Archives: swinny

Norges Cup, Back on the hunt UCI Style

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.

Slide1The 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!

Slide1

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.

photo-10

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!

photo-9

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!!
Cheers all!
SwinnySlide1

Steve Peat Syndicate Season End 2012

Steve Peat Syndicate Season End 2012

Duncan has been working for the SPS all season filming them at every race. Its been a successful season for the Steve Peat Syndicate with several of the lads, including our own Swinny, hitting up their first World Cups and many good results in the BDS.

Watch the celebration of the end of the season with a team day out at the latest addition to Sheffields trail network, Parkwood Springs. Ratboy joins Peaty and the team wearing out the inside lines of the newly finished berms. This is followed by wet weather outdoor go karting and a BBQ and Fire Chez Peat. Looks like a right laugh.

Got Soul?

Got Soul?

Following up from the further adventures of Rocketman, the dream team of Bowman and Swinny drafted in Ruari for some brotherly lovin’. Working the magic for Cotic once again, SteelCityMedia has produced this brilliant edit to promote the updated Soul. Great concept and well executed, but its the riding in the middle that floats my boat. Swinny and Ru do what they’re best at and smash the fuck out of a load of loamy corners making the the Soul look oh so Rad. But don’t take my word for it…

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This Is Swinny: Hamsterly Enduro

This Is Swinny: Hamsterly Enduro

A fresh challenge and a new format, my first attempt at an Enduro event and I was pretty excited. Joe Bow had been bangin on about how fun these events are for the past year now so thought it was about time to see what all the fun was about!

We had a healthy group for the trip, Joe, Jolley and My bro traveled up in the @VitoSport and met up with Hanna Swede and her house mate Tom. Plenty of banter and laughing was on the cards for the day as we set off for a leasurly cruise around Hamsterly in the Hot Hot Heat, and it really was hot, with the sun beaming down all day and with minimum wind, we decided to do a full lap out of the gate.

So off we went, cruising up the fire-roads to the start of stage one, taking in the scenery as we passed, all was very pleasant and relaxed. Joe struggled from a few mechanical issues with his chain on the cruise up to the start (he had fixed it himself so there was no real surprise something went wrong, despite what he says about his mechanics skills!) so being the good mates we all are… we left him and set off for our first down of the day.

A tough, flat, rooty, uneven pedal made for an awkward start, once past this a bit of pace was picked up as you skipped over roots and holes and took a left onto the first sprint pedal of the day, a large flat, drifty right turn and back into the woods where there was options for a few different lines to be taken, but we just carried on and rode the main line. Then a slightly uncomfortable flat rolly section, if you got the flow right here it all ran smooth, but a slight error and your speed was sapped, stopping on the uneven spaced holes with not much room for pedal strokes, it was a really tricky section of the track. From there it dropped into a selection of tight switchbacks that spat you out over an off camber ledge and over the line.

I was a little surprised it wasn’t longer, but that was only stage 1.

Onto stage 2 and a bit of a bitch of a climb up a hot fire-road right to the top of the hill. It was a steep sharp climb that dragged on a bit but wasn’t too bad.

Stage 2 started with a flat out sprint on some loose gravely terrain, taking in some fast berms and short jumps. A much faster stage and the previous with more flow, i good chance to turn the pedals for all they were worth as it turned out to be a pretty constant pedally stage for much of it. After the fun of the fast turns and jumps the track spat you out onto a slightly up hill road where, come race runs, the pedals really need to be spinning here! From there on it dropped into and incredibly loamy wooded section, which was rad! Love loam. There were a number of sneaky cut lines in here but we stuck to the main line and road the loam to the end of stage 2.

A road ride climb took us to the top of Stage 3. With 5 of us currently in our group we thought it’d be cool to pretend to be the GB road team and draft on another, with the front man swinging off from time to time to join the back of the pack and keep legs fresh! We passed a couple of other riders who seemed to enjoy what we were doing, with one trying to tag onto us! But our momentum was already at a blistering pace and he had no chance!! That was until the hill suddenly kicked up sharp and we all seemed to just give up and cruise up instead.

