So a few months into the year now and things are going very well..
I started the year off by getting a few good road rides in and gym sessions in to build up my fitness to get me somewhere near where I used to be. February I was able to join a far better gym, N’mac. The facilities there are a lot better than the usual sports Center gym and being 24H means it fits in a lot better with my job. The other great thing with N’mac is I had a gym buddie, Ben my mate from work, this helped me push harder and stay motivated during sessions even though he isn’t a biker himself.
After a couple of months of training it was soon time for racing, for this I headed out to Portugal for the second round of the Portugal cup in Lousa. This was super exciting as it was the first time between the tapes in two and a half years, with it being a UCI CAT1 race it was a jump in the deep end but that’s the best way sometimes.
I headed over there with my mate Richard and the Caersws DH team, Rich and I stayed in a hostel and the others stayed with Wheelers MTB Holidays. On the Friday we did a half days riding on some mellow tracks, a great one was mini Whistler, awesome berms and jumps everywhere, great fun following Bret down. Late afternoon came and we had some lunch and set off for a track walk for the race. The track they used is called World Cup and I can see why, it’s long and technical to say the least.
We were a bit unfortunate with the weather as it rained for the weekend. After a good Saturdays practice I was feeling confident. Once race runs came around it was raining like mad! I set off on a flying run, coming into the most technical bit of the track I took a belly slide and lost a fair bit of time but after seeing I finished 39th in the Ellie class I’m very happy with this for the first race back.
Next was Round 1 of the British Downhill Series up at Nant G in North Wales, the weekend after portugal. I headed up there with my mates Richard, who was racing, and Henk, who came along to support us. We all stayed in a bunk house 11miles away from the track which was ideal for chilling and relaxing in the evening after traveling and saturdays practice. Saturdays practice was tough with the bottom pedal being a bog fest but the rest of the track was wild fun! Seeeding came round Sunday and I had a big wobble through the rocks and lost a lot of time. Race runs came and I put a good effort in and finished 11th which is my best BDS finish to date and turns out I was 4th fastest on the bottom pedal which filles me with confidence about my fitness.
The following weekend again was the first round of the Pearce at Kinsham, going into this one I knew it was going to be tough as racing is super tight on the fast, short Pearce tracks. I headed to the practice day on my own for this one, practice was running good getting nearly 3 runs a hour in with the super fast Pearce uplifts, but unfortunately about mid day I blew my rear shock! Luckily Sprung Suspension was on hand to kindly lend me a shock to keep me racing. Sunday came and i heeded to the race with my Dad in his big van like we used to back in the day. This was great and was a good way for me to stay relaxed before my runs, first run I burped my tyre on the top can rents so I had to take it steady for the rest of the run! Second run came round and I pushed hard but with times being so tight I ended up about mid pack 34th which wasn’t where I wanted to be but I was only 10 seconds off the win so I’m confident I have the speed just in need to push a bit harder on the shorter tracks.
After three weeks of racing it was a good start going into a month of training before the next race up at Fort William.
Big thanks to everyone who has helped me so far this year!