The World Championships always seems to come around pretty quickly each year, and each year I get excited as it the one day where you get chance to get your hands on that jersey for the next 12 months ! Sadly something I have never managed to do after taking part in 13 World Championships ( 2 as a Junior and 11 Senior) All I have is a collection of 3 silver medals and a few 4ths to show for my efforts ! I made this year
Since the start of the season my race schedule has meant that I have missed all the National races. so when I had a weekend free in August I decided to go to round 4 of the British Downhill Series at Moelfre. The last time I raced at Moelfre was at the 2006 National Champs on one of the hottest weekends I can remember, so I was hoping for a similar weekend given that it
After spending 3 weeks in Chatel riding in some great sunny weather on dry dusty trails I was starting to think that maybe Champery could be dry this year. For the first half of Thursday
The race schedule this year had a pretty nice break from World Cups in July which gave me just enough time to slot in a trip to the Mega ! I have never actually done the mega before as 2 years ago I went and did not end up racing as a big thunderstorm came in at the start and I ended up stuck in a village with no lifts working, very wet and cold I decided to abandon it ! So this time I was determined I would make the start line. There was also one of the biggest women
Leogang is a new venue for the World Cup series, but one which I have been to many times with my previous sponsor, as it is a Kona Bike Park. It
Fort William world cup is always a big favourite for me on the world cup calendar, not only because it is in the UK, but also because I enjoy riding the course and have had a lot of success there in the past. The one thing that is never guaranteed at Fort William is the weather. Over the last 8 years we have had all sorts of conditions, and this was looking like it was going to be a good one as the it had been dry for a good few weeks leading up to the event. It was also great to see how much the organisers had invested into revamping the downhill track. It had loads of new sections and I know how hard it is to make any changes on this track, as most of the material has to be lifted in by helicopter ! It was great for the riders to have some new sections to learn and work out the best lines. This was my 8th time racing at Fort William and every year I am amazed that so many people make the drive up to watch and support the event. It makes me so proud that we have the most supportive and loyal fans out of the entire world as this is always the biggest race and as a British rider the most amazing atmosphere to ride in. Thanks to everyone who made the trip up.
It was a pretty short drive from Plattekill down to Vernon, but the temperature certainly rose a little on the drive ! We got out the car to a temperature of over 90 degrees farenheit and it was humid with it. It was tough just walking the DH track, so I was not looking forwarding to riding in those conditions ! Fortunately the following day was a little cooler and the track was dry and dusty. Diabalo park is a pretty fun little mountain with mini whistler style trails all over the mountain. It had a great feel to the place and there were loads of people who just seem to come out from New York for the weekend to ride and hang out.
The US open track has always looked great on the videos I have seen, some pretty gnarly rock sections and some wide open fast turns at the bottom. It was much shorter than I had expected and the top technical section was over so fast, any mistakes and you would lose loads of time as there was nowhere to make it back up.
Track conditions changed quite a bit over the few days as we had a big thunderstorm one night with quite a bit of rain. That made the rock sections pretty tricky for the next day of practice. However by race day the track was dry again and it was perfect conditions for racing. I knew that the times would be close on this track as it was so short and there were few places where you could really make up loads of time. I attacked pretty hard in the top section, but after crashing heavily in the morning of the race I rode the main rock garden a little more tentatively than I would have liked,but I got through it fine. I then ran wide exiting the woods and slid out in the loose gravel on the fireroad. I thought I had a rear flat as the bike just felt loose on the fireroad. I then rode the next section of the track quite tentatively until I realised that i must just be imagining it ! Luckily I didn
I had a day at home to try and wash the mud out of my race kit and then it was a repack and back to Birmingham airport for my next trip out to the US for the next round of Pro Gravity Tour. This time it was on the east coast only a few hours north of New York. You really would not believe that we were only a few hours away from one of the biggest cities in the world as it was one of the quietest little mountain resorts I have ever been to. We rented a house about 8 miles away and we were well and truly in a house in the woods, no one or no other houses in sight it was great !! I saw a beaver in the stream by the road on my first ride out to the track, a really beautiful unspoilt place and the people were so welcoming it was amazing.
Plattekill bike park has 2 lifts and miles and miles of bike trails. We only got to ride on the race track, but that was certainly really fun. It was very narrow, rooty and rocky with a few technical sections with rock drops. It was a really fun track and the faster you went the more dangerous it felt, with the trees getting closer and closer to you !!
It was dry and sunny nearly the entire time which was such a welcome change from last week. We did have some rain during the night before the race, which made the first few practice runs a bit slippery, but it dried up perfectly for the race.
As I was packing my bags for the first world cup of the year I decided to check the weather forecast, just to decide what to pack….I did not want to see what I saw…rain everyday !! As we all know most weather forecasts are not the most accurate, but this one sadly was. It rained pretty much the entire time we were in Maribor and the track just got rough and rutted with all the rain, turning into a really sketchy track to race !