Malaga Madness

When I hear the word, Malaga, the first few things that pop in to my head are sun, sea and dusty trails so when I got the message from Manon Carpenter asking if I fancied a few weeks out there riding, I jumped at the chance. It was going to be a bit of a last minute trip but everyone knows their always the best! Flights booked, bikes packed and off my boyfriend and I went looking smug with ourselves as we left the cold wet rainy UK.

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We arrived at the apartment pretty late so we threw all are stuff in the garage and went straight to bed. We woke up to pretty heavy rain fall, at which point i should of gone back to bed, as day 1 of our Malaga trip didnt quite go to plan!
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Despite the rain we hit the trails and surprising they were running real good, no mud, fast and still grippy. A few runs in and then boom, just as i was starting to feel comfortable on the tracks i clipped the edge of a rock and off snaps my mech hanger! After a long push to the bottom of the 20min descent I reached the others only to find my hire car has had it’s rear window smashed in! Soaking wet, broken bike, no spares and a hire car that was looking in a rather sorry state! I sat there laughing to myself hoping not much else could go wrong especially on day 1.
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Luckily everything from then onwards our holiday really started to improve. Rose Bikes sent us out a new mech hanger so i had my Rose Verdita Green back up and running again with in 48hours. The sun came out for the rest of the holiday. We rode some amazing trails thanks to Salva at The Bike Shuttle www.thebikeshuttle.com, so different to anything in the UK and such a variety of riding as well. Downhill, enduro, xc, dirt jumps, skateparks, motor cross tracks, there is so much there, your never left with out anything to ride.
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We even managed to step away from the bikes for a couple of days to chill out and explore. We hired out mopeds for a cruise around the mountains, so cheap and so much fun. I got dragged in the sea by Manon and then got mocked at my lack of swimming ability! Meet up with the guys at Roost DH for some Go-Kart Grand Prix action, in which I think everyone came away bruised and battered from! And of course tried and tested the local Spanish beer and cuisines on a few occasions!
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Have to say a massive thank you to Salva at The Bike Shuttle for being a great guide, providing us with a top uplift service and just being a massive help and a good laugh through out the trip. Also a big thank you to Roost DH for the guiding and great DH uplifts. And of course Manon Carpenter for organising everything and inviting us!
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It was one of the best trips I’ve had in awhile and can thoroughly recommend the trip out there to anyone.

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Car Park Racing

Sunday night I headed down to Cardiff for a race with a difference, multi-story car park urban dual. 100 riders were entered and battled it down to eventually find the 2 fastest riders to battle it out head to head to find the winner.

So many people turned up and I don’t think anyone went away disappointed. The coursed used a lot of the car park, drifting down and round the ramps, down the stairs, weaving round the pillars and a flat out sprint. It was so simple which made it more fun and made for real close racing.

After a real fun night, feeling like a big kid playing around in a car park, I went on to take the win in the women’s race. It was such a fun night and I don’t think I stopped smiling once. Hoping they continue and create a series as I’m sure it wouldn’t disappoint.

http://www.chopmtb.com/2012/10/30/car-park-carnage-cardiff-multi-storey-becomes-a-race-track-for-the-evans-cycles-urban-dual/

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Afan Euro 4X Series Round 3

After tearing up Afan for the weekend for the British 4X on Saturday and Euro 4X on the Sunday, I have just been left wondering why it is I have never been down there before! It has to be by far the best track in the UK, I think It has what a lot of tracks are missing. It’s real rough from top to bottom, big rocks gardens, plenty of places to over take and a pro line that is actually big enough to make a lot of the elite riders struggle! Every time I crossed the finish line in my heat I had to run back up just to watch the next race it was that exciting!

Sunday saw the last round of the Euro Series and after riding the track all day Saturday for the British round I woke up more excited than ever to ride on Sunday. As it was a European round it meant it ran the same as a Pro Tour, qualifying and straight into knock out heats. My practice was going well, and more than anything I was just having fun and enjoying the track.

