna- like radio mast was. It was a bloody long decent and absolutely amazing. It really did have everything, with the rocky gully at the bottom which was about 30 seconds long being the highlight! Imagine the gnarliest rock garden ever, then make it fast as hell, really narrow and most of the rocks around are really sharp – something like that! Ow and with 50 PSI in your tyres because you’d flat with anything less! If you made it through without touching the breaks you’d just defined commitment on a DH bike!

By the time we rolled up at one of the very English Malagan pubs it had been an epic first day but my wrist was bloody sore! Not that I was the only one with problems – Barry had blown up his rear shock and Mink had smashed a front wheel to pieces (Animals!). However, things took a turn for the better for me and my wrist. After icing it at the pub and then using Biofreeze for the rest of the trip coupled with strapping it I seemed to somehow, ride it better… The vibrations from riding must have strengthened all the muscles around the problematic area and I haven’t really had a peep from it since! BDS round 2 is back on!!

The rest of the riding proved to be equally as awesome as the first day. Malaga has lots and lots of tracks all accessible using a van on tarmac or dirt roads but somehow there doesn’t seem to be a massive riding seen. You very rarely bump into other groups of riders, and if you do they tend to be other tourists rather than locals. We rode a couple if super long tracks and a few shorter, more racey style tracks as well. By the time the 4 days was up we’d probably done the equivalent of a whole seasons worth of DH vertical in the UK.

I’m now fully fit again and very practiced for the race this weekend. For the last number of years I’ve returned from Whistler at the end of the season feeling fully dialled, but then there haven’t been any races left for me to smash out a wicked result! Then again last year would have been my first BDS podium if my chain hadn’t snapped on the sprint to the finish. So now I’ve just returned from 4 awesome days training on some of the hardest longest tracks I’ve ever ridden, I’m confident for a good performance this weekend at Moelfre! Although coming back from those tracks to ride Moelfre might be a bit of a come down!

All images by Nelsonimages.co.uk

Jack Reeeeeeding rips Wharny a new one.

Jack Reeeeeeding rips Wharny a new one.

Cool video on a sweet track, just a shame about the EPICLY long interview at the start. Give it a skip forward for the riding!

Photo: Callum T

After a frustrating result at the University Champs on Saturday it was nice to head to Wharncliffe Woods in Sheffield on Sunday for a day in front of the video camera of George Milner and photo camera of Callum Biggin.

We had a full day of shooting. I was riding all day and after cleverly forgetting my lunch I was fortunate to find 4 SIS energy bars in my bag. These kept me going throughout the day, although not a complete answer to the replacement of real food, I definitely wouldn’t have survived without them!

I spent the whole day pushing up two of, in my opinion, the best tracks in Wharncliffe, ‘Truffle Shuffle’ – built by Gee Hallam, and ‘Super Trout’ – built by Rob Stokes. For me many of the tracks in Wharny fight the hill a bit too much and lack flow. Then when they do really go with the gradient it becomes too tight so you have to be frustratingly on the brakes. Not these tracks. As you will see from the video they are fast, flowy, jumpy, fun and with some knarly bits thrown in there!

Here is the link to the video:

Tomorrow my new Ellsworth Dare arrives which I am very excited to unveil at the first round of the British National Series this weekend along with my new Team mates for 2011 – UK Expert rider James Swindon and UK Youth rider Christian Harrison.

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