Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
I was really looking forward to the long journey South to Combe Sydenham in Somerset for Round 1 of the BDS for two reasons. Firstly because it was the first race of the 2013 Season for me, and also it was my first proper ride of my new Nukeproof Pulse.
The course at Combe Sydenham is fairly non technical and good fun normally and it was good to see a few changes from last year as we walked the dry track on Friday night.
After a good nights sleep I was on site early and in the queue in time to get the first uplift of the day.
The Pulse was running sweet and my set up was perfect giving a plush silent ride on the opening few flowing corners and small double jumps. Further down the track we dropped off the step down and into the woods and its rooty corners and berms which were a perfect test for the Continental tyres I'm running this season. The Der Keiser Projects offered great grip in most conditions over the weekend and rolled nice and fast.
We then dropped the big step down into super fast right/left berms and over a series of doubles, and tabletops which were pretty awkward in the gusty wind and I had a few scary moments.
The course then entered more woods which were littered with roots and ended with a fairly gnarly rock drop off into a rough berm and onwards over the finish line.
The rain had started as we headed up for another run and the course was changing rapidly into a slippery mud fest which got worse as the day went on until it got very hard to ride well in places as the ruts got deeper and take offs before jumps became a gloopy mess resulting in some comedy take offs and not so funny landings.
I got 5 runs in before the end of practice which was enough and was fairly happy with the way I was riding and really happy with the Pulse which I felt instantly comfortable on.
Race day came, and with more overnight rain the course remained in the same state. I put in just 1 practice run before heading up for my seeding run.
After seeding 6th with a fall I was confident of improving on this in my race run and felt I had plenty in the tank for a flat out run in the final.
I started well and hit most lines pretty good and was having quite a good run until the last big step down which by now had got a bit too sketchy in the conditions and chose to go round instead of taking too big a risk of having a massive stack. After this I didn't quite get back up to speed and it was a bit of hit and miss over the jumps which made me lose even more momentum cruising into the finish to come 6th.
I wasn't really happy with the result this weekend but know what needs improving on and it was good to get riding the DH bike again.
Photo courtesy of photo-bike.com taken at round 1 of the British Downhill Series sponsored by Saracen.
Next Race: Scottish Downhill association Round 1: Innerleithen