- Rest Wednesday
- Rest Thursday
- Ladies evening ride. A lady actually turned up who wasn't me! An hour of milling around the hills chatting was just what I needed to spin my legs out in prep for the weekend. Friday
- Rest and running about like a maniac with work and getting up north. Saturday
- Sheffield Steel City race at Grenoside
It had rained, a lot, since we visited. The track was a different beast. Pedalling the big bike was EVEN harder work. I was feeling like it was just such a bad choice of race for the weekend and kicking myself through practice (especially after crashing spectacularly on the gap which I should've known I couldn't clear in the wet) that we hadn't gone to Devon to race woodland riders on a nice flowy course. In fact, the only thing that brightened my mood was the great friends who were there...oh, and meeting the main man Steve Peat.
Mad-fan photo below!
Anyway, first run came and I just thought, pedal, pedal and bluddy pedal. So I did. I didn't worry about style, I just tried to keep the wheels moving. Flew off the drop at the end and heard I was in second. Never thought that would last, what with pro-rider Hannah Barnes in the line up....however, she didn't have much luck on her side and crashed out due to catching the rider in front. Couldn't believe I was sat in second, and by a significant margin from the girl in third.
Lunchtime we sat there and pondered changing tyres....the mudfest was rapidly drying and supertacky spikes are murder to pedal with. However, a black cloud was looming and the torrential rain we had promised would be around all day looked like it might finally turn up. So the spikes were left on.
This was not a good decision! Second run came later than expected and by then I was tired and the track drying. Still, I tried to pedal harder and hold more speed.....just a few seconds to make sure I kept a podium spot of sorts....
....couldn't believe it when I managed to hang onto second place even though my second run was slower. To put it in perspective I beat Hannah by over 3 secs and was only 3 secs or so behind the first place - even though they were both on trail bikes and the lady that won is an expert who, looking at her results on roots and rain, has won pretty much everything she's entered and is also local and no doubt had every line dialled.
I am most pleased. Sure, it wasn't a proper DH race, but it was still a race, and I still did way better than I thought I would. To add to that my race buddies also all did really well and I met some more lovely racing-ladies. So, despite my early reservations, it was definitely the right choice for the weekend.
Podium with my animal liberation top on
This is the OH on the start ramp
I still have so much to learn though! Looking back at the photos I was looking down a lot of the time which is a BAD habit I thought I had mostly got rid of. I think it because the course was so slow and I knew I was struggling to clear stuff so I was subconsciously looking down to check where I was landing! It certainly wasn't my best riding effort - I know there is more there and I could go faster, be better, smoother.....if only work wasn't so hectic and I had more time on the bike... I need to keep pedalling right to the line. I need to not make any decision about how bad I am at a course is until I have had several practice runs and found my flow. I probably need to not talk to anyone until my first run is over as I am a bit vile when I am stressed hahaha. Sunday
We went to visit some local trails built by our riding buddies. Both shattered, and neither feeling like doing anything too much, we still lost a good few hours in the woods....and hit some pretty big path-gaps. I got a screenshot of the otherhalf doing one - the run in was slippy-as and the landing a little sketchy. I was glad I hit this, but called it a day after as I knew my tiredness would likely be the end of me if I tried much else!
I can't even begin to explain how well constructed and fun the short runs were. Shows what can be achieved in even the smallest of spaces. Monday
- rest day