Testing my PINK Orange bike at the BDS Academy

Posted by Sov Atkinson at

The British Downhill Series organiser, Si Paton, invited the top  young racers at the BDS to a training weekend. The weekend hoped to give us the ins and outs of aiming to be a professionals in DH racing. 

The event took place at Martin Sand's One Giant Leap Llangollen in the mid Wales, on a very very cold weekend. Since, there are no camping, mum has booked us into the Tyn Celyn Farmhouse B & B, 300 m from the track. This was a luxury for a riding weekend, warm bedss, hot shower and TV! I asked mum, why can't we do this on race weekend, but mum just gave me a 'look'. 

Anyway, the weekend started with us all setting up our turbo trainers in a very smelly cattle shed, introductions was made to some of the professionals already working with pro-riders, such as the Giant Off-road Factory Racing mechanic, Dave Garland, MTB Strength Factory, Ben Plenge and mountain bike training coach from B1ke, Ian Warby. 

Si Paton talked to us about how to make use of the social media. I already do most of these, so I am ok in that department. Although, my dad said I should do more silly things in my social media page. Si also gave us some hints and tips for interview techniques after a race. He will be interviewing us next time at the BDS and he will be looking at what we learnt from today.

Ben, from MTB Strength Factory, talked to us about warming up. I know I don't do this as I am afraid to look too 'professional' and too silly, but I will try proper warming up and down next time. We then did a little warm up on the turbo trainer and then off on a track walk with Ian from B1ke. It was a slow track walk but it was really useful, as it covers body positioning (including heels,  wrists, foot down on corners and head position) on the bike when on different terrain. He also had one very good tip, that we should ask the Marshalls where the fastest line is as they would see all the different lines that riders take. He also broke the course down into sections, which can be useful to know which section is fast and slow etc. 

Dave, from Giant Off-road Factory racing team, gave us a sheet full of items to make sure our bike are set up correctly. He had a look at my new bike and he said that my new spring (300 pounds) is too hard for me and we might need a softer one, 250 or 275 pounds. He made sure the front forks and rear shocks are set up correctly. He talked to my parents, as they will be the ones to make sure all these things happen. I never new that compression must be changed according to weather conditions. He also mentioned how important tyre pressures are, he recommended 19 psi for my front and 22 psi.

Then, it's riding time!!!  I was nervous to be riding a steep and challenging track with a new rig that I have never ridden before. I was also excited to test out the new shiny PINK Orange bike!! On the first ride, I was taking it slow to get used to the bike. I felt very stable and smooth on the bike and it handled so well in the steep and tight corners!! There were times that the new PINK bike saved me from incidents on the track!!! 

After a ride, we also had a UCI/BC commissionaire, Adrian Walls, who gave us some pointers on relevant UCI and BC rules and regulations. 


After lunch, more testing of my new PINK Orange bike!! After a few runs down the track, I can say I love my new PINK Orange bike!!! It's is stable, smooth and looks bloody awesome!!!! I love it!! 

The weekend was a success, even though it's so cold, but I get to ride my new bike and the parents are happy that the messages that they have been telling me were reiterated today by professionals, who I am going to listen to more, of course!!!

Thank you, Will and Alex from Hammoon Cycles for making the new bike possible and the matching accessories, Orange bikes, Mojo Suspension for providing all the bits for my new bike. Also, thank you to SSE Next Generation, SportsAid and the parents, of course, for the funding, which will pay for the new bike. Thanks to Yasmeen Green, from The Hills Are Alive, for some of the photos.

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