Thursday, 6 March 2014

Winter training and traveling

Just an update as to what I have been up to over the winter and the last few weeks. I have had a great winters training in all accounts. I have changed my training up this year and focused more lots of time on the downhill bike which has been going well. When it comes to my fitness I have also been putting more time in to building strength and power in the gym. Things have gone really well and I’m feeling fit and strong. My hip injury is completely out the way as well and I’m not feeing any pain of discomfit at all. 

Im currently out in Portugal at the moment. Ive come out here to get some really great time on my downhill bike to get a good bike setup for the year. I will also be doing some racing as well starting of with a Portuguese national this weekend in Ponte De Lima in northern Portugal. I came out a few days early to get used the faster rougher European tracks. I had a great couple of days the the bike park here are I’m looking forward to the race. 

Thanks to, Quench Cycles, Extreme, Mondraker, Schwalbe, One Industries, 661, OGIO, E-13, Kinesio, Plush Suspension

Thursday, 12 September 2013

First race back! - Eastridge Gravity Enduro

Its been a long road to recovery with my injury this year and with it being over the racing season forcing me to miss pretty much a full season of DH racing. I decided to race the Enduro at Eastridge mainly as a gage of fitness agents other riders and also because a lot of the stages where old downhill tracks and it would be great to see how I felt riding agents the clock again.

As this was the first Enduro I had done it was a new format for me. Basically you get the Saturday to ride the full course and practice all the stages ready for Sunday. The hard things is that you only really get time to do one run on each stage because by the time you have road all the stages and road between each one it a good three hours of riding you your pretty tired by the end of the day. I tried to take it as easy as possible on the Saturday and save as much energy as possible for the Sundays racing. I did stop and look at a few of the more technical and tricky sections so I new exactly where I was going there.

For the seeing run on Saturday afternoon I found my self very nervous as the start. I was surprised at this because it wasn’t a downhill race but I know when you hear those beeps my mind just goes in to the same mode ready to give it everything. I had a clean seeding run and finished in 14th.  This was great start to the weekend but I knew I would have my work cut out as this was a very downhill orientated stage and the where more fitness based ones to come.

Come Sundays and my body was feeling surprisingly good. I set of for stage one feeling confident and nervous as to what was to come. I found that I really settled in to the grove of each race stage and was really enjoying myself. I soon found myself at the last stage excited to get down to the finish as this was my favorite stage. I had another clean run and managed to knock six seconds of my previous time from seeding and giving me the 3rd fastest time of the final stage. This was a great feeling as has given me confidence in my ability to push and makeup time when it really matters and shows I’m moving in the right direction. I finished 13th overall on the day. I am going get back on the Mondraker Summum downhill bike this week witch is really exciting as I have been longing to swing my leg over this beauty for a wile now.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Injury life

It’s been four weeks now since my crash and rough ones too! The first week was definitely the hardest, with all the pain I was going through and being in  hospital  were my biggest challenges. I found myself feeling trapped by the walls of the ward and that there was no escape. Not to mention the “food” that there serve being not quite to my acquired taste really doesn’t make you feel very at home.

The synopsis of my injury was that I had dislocated my hip. A very nasty injury to do and also pretty much unheard of in young people. I do feel very lucky that I didn’t sustain any fractures at all. I was told that if my upper body had been in a more upright position on impact it would have been a different story. The likelihood  of enduring some serious trauma to my pelvis would have been high. That would have resulted in a much longer recovery time and lots of possible long-term consequences.

After a long eight days I was able to go home. I decided that It would be best to go back to my family home in East Sussex as I would be off the bike for a while. It would be the best place to start my recovery as I would still be needing some help in the first few weeks e.g. putting on my right sock ! The other reason to go there was that we had tracked down a great hip specialist at the local hospital so I was keen to be seen by him as that would be my best chance of a speedy and successful recovery.

I was lucky enough to be able to start physio there only a few days (thank you NHS) after leaving the hospital. I was very keen as a lot of the pains I have been having over these last few weeks are more in my muscles around the joint than the joint itself. This was due to the fact they have been totally over- stretched in all the wrong directions. Along with this, I have also been having some hydrotherapy as well. It’s all based in a waist high swimming pool and the idea is that because you are half submerged, this takes your weight and enables you to do different exercises to increase joint movement and muscle strength. Unfortunately apart from when I’m in the pool I have to use crutches to give the hip joint time to heal.  I have my next appointment at the end of the week so I am really, really hoping that I will be able to get off the crutches and hopefully able to start doing more work to get my hip strong again.  Back on the bike would be fantastic. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 19 April 2013

2013 British DH series round 1 – Combe Sydenham – Race report.

Photo by Barney Samuel

Just a day after arriving home from a weeks training trip in sunny Malaga I was packing up and getting ready for the three hour drive south to Combe Sydenham in Somerset for the first round of the 2013 British DH series.

Photo by Barney Samuel

The track was similar to last year and was in good condition on Friday; dry, grippy and lots of pedaling! Rain was forecasted for the weekend so we knew it wouldn’t last long, with Schwalbe Dirty Dan’s most likely being the tyre of choice come race day. I prepped the tear offs and mud guards that evening ready to battle the rain the next day!

Photo by Dirt Mag

As expected Saturday was extremely wet and the track got really torn up, making some sections really hard to even keep moving through, let allow try and get up to race pace.

