Ace Woodley reports back from the recent push up race at Triscombe, Somerset.
More of a blog than a full on race report, but read on.
So, Triscombe, the darkside-backend of the Quantocks where the DH element go to play. It has been asked about for years if a race could be held there. Bear in mind how busy the Quantocks are so it was a surprise when the go ahead was given for a push up race, which I think went quite well, the track was tucked away from the busy part of the hill and I would say the powers that be were watching with interest to see what goes on, (we didn’t destroy the hill, and hopefully everyone took there litter home) it’s been hinted that another race may well happen in the future, but unlikely a series (lots of tracks hiding in the woods) think of it as an annual treat and anywhere new to race is always good.
This is mostly to do with Duncan Anderson, he lives there and the Anderson boys race for UK Bikepark and Torico which is why the boys from Dorset got some prime track over in Somerset, a lot of groundwork has gone into making this happen, local knowledge and help.
This was ment to happen in December but got snowed off, I was quite happy about that as I wasnt really able to ride at that point in time, so the delay to the end of January worked for me. Not having been out for a while I thought walking the track on Saturday was a good plan, I took Kenny with me as he has been off the bike for several months (chap with the walking stick) after a heavy landing on tarmac smashed his foot (if anyone from POC reads this…Kenny really rates your helmets, smashed foot but head was fine) so we went for limp and hobble round the woods. It was fairly quite, no official practice, mostly locals, Jimi gave us a display of how to go sideways through the air then round corners pinging off the stumps like bambi on speed.
We had a little chat when he pushed back up, haven’t seen Jimi for years, and Ken enjoyed the gossip too, Kens itching to get back on a bike but will have been off for nearly a year by the time he is allowed to ride again, he was happy to be near some action.
I wasn’t so keen, it was cold, there where ice cubes in the track, and I was really starting to get the fear this time. Had some ongoing issues last year, but worst was a major lock up of my back, not even on a bike, I lent over to pick up a cup of tea and couldn’t stand up again, had to spend three weeks lying on the floor, then a few more weeks trying to get back to normal. Not a nice thing and a first for me, I was worried about hitting the ground or a tree (do lots of that) or what if I land a bit off and my back gives out mid run, after 2 months of pain and discomfort I was using this race to see if I could still ride, racing wasn’t on the cards, bagging some times and being able to go to work the next day was the goal.
John Cobb in shot, Sunday morning practice. This was delayed somewhat by a lack of marshalls, I didnt arrive until 10 and the track was just about to open. I set up and wait for a gap in traffic and roll down the hill, the start is a gentle slope leading into a gap jump, I was going to huck off the right side, but instead panic braked and rolled through, add to this I have a new frame, my first time out on it, and a very iffy seatpost which I don’t trust at all, if the head and saddle come off I will be getting a new hole, so round the jump into the S bends as John in the photo, gravity takes over now and the track goes from wide open taping to some tight rooty chutes and turns, as tracks go, fast fun rideable by all with some cheeky do or die short cuts for the brave/stupid/gifted riders.
The ground was still frozen solid and in some corners was polished up like glass. So one practice run, bit of back ache, not to bad, rode like a fairy but I am still standing. Much the same for my 2nd run, but the fear is making things worse, too tense and not trusting the tyres or brakes. I also find out that Ash Brown is getting over a broken shoulder, didn’t seem to slow him down to much.
A couple of people asked if I was scared because of Gawton, the tracks don’t compare, and I pointed out if I was scared at Gawton I wouldn’t have done my race run half blind and would have stopped when I ripped out my frontbrake, yeah Gawton halfblind with only a back brake I actually enjoyed that?
Ok I might get slapped next time I meet Anna, although for the race runs she swapped out to pink hot-pants (isn’t tight clothing banned in DH ) I have met her before at the SSEC, Anna is new to the world of DH and was asking about the lack of fellow females, there was a lack of local faces all round but some had travelled a long way, Anna from London via the RedBull race in Bristol the night before, the French came over in force as usual with Majorie Cholez keeping Anna company.
Majorie is a regular face down in the southwest along with Philippe Da Silva, kinda makes the south races feel more international and a French accent is a change from the normal local ones. Staying on the subject of females, mid practice Emily Horridge popped out of the woods, we did try to talk her into racing but she was breaking in and getting used to her new bike, another person I haven’t bumped into for a long time, to have people appear from nowhere is common at Triscombe as it’s littered with short tracks and the push up isn’t to horrible.
I only intended to do two practice runs but as the push up wasnt to bad, I went for three, things aren’t too bad this time, starting to trust the bike to behave and more importantly to loosen up, run four pumping the top section was fun, getting loose, fine until the last corner when I hit the polished glass like frozen ground, instant tankslapper, somehow rode it out but tweaked my back doing so, the little Atom lab Pimp2 frame is really quite at home in the steep technical bits of the track and just does what I tell it with no fuss, should be getting a trustworthy seatpost soon so that will help things along. I take a break before racing and just randomly chat with people.
Not saying a word, it wasn’t me.
What….. wait until you see the time Duncan Ferris put down on that bike, I caught him on his 2nd run drifting round the stumps pulling the bike straight hitting the gap jump while squealing like a fat kid locked in a cake shop, then sail through the air and drift round the rest of the track, the bike was worked hard, very hard, very capable bike (and rider).
Alex Rankin, the man behind the camera came out to play, this is a rare treat to ride in the race rather than film others having all the fun, he was always smiling when I saw him so I reckon he had a blast.
Charlie I promise to have some stickers for you next time, (be at Avill Ball)
Adam Holleyman from WightBikes another long distance racer, we saw him on Saturday and the bike looked like a XC bike, when I caught up with him it made sense, he is taller than me, Z1 forks on a large SC Chameleon, the new big bike wasn’t ready so he dropped in HT for the day and won it, did very well overall as well.
Jimi Smith again, Jamie from wideopen mag (orange coat) did strap a camera on Jimi and there is a film out there of a run of the track. In my first run my saddle moved, I had a go at doing it up tighter but am worried about shearing the bolt mid run, it didn’t help my confidence much, although my 2nd run was one of those felt faster runs but was slower, I was picking up speed then panic over-braking and losing the lot, a third run would have been nice as my confidence was starting to come back and some speed with it.
The top 3 Lee Huskinson old model DHR 1.09.430 2nd Dunan Ferris Dmr Bolt 1.10.080 and 3rd Ash Mullane Bos Morewood 1.11.350 now it was cold and Lee had trouble popping his cork, Ash tried to give him a hand, Duncan ran off (sensible) he got there in the end and the only one to do so.
The hardtails 1st Adam Holleyman, 2nd Charlie Collings, 3rd Ash Brown.
First race of the year done and dusted, got some things to sort out on the bike, some mental things to sort out, although I did what I wanted and the next race is only a week away now. It was nice bumping into some new faces and some faces I haven’t seen for a while.