AE Forest NDH TT – Sunday 15 Jan.
The first race of 2017 was upon me, not sure if I was ready for it in all honesty due to the Christmas holidays (all the booze and food) and changing jobs I had hardly been on the bikes much or trained much, but sod it I thought will just enjoy it.
6.30am – My friend drew turned up and we quickly packed the car and set off, the car temperature read a balmy 7c outside, toasty!
As we got closer to the Scottish boarder and the iconic sign the temperature literally dropped from 7c down to 0c and we even saw the white stuff a few miles later, me and drew looked at each other thinking damn it’s going to be a nippy one!!!
The event was sold out with 120 riders entered, so there was no surprise when we reached the venue to find the car park jam packed with racers.
8.30 am – Myself and drew got setup and signed on, the number 35 was handed to me and I saw this as a lucky sign as I have just turned 35. After speaking with Carl the race organiser he informed us it was the same track as last year where I managed 4th, with this in mind there was no need to overdo practice.
9am- The course started on a fire road sprint into a very tight left hairpin corner, this was actually quite tricky with no grip to help slow you down and get through the corner, but in the back of your mind you wanted to leave the braking to the last second to help carry speed for the 50m sprint ahead. This nice fast stretch of single track had a few whoops, jumps and drops then followed into the woods with a nice drop off sending you a good 10ft, onto 4 or so mini table tops and then the last straight that had a weird table that kicked the back end up hard. This year I spent more time looking at this section and decided it would be faster to go around it.
11.45am – Practice over time for food and a quick change as I was soaking wet and freezing cold, giving my bike a quick check over I found I had smashed the cage off my left pedal L this will make clipping in interesting!
My race run was at 1.20pm so had lots of time to kill, once changed we sat in the car with the heaters on full blast which was nice and toasty, so much so it was sending me off to sleep nearly.
1pm – Setting off up the hill for my first race run, I managed to time it perfectly as I only had to wait 5 minutes which saved me getting cold again.
On the line ready to go although it felt strange having to clip my left foot in first instead of my lead leg, was also worried if I unclipped on the left side I wouldn’t be able to get clipped in again! Putting this to the back of my mind the countdown began, 5, 4,3,2,1 and I was off!
Hitting the first corner well I then push hard through the sprint, the run was steady with no real mistakes other than maybe being abit to cautious. The time keeper informed me I was 1st, how-ever I knew my nemesis Brad was still to come down. After the first run I was sitting in 3rd and my good friend drew in 4th his best result to date so he was really happy!
Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.
1.50pm – A quick 40 min rest and a top up on energy then back up the hill we went, knowing I was only 1 second off the win I had nothing to lose.
2.10pm – Once again starting with the dreaded left foot 18.104.22.168.1 GO! Being over excited I hit the first corner to fast, leaving my braking too late and nearly went though the corner which lost me some precious time. With this in the back of my mind and the 1 second gap to think about I pressed on hard, I felt a lot faster on the rest of the track and kept it low while pumping as hard as I could over the jumps. As much as it killed me I didn’t style it up for the togs on my race run.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Tatton below.
Back to the time keeper and I was 1 second faster how-ever 1st and 2nd had also gone quicker, this left me one second off the win again. Considering I haven’t really rode much in the past few months I was happy and with the pedal being smashed I did ok. It felt good to be back on the podium and the Gt sanction was perfectly suited to the track, it’s so planted on the fast stuff. Drew finished in 4th so was stoked for him and his best result, well done mate!
Big thanks to Carl Davidson race organiser, the marshals, medics and spectators. Big thanks to TRG for the support along with GT, Kenda and Flare clothing.
A big shout out to Jerry Tatton for his awesome pictures and hard work! Go check out his work on roots and rain and bag yourself an awesome picture!
3.30pm- Car all packed up with muddy kit, bikes and smiles on our faces we headed home! Until next time! Keep shredding!