Photo by Joe Hayhow

Sunday was race day and the weather was slightly better with a few sunny spells. Due to the slow uplifts I only got one practice run in before seeding, which wasn’t ideal. We had some high winds as well that meant that the track was drying fast and would make it very gloopy and even more physical come race run. A solid run in my seeing put me 17th.

Photo by Aspect Media

A few hours later and fueled up with Performax Sport sachet, I was back on the uplift to battle out another run on the mess of a track! Hoping to shave off a few more seconds and get near the top ten as that was my goal for the weekend. My run did not go quite as I planned! I knew that I needed to make it down clean and not to stall through the slower woods sections. I managed to take 3 seconds off my seeding time but had to many mistakes in my run for a good time and finished 22nd in the finals. I’m disappointed with how this first race went but its made me hungry to train ever harder as I know how much better the up coming tracks will suit me so cant wait for the season to get into full swing! 
Big thanks to Diego from Schwalbe UK for the pit and support all weekend. And Performax Sport, Mondraker Bikes, Quench Cycles, Crankbrothers, Evolution Tools, One Industries, Schwalbe tyres, Drift, Kore, 100%, Formula, MRP, Clif Bar, OGIO E13, Lizard Skin, The Bike Shuttle. 661, Fox, Kinesio.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

World Cup round 7 - Hafjell , Norway

I say this every year but no sooner has the season started its already come to an end. It felt like only a month ago I was setting foot on to a plane heading for South Africa excited to race with a new team behind me, a new bike and good winter’s training under my belt. Since then 7 World Cup rounds and a handful of UK nations and other events  and now only one race left. The BDS final at Llangollen, Wales this weekend. So it is not all done yet!

I have just got back from the airport from a great trip to the Hafjell bike park in Norway. This is my first trip to Norway and what a beautiful place it is. It’s a sparsely populated country which makes for fantastic landscapes of mountains, lakes and rivers everywhere you turn.

This was a new track to me and most people. It had been used for the European championships a few years ago. My first impressions after walking the track were that it looked awesome and was going to be such a fun track to ride. It had a great mix of sections and had pretty much every sort of section that you could have on a downhill track on it. It was a awesome track to practise with all the jumps and high speed sections not to mention the 70 KPH field section in the middle.

For my qualifying run I went it with the approach of a clean fast run was what I needed to do. I felt like I made a few mistakes in my run and didn’t carry speed as well as I would have liked to through some sections. Despite that, I qualified in 50th position, enough for the final. I walked the track and found a few great lines and was excited for the finals. My race run was clean but I didn’t feel like I attached enough. I ended up 53rd on the day. This result along with a very consistent year put me 56th overall in the series which I’m really happy with as one of my big goals was to be constant and finished in the top 80 ready for next year.

So only one more race left and that’s it for the 2012 season. Now, I’m heading off for Llangollen and the final round of the BDS series.

Here is a helmet cam from one of the other track in the bike park that we road after the race.

I have attached a few photos from the race as well.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Fort William World Cup 2012

Last weekend was round three of the 2012 World Cup series at Fort William in Scotland. This is my third visit to the venue for World Cup competition and I was excited and nervous. I really like Fort William as a venue and a track. It gets the biggest crowds of any World Cup races and had over 30000 visitor tickets sold this year.

I really enjoyed practise on the track. I was dry for Friday and Saturday and the track was running supper fast and rough. I had a great qualifying run and came down with a 4.49.084. This put me in to 49th place. I was so happy to have such a good result in qualifying and was excited to be riding in Sundays final.

Rain over night was pretty exciting as I love riding in the wet. The rain dose weird things to the track in Scotland. It makes some parts of the track grippy and some more slippery. One thing for sure is that the muddy woods section is very slippery!

Unfortunately I had a mechanical in my race run and lost my chain about a third of the way down so had to role the whole of the bottom section. I finished 55th with is a great result for me with no chain. I have now moved up to 49th in the overall World Cup rankings.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Great start to the UK BDS series

Even with one World Cup already done this year it still doesn’t feel long since the last round of the 2011 series. For this year Si from the British Downhill series has added another round making it a 6 round race series and with a new venue in as well which would be the setting for the opening race of the season. It’s great to have a new venue, Combe Syhenham was an old national track from a few years back, I have never been there before and after having a walk of the track on Friday I was very excited to ride it. It looked like it had a great mix of section to it and kind of reminded me of the Pietermaritzburg WC track. Of the start was a couple of cool rooty bus stops before some flowy switch backing turns leading you in to a open jumpy field section before a cool technical and rocky woods section to the finish.

After a bit of rain on Friday night the track started off quite wet and slippery with a lot of riders riding spike. I have moved over to Schwelbe tyres for this year and have been getting on with them really well. I played about during practise with the Dirty Dan and Muddy Mary and found both tyres working great but went for Muddy Marys as the track was rapidly drying out as come Sunday morning we had blue sky’s and sunshine.

After seeding I was sitting in 11th place with a solid and clean run. In my race run I put another 2 seconds in to my seeding time which was happy with and finished 15th. I’m really happy with a great solid start to the year and looking forward to Round 2 in Fort William, Scotland in 4 weeks time.

Here's a run down the track from Sunday morning practise with DriftHD.

Big thanks to Norco, Fetish Bike Co, One Industries, Gamut, Adidas Eyewear, Kore, DriftHD, Sun Ringle, 661, Schwalbe and Sram.