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BDS Round 3 @ Innerleithen, Scotland - 1/2 June 2013

I took three weeks off racing after the Fort William BDS to get back to training and reflect on how things are going. By the time the third round at Innerleithen came around I was fired up and ready to go again! With this event being only one week before the Fort William World Cup and loads of world cup riders attending it was another great chance to get amongst the top riders and boost confidence.

My buddy Pete Williams designed the track for the race and made sure it was fast and enjoyable for everyone. It was pretty easy to get up to speed on the track, and by my second run I was having so much fun and was going quick. There is no better feeling than smashing through the trees, with them almost skimming your elbows at top speed! Such an adrenaline buzz!

I used Saturday practice to experiment with tyre choice, tyre pressure and my suspension settings. I worked with the awesome guys at Schwalbe race support to land on the right tyre options. I decided on the new for 2013 Hans Dampf Super Gravity front and rear to keep rolling speeds to a maximum on the fast course. I had to drop my tyre pressures slightly lower than I normally would to get the right feeling from them, but when we had it right they felt awesome.

By the end of Saturday I’d done 5 runs and was feeling great on the track. I wanted to do more runs, but along with everyone else I’d spent half the day standing in the uplift queue because there weren’t enough uplift vehicles allocated. Very frustrating when all everyone wants to do is get value for money in terms of riding time.

The weather on Saturday had been great and Sunday was no different for the race. Sunny and warm! Rare for Scotland so we enjoyed it while it lasted. We had to get out of bed and along for the uplift at 7.30 in the morning to guarantee getting two practice runs done! Crazy. I got to the top at 8.30 and was surprised when I saw riders dropping into the track. I thought, give them credit they’ve got the track open on time. However, I rolled over to the start hut and surprise surprise the UCI commissaire hadn’t bothered getting out of bed on time so wasn’t there, so the track wasn’t actually open. Typical.

The track was running so fast by the end of practice, when I had all my lines dialed in, and I couldn’t wait to get racing. First though were our qualifying runs. I had a smooth fast run with only one little mistake and I went into 1st place by 5 seconds when I got to the bottom, which was cool. There were 65 elites present and there were about 20 left to come down after me so I knew I’d had a good one to be leading by that much. After qualifying I was 5th, sandwiched between 4 previous world cup winners – Gee Atherton in fourth and Marc Beaumont in 3rd, and Stevie Smith in 6th and Brook MacDonald in 7th. The most important thing was repeating it for the race run, so I resisted getting excited by the result and kept my focus on the race run.

I had a good mindset at the top before my run. I was looking forward to the run remembering to stay loose and relaxed, as well as most importantly to have fun. I kept the nerves under control this time, and didn’t feel out of place filing into my seeding position in the line for the start. My race run was awesome. It’s the first time I’ve had a better race run than qually run, after a good qually. I went a second faster and came through the finish into 7th place, and only 1.4 seconds back from the lead – racing was tight! I finished in 11th place with only established top 20 world cup riders ahead of me which was awesome.

So a very successful weekend of racing and I’m heading to the Fort William World Cup this weekend full of confidence to keep getting top results!

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