Monday, 18 October 2010

British Downhill Series Finals - Caersws, Wales.


BOOM, BOOM, POW! British Downhill Series Finals at Caersws!!!

We arrived late on Friday it was pitch black, that's the damned winter coming in! Obviously didn't walk the track, just set up camp and went to bed. Up early on the Saturday and went for a wander up the course and it was the first time in ages that a big jacket was needed it was 2 degrees, brrrrr. The track was pretty simillar to last year minus the trees which made the track feel so much faster and appear a lot steeper. The only thing that I wasnt a fan of was the field finish, it was a lot longer then normal not to mention flatter, which come to race day I just knew was going to be agony!





The great thing about this place is althought the track isnt the longest on the calender the uplifts are really quick where you can squeeze extra runs in if you want or just chill out a bit more. On my first practice run right from the start ramp was a small kicker then a wee drop off. The idea was to huck the lot!!! A bit daunting hitting it first time as you can't see where you're landing on the steep slope leading bang into a left hander with a small berm.


First run down and I was a right girl's blouse, completely bottled it (I blame the gentle breeze, quite!) Any 'ow I hit it the next time I hasten to add!! The track continued through some pretty drifty corners, a minefield of stumps with tree debris on either side of the track, almost post apocalyptic if you want me to be dramatic! More so you wanted to be pretty damn careful coming through this section! Not long until you dropped down a steep shoot with a really soft landing which was a tad sketchy and into a section lined with trees which was was flat out with a hip jump coming out from a tree stump which you were jumping close to make the next corner. A few jumps followed and then you made your way down onto the finishing field. Paced myself on the Saturday to keep my energy for race day. Practice day went really well the bike was riding great.

On the Sunday I put in two practice runs before the quali's. My qualifying run went pretty well, knew there wasnt a lot more I could make on the top of the track, however the bottom section was where I lost some time. I really 'felt' the end sprint and could have done with a slightly bigger chainring if I'm honest, was spinning out way too early and could have achieved more drive with a 40 tooth. Mental note made for next time.

I was pretty hyped for my race run, the track was dry, there was no wind and I was ready. Drifted a fair bit at the top of the course, over cooked some corners which I knew cost me enough seconds. Pushed harder at the bottom but the mistakes at the top cost me too much time, bugger!

Winter training has begun in earnest already, determined to get my sprinting back up to par.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Northern Downhill Series Finals - Kidland



This was the final eound of the Northern Downhill Series and it was back up to Rothbury and back to the track at Kidland. This is a typically English tight, technical and twisty track.

Can you imagine my surprise when it was actually DRY on the Saturday, I kid you not, wow! I can do further and say that the course was mega dusty in places too but that would be bragging! T
ook it steady on Saturday, just building my speed up and putting full runs together. Couldn't fault the uplifts, absolutely spot on, and although not as big a turn out as a National, this weekend was organised really well. Full compliments are going to Carl Davison for putting such a good race series together. It's really great to see a full downhill series back in the North to continue where both the NEMBA and NAMBS series of old left off, so well done Carl, hats off.

The track was mega tight in some areas, one in particular section was the "V Tree". Coming round some loose rocky corners and there was a V shaped tree you that you jumped through the middle of. Cue: plentiful clipping of people's bars and on one occasion I managed to rip my bar-end out! Hitting that flat out was pretty scary and the adrenalin was certainly pumping. After this you went around a right-hander into a big open left hander with a number of lines to choose from. I was railing the main berms rollercoaster stylee and clearing the tree roots that followed, drifitng nicely after landing around another tree before hip jumping to the right and through the finish line.

(Photo courtesy of www.photo-moto.co.uk)

Rain over Saturday/Sunday night meant all of the exposed roots, of which there were plenty, were now as greasy as hell making things more difficult.
My race run was pretty relaxed and I was really happy with practice. At the start of my run I tried to avoid a big rut that had developed on the course and you know what they say, the more you stare at it the more likely you're gonna hit it - and guess what? I did, which sent me off the side of the track! Got straight back on and thankfully managed to make my time up with no further issues. Kept it smooth and flat out, hit all my lines perfectly, pretty much nailed everything else and came across the line leading the Experts category, awesome!

