Dad got back from work at the usual time but wasn’t his usual, “hey, I’m home”. I come downstairs to find him on the sofa looking very ill indeed. After much debate we left Thursday night. We had to stop an unreal amount of times to sleep but we made it for midday Friday.
I walked the course a couple of times in the evening. It was new to me but I heard that the SDA round the week before had a similar track. It was just what I expected it to be; tight between trees, technical, steep, greasy, rooty and rocky. It was quite wet as it had rained the day before there. The good news was that the forecast was dry for the rest of the weekend.
I went to Nathan Vial’s van for the best curry I have tasted and a bit of a competition on the PS2. I got mullered at tony hawks but I was uncatchable on Need for Speed... that’s right Nathan... uncatchable!
Saturdays practise started well. Although the tight twisty corners didn’t do much for me at the top, the last section was full of line choice, fast and you could finally lean the bike over. I went all out to get as many runs in as possible. I got about 5 runs in before seeding. I knew the course as much as I was going to but it just never seems enough at Inners. My seeding run was treated like another practise run and I cruised down into 13th place. Disappointed with that I went straight back up to watch everyone come down in expert and elite etc. With that and walking the course with Jason and Manon Carpenter I changed soo many of my lines. I was going to have to do a lot of practise in the morning.
I slept in the easy-up to look after the bikes. Turned out I was looking after mine, Dad’s, James Dower’s, Ross Hamond’s and Mark Blackler’s. We had an alarm around them to so it was all ok.
I awoke early to catch the first uplift again. I practised all my lines in the 3 runs I managed in the morning. I slept pretty badly and I started to feel pretty ill by midday. The inevitable had happened and I had caught what my Dad had. Practise was quite a lot of effort and I felt quite dizzy.
I only got worse and race runs got closer. It took me a while to walk the last bit to get to the top of the course. I decided with Dad that it was best to just have an easy run down. My run was quite scary in places. I hit 2 trees and when I got to the bottom I was nearly sick. I was 16th in junior. Not the best way to go out at the end of the season; can’t wait for the downtown race this year though. Bring on next weekend!
Thanks to DMR, Rezurgence, Lifestyle Ford, Mojo, Mace, Nike 6, Twenty26, Funn and Geax.
Monday, September 08, 2008
The talk of the trip up was about torrential rain across the country for the weekend. We were expecting the usual Rheola that compares to a river. For practise day we weren’t far off. It was raining lightly and consistently all through Saturday morning but began to ease off for seeding runs. I started with dry tires on but went with a spike on the front after a couple runs. The track was very wet and had some sections of river. A couple of parts had changed from the other Dragon round. One was a new north shore berm leading onto the north shore that was already there. I really didn’t take a liking to this as the old corner was a real challenge and a great corner to ride. The other part was near the bottom and I thought it was really good. It added a few corners to a flat out section without losing any aspects of the course. You jumped over the double and picked up speed and had to scrub speed off to drift an off camber switch back section. It was really tight between the trees but the faster you went, the easier it was to straight line it so it really took some guts to hit fast, especially as it was greasy and covered in slimy roots.
I had 5 practise runs in the morning. The first 4 were really good and I was happy with my tires but on my 5th I came off pretty hard on some roots, landing on the new north shore berm. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself too much and was able to cruise down to the bottom. The uplift was really good and I could have got many more runs in but I didn’t see that I would benefit from them. I got ready for my seeding run instead and made sure that my bike was all in order.
I planned to take it very easy and not show my real capabilities. I took a real smooth run down well within my limits and it was actually really nice to just ride down without a worry of crashing and getting a nice rhythm down the course. I pedalled to keep speed rather than to gain it so I wasn’t even out of breath. I was sat 1st in junior and 3rd overall even after seeding runs finished. That was a confidence booster.
I went up to walk the course with my mate Brandon. We only really found one new line which was to try going wide on the berm before the first road. I thought it would be slower around it but it would be faster out and that really counted as there was a long pedal after along a road.
I had a bit of a natter later on with Lee, Will, Paul, Ant and Dad by the fire and went to bed.
Sunday morning was on and off misty rain but stopped this before practise started. It must have been dry through the night because the track was better everywhere. I only did 2 runs in the morning and left myself plenty of time to get my bike clean. Lee gave me some weird gel and jelly that was going to give me energy. I have to be honest I’m not into all these energy things but I didn’t feel as tired on my run.
I wanted to treat my first run as my only run even though I had 2 to practise for Nationals. I was having an alright run down the hill and knew it was a lot faster than my seeding run. I got to the notorious star wars section and my mech must have hit the side because as I came to the road just after I couldn’t pedal; or rather I nearly went over the bars trying to do so! The rest of the course was still fast but some sections I lost time from this like the north shore section. I got to the bottom and found myself in the number 1 spot with the current fastest time of the day. I had a 4 second lead so a few people were surprised to see my chain and mech draped around the bike.
My second run was going a lot faster and with a new mech on my gears worked. However when I found myself clinging to a tree before star wars I knew it was all over and I wouldn’t be able to challenge the fastest time of the day. I rolled to the bottom and still kept my 1st place but was gutted to only be 3 seconds off of the fastest time of the day.
I finally got a win at a Dragon this year as my welsh champs win doesn’t go towards the series. Smiles all round.
I am going to Austria; Schladming with Rezurgence this weekend coming for the final world cup
Thanks to, DMR, Rezurgence, Lifestyle Ford, Mojo, Mace, Nike 6, Twenty26, Funn and Geax.