Round 1 15th/16th December
Lloyd and Tom (i.e. workshop grease monkeys) are both avid mountain bikers.
We headed up to Hamsterley to race Downhill. The idea was to try and gain enough points to race the National Downhill Mountain bike series in 2008. Neither of us have done much riding lately and were a bit scared of what might happen.
Saturday was an early start heading from Nottingham. The team comprising of Lloyd, Tom and Dan (fellow downhill nut). It was bitterly cold as we did the first walkthrough of the course to have a good look before trying to ride it. So cold in fact that the ground was frozen solid in quite a few places! The top looked fine but there were a few sections down the bottom that had us arguing over lines and the best way to ride it. Not to be deterred we headed back up and got out the bikes and started doing some practice runs.
All went well as none of us fell off to badly, however the same could not be said for others. Traffic jams were starting to form on the lower section of the course where the harder riding was causing lots of people to crash heavily. We heard someone had broken their arm at one point but as communication was by word of mouth only I can’t really confirm or deny. Practice shut around 3pm and then it was time to have some fun.
We had cobbled together a selection of Electric bikes to buzz around the pits on during the weekend. Two Fortes and a Quando. The urge was too strong for us to resist and we ended up going down the downhill course on the rigid electric bikes! GREAT FUN! The little electric bikes eat up everything the top section of the course could throw at them .. jumps, drops and roots! It was MUCH harder on bikes with no suspension and slick tires and eventually the course won out when Dan and I crashed quite heavily and it was decided to give it up for the evening.
We headed into the nearest local town for a meal at a pub where Dan came out with the comment of the trip …”They have a lots of Beer here!” Not really that surprising for a PUB!
Back to the forest for overnight camping and temperatures overnight were down to around minus 5! It made getting up for the next days racing a bit of a struggle! Brrrrrrrrrrr!
Anyway one last practice before the racing got underway and they had made some changes to the course. A lot of people had been crashing the day before so the decision was made to try and make it a little easier. People were still crashing in this last practice session so after airlifting someone off the hill they changed the course again! Extra practice was given on the new changes and the race reduced from two runs to the single chance at glory!
During this extra practice we all had our first major crashes of the weekend, I went over the bars twice breaking my front brake lever (nothing some zip ties and some gaffer tape can’t fix!). Dan and Lloyd both parting company with their bikes at least once but no injuries sustained.
However the race was upon us and Dan led off looking good last time I saw him and he did very well coming 10th Junior.
I had a poor race run coming to a complete stop twice finding some extra changes to the course after last practice. I ended up 15th in the Masters.
Lloyd had a disappointing race run and finished 14th in the Seniors.
10 Dan Coggan Junior 2:06.558
15 Tom Gilfedder Masters 2:26.628
14 Lloyd Clarkson Senior 2: 07.573
Dan secured 5 British Cycling points (enough for entry into next years National Points Series)
Lloyd 2 points
Tom 1 point (Taking my total to 4 for the year, only 1 more to get!)
Not bad for a first hit out on an unfamiliar course in the cold. Hopes are high for a better performance next time!
Descend Hamsterley site
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