Obviously I knew that the other guys were gonna be pushing harder on the second runs. however I thought I could make up a few more seconds on the track. Had a great start and everything was going good until about half way down. Going round one of the fast loose corners my front wheel washed out on a root and sent me toward a tree I went over the bars. Absolutely gutted and knew I couldn't make this time up, it was sooooooooooooooooo close damnit.

Once at the bottom I was desperate to see the race's overall results, unfortunately the computer timing screen had crashed so no-one knew the overall results, argh! After a seeming eternity everything was back up and running, Liam Little beat me at the line on the second run which put me in second place. However, I got my own back as I took the Northern Downhill Series overall Expert Category Series Winner title, my first overall title win in the Experts, rock on. The beers were on me!

Scottish Downhill Series Finals - Fort William

This is the track that my FTW's FB10 was built for, period! It's the ultimate test for any bike component with it being the UK's longest and most most brutal course, and the FB10 came into its own.

Woke up on Saturday morning to be greeted by lashing rain, it wasnt a huge surprise mind you and I was pretty much ready for it with a fresh pair of Maxxis 'Minion' tyres strapped on. Couldn't see the point of running a full bore set of mud tyres on this track, the Minions offered a plentiful amount of grip in the wet. Granted that there was one small section in the woods which was muddy in parts with some tricky roots to throw into the mix, no problem at all for the FB10, skipped and danced all the way through it. It's very unusual for me to be puncture free up at the Fort, one full weekend with no flats, hell yeah, suspension totally dialled in, felt a bit smug when seeing other riders come down air-less! That said, I still see this bike as an 'experiment' in a way, I want Frank to get the best feedback possible, as it stands, and yes I'm biased, I can't see how it can really be improved, it's bang-on. Can't help but feel that the combination of the front and rear Rock Shox suspension really compliments the frame as well. It's just awesome, it totally blew me away at Fort William. Bike set up is absolutely perfect, no faults with anything all weekend.



(Photo courtesy of the Ian Linton)

Saturday's practice went really well, squeezed in five or six runs, could have done more but didnt want to wear myself out. Come race day and I decided to put two practice runs in and kept it steady. I was absolutely belting it on the race run at the top and nailed all my lines. Let myself down on the bottom sections though as that's where the top fitness comes into play and I know I'm not at my peak this season as mentioned in previous blogs. Let it be said that I have already started rectifying this for 2011!

First run down came across the line in 7th place, pretty happy with that. Excited about second run however on the gondola going up we were being seriously buffeted by the wind and I knew it was gonna be hard going as the top of the course is completely exposed. On the course I stupidly pulled back, it was insane, came across the line in 10th place. In future I'll be going all out at the top. Still, 10th place ain't bad.


(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton)

The bike was completely unreal up there and cant wait to go play on that course again next year. Really chuffed with the brake set up as well, no arm pump all weekend of which I'm pleased about.

I've finished the Scottish Downhill Series in 11th Overall for 2010. That's OK, I know where my weaknesses are and the winter's training has already started. Gonna get a new road bike sorted soon too, whether I dabble in cyclocross over winter however remains to be seen!

Full race report of the SDA Final at Fort William can be found on Descent World:
http://www.descent-world.co.uk/2010/09/16/fort-william-sda-rd5-2010/

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Northern Downhill Series, Rnd 4 - Alwinton

Here's what Nick had to say, I'll add a footnote at the bottom:

I was excited to be back on this track because last time it was really challenging and the conditions didn't help at all. This time around there had been some alterations to the course from rider feedback, and thankfully the weather forecast was a damn sight better.

First uplift came around, tryin' to remember the best way to hit the tricky rock and the drops at the top and just couldn't get it clear in my head so put some foot work in to check it out and watch what other riders were doing. The majority were hitting the 'chicken run' but this added at least 10 seconds, it was completely out of the question. I hauled it, hitting the rocky section and the drop first time and then straight on down over a small step into an off-camber left, it was a real struggle to control the speed into it. All through Saturday was much the same, pretty damned sketchy but made it through each time, so I was happy. The NDH Series organiser, Carl, told me there were four racing in my Expert category, there was a real low turn out due to the rider reports and feedback from the last event, this course is full-bore hardcore and it scared a lot of riders. As the day progressed it was apparent that two of my category hadn't turned up and that James Scott was a late entry, I was looking forward to racing with James as he's a bloody fast rider. Unfortunately he crashed out in the morning injuring his hand and so had to pull out, damn!

