At the start of the year I optimistically set out with a goal of racing all of the SDA rounds this year. Well as you will have read in an earlier post I managed to get myself entries into the first 2 races, the first being at AE forest and the second at Fort William. Well both races have come and gone and somehow I managed to organise my work/family/racing balance perfectly and actually took part.
AE Forest was First and on a course that I had vague memories having not raced there in nearly 6 years.
The course followed pretty much the usual line down the hill. Start line sprint down the hill to a rocky shoot with a right hand 90 degree turn at the bottom and onto a long stretch of off camber joy. Then down a couple of short drops followed with a few burmed turns missing out the much feared Coffin jump instead cutting a line through a wooded section of roots and mud. From here you were shot out on a man made section of trail, over a small river step down and over a large table top double jump. This lead you through a rough section of grass and single track to a wooden set of steps with a couple of line choices to get ones self through. I toiled with this section all weekend and think this is an area where I lost a lot of time. Once through it's time to stand on the pedals and get your sprint on for about 100 meters to get enough speed to bounce across the top of the infamous rock garden and then into the woods again this time snaking steeply and severely off camber in sections down to the massive Step down. Once safely over the drop it some swoopy big burms and crazy speed which leads you over the the edge of the Elevator which must be a 30 foot drop in elevation in the space of about 10 meters and across the finish line.
Saturday practice start as usual with a leisurely stroll to inspect the course, lite breakfast then time to ride. Thankfully the weather gods are shinning and the sun is out and the course is dry. I ride well all day cleaning all sections including the tricky wooded sections which I always struggle with especially having not ridden DH for over a year. I finish practice confident I can put down a respectable time come race run time.
The format for Scottish DH racing is like this: Saturday Practice, Sunday Morning Practice then 2 timed race runs on Sunday Afternoon. My race runs for this weekend are 12:33pm and 3:33pm and I'm seeded 26th in a field of nearly 40. First race run comes around I am unusually calm as the clock counts down and the beeper sends me on my way. I have nice clean run with not a single dab and I'm well chuffed, I manage 2:43.623 and am sitting in 15th after run 1. I manage some lunch and before I know it I'm back on the start line ready for my 2nd run. After the first run I set my weekends goal. I would try breaking into the 2:30's and finishing in the top 15th. The beep goes and and I'm away, I pedal my guts out for the second race run pushing my limits in the sections I know I struggle with. Unfortunatly I have a bit of a step off in the woods after clipping the bars on a tree. I keep going hoping to make the most of my run hitting all my lines hard, I break the timing beam with a 2:40.096! I'm over the moon having crashed the bike during that run. Over all I managed 16th for the weekend itching for the next round. I'd had a great weekend racing on almost dusty trails and finished mid pack and almost attained my goals. No complaints really.
Bring on the Bill.