For my first downhill race I ended up doing southwest champs because I rode for the bike shed team and it was their first race. The track used was proper job, Gawtons newest trail. This was to make the race accessible to every rider. We got there on the saturday and set up the stand and waited for the track to open and uplift to begin.
I had a surprise when the uplift started and was a tractor pulling those big bucket trailers that hay bales are transported in. All that stopped the last person falling out was a strap. It was my first uplift non gondola style. It was pretty scary but fun. It was a steep bumpy ride with people and bikes bumping all over and it was a good idea to keep your helmet on to avoid the low branches from taking you out! My bike survived the whole weekend with my pedals in a lot of spokes and my gear cable being pulled out, glad I've got my battle bike.
On saturday we had practice runs, it was good weather but where it had rained so much at the start of the week it was pretty messy on parts but most of the track held up well. with over 125 riders it was busy but a great supportive atmosphere.
On Race day I was nervous but after a couple of practice runs was loosened up. Waiting by the start I was really nervous, there were 10 girls in the category and most had more race experience than I did and had been ridding a lot longer. Because of differences in speed we were all given plenty of time to get down before the next person started which was great for those of us that it was their first race. When I waited on the start ramp I felt pretty calm but as soon as I started pedalling my arms went limp like jelly and I was all over the place. I was so nervous and distracted by the people cheering I nearly fell off on every berm and jump. It wasn't till after the rock garden where there were less people that I started to relax. I wasn't that relaxed tho! I was finding it really hard to pedal because I managed to go through all of my gears and was pedalling with the breaks on, which I'm sure I have never done before! Soon as I went past the timing tent I was so relieved to have finished that I stopped concentrating and feel off over the bank into the fire road.
Once at the top it was a lot more tense between the riders because a lot had fallen off on their first run so the pressure was on for them to improve their times. I tried too stay calm and and just hear the positives. On my second run I knew I had to concentrate on the trail and not the crowd. I started a lot calmer and smoother. It felt slower but more enjoyable. I was 8 seconds up on my first run, so calmness defiantly paid off.
I enjoyed the whole weekend so much and met some great new girls to ride with and will defiantly do more races in the future. Unlike the cross country race I entered I felt like I belonged in the downhill race and could see so many ways to improve. The pressure of the race made me confidently jump sections I would have rolled in the past and ride harder and faster than usual.
|Rank||Bib||Name||Sponsors||Run 1||Run 2||Best run||Diff|
|1||134||Jo PAGE||Malvern cycle sport||2:20.057 (2)||2:06.165 (1)||2:06.165||-|
|2||75||Heather KAY||Carrick Riders / Falmouth Cycles||2:46.754 (8)||2:11.893 (2)||2:11.893||5.728s|
|3||128||Natasha BRADLEY||deacoy BMX Club / KB Racing||2:19.304 (1)||2:23.246 (4)||2:19.304||13.139s|
|4||139||Rachel BURRIDGE||2:24.668 (4)||2:20.774 (3)||2:20.774||14.609s|
|5||62||Katie PARSONS||Gawton Gravity Hub||2:23.877 (3)||2:31.808 (7)||2:23.877||17.712s|
|6||95||Emma BRAITHWAITE||2:30.845 (5)||2:24.416 (5)||2:24.416||18.251s|
|7||87||Laura GRIFFITHS||The Bike Shed||2:35.697 (6)||2:28.004 (6)||2:28.004||21.839s|
|8||145||Siobhan BURKE||2:35.926 (7)||2:37.788 (8)||2:35.926||29.761s|
|9||79||Maya ATKINSON||2:51.831 (9)||2:47.839 (9)||2:47.839||41.674s|
|10||36||Ella NICOLLE||Gawton Gravity Hub||4:11.363 (10)||3:08.691 (10)||3:08.691||1:02.526|