It didn’t take long for me to start missing New Zealand! I love the UK and love the amount of riding we are surrounded by but leaving hot, fast, flowy, dusty trails behind and coming home to cold, wet muddy trails has been a bit of a shock. Looking back at our time in New Zealand it has been by far one of the best trips I’ve ever had.
With out too much of a plan we toured around New Zealand stopping at all the big city’s Queenstown, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, Taupo, Rotorua and Auckland following the dh national series around the country whilst trying to ride everywhere and anywhere we could in between.
Queenstown had to be my favourite destination and also where we started off our trip meeting up with my good friend Harriet ‘Bob’ Latchem. Im pretty sure with out Harriet we would of been pretty lost so we can not thank Bob enough for hospitality. Queenstown seems to be the place to go for anybody thats into riding and you can see why. The amount of riding there is crazy and all with in such small area, you could spend weeks there and not ride half the stuff surrounding you. We made the hard decision and only brought our downhill bikes with out with us but most evenings we hired trail bikes from the go to bike shop in Queenstown, Vertigo Bikes. For me the trail riding in and around Queenstown beats the DH tracks hands down. I think every xc ride we went on I had my heart in my mouth, pushing my limits on most descents.
Every place we stopped at whilst tripping around the country had something special about it, whether it was the people, the views, the riding or all three, it always seemed like we were in a bit of a dream land. We met so many people out there, saw some of the best views in the world and managed to cram in a seasons worth of riding into 2 months. We are already planning a return trip there for next season. We have so many people to thank that helped us out along the way, our trip wouldn’t of been the same without you so big thanks to Sophie Jones and David Willoughby, Sarah Atkin and her family, Cycle Science, Vertigo bikes, Skyline Queenstown, Paul Jones, Steve Carry, Jake Boylett and a huge thank you to Bob Latchem and Junior. We will be back and hopefully see you all out there next year!
The event is so different to any other race, the atmosphere, pressure, everything just has a different feel to it. I came in to this year though feeling different, no pressure and just a lot more relaxed than previous years. I’ve set myself some big challenges this year and World Champs was one of them but with my focus on downhill this year it was like I hadn’t even had time to think about the event until I was actually here.
With the first couple of practice sessions over I was feeling the best I ever had done on my 4X bike, just having fun riding rather than constantly thinking about the end result. Coming in to qualifying I felt pretty confident but had some bad luck during my run burping the air out the side wall of my tire in the 2nd corner meaning I couldn’t jump any of the jumps but still ending my run in 3rd position.
Coming in to finials I was feeling surprising calm, I was jumping around with excitement all day just at the thought of riding so when I finally got on my bike I was feeling good. My first 2 heats of racing went surprising smooth, I managed to make my way into the finals and then boom that when the nerves hit me like a ton of bricks! I knew this was my last chance at this title and it meant so much to me. As the gate dropped I was neck and neck against Anneke down the first straight, as we came out the corner Anneke was out in front, trying to keep as cam as possible I followed down behind trying to build up some momentum to make a move, as we came out the first pro line, I start to build up more and more speed and was approaching the last pro line jump towards the finish, I hadn’t tried this in practice and really had no intention of jumping it at all but I knew it was attempt it or throw that rainbow jersey away. Before I had time to think about it I was half way through mid air, as I came in to land I squeezed just in front of Anneke and nearly exploded with excitement at the thought of becoming World Champ. I tried to keep calm until the finish line but from here on it was just a blur! I am World Champion! I cant explain just how good it feels but I need to thank everyone who has helped me get here and especially GB team manager Will Longden. World Champ, Wahoo!!
Ive attended Fort Willam World Cup every year since my debut race at World Champs in 2007, for the last few years I’ve solely concentrated on racing the 4X but this year was my first downhill world cup back in 3 years.
After racing the national at Fort Will a few weeks back I knew what I needed to improve coming back here so first day of practice I jumped straight to it. I felt good during practice, I knew my lines, I just needed to tweak things here and there to get up to speed. I felt good coming in to quali, a little nervous but more because I literally had no idea where or if I would even make the top 20 to qualify.
