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 220.127.116.11.1 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!
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!
PMBA Enduro series, Round 1 Gisburn Forest.
Race report by Kelly Gott
If you ever fancy entering an enduro I would recommend Guisburn Forest, it has something for everyone, from small to medium and large drops, fast flowing trail centre tracks or greasy, technical off camber rooty madness!!
I went into this event feeling quietly confident, I knew most of the tracks as this was my local so I could really push myself. This may have been the reason for my big crash! I’m struggling to find the happy medium between pushing to do my best and over doing it and taking too many risks. I mean you need to take risks to do well but I’ve learnt its more about knowing your game plan, committing to that plan and choosing great lines. I am fairly new to racing and I’m still in the beginner’s mind of just go as fast as you can and hope for the best (not the best tactics as I found out).
The day started on a high meeting up with friends at 8.30am with the sun shining and every one in good spirit for the day. Obviously there were a few mechanicals, my boyfriend and team mate Tony Kay managed to somehow loose the pads from his back brakes, and another fellow rider Drew got two punctures before we even finished practice.
Practice was over and with all our bike problems sorted it was time to head back for a much needed rest and refuel ready for the race. By this point we had already ridden 21k and the thought of doing it all over again but at race pace was a bit daunting.
1.55pm race time!! Now to make that all important decision, clips or flats?!?!?! I have a never ending battle deciding this. Most sections I found better being clipped in, but I kept having to dab in the woods and once I had done that I couldn’t get clipped back in again. As this wasted a lot of time I decided to play it safe and go back to flats.
Stage 1 and the rooty madness begins, dropping into the woods was fast and you could get some good speed if you took the right lines. The track was tight and very rooty, now I’m not the best when it comes to roots, this is where practice helps as I knew which parts to aim for and when to be light on my bike to avoid hitting the deck. With this in mind there were still some parts that I couldn’t ride as the mud was so thick and deep. My plan was to jump off before hand and run as fast as I could with my bike. Now I hadn’t practice this, but seemed perfect in my head. Reality kicked in and it became one of those nightmares where you’re running but not getting anywhere. To make matters worse when I jumped off my bike to run the mud was so deep and thick it pull my shoe off (AHHHHHHHH). I then had to stop drop my bike, run back for my shoe and try and get it back on my foot before the next rider caught me. Eventually I got going again and hit a fun part where you could get some good speed before turning left and dropping into a cheeky bomb hole just before the finish.
After catching our breath my group then headed up to stage two, this was quite a frustrating loop as you had to ride back up to stage 1 again and then some. There were long ques for both stage 1 and 2, although some people found these frustrating I quite appreciated the break.
Stage 2 I can only describe as a massive obstacle course! It was fast with tight corners, big rocks, trees, and tree stumps galore to try and weave yourself round. Part way through was a fun rocky decent that put a smile back on your face, this came out onto a fire road sprint before heading back into the woods. The second woods section was just as fast and flowy as the first, with a bit of an up at the end which caught quite a few people out. Regrouping with my fellow riders we had a short break before tackling the awful long climb up to Stage 3.
Quite a few energy cubes later and we were at Stage 3, the SLAB also known as big foot!! This was by far my favourite stage as it was short and fast. At the top you could either go straight down big foot or take the chicken run to the side, going off big foot gave you loads of speed onto the trail centre section so was by far the best choice to make. The corners were a test of nerves, who can go the fastest without touching the brakes. I have to say I struggled not to tap the brakes a little, the corners were so loose and there was not much if any berm to catch you. Most people did fly down this section though, and everyone had massive grins at the end.
Now onto stage 4, which was only a hop skip and a jump from the bottom of stage 3, quite a blessing after the last slog. This section was hot on the peddles but by far my strongest stage, I knew I could do really well on it.
Setting off I was full of confidence and had a clear game plan in my head, regrettably this game plan like in stage 1 was unpractised. There’s a drop at the start that turns into some nasty braking bumps, but soon opens out onto the legendary berms of hully gully. It was all going great until I hit the small section of switch backs in the middle of the stage. These had not been a problem in practice, but having listened to my fellow riders it seemed clear that straight lining through the middle of them was the fastest option.
I did attempt this in a much slower practice run to see if it was possible but for some reason at high speed I doubted myself. This doubt then caused me to make a last minute decision and revert back to hitting the corners as normal, which at race speed I found impossible. I soon found myself in a heap on the floor with my bike… OUCH!! I immediately untangled myself and just jump back on my bike to set off again. Sill quite baffled by my crash I hadn’t actually paid attention to where the track was going next, it was a steep drop which veered to the left… I think you can guess where this is going. Yep, I chucked myself off in the wrong direction and no sooner had I been back on the bike I found myself plummeting down the side of the gully and landing head first into the stream below.
