Will and Alex from Hammoon Cycles in Shaftbury decided to take on the running of Okeford Hill Bikepark (formerly known as UK Bikepark). On the opening weekend, 13th of March, Will and Alex decided to run a race to celebrate the opening of the park. The weather decided to be nice also.
It was a very enjoyable race, with a good turnout of local riders, first timers, a couple of Elite men and unfortunately, only one other woman (#girlswhoDON'Tride, you do not know how much fun you are missing!!). We even had a Pro-rider, Ben Moore, from Orange Bikes Team came to ride the track. He rode the track so so smooth and so so effortlessly. He made an edit later and I appeared 3 times (might be famous soon!!). Follow this link to see his video:
The first thing I noticed was the chilled and friendly vibe. National level races can be a serious business, where many riders may not want to share their secret lines. The track was a mixture of free-ride features and steep technical sections. This was followed by a very challenging push up (OMG, my legs were hurting!) and I needed the banter of other riders (and occasionally my dad) to help me to the top. There was even an occasional few uplifts, from Jack (who helped Will getting the track ready for the weekend), on his pick-up truck and I happened to miss them....
Warming up for my race run, including my working on my serious face.
Okeford Hill Bikepark holds some bad memories for me… I have just turned 16 and yes, I am already reminiscing. Two to three years ago, I was racing here and I was struggling in muddy conditions. It was sloppy and I had no wet weather tyres and no skills. It took me about 8 minutes (felt like 8 weeks!) to get down the track. My bike be so full of mud, the mud guard was so clogged up and the wheels stopped moving and I could not get back onto the track. It was one of the hardest and embarrassing things I had ever done. After a day of struggling in the mud and rain, I met Will and Alex, from Hammoon Cycles. They must have liked something about my determination (because my riding was terrible) and they decided to sponsor me. Now, with their help, I have come a long way. I am no longer racing with bargain basement kit and bike. Now, I am giving the guys (only some!) a run for their money!
Getting ready for the push-up, after a practice run.
It was also fantastic to see a lot of new riders. I had a great time watching and encouraging the new riders down the track. Seeing the new riders crash repeatedly and still get back up with a smile on their face was awesome (Ed and Adam)!!! Biking community is great! The atmosphere was friendly and this meant that everybody was chatting and offering tips. I have to say, it was a bit intimidating offering advice to guys that are older and bigger than me. But that is the best part of downhill, all the events have mixed abilities. In a few weeks, I will be racing at AE Forest in the BDS and riding with Pro’s and World Champions. It can be quite intimidating.
Overall, I had a great time and made some new friends. My time wasn't as quick as I'd like as Rhos, another Hammoon rider, beats me!! Next time, Rhos, I will beat you! Revenge will be sweet!
What I want, is to see more girls at the races and more women enjoying a wonderful and challenging sport.
Next week, I will attempt my first Enduro Race. I think I am going to die...........
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