Photo Credit to: Ian Buts Photography
Wow, what a course! My first impressions of the Falmouth Urban Downhill course were fantastic. This course was approximately 3 times the length of the Plymouth course. This meant there was a lot more information to take in and a lot more to memorise. The top 3 sectors of the course included high speed corners on gravel and concreate, several steps sections and even the back of a lorry to jump over! The bottom half included even more steps, some off camber cornering and a little bit of grass (just so the slick tyre riders were out of their comfort zone!) This was going to be a good race I could tell.
I walked the length of the course 6 times on the Saturday afternoon to give me the best chance of remembering it. Then I went to the pub…..
Woke up on Sunday morning in a tent with my Girlfriend who froze overnight! And we wondered down to the course in the sunshine, it was still only 6 degrees celcius. The weather for the day was lovely , their was a little breeze but the sun stayed out the whole day. Practice time! I set off for my first practice run with my tummy full of a good English breakfast and the new Banshee that Ray at Cycle Paths had supplied me with was running like a dream. The course flowed well and it seemed the only hesitation I had was the small grass section the had a heavy dew on it and was getting rather muddy from everyone riding over.
My cycling hero and legend Chris Smith was there to lend advice and help to all the riders as he usually does. I had a quick chat with him at the top of the course and he invited me to ride the course with him for a practice run, I hardly kept up! It was amazing riding with Chris as it showed me his technique and the racing lines he thought were best to take. He really is a great ambassador for the sport and would make a great mentor….
After having 5 practice runs I was completely knackered, the cold air made it hard to go flat out without breathing difficulties; Time for a cuppa and sandwhich that my older bro and lovely Girlfriend had ready for me. It was great to have a nice long break and spend some time with them as they had travelled all the way to Cornwall for me (Love you both!) Laura and Chris were watching all morning during practice so they told me where I looked fast and where I needed to go quicker.
Now its race time and I’m pumped up and ready to get aggressive! The first few corners flew by and I managed to drift through the loose gravel corner sideways! Down through the first step section and onto the straight, peddling like a mad man I came into the last ‘Steep steps’ section past the St. Johns ambulance team like I was on fire, using the entire 170mm of travel on my forks I could feel them working overtime. The tyres were on the edge of their grip limit and had nothing more to give even with the 70psi I had thrown into them. Going into the last straight toward the finish line everything felt great but my breathing was like an asthmatic who has just breathed in Calvin Kliens finest aftershave. Boom that was it across the line I flew, I raced just as quick to get to the leader board to see how it went…….Surely……maybe…..YEE Haa I was in 1st position but couldn’t get excited yet as there were still 9 riders left to go.
One by one they came in and I stayed on the top of the Senior category by 7 seconds. One thing I had learned from a very young age was its not over till the fat lady sings, and this was far from over, we all still had another crack at the course. The second run was short lived for me as my chain came off on the 2 section just past the café. That was it, race over for my but still relying on my first race run time I sat and waited at the bottom. One by one the riders came in and I stayed top right through to the end. I won the event by 3.148 seconds. Happy man I was!