The following weekend we had a warm up ride on the Saturday to shake the legs out before my first race of the season at Innerleithen the next day. A few of the lads and dads drove up to Balquhidder to spend a bit of time getting to know the trails up there. These are quite new and were cut by a couple of keen locals last year so only a few people know about them, but they’re super fun and so much effort has been put into them. Some of them are smooth and some are fast and some are steep just all-round great trails.
If you fancy trying them out they are quite easy to find if you ride up the forest road network starting off at Balquhidder Kirk where Rob Roy MacGregor is buried! Or get in touch and we’ll see if we can give you a tour!
If you fancy seeing what they are like watch my latest edit on these trails at the bottom of my blog..
So the day after Balquhidder was race day! The first of the season…. After a 6 o’clock start and a couple of hours of driving we arrived at Innerleithen in sunny weather for a fun day of racing.
After getting my bike stuff on and getting my race number we went to walk the course. It was similar to one I raced at the end of last year but with some slight changes in the upper half. The start was flat and sprinty through the trees before hitting a decent sized drop, then after another few sprinty fast sections it got tight through the trees with some awesome berms and ruts before finishing through a bomb hole into some swoopy fast berms and jumps.
I took it easy on my first practice run to learn the best lines before giving it a bit more gas on my second practise run. The course was running real smooth and fast and I was feeling good. Just before my race run I warmed up doing small high intensity sprints. When my time came I came out of gate as fast as I could to get speed for the drop which I cleared to the down slope, gaining more speed off that before bombing into the off camber bit, then back into the sprint sections, but I felt I’d lost time here and really wanted to make up time through the woody section. I was happy with that and really enjoyed the bottom part of the course, so much that I came into the bomb hole too fast, took the wrong line on the flat corner but just managed to save it, pumping to regain speed over the last two jumps as I raced to finish in 4th position.
I have a bit of hang up about 4th. It seems to be where I usually finish and while that’s a pretty good result out of 26 riders in my category I promised myself I’d do better this season. So on my second run I sprinted as fast as I could though the start but really overcooked the drop, burping my tyre and losing me loads of grip as I came into the off camber which caused me to hit the deck and a tree! When I got up I was so angry with myself and wanted to get straight back on and try and make it up again but unfortunately I’d snapped my handlebars and broken a spoke so my race run was over.
Although I was gutted about my bike I’d held onto 4th and had a really fun day. I’m revved up to improve on 4th in the next race. Congratulations to William Brody for taking the win.
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