Stage 3 was fast hardpack terrain with plenty of quick flat corners mixed with  some bermed turns, plenty of pace throughout until it spat you back out onto the road. We thought it had finished but noticed no FINISH sign.. so looked for some tape, a bit confused we looked down the hill as there was no way the Race would go up that horrible looking steep hill! Oh, it did. Bugger. So off we slugged up the hill before dropping back onto the fast hardpack, a few more rail-able bermed turns and back up to speed, again there was a good selection of cut lines in here but we didnt bother to stop and look, just stuck to main line. We got a little lost before finishing of a wooden drop and a left hander, Jolley got some drift on in here and ragged his rim, putting a man size dent in it and pinch flatting.Rate laugh.

The cruise over to Stage 4 was pleasent, traversing through the woodland before spitting you back out onto that bitch of a climb again, same as for Stage 2. Back to the top for another fun ride down! By this point i was really enjoying the format on Enduro racing, plenty of riding time, a good laugh with your mates and all in all Good fun.

Stage 4 began sat on top of the 4X track, over looking the moorland it was quite pleasant, however watching some people hit the first jump, included Joe, was unnerving! Some very uncomfortable positions. From there, up and into the woods where there were plenty of awkward roots that sapped your speed if you caught them wrong, no where really to pedal so flow was important. Things steepened up a little before dropping into the dense woods, over a little rock garden then a real uncomfortable left hander. I had a couple of goes at this corner, pinging a spoke on the rocks in the mean time before getting the corner half descent. Over a fire-road and back into the woods, instantly lost as I went straight on instead of a sharp right. Try again, and away!! Playing around on the rooty section i enjoyed this part of the day! Traversing the woodland, hitting stuff blind, popping around was a rate laugh! There was plenty of line choice again but i tended to stick to the middle lines, giggling away to myself as riders were scrambling out of the way as i made my way through the woods. A couple of corners later and over the line for the end of Stage 4.

A river crossing which I failed massively on before Back up the hill again! This time a bugger of a long fire-road climb. By this point it was hot, the sun had been beaming all day and the air felt thick as you rode through it. But we continued and soon reached our destination.

Stage 5 was loose and gravely but a pretty constant sprint form start to finish, similar to the start of Stage 2, hard pedal strokes were needed as you railed berms and held it down over the short jumps. A constant sprint indeed as there was pedaling everywhere! Sprinting for all it was worth before dropping into the finish area and complete!

Turns out we did the whole loop much quicker than planned and had time to stop and look at lines if we wanted, but oh well, it was more fun this way anyway!

Quali was on the Saturday afternoon and on Stage 5. I was pretty keen to get my sprint on! However i decked it hard in the first turn! cut my hand a bit but pedaled away and finished. I finished some way down the order and was 2nd slowest Elite, not surprising really given the crash. Fortunately for me there was a bit of a cock up with the timing and the organizers decided not to count the time towards the final standing. So a fresh start for race day.

We stopped over night in a cool Barn conversion that was very comfortable, Loads of Chicken Pasta went down then off to bed. Bunk Beds! Rad. Me, My bro, Jolley and Tom stayed in a room together and had man time..

Sunday morning and the sun was out and warm already. We trundled off, I was struggling all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning deciding weather i needed to take a bag with me.. I took one on the Saturday but all i needed was water, so made the decision to stow some water and food at certain points of the ride and went for the committed bagless run!

I had a laugh, stage 1 i got a bit lost, facing the tape at one point and had to dab to get back on line but trundled on regardless.

Stage 2 and a bit of a moment in the loam, again forgetting where I was but thats what you get for not looking at where you were meant to be going! I did enjoy that painful sprint on the road though.

