Words by Captain James Scott
With mountain biking royalty Dan Atherton in attendance and looking for the win the rest of us wondered if we’d done enough sprint intervals over the winter for what was going to be a pedalfest on easy trail centre terrain. Despite all the pedalling there was still enough technical and new stuff to keep the interest levels up. A whopper of a stage at 10 minutes long was the complete Wall decent from the newly built top section all the way down the zig zags, definitely a test for exhausted lungs and aching arms. Stage 4 is where most people moaned with the bottom 50m being a un-rideable quagmire that had everyone running including all the elite men. Come race day it became a mild disaster for me with my chain repeatedly coming off and after forgetting to replace a pin after some morning maintenance I even lost my rear brake pads in the middle of stage 2. 40/123 was pretty good all in all and I vowed to give my bike a proper shakedown before races to make sure chain retention was sorted.