Photo courtesy of Rich Easton, http://www.photo-moto.co.uk/

Come Sunday the course was pretty rutted and slippy, spike tyres were a must! I was really chuffed and sticking to my lines consistently, kept my flow, really cool. Decided to do 2 or 3 practise runs on Sunday. On my first run I hit the most difficult part of the track with aplomb although slipped into a faster line that I hadn't noticed before, bonus! Pushing wide to the right I found a really smooth and fast line into the next corner, it opened it all up which was absolutely bang on. Tried it all out on the second run and nailed it again, fast as hell, real happy.

When I went up for my first practise run I was more nervous then I would have been at any other race, it was crazy! This was because although wasn't any competition in my category, I knew I had to finish to get the result and this course is quite insane. Thought I would take it 'nice and steady' you know but once I was on the track, I was absolutely loving it! I was standing 3rd overall and only 5 seconds off, pushed a little harder and knocked a further 2 seconds off that time with the final race run.

Photo courtesy of Rich Easton, http://www.photo-moto.co.uk/


It was a really good weekend, and there's a lot of interest in the bike. Frank's made a top notch product.

Top weekend for Nick there. The Alwinton course begs the question as to why British riders won't push themsleves to do the harder courses, we need up and coming racers to follow in the footsteps of the Peaty, the Athertons, Lewis Buchanan, Ruaridh Cunningham, Danny Hart et al. These are the type of courses that we need. Could we be seeing an British National Downhill Series event at Alwinton in 2011? Time will tell.

On another note it was great to see one of the old Development Team riders competing again as a privateer, Marc Purkiss, he pulled off the third place in the Masters category - well done Marc! It's nice to know I have so many old and new riders keeping it hardcore out there!

Monday, 16 August 2010

SDA round 4 - Ae Forest, 15th August 2010

Set off from home on the Friday and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain (can you spot a trend for the racing this year yet?!) thankfully being kept nice and dry in the van with classic KISS rocking out from the stereo system. Amazingly it wasn't raining by the time we arrived and I got myself up the track for a look, no major changes to report on just little bits snipped here and there.

Practice came, blue skies above and pretty warm, the track was more or less bone dry with only a few damp patches in the tree sections, the bike was running really well. There was this one tricky line that a lot of people were struggling with; just after the step-up was a left hander that went across the grass and into a step-down. With the first couple of runs I was hitting it flat out and getting a little sideways, not getting the correct speed to clear the step down. As the day progressed the grass was thankfully getting cut up a lot more making it grippier.

Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

I came off on the lower off-camber section, slipped into a lower line which I didn't want and I was carrying a little too much speed to get back up as a result I washed out. Got straight back on, just sitting on the bike felt a bit odd, transpired I'd bent my seat big time. I channelled the 'Tom-Barker-Book-of-Fixing-Bikes' and used brute strength to straighten it out, got to the bottom of the course and then decided to put the GoPro camera on and film a run or two. (Footage to follow).

When race day came I had enough time to squeeze in two practice runs which I kept steady and clean. When it came to race run number 1 I was feeling quite good although didn't get the start I was hoping for. The beginning went staight into a rocky chute and I managed to find every one of those damn rocks! Hit the step-up that I was talking about earlier at full pelt and on landing I kept the speed up into the grassy left hander that was giving me problems on the Saturday. Was a little over confident here going sideways all the way to the step down which seriously killed my speed, I nearly didn't make it up the jump. Got to the bottom knowing I had time I could make up. I was standing 9th after run one.


Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

I went up for the 2nd run and was feeling really good, unfortunately again I didnt have the best start but everything else was pretty good. When I crossed the line I thought the run was a lot quicker than my first one, unfortunately I only knocked 3 seconds off, I felt it should have been more.

One thing I definately need to start improving is with my sprinting as there were about 100 yards across the fire road which had an incline, I know I can kick in more speed with some more training. Hamsterley Forest here I come!

British Downhill Series Round 4, Moelfre Hall, Wales - 9th August 2010

This is the Moelfre low down coming at ya!

