WDMBA Mountain Ash Race

The second round of the WDMBAs was a week away and I hadn’t entered. I was pretty keen to go after doing so well at round 1, but Dirt Mag still had my bike on test, so I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that we weren’t going. That was until Tam suggested building up the ‘Large Display Frame’  with the parts from his bike and go racing. I was pretty damn excited to say the least and completely forgot I had agreed to take a couple of my sisters friends to the start of the London to Brighton bike ride on the Sunday… This caused many complications and resulted in my Mom taking the van up to London, Tam and I taking my girlfriend Ellie’s car to Wales. This meant that we couldn’t sleep in the van, not that you want to sleep at Mt. Ash anyway… Luckily Tam’s girlfriend, Michelle, lives in Cardiff so a quick call to her meant we could crash at her place.

We headed over to Cardiff on Friday afternoon and then onto the race on Saturday morning, we got there a little late and the weather was nasty! So I didn’t bother walking the track and opted for a slow first practice run just to check things out. Even though this method has never worked for me in the past as I can’t seem to make myself go slow enough to check the course, I was gonna do it anyway! Upon arrival at the top the full extent of the weather was revealed. There are no trees up there and the rain was coming in sideways fast enough to sting your face!

The pits at Mtn Ash

The first section on the track brings you round the back of the hill down a super fast rutted straight into a right hander where you met the wind head on, with a long pedal along some flat bits until you were into the trees and out of the wind. This part of the track is where it gets good, naturally formed berms and ruts mean you can hold some crazy speed in the corners, feeding you into the bus stops through tight trees at some scary pace! Once you’re out of the trees and across the fire road, the track got super tough. The mud meant it was slow going and its pretty much flat from this point to the finish, so you have to be fit to carry your speed down there, and too much time in the shed has left me more unfit that I have ever been in my life. By the time I got to the bottom of the track I could hardly breathe, I was left feeling like it wasn’t possible to get enough air into my lungs! Ha ha. I managed 4 practice runs before I had enough of the wind, rain, and being soaked in mud, and we headed back to Cardiff for some warmth.

The Joys of Racing in the UK
The joys of downhill racing in the UK

I was designated a floor space in the lounge and unfortunately for me the flats other occupants wanted to spend their Saturday night watching ‘Come Dine With Me: 50 most special contestants’ until the early hours of Sunday morning. Believe me when I tell you there are some pretty special people out there!

So Sunday morning I woke up knackered, but at least it wasn’t rainy or windy! Practice was going well until I got a little sideways in the woods coming off a drop. I ended up sliding head first into a tree sending the stars spinning! I rolled around on the floor for a bit until I managed to pick myself up and carry on. My neck was a bit sore but one more run was in order before racing started.

There was a problem with the timing which meant a 45min wait at the top of the hill. When things finally got under way I didn’t warm up, I just wanted to get down. The lights went out and I was on a belter until about the 5/6th corner, it was a loose rocky right hander into a bus stop and had been no problem in any previous run. I set up and turned in and before I knew what was going on, I was picking myself off the floor. My shoulder hurt like hell but I knew it wasn’t broken, so I assumed a muscle had been stretched or something. I sat on the side of the track and let a few riders past before filtering back in and taking it steady to the finish for a time of 8min! I did my second run but it was by no means ‘pinned’ and finished up 0.8s behind Rich Acott.  Full results and pics are up on Roots & Rain.

Good but not good enough I say! Nothing to worry about, we’ll sort it out next time 😉

Take it easy,

Burf

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