I have always loved Fort William so I always look forward to coming here. I never do that well here results wise but the track is so much fun to ride and Fort William as a place holds some great memories for me.
I felt pretty unprepared coming in to this race as it would be the first time I would of ridden my new Rose downhill bike and also the first time I’ve ridden downhill in about 2months so I was coming in to the race with out any expectations. I was also didn’t know how my arm would hold up to such a rough and demanding track but if there was one place to find out, it would be here!
It was an early start as usual Saturday morning but I was to excited to ride anyway I was up and full of energy come 6.30am! We headed straight to the pits in the morning and took a quick visit to James at J-Tech suspension who helped me set up my Fox forks and shock before I tried to rattle my way down the track.
Unfortunately there was severe weather warnings being reported for Sunday which meant that if this was correct the gondola wouldn’t be able to run, meaning no race. Si Paton (the organiser) made the wise to move seeding runs to Saturday afternoon. That way if the gondola’s couldn’t run sunday, are seeding results would count as are race runs. With seeding now moved to the afternoon time was limited for practice, it was going tot be hard to try put a race run together after only a mornings practice but everyone was in the same boat.
I was feeling real good in practice, just getting sections dialled bit by bit, trying not to wear myself out. I was aiming to get 4 practice runs in before my seeding run but on my third run down I was starting to get arm pump so I decided to knock it on the head and try rest a bit before my seeding run.
Heading up in the gondola for my seeding run the weather was just starting to turn, the wind was picking up and it had just started to rain. My seeding run started off a little messy, I couldn’t get focused and started missing my lines, I finally got my head together but by this time arm pump in my left hand had already kicked in. Since my injury I suffer quite bad with arm pump and as soon as I get it my fingers start locking on the brake, I start losing grip and I almost can’t control my own hand! Which meant as soon as I got it, not even quarter of the way in to my run that was almost it for me, race over… I managed to get down the track and post in a time but I felt like I didn’t race it, just rode down… It was a weird feeling crossing the line, I honestly couldn’t of gone any faster and I put everything I possibly could in to the run but when all your thinking about down the track is your hand locking up its hard to focus on riding let alone racing. I managed to end up 4th, a bit of the pace but that’s what I had expected.
Unfortunately the weather reports were all spot on and the race was canceled on the Sunday due to it being to windy for the gondola to run so the end results went off of seeding. I am happy with how the weekend went and I’m real happy to walk away with 4th place but I think I still have a long way to go before I can ride downhill at race pace again. Big thank you to Dave Knight for spannering for me all weekend, massive help.