I had a good qualifying run, nothing out of the ordinary but it was good enough to come down in first place giving me gate choice for the final. About 30mins before our final the rain came down so the hardest part of the day for me was just keeping warm! Sat in the gate for the final I was actually feeling pretty nervous as it suddenly dawned on me that I could potentially win the overall Euro series. As the gate dropped I got the snap, and although it was a battle to the first corner i got out in front and managed to keep the lead. Coming into the rock garden I was more than cautious as I didn’t know how slippery it was going to be but seemed to sail through with out a problem and managed to stay in the lead until the end.

I was pretty happy winning the race as it meant I had also secured enough points to take the european overall series as well. Afan was the last race in the season for me so to end on a high like this really completes the year.

Have to say a big thank you to Chris Roberts and Scott Beaumont for all they’ve done this year, all the races have been a great success and with out you none of us would have been racing so Thank You!

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World Champs

It’s funny how much can change in just a few months. If you asked me at the start of the season what my goals for the year are? I would and did answer ‘just to have fun, enjoy riding and racing and not take it seriously’ as after an injury plagued 2011 season this was exactly what I needed. Now move half way through the season and ask me the same question again and my answer would of been ‘To Win World Champs’.

After having one of the best seasons I’ve had to date I was heading in to Worlds and this was the first time I felt like I could of walked away with a medal. I had been training specially for this race and was feeling better than I ever had done on a bike before, i was having fun, feeling strong and more than anything felt confident about the event.

Practice started on thursday and after hearing all the hype about the track and walking it before hand, I was like a kid at Christmas, too excited and just couldn’t wait to get riding. It was a fun track to ride, so different to anything else I had ridden and kept you on your toes the whole way down. Friday night was qualifying and I was feeling quietly confident. I had Will Longden sat up at the gate with me and I strangely wasnt even feeling nervous.

As the gate dropped I had a good start and stayed focused but it clearly just wasn’t meant to be. As I went to pedal out of the corner over the pro line the next thing i know it was game over, my chain snapped, all i could do try to pump my way to the finish line. As I crossed the line it didnt occur to me that we actually had to qualify and there were going to be 3 riders getting knocked out. I stood there as I watched the last few riders come across the line and saw my name drop to 9th place and at that moment I hit me that that was it…I wouldn’t even make it to the race.

I was devastated and still couldn’t quite believe it. It was pretty hard to swallow that that was it, all the training over the last few months was aimed around this one race and I didn’t even get to race. I’m a big believer in everything is meant to happen for a reason though so even though it was hard to have to sit on the side line and watch the race, I’m sure I will have my chance again and it now makes me want that title even more. Bring on 2013 World Champs!

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Euro Champs

Brits on tour!

I’ve never been to Euro champs before but with it being 2 weeks before worlds it was going to be good preparation. Euro’s this year was held at Szczawno zdroj, Poland. The place holds some good memories for me as earlier in the year I won my first 4X ProTour here and now it was time to try again for Euro Champs.

It felt like more of a holiday than a race. Travelling out with a good bunch of mates and well respected riders, banter all the way and just a chilled out relaxed trip.

Official practise didn’t start until Friday evening but it wan open course all week so we were free to ride all day everyday. The track was looking prime, so we didnt waste anytime in getting riding. It definitely rode as well as it looked, fast, loose, unpredictable, just good fun! Tying to save my energy I spent the first day of practice just messing around with the rest of the GB team, drifting corners, sending jumps and more importantly manual contests!

Saturday it was time to get down to business, it was a long day of practice, qualifying and racing all in one day. I was feeling real good in practice, more to the point just loving riding, the track was so much fun I almost forgot I was there to race! For qualifying I gave it everything and it turned out well, I had a good solid run and crossed the line in first place.

I was sat watching the guys race and just getting more and more pumped to ride! Although it looked like one of the hardest races to race I couldn’t wait to get back out there. After a fairly long wait since quali’s I found it hard to focus coming in to my first heat. I had a shocking gate but managed to claw it back and got through to the final.

Nervous but excited, sat on the gate for the final looking down at the crowd just waiting and watching. I knew all I had to do was get a good gate and I’d be in for a good result. The gate dropped and I had the best gate of my life! I was out in front and led to the first corner. I could feel and hear the other girls on my tail but just stayed focused and had a real good run. As I hit the last jump I was already smiling, I crossed the line first and claimed the title of European Champ! So so happy and even more it has giving me the confidence I need to go in to Worlds with.

