Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Senior (non-elite) British Champion 2013!

Podium - British National Champs 2013

Last weekend was the British Championships in Llangynog in North Wales. What an amazing weekend! Don't think it could have been any drier. The heat was intense making it a challenging race, especially as the track was so long - a real test of endurance and strength. 

Almost at the finish line!

The dusty, slightly rocky open top section, with flat out fire road and bus stops chucked you out over a series of large doubles and tables before pushing into a tight technical rooty wood section. The track finished with another flat out open section, short woods and dropped into grassy flat corners to the finish. It was like being on holiday...and since I can't afford to get away this year, this made me super happy!

Corner prep

Practice kicked off and was going well until I literally lost my mech on the top section and had to carry my bike with a mangled chain down the entire track. I was not pleased, but mechanicals will happen - that's just racing. The Shimano mechanics had set up pits at the bottom and were such a great bunch of guys. They immediately set about giving me a new chain and fitting a new mech for me, as well as giving my brakes a tune. They saved the race for me! So massive THANK-YOU to them (SHIMANO WEBSITE). I got them some chocolates but they probably melted away! 

Pre race ice bath in Bala, Wales.

Racing came on the Sunday and nerves kicked in! My seeding run was a bit scrappy but I went into second place with 4.29. After chilling and having a laugh with the girls ( Rona, Lotte, Emma, Rebecca, Heather and many more!) I felt way more relaxed and had a confident second run which landed me in 1st place with nine seconds off my initial time. 

Two new brakes from Hope who sponsored my category

Winning my category at the British Championships was something I didn't think would happen for a long time! It has given me a great confidence boost and after checking out some footage from my coach James Scott (who was there supporting the whole weekend!) I've got lots of home work to do. I also learn't how to open champagne on the podium (was a bit awkward when I didn't know what to do with it!).

"Thanks, Eh..How do I open it??!..."
I have set up a facebook page which I will also keep updated with results and pictures. I will still blog too so keep an eye on this page ;) Click the link and give me a like if you fancy: 
Emma Atkinson - facebook page

The Scottish Championships were held at Dunkeld, near to where I go to University the weekend before the British Champs. The track was dry, steep and rocky, super fun but scary in places. The weather was great and the river running next to the woods provided another perfect opportunity to have a pre race ice bath.

Race run number one was alright, I made a few mistakes on the top section which cost me some time and put me into 3rd place with 2.51. Eight seconds behind the leader Rebecca Kennedy.

My second race run began great, feeling fast and on the pedals but unfortunately I got a puncture which was the end of my race. Pushing down the track was really disappointing but I have enough dents in my wheels already and didn't fancy the rocky roll to the finish.

Third place made me happy and even more motivated to come back and smash it next year. Well done to Rebecca who took the win and Charlotte in second.

Finish line at Dunkeld
Top section at Dunkeld

3rd at the Scottish Champs

Just before the Scottish Champs my bike required some urgent servicing, Perth City Cycles (who have donated voucher prizes for the SDA's) are a really cool bunch and excellent mechanics who did a great job on my old 224, so thanks! (Perth City Cycles Website)

Next stop Ae Forest SDA. Only two more races to go in my season! Crazy...seems like yesterday I was typing about how it couldn't come quick enough!

Racing the full British Series next year, hopefully with some sponsorship support, will really show what I have to offer the world of DH Racing - Bring it on!