Race Report: SDA Glencoe Round 2
I’ve raced at Glencoe every year since it’s inception and it has consistently been THE most challenging track in the country. Steep, rough, wild and very technical. When I heard that the snow melt had left the main track too sketchy to race I was a little disappointed. The decision was made to run the race on the red route which everyone assumed would be a walk in the park…. we were wrong.
I turned up on Saturday morning and spent the morning setting up the Sick Skills pits and giving the race bike a quick once over. I wasn’t too stressed about getting lots of runs in as I assumed it would be a walk in the park. I finally headed up at around midday and cruised down to check out the track. It was wild! It wasn’t super technical like the black run but it was mega rough with some long undulating sections that required plenty of pedalling. This was going to be a tough race.
The weather, as it frequently does in Scotland, started to turn sour at around 3 on the Saturday. The rains moved in and the winds picked up. I managed to sneak in a quick practice run before things got really bad and I found a track that was starting to cut up. The holes were getting deeper and it was getting harder and harder to carry speed, really fun and challenging.
After a lovely night in the van (levelled to perfection with a handy boulder) I woke up on Sunday morning to some serious mist. Vision was really poor and the top of the track was hidden up in the cloud. I tried to shoot a helmet cam but the conditions meant it wasn’t the best. Nevertheless you can still get a feel of the track from it:
Before I knew it I could hear commentator Dave calling out over the loudspeaker for Elites to head for their runs. Sick Skills Pit Maiden Tina had cleaned up my helmet and goggles so I looked fresh for the fans, I grabbed them and my bike and headed up for my run. The plan of attack was just to carry some consistent speed and try and nail all my lines, nice and simple. Everything went well apart from a stall just before the uphill section, I floundered around trying to clip back in and scrabbled with my tear offs trying to clear my vision. A bit of time wasted but a good run on the whole. 3rd place about 7 seconds back on Greg Williamson’s time… not so good.
I regrouped and put together a game plan for 2nd run. I felt like I had spare energy on my 1st run so i decided to give it more on the flat sections, give some more power out of the crucial corners and concentrate on looking ahead to keep things flowing. My run went really well, hit everything smooth, nailed all of my lines and pedalled hard to the line. I was expecting to knock off a couple of seconds . I crossed the line, turned round and saw I’d posted a 2:56.8… 7 seconds quicker than my first run. I got a bit excited thinking I might have won but we checked the times and I was 2nd, 0.4s back on Greg.
I was really happy with my performance, 2 solid runs and nearly scoring the win. Definitely feeling like I’m getting back up to speed. There’s another British round in 2 weeks then the Fort William World Cup. Can’t wait!
Big thanks to the Scottish Downhill Association for another great race, see you all at the next one in Killin. I’ll be gunning for the win next time.