Stage 3 i was instantly lost, braking for sections I thought I was on that turned out to be way down the road, but again really enjoyed that monster road sprint! The story pretty much repeated itself all day, forgetting where Iwas as we didn’t bother to pay attention to lines but it was all cool, I was having a good giggle!

Stage 4 and I buggered up the awkward root section a bit, but nothing too major, cleaned the rest of the track and had great fun on the lower part of the track, this was my most fun run of the day!

Stage 5 and on the long ride up I got a spot of cramp in my thigh, got off the bike for a bit of a stretch out. That was a bit of an error as I got instant cramp in my hamstring! So straighten the leg back out, and Cramp in my thigh again! Back up and cramp in the Hamstring!.. Down and Cramp in the thigh.. this went on for a while before settling down a bit and I set off crusing up the hill again.

I remembered that damn first corner this time and didnt go down, Wohoo!! Pedaled hard and cranked where I could. Trying to pump and flow before more hard cranking and into the finishing turns. Jolley, as usual, did me proud. After he had finished he ran up the hill a bit to give me encouragement. That lads amazing, I could hear him corners before I got to him as he shrieked at me to keep on pushing. I could hear him all the way to the line, Cheers mate!!

And that was that. My first Enduro event was done. I was a little surprised I wasn’t as tired as thought I’d be, but was happy with the way I rode.

Turns out I managed to finish 9th overall, something I was more than happy about! 9 seconds off a top 5 place, Damn it! If only we had stopped to look at a couple of lines I may have been able to make 2 seconds on each stage and got myself on the podium! But oh well. I was very pleased with myself.

All finished, podiums done and on our way home, and it was only 4:30, much quicker than being at a DH race. I did struggle to understand what the £60 was for though, an unreliable timing system, no uplifts and not even fully taped out tracks, which led to a fair amount of controversy. I’m in 2 minds over the tape situation. If the whole track wasn’t taped, why not cut, yet at the same time some of the apparent cut lines were a bit OTT.

A big thanks has to go out to the SHIMANO guys, who helped me out after I managed to contaminate my brake pads. They were busy helping people all day long and if they are at an event, get yourself over and say hello, have a chat about products, and if somethings not right with your ride, ask them very kindly to take a look at it!

Cheers All!

http://www.aetuk.com/

This Is Swinny: Scottish Excursion – Fort Bill

Packed up and away we go again.

I’ve been on the road a fair bit these past few weeks, travelling, riding and racing. But this was the one I was perhaps most looking forward to, the infamous Fort William.

Its track I’ve ridden once before, but many years ago and not on a downhill bike, so the excitement to race this legendary track was building weeks before the event.

In the build up to the event bad news was circling that it may be cancelled due to bad weather, this was the case last year because of high winds which actually never really arrived, so I was a little anxious. ‘An 8 hour drive to find out it may be cancelled the next morning?’, wasn’t looking to appealing, but i made light of the situation. ‘I either stare at the wind and rain in Sheffield, or stare at the wind and rain in Scotland, it’s practically the same!’. So off we went.

The drive was instantly hampered by a police road block and diversion, which caused quite a bit of backed up traffic, but never the less we eventually got on our way and cruised up. I slept for pretty much the whole journey (as i do as a passenger) but from what i gather things ran smoothly.

We arrived pretty late on Friday evening, around 8:30, so not quite early enough for a track walk which was what i had intended, never mind! I’ll just blind run it in the morning! Great idea.

And what a track to ride!! Everything was running sweet on the Saturday, the SPS pit was up and looking well, Jamie (our mechanic) was up and doing a banging job of everything and the wind was pretty low, a bit overcast but not cold, just right for riding. So off into the queue I headed for first runs. Taking a Gondola to the top was amazing, no worrying about bikes getting owned by the Tractor & Trailer method, just smooth and pleasant with a nice view looking down to Finish/Pit area.

It was an incredible feeling standing inside that big wooden eye start hut thing waiting to head down this amazing track. Like I said earlier, Blind run, so this really added to the excitement coming over some of the blind crests and into back to back switchbacks. I had an idea of where I was going thanks to watching the World Cup round on’t computer, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the ride ahead.

