Only 4 weeks late and as they say it's better to be late than never!!!
After finishing work on the Friday afternoon I loaded up the van with spares, camping kit, dry tyres, wet tyres and even inbetween tyres, after riding the course the previous weekend down the very steep, very rocky and very muddy Glencoe Ski Resort we had no idea what state the track would be in. We arrived in the early evening to discover blue skies with patchy cloud and not a midge to be seen. A very welcome surprise and hopefully a good start to our champs bid for glory.
With Grimbergen in hand Dougie and I went for an evening track inspection on foot to find the course in much better condition from the weekend before and a lot dryer, as well as a few extra lines opening up due to alot of punters riding the course during the week.
We woke to cloudy skies and what looked like rain on the horizon, we started out on our first run on dry tyres and the track was riding really nicely, both Dougie and I hitting all of our lines and feeling good for Sunday but as the day went on the rain held off but with 300 downhill bikes running the course it quickly degraded and became one of the most challenging and technical trails I have ever ridden. Even though it didn't rain the track seem to get wetter and more slippery as the the day went on. We made several tyre changes as the day went on but ended up staying with dry tyres as the sharp points of our Maxxis Wet Screams didn't really bond the with the amount of rocks on the course, giving some very scary moments especially on what seemed to be near vertical sections of the track. By about 4pm we had done 6 or so practice runs. Dougie called it a day and I broke the golden rule of downhilling by going for one last run!!! What started out as possibly my best run of the day ended in disaster about 100 meters from the finishing line. Having got through all of the steep and technical terrain that the track had to offer, I dropped into the last steepish section before the finish. I hit my line but was leaning far too forward on the bars thus resulting in me flying over said bars smashing my helmet on some rocks and tweaking my neck. This was to be the story for me for the rest of the weekend.
Race day. 1st race run.
Dougie goes away first for the VCM team and has good solid run with a time of around 3m.26seconds putting him in the hot seat for about five minutes. Then it's my turn. I get away from the start feeling pretty good, hit all my lines on the fast top section then onto the steep stuff, no problem here either! Just as the track starts to flatten out I find myself over the bars again rolling about on the deck wondering what went wrong. Back on the bike and pedal my guts out to the finish with a time on the wrong side of 4 mins.
Race run 2
Dougie gets away faster again having another fast solid run and quicker than his first run by about 2 seconds. Thats him in the hot seat again, great advertising for the team. The jerseys certainly got plenty of comment over the weekend. A lot of people asking where we got them from as they had seen one on the wall in Bikelove.
As with my first run I started out well once again, got through all of the hard stuff just to end up over the bars on one of the switchbacks, very disappointing, ah well that's racing I guess.
Dougie ended up 11th overall in Masters and I was 19th in the same category.
Well done to Dougie for a great ride and a very credible 11th on a very techy track, so techy in fact that nearly 300 riders signed on the Saturday to race and almost 100 of those riders had gone home before there first race run on Sunday.