Race Report || SDA Round 4 || Ae Forest 2013

Race Report || SDA Round 4 || Ae Forest 2013

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The one and only SDA race series.

Last year I had a tough race at Ae Forest SDA. It was the final round and I was in contention for winning the series. It was between myself and Fergus Lamb and it was down to the wire! Whoever won the race would win the series. I crashed on my first run and gave myself the WORST dead leg of my life, seriously never experienced anything like it before. Strapped it up, smashed some pain killers and bashed out my second run, I crossed the line and posted a time on the exact same second as Ferg’s first run time! Scratch that, the exact same tenth of a second! No wait, the exact same hundredth of a second! He beat me….. by….. 0.003 seconds. Gutted.

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It’s steeper and bigger than it looks!

 

 

So it’s 2013 now and I was out to smash it. Sadly Fergus wasn’t there due to doing a 80ft bomb into water which shortened his spine a bit (I hear he has to ride a size medium now) but that’s no reason to back off. This years track had some awesome fresh sections thanks to the McCubbing family and friends, it was fast and wild! Sporadic rain over the weekend led to some slip and slide moments on track!

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New sticker on the helmet and Open Source Components number board holder on display

I turned up on Friday to walk the track with the Singletrack Bikes team. Sick Skills is sponsoring the team and helping them out with a bit of Race Coaching at the SDA’s. We scoped out some tasty lines, talked about tactics and had a bit of banter. It was looking good.  I also gave first time racer Craig Alexander some guidance over the weekend and his dad who works for Heineken repaid the favour in an interesting way.

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Cheers!

Practice on Saturday went well, I knocked out a couple of runs in the morning and immediately felt up to speed so I stuck on the helmet cam and scooted up to do another.

 

Race day and I was feeling confident, the plan was to attack the first run to see where it put me. The top section strung together perfectly, nailing lines and pushing on at a good pace. I came down to the steps just before the fire road and overcooked it, took off before the left hander and overshot my braking point. I hauled on the brakes mid corner pulled a big front wheel skid, dabbed and pulled things back on line. I didn’t loose much time in the corner but all the exit speed I lost was felt across the road. I put that out of my mind and cracked on, diving into the dark woods I again pushed to hard. Trying to brake late into a tight corner I locked up, missed the turn and stuck my front wheel behind a tree. More fumbling about but just got straight back into the flow. I crossed the line and went into first. I knew if I put together a tidy run I could smash it.

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Low and fast! Photo by – Steve Wyper Photography

2nd run and the plan was to attack again but play it safe on those tricky sections from the 1st run. I got straight into it and everything was going good. I pulled out of a corner and suddenly my left spd just pulled out of my pedal… what the hell. Clip back in keep going. Then again it pulled out scrubbing the step up table. I knew there was something up with it so I made sure to be smooth with my movements and keep everything under control.  Still it pulled out pedalling along an off camber then again gapping the roots into the step down. On that last moment fellow racer Gavin Taylor commented that I nearly kicked him in the face as he watched at the side of the track. These moments although unsettling didn’t slow me down and I stormed across the line into a 4 and  a half second lead. Boom, really happy.

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Hucking the root gap into the stepdown #ProLine Photo – Marked Media House

It was great to see Andrew and Chris Reynolds from Singletrack Bikes get their seasons best results with 5th and 2nd place. I won’t say the Sick Skills coaching made all the difference but I’d like to think it helped :p

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Top of the box!

Cheers to everyone at the SDA and all my sponsors

 

See you at the next one!

 

Ben

Mountain bike racer extraordinaire. Owner and CEO of Sick Skills. West Scotland skid champion 1998.

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