Sunday, 22 June 2014

Graduation & Good times!

Well I have now officially graduated with BSc (Honours) Anatomy & Physiology at 2:1! Woohooo! It feels great to have a degree (and a messy night at grad ball) behind me and I can now really focus on trying to make a career in the bike world. 






It's amazing being able to ride so much now! I'm already beginning to feel the benefits of "full time" training. With the support of James at High Rise Coaching, we are pushing my training time to almost 20 hours a week - which is hard work but I love every session, no matter how tough it gets -http://www.highrisecoaching.co.uk.




Recently I've had some time off my downhill bike while J-Tech Suspension fix up my shock. These guys are really supportive of 2:1 Racing and always do a great job, have a look at their services and products here http://j-techsuspension.co.uk/.

While the big bike is in bits I've been able to spend a heap of time on my old hardtail, it feels so different but i'm glad to have the time to smash some xc rides before the British Champs. 




Specialized have continued their fantastic support following the world cup and are kitting me out with some big forks for the rest of the season! No excuses not to go big on all the jumps now! Theres also talk of the team getting hold of some new specialized dh shoes, so watch this space! I had a chat with the guys after the last race which they have published on their facebook page, you can check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=671858059536821&set=vb.165579743497991&type=2&theater





I'm looking forward to having my Status I built up again this week and will be on my way!  Jamie was recently awarded a huge venture grant towards the start up costs of his company Lonely Mountain Skis - https://www.facebook.com/lonelymountainskis - and with a portion of the money decided to invest in a GoPro for marketing purposes (yaaay!), so keep an eye on my facebook page for more funny videos!

Monday, 9 June 2014

UCI World Cup #3 Fort William


Getting the chance to compete in a world cup round this season was a major step up the ladder for me. After such a long time out of the sport I was expecting the climb to this level to take a lot longer than it has - although I still have a huge journey ahead! 






I have so many people to thank for such an amazing weekend with so much support, so this could be a lengthly post!

James Scott (level 3 BC coach) from High Rise Coaching has been working with me for about a year now. Although based a few hundred miles apart our set up works really well and we have achieved some great results and are slowly working our way to the top! James travelled up from London to support me over the weekend and put up with midges, moaning, nerves, excitement and my terrible jokes for four long days. I'm so grateful for his help with training/psychology/nutrition - pretty much everything that goes into becoming an elite athlete and particularly for his support at Fort William. If you haven't checked out the new website for High Rise it can be found here:
www.highrisecoaching.co.uk



Isac Paddock Photography//www.Isacpaddock.co.uk






Specialized Bikes were in the team pits over the weekend and I cannot begin to thank them enough for their incredible encouragement. Not only were they the friendliest guys around, they also hooked me up with a pair of Fox 40's, a front wheel, tyres and a brake!!! We had a bit of a stress trying to sort out a headset to fit them onto my Status I but Monster Bikes from Inverness saved the day and my bike got seriously pimped just in time for Saturday practice! 






The forks were amazing and made such a difference, with a little more practice I reckon I could have taken so much more time off the track, however we were called up to the start line early due to high winds picking up. After warming up like a pro with James I set off in my BC jersey and qualified 20th, just making it into the finals. 






The Jaymie Mart Memorial fund award a prize to who the UCI reckon is the "best world cup rookie". I was so honoured to be awarded this after qualifying. Jaymie was absolutely pinned on a bike and I am so proud to have been given this prize under her name. This has made me even more determined to follow in Jaymie's footsteps and make it to the top of downhill racing. 












After a good sleep I was feeling stoked to race in the world cup finals on Sunday! During morning practice I worked up the confidence to hit all the jumps and gaps (which I wimped out of in qualifying) and was so excited to smash my time. Big shout out to Flare Clothing Company who posted up a pair of pink Roost shorts just in time for racing and after a quick stop by the SRAM pit who fitted a new mech for me (after a minor incident involving some rocks) I headed up to the start line with coach James and mechanic Jamie. 












Cannot describe how excited and nervous I felt - just completely buzzing! After a good warm up I set off feeling great but unfortunately my ride didn't go to plan and some mechanical problems in the woods meant I didn't finish. I am absolutely gutted things didn't work out but I guess that's racing. I still had an amazing weekend, met so many awesome people and achieved much more than I thought I would. 






So over all, this was a super fun weekend and a huge learning experience. A massive thank you to everyone who helped me out, particularly Specialized for their incredible support and huge congrats to you guys for taking the win and the leader's jersey.

I now have 20 UCI points so I'm planning to head out to Meribel for the final UCI world cup this season and redeem myself! Next stop - British Champs at Innerleithen!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

BDS# 3 - Ae Forest


Jamie and I headed down to Ae Forest on the Friday afternoon and set up camp after a wee off road excursion in the landy. The track was looking really nice and dry and featured a bit of everything mtb - off camber corners, jumps, a technical wood section and of course the famous Ae step down. 




The weather was great all weekend, although the midges had an absolute feast during the cooler parts of the day. After an amazing sleep on the friday night I was feeling fresh on Saturday morning for practice. I really noticed my progression on this track during the course of the day, I was happy with my riding and felt pretty good about everything on course. I almost lapsed into my "nerves of doom" race mood on a few occasions but managed to keep it reasonably cool, I guess time and experience will help with that! My Specialized was running great all weekend although it came to my attention that my shock is currently set up for a 16 stone male...so there will definitely be some spring changes and major adjustments before the next race! 




Saturday evening was so much fun, a group of us had a BBQ that included marshmallows, "doggy poo surprise" AKA barbecued banana with chocolate and some other interesting food experiments! Sleeping didn't go so well that night as there was some seriously loud party music going on until 4am across the field but practice on Sunday morning still felt good. 






My seeding run was smooth but steady and I popped into 8th place with 2.47. My race run was pretty scrappy in places but I managed to improve on my time and hopped up into 7th place with 2.44. I'm pleased with this result, although I'm still 11 seconds off that podium I've made progress and coach James from HighRise reckons we can make up that time! 





This weekend told me that it's going to be a long journey and will require some patience but I'm determined to get onto that podium next season. Although I'm not racing as much as the others, this year will be used to gauge where I am within the elite category and give me plenty of time to train and come into next season stronger, fitter and faster. 

Next weekend I'll be representing Great Britain at the third round of the UCI World Cup in Fort William!! Very excited for the experience...but a little nervous!