It's Wales, it rains a lot in Wales you know, oh yes, and when we got down there on the Friday, guess what? Yes, you guessed it, it was roasting hot sunshine.... aye quite, was it hell, it was bucketing down with rain, oh joy!

Moelfre's track was pretty much kept to normal, a few new jumps at the top and a section that took you over parts of the four cross track to keep it 'fresh', it was all damn fast even in the wet. Saturday's practice went well, managed to get all my lines down fairly quick. Had to change to cut spikes after a heavy down pour which kinda caught me out on one of the first off camber grassy corners - resulting in me sliding on my ass. Managed to score my mate's GoPro camera to film some runs, dead chuffed, although completely useless with technology I'll get some videos up shortly!


Race day arrived bringing much better weather with it and the 'dry' tyres were back on the bike. The track was loads quicker, complete blast. Thought I'd go up top a little earlier with my seeding run, just to chill out which turned into a big mistake as one of the Masters Category riders had hurt himself pretty badly and the ambulance 'copter (the third of the weekend so far!) was called in. There were probably a good 100 riders waiting at the top of the hill and after about an hour or so Peaty was brought up to tell us all that the seeding runs were cancelled!! Sooooooooooooo..... probably the most random thing happened with all 100-odd riders enjoying a mini mega-avalanche down the uplift road, absolutely fantastic fun!

An official decision was made to open up a line at the top of the course where people had been crashing on a huck, personally I found it a bit annoying as this just made a straight line and took a good feature from the course. My race run went well considering lack of practise in the drying conditions. Made a big mistake when coming up to the road crossing where I slipped and clipped a pedal, however managed to sort things out before hitting the compression which would have ended in disaster! Although my run was relatively clean, the minor mistakes I made all added up which certainly cost me time.

Next up is the SDA's Round 4 at Ae Forest, hoping for dry weather and some good video footage, watch this space
.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Nick's Alwinton NDH Spill!

I managed to track down the camera guy who caught, literally as you'll see, Nick crashing arse over tit at the Alwinton round of the Northern Downhill Series. Step forward Sam Parker with his brilliant footage!! Glad you survived being smacked around by Nick Sam!


A much higher resolution video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrnykWW-QXU

:)



Thursday, 22 July 2010

Donnie's FTW FB10 Stateside

Just got some new pics from Becky of Nick's Stateside team-mate Donnie's FB10, looks totally sweet:



Awesome colour don't ya think?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

2010 National Championships - Ae Forest

Here's the low down fella:

Usually I am not very impressed with Ae Forest, mainly because it's always wet. Walking up the track I didn't think it was going to be much better, however the lads ain't half done a lot of work from the last time I was up there. Come Saturday it had been raining (quelle surprise!) however the track was actually great fun to ride. Up at the start it had a new long straight that traversed across the hill into a tight right where the track soon joined the older one and then down into the woods. A good choice of lines, all of which were full of nice and slippy off camber roots. The track opened up into a section resembling a BMX track so I felt at home there, however at the end of this section was a right hand hip jump which I had been struggling with for a while as I cant hip to the right for toffee! Damn it!





(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton - http://www.ianlinton.com/)

The course continued through a few drops and corners, across a fire road and through the main rock garden. The bike was pretty much soaking everything up, perfect. A sprint to a step-up had a boggy and rutty take off which sent you sideways, it was a great laugh yet pretty scary at the same time, you were never sure you'd land it right! If you got the step up sorted you could pedal down to the coffin jump which covers a 20ft gap, it was fairly easy to clear this and then you dropped into the last wooded section which was pretty slippy with exposed by this point. Hitting the left hander you covered the huge step down straight into some monster berms. Got straight on the gas in this section for the small uphill before dropping into the 'elevator', a huge almost vertical shoot, quite scary getting airborne at the top and this then took you head on into the finish area.

It felt bizarre, what with it being a race weekend and managing to get loads of runs in, I must have hit about nine in total but could have easily done more!! Virtually unheard of anywhere else, excellent!

Come Sunday it was a little wetter (to put it politely!) which wasn't good, there were literally little rivers running down sections of the track, cue: lots of muddy spray! M
y qualifying run went 'OK', just the one mistake where I slipped off the track. Having said that I felt pretty much on it for my race run.