The big thing for me for my qualifying run was to try put together a consistent run. I had a good fast flowing top half and as soon as I entered the first rock garden I just tried to relax a little and keep momentum rather than push to hard. After such a good top half of the track I made a big mistake in the technical woods resulting in me ending up off track and through the tape. As quickly as I could though I ran back up to the place I had left the track and tried to get going again. Thinking I had thrown it all away, to my surprise I crossed the line finishing 14th place meaning my first goal of the weekend was achieved, which was to actually qualify!
Sunday morning I was starting to feel a little more nervous but I knew if I could put another run in like my qualifying run (just with out the crash) I could break in to the top ten which was my 2nd goal for the weekend. As I set out the start hut I couldn’t believe the amount of people down the track, everyone was going wild, hanging over the tape ringing cow bells at me, yelling my name and giving me huge support, the crowd with out a doubt are the best at Fort William than anywhere else in the world. Trying to focus past all the noise I felt like I was on for a fast run, just over half way through the deer gate I tried to calm down a little to save my arms this time for the woods but then before I knew it, bang, I heard a huge explosion and I was rolling down with a flat. I had hit a rock in one of the corners and popped my rim off the tire and burst the tube, game over. I was more than gutted but looking back at the weekend I have learnt so much and feel more confident every week on my downhill bike. I now just cant wait to race the next rounds to make a slightly better come back!
I had been looking forward to going to Ae Forest to race after the first 2 rounds being such disappointing results for me, I knew at Ae Forest if I could put a good run together I could get a good result and I was determined to prove more to myself than anyone else that I still can ride these big downhill bikes! With a full days practice on Saturday I was feeling really good, I was really enjoying the track and knew on a track like Ae any little mistake would make a huge impact on the time so I was trying every run to get everything flowing and smooth.
8am Sunday morning, when any normal person would be more than likely just waking up, I was stood in the uplift queue egger to get 2 good runs in before racing began. I spent the morning trying a couple of new lines, just trying to get everything as quick and controlled as I could ride it. I was feeling confident for racing and just wanted to get it done. For my seeding run I wanted to put in a good run but still trying to save a little back for my race run. I put in a good solid run mistake free and smooth placing me in 2nd behind Manon Carpenter but feeling like I still had a little more in the tank.
Come my race run I was so desperate to try match or beat my seeding run I went off the start line a little too fired up! I had such a messy run, I hit a tree mid run and I was making mistake after mistake. Thinking I had probably threw it all away I surprised myself crossing the line and hearing I was in first place with only Manon to come. With out time to even turn around Manon came flying across the line 5seconds quicker taking a well deserved win. I was so happy to get 2nd up against a descent field of World class riders. It was a good fun weekend riding and has given me confidence heading in to the Fort William World Cup this weekend. Must say a big thank you to Jake ‘teaboy’ Ireland for doing a top job being on the spanners all weekend!
Fort William is a special place for me, its where I competed in my first ever International event which just happened to be World Champs and I managed to scrape a Silver medal at the event which was pretty much the starting point of my racing career. Saying this the track at Fort William has never favoured me, I absolutely love the track and its by far one of the best in the world but dear god, my poor little arms have never been able to hold on for a full race run down there!
After Friday and Saturdays practice on the track I was feeling real good, I felt up to pace and was pretty confident that I could do well on the track. Come race day however it was a different story. I was feeling real good Sunday morning, just had the one practice run but hit everything at speed and felt reasonably smooth down the track. My seeding run kind of went the opposite way though, just about 1/3rd the way down the track trying to put a full run together arm pump kicked in with a bang, it is something I have always struggled with, struggling to pull the brake to slow down as my arms are so pumped up with blood and when I do manage to pull the brake I pull it too hard which results in my slowing down way too much. It’s a losing battle the minute arm pump kicks in and there is nothing you can do about it but try and hold on until the bottom.
