PMBA Round 7 Grizedale forest – Sun 02/10/2016.
14 mile loop, 2750ft climbing.
Bike – GT Sanction Team 2016
The last race of PMBA series was upon me! At the stunning location Grizedale Forest. Not only is this a mecca for Mountain bikers but also the general public ranging from walking, Go ape and Segway’s! Could have done with one of the segways for the climbs!
Turned up for practice on the Saturday at 3pm which felt strange being so late in the day, but we could only practice stages 4 and 5.
So myself, Kelly and Fabian set off on the climb to 4 and bumped into race promoter Kev, so he dropped on with us as he was sweeping the stages. After a good nattering we soon got to the top of 4. Stage 4 is the longest stage and drops all the way down to lake Coniston! The amount of rainfall the previous night meant with had a river flowing down the track making it quite interesting, roots, steep and mud = me going over the bars and being covered in mud, great!
Moved onto 5, wow the transition from 4 to 5 was huge, all climbing! Stage 5 started fast and only one corner caused me some issues going into it too fast and blowing through the corner same as last year, hello big holly bush! So had to remind myself not to make the same mistake in race day. Practice done and was feeling quite good.
The Saturday night we headed to the Queens in Hawks head for a nice birthday meal, meeting good friends celebrating Katie Clarks birthday.
So race day was here, and woke up to a glorious morning!
Bikes ready and kit ready, well soaking wet shoes and shorts from Saturday we set off too practice the remaining 3 stages. The surface water was still abundant as I hit stage one, at a snail’s pace. One eye squinting 10 meters down both eyes squinting after 20 meters, goggles were defiantly in order for the day. Other than this practice caused me no real problems. With practice finished we headed back to the café for free chilli and bread, thanks PMBA
My start time for the day was 1.10pm along with my team mate Kelly and the usual race buddies, hoping the tracks would have dried out abit, they hadn’t.
Stage one was a walker’s path closed for the event, never been raced on before. The stage was fast, loose and rocky, right up my street just all-out attack, oh and the goggles defiantly helped this time. Put in a steady run maybe abit too hesitant in places, finished stage one in 13th with a time of 1.52.92. The GT sanction soaked up all the rocks and everything I gave it on this stage and the bike didn’t miss a beat! Awesome bike!
Stage 2 was my favourite of the day. Wood section all the way to the bottom, rooty and muddy! With a little rock drop causing a few people some issues I sailed through it on the GT. Hit the first section nice and smooth with confidence coming back I hit the rest of the stage smiling! Some of the corners I hit loose and sketchy just holding on! Love the feeling of being on the edge and getting away with it. Finished the stage in 9th with a time of 1.29.63.
Stage 3 was the shortest track of the day but still fun and exciting. Started with a little fire road sprint then into the slop and woods with a little climb, needed to carry good speed from the sprint to get through this section. Then it was single track all the way to the bottom with a few nice berms to catch you! These felt good slamming into them nice and deep. Finished the stage 7th with a time of 1.13.10.
Stage 4 was the longest stage of the day a real test. This is where I had my crash in practice on Saturday. I knew I had to put that behind me and focus. The start was steep, crazily rooty and muddy! Managed to make it down getting all my lines with no dabs, however not the fastest pace just wanted to survive and not lose too much time with a dreaded crash. After this section it dropped onto a fire rood sprint at least it was going down and not up like normal! Jumping of the fire road a nice 6ft drop and back into good stuff. The second half of this stage was tricky, make one mistake or choose the wrong line and you lose so much time trying to get going again. This part over a dreaded uphill sprint on a fire road but then drops into a nice roocky loose decent that was fast! Very fast! Slamming into a natural left hand berm at the bottom of this felt amazing only just held on, flat out! Foot out! The stage finished at the lake, what a stunning stage and stunning view of lake Coniston. Finished in 14th with a time of 4.29.87, too careful I think.
So the last stage 5 and no crashes all day, just keep it together I said to myself. Will this be my first PMBA with no crashes! Stage 5 started fast and flowy on single track, no roots on this part of the track. Just all out speed, dropping into a steep left hander then into a right hander, Yep the left hander caught me out again and I stalled! Oh hello holly bush again and spectator! Who Screamed “ go go catch him! “as I was close to another rider gaining on him until this point, love the spectators. I hit the corner with just so much speed couldn’t control it! Put that behind me and again same mistake as I dropped onto the fire road went too fast as it was a 90 degree right hander of a little 4 ft drop, lost me a few seconds. Then the dreaded fire road spring must have been 300 meters but felt like 3 miles at the end of the day, spotted my friend Fabian and I started to gain on him, only to realise as I got further up it climbed a little more no wonder he slowed! Nope I wasn’t catching him! The last part of the stage was the walkers path through the fields leading to the café! The end was in site! Finished the stage in 26th!!!! With a time of 3.43.12. A fun stage to ride but my fitness cost me dearly on this stage and on 4.
Finished the day in 12th, was happy to not have crashed but wish I had pushed a little harder in places. For next year I have learnt that I have the pace on the technical parts just need work on my fitness and push a little harder.
Finished the PMBA series with 10th overall, very happy with that as my goal was to finish top 10, next season top 5! More winter training!
My team mate and GF Kelly Gott finished 11th, not her best result but she really struggled with the stages, how-ever well done for still getting down was a tough day! In respect to that Kelly finished an amazing 6th overall and that’s with missing 2 events! Smashed it!
A big thanks to TRG for supporting me through the series! A massive Thanks to GT for providing the GT Sanction, just eats rock gardens up all day long! Kenda tyres for the grip on them pesky roots and Flare for supplying the Killer race kit! A big thanks to Team manager Richard Molloy for all his time and dedication to the team! A big shout out to PMBA, Kev Duckworth and Mike Marsden for the best endure series in UK, the marshals, spectators, Photographer’s, my racing buddies and my GF/Team mate Kelly, wouldn’t be the same without all you guys!
Bring on 2017 season! Best get the road bike out for the winter training! I feel the pain already!
Tony Kay!!! Also known as PEDAL GROMMIT!