This was now game over for me, bye bye podium, my goal from this point was getting back to the track and making it to the bottom. I waved to my friend Katie Clarke as she flew passed and just laughed at myself. Eventually I got back on my bike and trundled down to the end with my twisted handle bars.
As for the rest of the riders this part of the course was brilliant, it really opens out with a few drops and two streams to blast through before hitting the finish. My amazing friends then fix me up and with a massive pat on the back I was ready to take on stage 5.
This final stage was a downhill line, I had been a little worried about this stage in practice as the drops were gnarly. Putting a brave face on I tried to shake off my crash and focus on hitting the drops well and getting to the finish line.
Starting in the woods at the top of the DH line were some off camber rocky descents, a few sharp corners later and I’m flying down the drops getting some great air. You then went over a fun table jump, which sent you to a nasty rooty corner. I had crashed on this corner several times in practice, remembering what team rider Tony had told me I stayed light and tried to hit them with as much speed as possible, I managed to nail it (mini fist pump). I was now on the home straight, dropping back into the woods and over a few little drops that came out onto another very short road sprint. Once over the road its back into the woods and into another very rooty section with plenty of line choices to choose from. The last part came out onto a really off camber rooty banking, I tried to keep on the high line so not to end up in the mud bath at the bottom. I kept high as long as I could but just a twitch of the brakes and off I was again. No worries though as I was only racing myself now, I jumped up and peddled as hard as I could to that glorious finishing line!!!
Although I didn’t do well results wise coming 12th out of 18 I had a blast competing against some very fast ladies. Well done to team rider Tony Kay coming in 16th out of 120!!! A massive thanks to my Team TRG and sponsors GT and Flare clothing for the support, and to Mike Marsden and Kev Duckworth for hosting the event. Will be going into my next race with a better mind set and a change of strategy, fingers crossed I will be much closer to the podium at the next race.
I’ve raced DH for the last few years and although I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve found myself wanting to focus more on technique than speed.
So… I bought myself an Enduro bike and thought I’d give a different race format a go.
The Northern Downhill Enduro at Hamsterley was the first race of the 2016 season. I have to admit I’m sold by this venue, great for DH and pretty awesome for Shredding on the smaller travel bikes! It’s perfect for enduro and a personal favourite of mine.
The tracks were a mix of DH and trail, having ridden them a lot I thought I could do well but I was hindered by a virus which took its toll physically. For those of you that think enduro is not knarly enough your mistaken, travelling at speed over roots and rocks still requires big balls of steel and plenty of opportunity for showboating and to massage our egos! (You know who you are!) I opted for a tactical approach and chose to ride the most technical and peddley track first – 4x into old nps.
Started off with a peddley straight over rocks and roots down into couple of bus stops options, despite taking the high line instead of the low and catching another rider up, I managed a respectful second place overall.
But it’s hard to know where you win and loose. That’s was makes it a little more exciting. I learnt how important it is to pick lines and peddle to carry speed. Section 13 was ridiculously exhausting…with a up hill sprint in the middle…then into the hardest root section, which killed me. I had to stay loose and on the bike despite having dead legs (you know how that feels).
I’ve never been so physically challenged… I lost time. Final section was transmission into nitrous… Well what can I say… Nothing left in the tank! Despite feeling ill, I rode with friends and placed 4th. Whoop ! I’m definitely racing the series
Tony kay race report.
Entered this race last minute on the friday as weekend weather looked good and race organiser Mike Marsden was kind enough to get me a spot.
So turned up sunday morning 8am carpark already full with racers. Found myself a parking spot and started to set up, smiling as i pulled the kona process 153 dl out of my car. Had the bike 4 weeks and still brings a big smile to my sexy face every time i see her as she is so dialed and smooth to ride.
Once set up bumped into 2 friends from masters and decided to do the loop together in practice.
Stage one was quite easy smooth single track into berms that lasted 40 secs onto a fireroad, and yes it was up hill…… for-ever! Then it lead onto hully gully a fast fun track, massive berms and quite flowy no drama.
Stage 2 was the newly done up dh track starting with the leap of faith ( a double ) then over a fire road onto the dh track with lots of drop offs then into the woods. The woods was super nice and loads of grip thanks the kenda tyre up front digging in deep.
Stage 3 started super fast over loose rocks into a tight left hand with no berm into pure dirty wet peaty mud! Had to really remember to get the gear right for this corner. Then it carried on for around 2 mins of pure bog and roots in the woods super fun and techy. Once clear of this it opened up onto a fast single track had to get the cranks in!
With no practice on the sat i knew the other guys would have a advantage over me. Once racing started i didnt go crazy tried to keep it smooth and steady. Kinda paid off as got 14th out of 109. Quite happy but i know deep down could of broke top 10. How-ever didnt want to push to hard and risk a crash as 3 nationals to hit in may and need to be 100% fit for them.
Every enduro race im getting better and better results, the kona process has defo helped me reach these results.