My race run I knew was going to be similar, even with a 4 hour wait between runs it just was never going to be enough time to recover. Again about 2 minutes in to my run my arms began to rip my race run to shreds. I was just trying to get down the track, in no way could I attack it the way I felt like I was in practice. Again I was pretty deflated crossing the line with 7th place but the most important race for me will be the World cup at Fort William in a few weeks time. Hopefully I can sort something out with my arms between then and now and come back to get a slightly better result.
Despite saying I was giving up 4X, it dragged me back in for one last national race! I want to race World Champs 4X this year and thought Afan would give me great preparation for it and im so glad I choose to go race it. After a few chats and meeting I was allowed to enter the senior mens catergory, just for a bit more bar to bar action, a bit more aggression and a lot more challenging!
Every heat was stacked and the boys certainly weren’t going easy on me! I had bars in my side at every opportunity and people flying at me for overtakes from all directions. I had never raced such intense heats before, not being able to give up or relax for even half a second. I real enjoyed every minute of racing.
Somehow I manage to get through to the quarter finals and then straight through to semi finals. I managed to scrape through a 2nd place to get my way in to the finals, I was stoked on this, my aim for the weekend was to get on the podium and by reaching the finals I had achieved this. I didn’t even mind what happened in the final.
After a close battle from start to finish in the final I finally crossed the line in 3rd place, which I was over the moon with. I had one of the best days racing Ive ever had at a 4X race before and come away reaching one of my set out goals! Just cant wait to get on the gate again for World Champs now.
3 years off racing downhill and I certainly choose one of the hardest races to come back to but hey ive always liked a challenge!! Anthur Stiniog is a great track, first time id been there but I will definitely be going back at some point soon. The track is pretty challenging and keeps you on you edge for the majority of the track.
After a full days practice on Saturday I was feeling good but felt like I was still just trying to learn the track rather than trying to get up to speed. Come Sunday morning I felt a little better on track, still not 100% up to speed but I was trying to take it relatively easy being it my first race back in 3 years, learning the ropes again!
I took my seeding run fairly steady, not taking to many risks just trying to stay calm and put a race run together. I crossed the line disappointed though. My time was off the pace but I knew I had a lot more to give and felt like I should of gave it my all for the seeding run just to at least know where I would stand so come race run I was more than fired up. Off the start I knew I had to put everything in to this run and I did, until half way down I could feel my rear tire caving under me, I had got a flat. Game over. I felt pretty deflated myself to be honest and wishing even more I had given everything in my seeding run. It has however given me more drive and determination to prove myself this year so on to the next round at Fort William.
Big thank you to Total Womens Cycling for the interview.
Hope you like it: Katy Curd returns to downhill
Another successful weekend, I love racing the Mini Downhill events as they are super chilled out and just great fun to ride. With so many new riders and racers entered in to the races it’s far from serious and all about having fun, exactly what riding your bike should be about.
Its so great to see the women’s field stacked with competition yet again and with current Enduro World champ Tracy Moseley entered I knew the competition was going to be though. Tracy is a good friend of mine and has helped me out as a rider since day one so it was great to be able to start racing against her once again.
I was feeling good during practice and managed to get a good few practice runs in thanks to Fly-Up uplift service. The track its self was fairly simple so there wasn’t to much to learn it was just a case of trying to push myself to get up to speed and trying to keep it smooth for a good time. For my first race run I really pushed hard, I had a good run, smooth and mistake free and got to the bottom with a time of 58.54 to put me in 1st place just half a second ahead of Tracy. For the second run I tried to push it a little too hard, I was making small mistakes all the way down just trying to go that little bit to fast. I crossed the line with a time of 58.27, so although it didn’t feel like it, it was just a little faster than my first run. Before I knew it though Tracy had came down with a time of 57.70 to take the win.
It was great to get back racing Tracy again and to be pushed to that level of competition. I was more than happy to come 2nd with times so tight and its now giving me that extra boost of motivation heading into race season.