The 2016 British Downhill Series (BDS) kicked off with a wet, wicked and wild, race at Ae Forest, near Dumfries in Scotland. I arrived at the track late Friday after sessioning Revolution Bike Park, with my old folks. When we arrived, the weather was very, very, Scottish and it was very challenging setting up the tent and ‘my race pits/dining area/mum’s kitchen (aka our new gazebo).
It began with an early morning track walk with my dad. It was muddy and slippery, my dad fell over, and it was pretty funny. Further down, the hill also got me :’( Walking down, I was scoping lines and looking for places where there was grip.
I began to feel a bit nervous, as I was struggling to see places I could get traction, so my plan was:
- Start practice an hour after the other riders. This would allow ruts to develop and it would be more grippy.
- Stay off the brakes, whenever there was a slippery rock or roots.
- Try to be smooth and consistent.
Once I started practice, I was stoked to discover there was a lot of traction. This was pretty much what all the riders were saying, “Wow! There is a lot more grip than I thought!”. During practice day, I was riding with Louis Ross. He is a young shredder from my local bike park, Gawton Gravity Hub. It was nice to ride with a guy, they tend to have less fear than the girls and it pushed me to ride harder.
Lewis Ross and me after a very muddy run!
As the practice day went on, I had more and more fun. I felt smoother and better rider than the last time I was here. Then, I thought to myself, what is the major difference? Then it occurred to me, it was my new bright PINK bike!! My 2016, Orange 324 RS is much bigger and more capable than my 2012 Scott Voltage. The bigger wheels and improved suspension, gave me so much more grip. I am genuinely in love with my new bike.
Love the new bright pink #Orangebikes.
The BDS is using Enduro style transponders to time your runs this year. This allowed riders to know how they are doing on every run, which was nice, well done BDS! Practiced day finished with timed runs, which gave preliminary seeding for Race Day.
Sadly, towards the end of the day, one of my close riding buddies, Summayyah Green, broke her wrist. She had a gnarly crash, when her handle bar broke on the large drop. I really hope she gets well soon and is backing racing ASAP.
The weather was still very, very Scottish. The night before was very cold and I made the mistake of going to bed too early and not hydrating properly, so I woke up very dehydrated and feeling nauseous. After a quick breakfast and a 30 min warm up on my spin bike, I began with two good runs in before the seeding run. On the seeding run, I was held up by a rider who had crashed, but still managed to seed 4th. So I was pretty happy with that.
Who's excited to race in the sloppy mud?!!
The sun decided to come out a bit on race day.
Love the berm!!
The race run began very well and I was second fastest at the first split and things were looking good for me. Coming into the second section, a rider in front of me crashed and I let it distract me. I then took a wrong line choice and screwed up the second section. The result was a fourth, which was disappointing but I learned a lot.
- Hydration is more important than sleep.
- I must focus! And not to be distracted by other riders.
- My new bike totally rocks!!
Overall, despite the weather doing its best to ruin my weekend, I had a great time and loved the track. It is probably the most enjoyable track I have ridden in the wet. And we found out the best way to clean the mud off waterproof is to have your dad dragging down the grassy hill! #lifehacks.
#Lifehacks - dad dragging me down the hill to get rid off the mud.
Podium with the big cheque.
Champagne spraying with an awkward face.
I would like to give a shout out to:
- Sumayyah: get well, girl!
- Courtney: keep at it, I used to crash a lot as well!
- The Hills are Alive for the photos.
- Hammoon Cycles for all the support.
- Maybe, I should thanks the parents as well.
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