Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Dunkeld was the venue for Round 3 of the SDA series last weekend and what a cracker it proved to be. It’s a tough, steep, rocky, muddy, rooty manbreaker track at the best of times…
Dunkeld was the venue for Round 3 of the SDA series last weekend and what a cracker it proved to be. It’s a tough, steep, rocky, muddy, rooty manbreaker track at the best of times and this weekend was no exception with many struggling to ride the brutal track and some struggling with their confidence to ride it.
Although quite a short track with not much pedaling required it is full on right from start to finish with no resting places and at the end of the weekend many were complaining of tired sore muscles.
Saturday practice was mostly wet with the dreaded Scottish Midgies making an appearance and torturing both riders and marshals alike.
Dropping in at the start its immediately rough and fast and you are soon at the first corner which also happens to be a slick mud covered rocky drop leading onwards to another similar one with a nasty stump which caught out an unfortunate few. Soon after that the dreaded shute appeared with a choice of lines over the very steep mud covered rocky outcrop. The main problem here was not the shute itself, but stopping in time fror the next corner with so much speed carried from the drop.
After a series of hairpin corners it was flat out across the fire road straight onto some big old roots that seemed to go on forever and suck the speed from beneath the wheels After a short traverse across the hill we came to my favourite bit which consisted of a rock drop into a loamy downhill with a slight turn over a few roots and then finishing off with a nice double jump out of it into a sketchy series of left and right corners. Before you knew it we were back into a long section of slippy mud covered boulders interwoven with a variety of roots of all descriptions. I never seemed to take the same line twice here and was just working on the hit it, hang on and see what happens theory which seemed to work!
A small bridalway crossing and straight into another rock garden which had to be treated carefully with its ill placed boulders and roots and then onto another steep muddly rooty section with the best line being the root huck line which was a bit dodgy at times. At last a chance to actually pedal as we dropped futher down in the tree line into a lovely left hand berm and then a flatter pedal up and over some rocks and roots before turning down and a last pedal into the finish.
After more rain overnight Sunday Race Day turned out fine and sunny which lifted spirits and kept moral high.
On my first race run things clicked into place from the start and I felt strong and confident down most of the course and got away with a few things that could have slowed me down. Coming into a tight slow corner I suddenly lost grip and hit the deck which was a bit unexpected on that part of the track, but I was quickly back on and didnt loose too much time From there on my run was good and I crossed the line just over 10 secs up on Neil Wilson with Seb Ramsey not far behind.
Second Race Runs took part on a dryer track and it was likely that everyone was going to be putting in faster times so everything was still at stake.
I again put in a good solid run but caught the rider in front in an awkward section of track and lost important seconds before being able to pass.
Trying hard to make up for lost time I misjudged the root huck and landed on large boulders nearly shooting through the tapes and off the course, but managed to save it and ride it out before battling over the finish line to finish 2 seconds quicker than my first run time. Neil Wilson improved on his first run time to finish 8 seconds down in 2nd place with Seb Ramsey a further 1 sec down in 3rd.
Overall the Nukeproof scalp performed predictably and smooth and yet again provided a confidence inspiring ride.
Thanks once again to all marshals, medics,sponsors,track builders and the SDA crew who make these events happen and to Peter Pollock whose voice boomed out across the Perthshire countryside from the top of the hill all weekend organising all riders in a regimental fashion ! A brilliant weekends racing.
We now move on to the European Masters Championships in Slovenia. The bike will be getting qite a bit of fettling this week and the legs will get a final hammering on the local Fort William trails in preperation. Competition will be hot and so will the weather hopefully.