It was such a good week with some awesome mates and some good laughs, I now just can’t wait till Worlds, Bring on World Champs.

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National 4X Champs

National Champs is a big one for me, I have been National Champ for 2 years running now and it means a lot to me to be able to wear the National Champs jersey/sleeve when racing. Although I know I can do well if I put my mind to it, I still end up putting a massive amount of pressure on myself to preform. I think also every year the pressure mounts, it becomes more and more important to me to try defend my title and i feel like I’m going in to the race with a target on my back!

After racing in the men’s category the day before I was feeling ready for anything the day was going to throw at me. It wasn’t going to be easy as the other girls were wanting the title just as much as me so it made for some good competition. The race worked in World Cup format so qualifying and then knock out heats.

My qualifying run went pretty well, I had a good, risk free run with one small mistake but luckily nothing that cost me to much time. I crossed the line in 1st placing me straight in to the final up against Suzanne Lacey, Jess ‘hench’ Greaves and Cara Murray.

To say I was feeling the pressure for the final would be a huge understatement, I can’t remember feeling that nervous for a long time. I was sat up the top just trying to do everything I possibly could to stay focused and stay positive. Sat in the gate I was actually shaking! As the gate dropped I got a strong gate and got snap and made it to the first corner out in front. Luckily I managed to avoid the carnage going on behind me as the other girls managed pile in to the first berm all at once, which didn’t end great for Jess. Haring the carnage behind moil just tried to keep it smooth and again fairly risk free from here on and i managed to keep my positional until the finish line.

I was so stoked to take the win for the 3rd consecutive year and i can now wear the National sleeve for another year with pride. It was such a good days racing and has giving me confidence heading in to World Champs at the end of the August.

A massive shout out to Scott Roberts who had a big stack during racing and ending up getting air lifted from the site after breaking 3 vertebra. Wish you all the best on your recovery, heal up soon, stay strong.

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British 4X Round 4 Harthill

Last weekend saw a double header weekend of racing at Harthill, Cheshire. Round 4 of the British 4X series took place on Saturday and the National 4X Champs on Sunday. National champs is a big one for me as I was 2011 National Champ so I had a title to defend.

Saturday I was feeling brave and thought I’d try give myself a challenge. Although the womens category for 4X is pretty stacked these days I entered in to the senior men’s category to just try push myself that bit more. It was a bit of an eye opener but exactly what I needed. Each heat was real close racing and made me realised that I had to give it everything the entire way down in every heat, no backing off at anytime and no being mr nice guy, aggressive racing seemed to be the only way to make it through to the next heat.

I managed to battle my way through to the small final which I was pretty stoked about. My final run went well, I was 2nd out of the gate and with a bit of elbow barging i managed to keep that position until the finishing line placing 6th overall in senior men. It was one of my best days racing for a long time and certainly pushed me to the level I should be racing at. Big thank you to Chris Roberts for letting me race amongst the guys and also Dave Knight for looking after my bike all day.

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Training

With the 4X ProTour Series now over it’s time to get my head down and start preparing for World Champs. With only 9weeks left now until the big weekend every training session matters. Rose Vaujany team have very nicely hooked me up with a full training program which is making a huge difference to my riding as well as helping to keep me focused.

After not being at home for what seems to be a life time, it’s feels great to be back and slip back in to normality again. I will be at home now for until World Champs with the exception of the Mega Avalanche. I am lucky enough to have First Step UK Gym less than 5 minutes from my house as their fully kitted out gym allows me to do everything I need to for training, I couldn’t ask for a better facility. They will be seeing a lot of me there over the next couple of months!

The next race for me will be Round 4 of the British 4X Series with the National 4X Champs the day after. National Champs is a big race for me as I will be there defending my current title. For now though it’s 2 weeks of hard training and trying to kick back and relax when possible! Will keep you updated as much as possible on here or you can follow me on Twitter, @katycurd for instant updates or come and like my Athlete Facebook page.

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