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:

video

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/