Words by Captain James Scott
In a location that’s often called the home of UK Downhill it was to be expected that this round would be the opposite of Afan. 31km and 1200m climbing it was a long loop and the descents made it even tougher. Stage 1 was a medium level DH track, Stage 2 was really tough for me – maintaining flow through multi line rocky and rooty tracks, Stage 3 was the pedally one doing the Minch Moor climb in reverse and a bit of freshly cut track at the bottom, Stage 4 had a natural techy start, into the black graded trail centre and then plummeting down a final descent that gave you even helpings of arm pump and cooked brakes. Finally stage 5 which was also used for seeding had a bike park style top section with berms and table tops, a natural rooty middle and then the famous Caddon bank XC descent which added a few drops, rollers and berms to the mix.
Results wise, a new bike frame to get used to was interesting but the real kick in the teeth was a destroyed rear mech on the transition between stages 2 and the pedally stage 3. I decided to carry on, especially after travelling so far! People complained that the transition between 4 and 5 was tight but I managed it running and walking so there should be no excuses! Bagged myself 69/125 which is pretty respectable considering how much of the race I had to run and freewheel.