(Photo courtesy of Ian Linton - http://www.ianlinton.com/)

The weather was absolutely crazy, really wet and windy, I had nothing to lose in my race run. Went from the start sprinting like hell and halfway down managed to clip a rock, I bounced sitting on my seat into the first corner where I managed to get my feet back on, numpty! After that mistake everything was cool I really nailed my lines including the bottom sections of the course. Sadly the mistake at the top cost me a good 10 seconds, I missed out on the top ten. All in it was a great weekend, the bike is riding really well, no faults with anything.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Nick's first FB10 video!

Nick managed to get a chest cam sorted out, (big 'thank you' to Gav for that) and went for a spin down the Hamsterley Forest course in County Durham, presented below:


Higher resolution version can be found here: http://www.pinkbike.com/video/148831/

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Scottish Championships - Dunkeld 11/07/2010

This past weekend saw the Scottish Champs at Dunkeld. Last year I grabbed second unfortunately due to not being a Scot I couldn't grab a podium spot, bugger! This track is renown for being a tough brute, damned rooty with some steep rocky shoots at the top. To help make it clearer for those who haven't been up there before, they don't let the young-uns ride the top section, and to make it easier it was raining!!!

Saturday practice went really well, the FTW was skipping nicely through the rocks and I found that the back-end seemed to track loads better than the Orange 224 I used to ride. This definitely helped with having the slippiest roots in the world to contend with. Had clean and tidy runs all day and tried to work on some lines but the track conditions were changing quite a lot, all in though I felt happy with my riding.
Photo courtesy of Ian Linton

Saturday night the heavens opened and on the uplift for the first practice come Sunday you could see deep puddles on track. Me and the the guys I was riding with decided to hang back and let the first uplift of about 40 riders get down to clear the puddles and make some nice ruts, let them do the work, ahem! Didn't get off to a good start mind you, got a bit carried away and did an over-the-bars on one of top rock sections, didn't hurt but still felt like a numpty!
Practice was really hard as the course was littered with bodies, seriously, there were bodies everywhere, it made it really difficult to get a clear run in.

It thankfully stop raining for the race runs which was great. Had a pretty good run apart from through the rock garden where I lost my pedals and struggled to get my feet back on as my cranks kept hitting rocks and roots. Cruised down after that and was ecstatic to see that I was in the Hot Seat when I crossed the line. By the end of the racing I was knocked down to around 7th, still happy with that considering the mistakes, and the 'company' I was in.

Coming up for the second runs I knew the track would be quicker as it had dried up loads. Rode the top section the fastest I had all weekend so was really confident, came to a section which had some off camber roots and a rock slab into a few boggy drops. Unfortunately grabbed too much brake and washed out on the roots, went down the boggy drops with my crotch in the back wheel (sooooooo glad I didn't have mud spikes on, can just about picture a castration by mud tyre!!!!!!) and as a result finished slower then my first run.

Photo courtesy of Richard Turner
Had a great weekend up there and grabbing a good number of points. Loads of people are interested in the new bike, we're all chuffed.
Full race report can be found on Descent World here: http://www.descent-world.co.uk/2010/07/12/scottish-champs-dunkeld-2/


Northern Downhill - Kidlandlee (Alwinton) 04/07/2010

Many apologies about the delay, life has been pretty much crazy recently.

Gonna pass you over to Nick here, I'll pop some photos up if I can find any at a later date :)

"Alwinton was the 3rd round of the Northern Downhill Series. It was on the opposite hill to the Kidland track which was pretty hard and steep. This hill is almost twice the size and I was already looking forward to it before even walking the course. In hindsight I'm bloody glad I walked it! I would have had a hell of a fright otherwise; right at the top there was a section with a number of lines, there were two lines over a hefty rock section with big drops. You could either do the rock drop into a really steep shoot followed by a hard right or go down the 'chicken-route' (and I use that term really loosely here!) that took you right round and still wasn't very easy. Not long after were sharp left and right corners followed by a small rock drop that lead into a steep and off camber left, crazy times!

The rest of the track was nice n' fast with loose drifty corners, really great fun, the bike came into its own here. This included a steep section down onto a 20 metre wooden bridge followed by an uphill section that really punished the legs. A final root filled corner spat you out towards the finish line.