It’s such a fast flowy track up top mixed with intense rock sections, then back to fast turns and big rock faces. Bouncing around, railing turns and rattling through sections I was having a great time. Dropping into the middle section I was struggling with a couple of the flat, rocky wooded spots, mainly because I didn’t want to slow down and I forgot I had to in order to make the tight turn before the tough rock sections. I managed to cock this section up pretty much every time bar one, but still, I was having a laugh! Then in to the pedal to the finish. Coming over that Jump, sat on top of the fade away and swooping down, building up Speed was incredible. Over the last couple of jumps and over the line. This definitely has to be the best finish area I have ever experienced on a race track. Other tracks just seem to fizzle out a bit coming to the line but this one builds excitement with both racers and the crowd.

I managed to crush in 4 practice runs on the day before seeding which had been moved forward in case Sunday where to be cancelled, which it was, so seeding became race runs which started around 3:00 ish.

Onto race runs then and I was feeling pretty good, I still didn’t exactly know where I was going in places but never mind! I was enjoying myself all the same. Railing the top turns feeling fast and flowy all felt good, then I took a tumble washing out on one of the loose left handers. I tried not to let it bother me too much and carry on having fun but the damage had been done. I instantly went offline for a large part of the track, in-siding corners, not hoping rocks, just generally being off line until the deer gate. Once past that I felt a little more relaxed and began to pick up momentum, then bang! For some reason coming off a rock drop I just rode into the banking on the left hand side of the track and went down again. Bugger. All was over really but I carried on in search of a clean bottom section. This was Not to be. One more off on the left handed wooden wall ride. I just didn’t commit enough to the line and slid out, hitting my head and neck pretty hard on a tree. Possible my worst race run ever?! On returning back up to pace I heard the whistle of someone behind me, I knew fellow SPS rider Donny was the next man in the gate so thought I’d move over, then a brain wave! Team tactics, I’ll tow him in on the motor way section, allowing him to draft me! Genius. Not too sure how much this actually helped him but if it did, then so be it. Over the finish line and that was that.

So, a great day, an awful race run. But it’s forgotten now and on to the next, no point dwelling on the negatives but try to take the positives with me through the season.

Cheers to all!

(Sorry for the lack of photos, Duncan had exams so was unable to make the trip)

This Is Swinny: On The Hunt For UCI Points

Bulgaria was the destination, Shambhala Open was the event, so off i went.

Heading out Wednesday morning after a midnight finish at work, with the flight landing us in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The Passport control were not convinced i was me.. so came looking for more ID. To be fair my passport looks nothing like me, and i possibly made this worse by handing them my driving license, which again looks nothing like me nor looks anything similar to my passport photo.. So i got asked a few questions about my visit and with my charm convinced the authorities I was actually me. So, onto baggage claim.. all good. Then onto the task of finding our driver,  i had no idea who he was. But all was good. A few more Brits were on the same flight; fellow SPS rider Dale Russel, along with Adam Brayton and Reece Langhorn so surely they knew who we were looking for… Turns out they didn’t have a clue either! So we all sort of wandered around whilst constantly being asked if we needed a taxi! “i do you good deal for all of you”, “no tar mate” was said a lot!. I then get an arm wrapped around my shoulder, first thought was ‘oh crap, more police and authorities to take me away because they still don’t believe i’m me’, but fortunately no, it was a Bulganeez (made that up) chap by the name of Kamen (probably spelt very wrong) who whisked us away to meet up with Nikolay and his big Sprinter van.
Nikolay runs RAM bikes and did an amazing job of looking after us Brits, with out him and his team the whole experience would not have been what it was.