Massive thanks to all our sponsors means alot.
well now, it wasn’t just Downhill last weekend, Team rider Tony Kay was riding up hills as well as down at AE forest! here is his report:
Tony Kay race report – Round 1 Uk Gravity enduro Ae. Friday 11 – Sunday 13th April.
Waking up friday morning feeling good and ready for the weekend sun shinning for once was super excited. Got all my gear together ready for steve owen to pick me up ready for the long journey to AE.
We made good time and rolled onto the campsite for around 4.30 with already lots of people set up in tents and the lucky one’s in motor homes oh how the rich live!!! Defo need that lotto win.
Once all set up and ready to roll it was time to head out with the kona process 153dl and see what she can really do as had only rode her twice on easy local tracks. On the way up to stage one and five it was a transition of 1hour all climbing, but for once didnt mind the climbing as Miss process pedalled really well was impressed.
Once at the top had a few minutes to relaxed and take in the great views felt good to be out and ennoying the views scotland had to offer. Rest over blasted down stage one, was quite easy fast and smooth through woods, dropped over a fire road onto a fast man made section. This was fast, flowly, tables and jumps was amazing then dropped into the woods for the last section and was damn steep and loose was mega! Really good stage as fast loose and open.
This dropped us into the arena so had the nice long transition to do again. Once back at the top hit stage 5. This was a pure dh track quite techy in places and super fast. At the bottom flowed into two big berms where i had my first crash. Wasnt ready for the speed the process can carry and washed out on 2nd berm getting some nice gravel rash down one arm and elbow.
Back to the tents for a nice bbq and relax ready for sat practice and seeding.
Woke up sat feeling quite good and excited. Breakfast all done and off we went again with young Elliott Heap tagging along with me and Steve Owen. Spirits was high good banter on the way up. Hit stage one alot faster than on friday as knew what was coming up. Moved onto stage 2 wich was only a 15 min transition. Stage sucked a bit very slow corners and really had to get the pedals in. Once down we set off for stage 3 wich was miles away!!! 1 hour 10 min transtion.
Hit stage 3 was wide open at the top man made with lots of steep tables but the strong winds was catching alot of people out. We just sailed over them like whipping pro’s , style for the win. Then it dropped into some nice flowy single track. Once back in the arena got ready for seeding wich was stage 5.
My seeding run wasnt great made 4 mistakes putting me in 49 out of 109, played it quite safe and wanted to get down safe but know i had alot more in the tank but was happy.
Saturday night was nice and relaxed a few beers and camp fire with a few people.
Woke up sunday morning sun blazing!!! Every one in good spirits and ready for a great day of racing!
Race day went ok for me no real drama played it safe and wanted to finish in top 50% as last year had so many bike problems i didnt clear top 90 %!! But the Kona process didnt let me down once over the weekend amazing bike.
Ended up finishing 49 out of 109 so very happy with that as was alot of talented riders in masters. Stage 5 pushed abit harder and was 25th out of 109 for that stage. Next race want to finish top 40% get fitter and push harder!
Ride more! Race more! Have fun!
Big thanks to sponsors.
And every one that raced!
It’s not all downhilling…. well it is most of the time but this weekend Tony Kay decided to bike up the hills before racing down them, here’s this race report:
Omg gravity enduro round 5 done!!! Hell of a weekend but loved it !
Seeding started on Saturday with me getting a front flat about 30 seconds into the track and i decided to still ride it down on the rim with every one cheering me on ha finished with a 2.52 and still wasn’t last with a flat should of got a 2.05-ish.
So Sunday stage one which is also the seeding run and stage 6 I set off. Being seeded near the back I had slow riders in front of me but the guys in front were nice enough to let me past if I did catch them. So setting off on stage one I caught my 20 second rider in front of me quite quick with-in 40 seconds or so, only 10 seconds later of passing him another front flat tyre I couldn’t believe it as I was flying trying to make up for the seeding time. So decided to push down this time to avoid smashing my rim. Got to the bottom in last place ha and quickly changed my tube which was a pain with a crappy small pump. By the time I had made it to stage 2 all the masters had gone and I received a 3 min time penalty Did stage 2 with no real problems apart from being tired as hell from rushing to get the stage 2. Stages 3,4,5 went really well with me catching my 20 seconds guys on every stage and on stage 5 made 40 seconds as caught the next guy as well
Ok onto the last stage the dreaded seeding stage, stage 1!!! I set off smashing it as fury took over me, over took my 20 seconds guy again and as i approached the last 500 meters chain decided to jump off in front of all the crowd ! Everyone was shouting run, run, run to the finish but with there being a smallish double and people taking pics I thought….. Nope no running I’ll get this chain back on and throw some nice whippage over the double for the crowd !! Boom they loved it as went big
So if it was for no mechanicals would of been in the top 20 with no dropper post and bike that weighs a tank! bring on next season when I have a enduro bike and fitter but all in all a great weekend and great lads and sick tracks.