I'm so glad it stayed dry, practise went really well. I was nailing the drops at the top and managing to scrub the speed off in time for the tricky corners. Getting faster as my confidence grew and then on top of the rock drops totally lost it. Managed to jump off the bike before falling off the big drop. The bike tumbled, bouncing higher and higher, and going further and further. At its highest it bounced about 10ft into the air and travelled about 50 metres down the hill until someone tried to catch it! Just goes to show how steep this place is!

Was quite worried that either something would be bent or broken, or that the frame would be dented. Amazingly the bike was fine, bombproof, phew!

Come race day it had rained which made the track even harder! Many riders from all categories had pulled out of the race because the track had become so difficult. I decided to stay as, regardless to the other lot, I loved the track! Some big spills followed due to the conditions however most people were coming off too.

On my first race run I stayed attached to the bike, although (and unfortunately) quite a lot of the time my feet weren't on the pedals!!! Ha! Was quite happy with taking 3rd place but knew I could go a lot quicker in the second run. I really pushed it, and pushed a bit too hard, coming off the track at the top and then further down hit a stump which threw me over the bars and I landed on a camera man (WHOOPS!). Least it was a cushioned landing!

All that done, mud splattered and washed down, I got my first Expert podium of the year and it only took two outings on the new stead! *Impressed* "

Full race report can be found on Descent World: http://www.descent-world.co.uk/2010/07/12/northern-downhill-rd-3-kidlandlee-alwinton/

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

BDS Rnd 3 Llangollen, Wales.

Here's Nick with the run down...

I was really lookin' forward to this weekend's race as last year the course was rad. really steep and technical. Walked the track on the morning before practice, think it was about 7.30am and it was just so hot.

Photo courtesy of Jon-e Beckett at Descent-World.co.uk

The track's really open and down one of the steepest hillsides I've raced on so far. The corners were by and largely really dusty and loose, as expected it changed quite a lot during the weekend. The only trees were at the very bottom and they only covered a small section of the track, the heat from the sun immense. This lower section had 3 quite large drops which you would be hitting pretty flat out, awesome, it was a really good test bed for the new bike, flawless!

Photo courtesy of Graham Curtis

Practice went really well, I only had one spill, it wasn't anything major just a front wheel wash-out in a steep dusty corner.

Overall the new bike felt absolutely awesome, the size is perfect for me, really good to throw about, the suspension is just so smooth, thank you so much to the guys at Rock Shox!


Photo courtesy of Graham Curtis

On race day I was just getting ready to go up for my qualifying run and unfortunately saw some kid hit the deck really hard off the final drops, he had to get airlifted out. It was a bit of a head-fuck and delayed the qualifying somewhat. My run wasnt anything to shout about, I took it too cautiously.

I knew that this had to be stepped up come the race run and along the (relatively) flat top straight I was nowhere near as fast as I had, or should have, been. Really tried to hammer it down the rest of the track, it felt good, probably rode the rest of the course the best I had all weekend, however lost too much time up top.

Race run aside, overall the bike feels absolutely great and I'm looking forward to getting it out for the next race, it really suits my riding, thanks so much Frank.

A full race report can be found at http://www.descent-world.co.uk/


Monday, 21 June 2010

Boom, Boom, POW!

Here we go, sitting comfortably? Here's a wee slide show of the new bikes:

The build commences:



Nearly there:


Front shot:

Side Front Shot:


Rear Side Shot:


Spooky Bandwagon Prototype Jump Bike:

The Brothers:


And finally Nick posing at Hamsterley Forest:



Feedback thus far has been excellent, it corners like its on rails. Obviously Nick hasn't had it long enough to really put it through its paces yet, we are however certain that it is sure gonna shine on the race courses.

Keep your eyes on this here blog for further updates as they come,

Lee.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Finally!

Can you hear the choirs singing 'Haaallleeeelllluuuuujjjaaaahhhhh'???!!!

Nick's been flat out out busy building up the new FB10 that was picked up from the parcel depot this morning ..... pics soon to follow, watch this space......


Monday, 14 June 2010

SDA Rnd 3 - Innerleithen

Nick:

Here's a little run down of the weekend, pics now uploaded below.

