Nationals are back, but…….
Welcome back internet people, another update, so soon, going well so far this keeping my website updated.
But before we get into the nationals I did a 3-hour team race, the dirty Knocker. Myself and Corben Haynes joined forces to take on the mixed 3-hour challenge. The course was based over tackaroo and the normal area for the XC nationals and other events that take place over there. The course was extended for this event and one lap was
roughly five mile. It was technical in places, hilly, and extremely muddy. Due to the conditions a quick chat with Corben, we decided to do one lap each this would allow us to get the bikes cleaned and ready for another lap. Corbin was up first and pushed well on the first lap and got us into the lead. I took the reigns for the second lap and again we just kept extending our lead over second place, we managed to complete five laps in 3 hours, a full lap head of second place. A great warm-up for the national.
Nationals are back baby and for the first round we headed to Tong near Bradford. I love this venue due to it being super technical, the climbs here are short but punchy and overall the course is excellent. Constant rain previous to the event had left the course mmmmmmm very very muddy, but I like the mud so that’s another bonus for me. I walked the course on Saturday morning and had a really good look at key areas of the course, they had really changed the layout and added in some super A, B & C lines, upon inspecting them on foot I was really unsure about the first A line but after a chat with my coach (@BikeGuruDerby) I was confident I could at least attempt it in practice, all the other A lines I was fine with.
I headed out for practice on my own, and rode the course to the first feature, I practiced the C line first (as I thought this was going to be my best option) to warm up and then I pedalled back to the feature to attempt the A line, this was something I have never seen in racing for the past 4 years, a slippy off camber trail leading into a 90 degree turn down a 10 foot shoot / drop into a stream then backup the other side! My first try was slow but I got it done, I headed back around and hit it again and again to get comfortable, I was happy so I continued on. I met up with my coach, I rode all the A lines fine and really enjoyed the course. I headed back to the pits for my dad to clean my bike 😊
Race Day 😊, our race time has been moved for this year and it’s so much better, no getting up stupidly early to try and force some food into me. We headed from the hotel to the track and got there fairly early so I could watch the Vets race and see how the course is developing, it looked very very muddy. I headed over to my new team’s tent to warm up, have a chat and from there I headed to the start. Gridding for the first round is based on your previous years result but as I’m first year Under 16’s the second year 16’s were gridded first, this resulted in me having a back row start, not ideal but the course was long enough with plenty of overtaking opportunities to make up positions. The whistle blew and I got an awful start, rounding the first turn in 2nd to last place, I pushed and managed to get into the top 10, as we headed towards the first techy feature I took the A line and managed to slot into about 4th, I tried hard to keep a good momentum and as I headed down the final feature I slotted into 3rd, then I dropped my chain! I jumped off my bike and put it back as quickly as I could, I dropped to about 6th aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg. I got going again and tried not to panic, I got my head down and slowly I managed to climb back into the top 3, towards the end of the 2nd lap I managed to get into 2nd, I started the final lap with the hope of keeping my chain on and to stay super consistent, I hit the first A line and then I lost my rear brake, nightmare. I tried my hardest to keep the pace, I dropped to 3rd about half way round the final lap but I managed to keep in touch with 2nd, we entered Pine wood slabs, I noticed 2nd headed towards the B line so I went for the A line (I had been riding this all race), as I went down I remembered my rear brake had failed, I panicked and hit the front brake, on the slippy steep rocks this really wasn’t the best idea, the front wheel washed out and I went for a trip OTB, landing square with my chest onto a rock, I also smashed my knee ☹, I was winded and had to sit down for a while watching as my competitors went past. I really wanted to finish the race so in pain I remounted and took a steady ride round, I crossed the finish in 8th, not a terrible result at a national but super upset about where I could have been. I have to say a massive thank you to the marshal and commissionaire who looked after me during my mid race rock sample.
So there we have it, round 1 done and not dusted due to the weather 😊
Thank you for reading, this has been a long one.
My next race is the British Cycling National Rd.2 at Margam Park nr Port Talbot on the 15th & 16th April.
As always, a massive thank you to my sponsors;
Bike Guru Derby
Full Throttle Racing
Squirt Cycling Products
Links can be found under the partner's tab.
Thanks for reading.