Off we drove, and how we drove. The Bulganeez are nuts when it comes to driving, ragged, flat out and weaving through traffic like nothing i’ve seen before! An amazing experience in its self.
We made a short Pit stop at RAM bike HQ while we waited for another plane of Brits to land, then once all together we headed off to Sopot, approx. 2+ hours of interesting driving. At one point the road literally ended and were on a rough dirt track that seemed to waltz through some farmers field. We arrived safely however and once we found our rooms in the hotel, prepped for dinner, which was a very reasonable price for what we got!

Anyway, onto the track, and what a track! Long, dusty, drifty, fast, flowing. Just a good laugh. It was a track where not too much pedalling was needed, speed was picked up by how much you dare let off the brakes. The chairlift was pretty sketchy. With no slow down mechanism the chair seemed to come flying at you while you were trying to hold onto your bike and guide it off the launch pad while hooking the pedal onto the seat. That was about all that held the bike on!

I went up with 4X and BMX legend Martin Ogden, who was kind enough to look after me and show me how to mount the chairlift as well as give me a riding partner for the day. Oggy had been here a fair few times so was accustomed to the whole situation.

Onto the riding. Things started well, with the idea to slowly build up the speed over the next 3 days i was feeling good, riding bikes in the sun on a track i didn’t need to pedal on, what could be better. All was going well, I was enjoying the place, having a laugh and enjoying being on my bike. Then I tried an inside line and ended on my back in some awful pain! I must of hit a rock or something, but either way I didn’t see it coming and I went down hard, folding my front wheel pretty bad in the process! Only the 3rd run in as well! So that put an end to day 1.

Team Ram were good to me and sourced me a new rim from the local shop, which got built up for me that evening. With being in a lot of pain in the lower back region i asked Kamen to sort me out with some Bulganeez painkillers. I got a box of pills where i could only have 2 a day, sounds good!!

They seemed to do the job too and the next day I was back up riding again. A couple more runs and into Quali.
With an idea! Ill roll the whole track, no pedaling, that way, I’m guaranteed to make up loads of time in finals. Genius I thought! However, It turns out that everyone else had the same idea. But still, i rolled over the line and ended 5th. With a strong British contingent, we soundly rounded out the top 5 with a few more in the top 10 and more a little further down the field.

All was going well. I was happy and ready for finals. Off we went, a couple more runs under my belt and I was ready for finals. Then the rain came, and the wind and the thunder storms. It was pretty intense for a while and the organizers had to call off the finals. Fortunately, due to past experiences, they had scheduled a spare day just in case of bad weather, so finals were rolled over to Sunday.

Quali results

And onto Sunday.

Again, a couple more runs, and ready!!
All was going swimmingly, I felt good on the bike and was cranking out of turns, letting off the brakes and flowing. A small error up top caused me to slip my pedals but not too much drama. Then a small wash out in a slow section again resulted in not too much drama, and on into the final section. I was enjoying myself and was carrying speed well. I cranked into the final section and pumped the ground for more speed, coming into the final turn and getting ready for the sprint to the line. Suddenly, disaster struck! My rear wheel seemed to kick up, maybe off a root, and pointed me straight towards a tree. I tried for all it was worth to wiggle around but no luck, I ploughed the tree with my shoulder and got taken off the bike and ended up in a tangle. I bounced back up and tried to get to the line as quick as possible, but the damage was done. 5th place was the aim but 10th the result.
So not what i was looking for but not a complete loss. 10 points picked up and an experience well worth taking away.

Finals results

A huge thanks to Nikolay, Kamen and the rest of the RAM bikes team, they put on a cracking event and took care of us Brits well, without them, it wouldn’t have been the same.

Only one more ‘experience’, the drive back to Sofia.. I don’t really need to go into to much detail about that ;)

Cheers!
Swinny

This is Swinny: Combe Syd Race Report

This is Swinny: Combe Syd Race Report

The first round of the BDS and my first race of the season took us down south to Combe Sydenham..