I knew before arriving that the track was not going to be the same as the iXS cup track, but I enjoy most of the tracks up at Innerleithen so was absolutely fine with that. The SDA boys chose the "Cresta" run for this weekend's racing, there are no major challenges nor much choice of line, it's just really rapid through the tight trees and great fun.

The track was mostly rock solid however it was really greasy at the top, particularly on the rooty corners. Saturday's practice went down with no real drama, just took a few runs to try get a fast line in and out of the first corner which was a slippery root monster!



Sunday came along and I managed to squeeze two practice runs in which went pretty well. I also managed to time myself on the last one putting in a 3m50s with a few hold ups catchin' riders up, I was happy with that.

When leaving to go up for my race run my pedal felt weird and looking down it was hanging off. Luckily I whipped the ones off my hardtail straight on, somehow the bearings inside exploded on my right pedal, argh!

It had been raining a fair bit between practice and the race runs, being concerned about the top section expecting the roots to be really slippy I took the start with caution. Once on the track it felt fine so pressed on harder, unfortunately I had let my guard down and washed out on a root. Scrambled back on the bike feeling a little unsettled, making a few more silly little mistakes, I came over the line in 11th with a 3m54s


I was feeling much better on my second run. It was weird though because although I felt faster, smoother and I stayed on, the clock said I was slower, bizarre!

Well moving on, the new bike should be built up and ready the next NPS at Llangollen if Parcel Force ever get it here (useless @~*%s!) bring on the new era and RIP to the old rig.

Full report can be found on Descent-World here: http://www.descent-world.co.uk/2010/06/14/sda-dh-rd3-innerleithen/

Photography courtesy of Ian Linton: http://www.ianlinton.com/

Parcel Farce!

A bit late posting this as I've been away over the weekend.

Have been watching the frame's tracking number from Frank and Becky religiously over Thursday and Friday. Thursday evening said it was at the International Hub in Coventry awaiting customs charges so I gave them a ring, HMRC that is. They were fantastic to deal with, got through straight away and had all the information regarding the charges that I needed plus some more info on the top, can't beat their customer service with that, very impressed. They said the frame was released back to 'ParcelFarce' at 8:20am that morning, however the Parcel Force website hadn't been updated, it had now gone lunchtime. I rang I think ten different numbers for Parcel Force, most just rung out, two where I was hung up on (some people can't be bothered with the Typetalk service for the deaf that enables us to make calls and just hang up). Finally got through to someone who checked their systems and said the package was still with Customs, I explained I'd rung them and that the frame box had been released back to Parcel Force that morning, she got quite arsey with this. I asked if I could pay the charges and was told I couldn't do that until the parcel was as the delivery depot, and that they would send out a letter detailing what was to be paid. I told them that this would take the delivery outside of the 24 hour service (the so-called 'express service' of theirs) window. She just wasn't bothered, I asked about compensation and she said it wouldn't be successful! Parcel Force? Efficient? My arse! Bloody jobs worth!

I gave up on that, using this and from past experience they're a horrible company to deal with at the best of times and I really wasn't in the mood to argue. I mean they add an extra 16 quid to top of the fee's already paid for 'handling', that makes my blood boil!

Anyway, I let Dickie and Nick know, Dickie rang the local depot on Saturday morning and they said the box will be 'sitting' until Monday, so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Have an race update from Nick, he crashed several times sadly and the Orange has gone to the great big bicycle cemetery in the sky!

New frame, new chapter, new era...........cominatcha!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

All The Purpley Goodness!


New photo's from Frank of Nick's frame, it's very purple, that's for sure!! You won't miss this one coming down the mountainside and sweeping past you! More sparkle than Dorothy's Ruby Slippers too! Should land in the UK early next week, will get some photo's up once it's built! We can't wait to see how it rides, bring it on!









































Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Quick Snaps!

Just some quick snaps of the tops and first batch of t'shirts.

Went with getting the Royal jerseys printed via Impsport (http://www.impsport.com/) for this season but will be looking back into getting them done custom designed again next year. I feel this is better for team identity. Hoping to expand the team up again next year too but it depends what happens with the UK economy this year as it's not looking too good at the moment.


























































Next batch of t' shirts will have the official race team logo on them :)

More news as it comes,


Lee.