It was the first time the team had met up all together and as a bit of a bonding session with Steve, Tristan and the rest of the boys, we headed over to the UK bike park for a couple of days before the race weekend. Joe Bow and Duncan were in tow to take snaps and document our activities over the long weekend.

The drive down was long.. very long and boring as i had just myself to keep me occupied, and i assure you, i do not hold a good conversation with myself! i was fortunately guided in for the last hour by Joe (cheers mate!) as i didn’t really know where i was going! Phone signal was very low down there so i had to guess a lot of what Joe was actually saying, but hey ho! made it. Joe and Dunc traveled down together as team media, with Dunc doing what he does best! No no, not getting lairy with uni girls! but taking photos!

We had a good couple of days riding down at UK-BP, with the weather threatening at times it held off for a couple of pleasant days.

Joe managed to take a bit of time out of his hectic filming schedule (lol) to have a bit of a razz with the boys.

And then got back to work after gompering around a bit..

It was my first real ride on the new bike and boy it felt good!.. so i did this cool skid for dunc to capture, gold.

and then posed a bit while trying to act cool.

and then rode some more with the champ.

After a couple days riding we met up with Ben Deakin in the local and had a bit of a sesh.. things happened, we had a laugh, that’s all that needs to be said on the matter..

So that pretty much wraps up the first 2012 SPS meet up, i think it went rather well, apart from Irv that is.. Hope that hand is better for Fort William buddy!

So onto Combe Syd..

We arrived Friday afternoon feeling a little sorry for ourselves and trundled off up for a track walk.. It went as you would assume, we looked at stuff to ride on..

Saturday practice and i was lucky enough to tag onto the back of Peaty and Bryc for a couple of runs, which was interesting! As i tried to get up to speed with the big boys.

The track itself wasn’t exactly difficult but i thought was a good one to start the season with.. you were straight into a couple of bermed turns followed by a bit of a jump and into the man made rock garden, which soon filtered out as riders rattled through and moved the majority of the rocks out of the way. Then it was into a series of fire road sprints split up by a few bus stops, the off into the woods for a tight-ish section of turns. Out into the open via a large step down and a sprint through the field into the jump section, think Pietermaritzburg but a bit smaller.. ok, a lot smaller. Then back into the woods for the final tech rock roller section and a sprint for the line.

Sunday race day and i wasn’t feeling to hot.. maybe a combination of a few factors, booze, expectation, nerves, first race of the season. But i cracked on and got 2 practice runs in.

Onto seeding and their i sat at the top with the rest of the Elite field. This was a pretty new experience for me and i felt a little out of place to be honest, but i got on with it as one of the first riders down. I felt good through the first few turns but then seemed to hit a barrier and my whole body felt heavy.. i was unable to pedal as i wanted on the sprint sections and soon ran out of breath.. i chilled out then and cleaned the rest of the track and crossed the line. Finishing 20th out of 40 elites i was relatively happy giving how shit i felt.

Onto race run and i was a little apprehensive i wouldn’t be up for cracking out a solid run.. Mum laid into my legs ninja stylee and a got a good warm up massage.

So, of i went and instantly made a mistake.. dropping low out of the third turn and off line, ok tho, not too much time lost. Then into the rock section i blew a foot off the pedal and dabbed all the way through, not comfortable.

Into the pedal section and i wasn’t sure how much i could give, given my seeding performance, so chilled out a bit and didn’t pedal as hard as i could, this i later regretted.

I went for a clean, not over the top middle section and pedaled pretty hard through the open section. Dropping into the final woods again, a clean run was on my mind, so a little steady but clean did me fine, then the sprint to the line.

Crossing the line i feel i backed off too much in the upper section as i didn’t feel too out of energy, unlike seeding, but never mind eh. 22nd out of 40 was the end result, not a bad start to my Elite campaign but definitely a lot of room for improvement! ill have to tag on to Steve more often!

So all in all a good experience, a lot was learned and a lot can be carried over to the next event..

See ya’ll soon!

(Pictures thanks to the womanizer, Duncan Philpott)

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