GUEST BLOG: Heather Kay
Posted on April 16 2014
BDS Round 1 – Antur Stiniog It was going to be a tiring weekend, setting off from rainy Devon on Friday lunchtime for the drive up to Antur Stiniog in North Wales, meant arriving early evening, parking the van up and rushing to registration to get our number boards. Dinner, some cider and an early night on the cards, ready for an early start on Saturday. Got up Saturday for the track inspection, found some interesting line options and some pretty gnarly sections that were going to take some getting through… When you see that someone has written “Never clip in” on the rock face you know it’s gonna be tricky! Photo credit to Alwyn@stiniogphot.com The track started off with some jumps, drops and flowy berms warming you up for the technical section to follow. It then wound its way down the mountain through tight steep slippery slate switchbacks to head out to another drop and into the last field with some big doubles and swooping berms leaving you with a hard, lung busting, thigh killing (who said DH was easy?) pedal to the last muddy off camber corner before the finish line. With 300 riders dragging the mud over all the slate the track was soon like an ice skating rink and a lot of people were struggling to stay rubber side down (me included), towards the end of the day I’d finally managed to master most of the sections, and felt like I should be able to hold my own on the morrow. Some more cider and reheated lamb curry later I was ready to hit the sack. Race day morning gave us a couple of hours practice time then it was up to the top for the seeding run. I set off with adrenalin pumping, slammed through the top section into the technical bit, got through the first 2 sections then lost it on a tricky corner. I got back on the bike as quick as I could but knew I’d lost precious time. I still managed to come through in 5th though a long way behind the top 3. Time for a break and some food and it was back to the uplift for race runs. I sat at the top waiting my turn, running through the track in my head trying to calm the nerves and stay focused, knowing I needed a clean run to be in with a chance. I set off hard into the top section, took it steady through the technical section and round the corner I’d crashed on. With the sun beating down the track had dried out a bit so I managed to get a few of the faster lines through some of the switchbacks, down into the last field pushing hard, pedaling as hard as I could to the last corner, clean through the mud and over the line… in 1st place with 4 left to run. Breathing hard I took my place on the hot seat and waited, the next rider through slipped into 2nd so I knew I’d bettered my seeding position, the next 3 fought it out over the top 3 podium spots and I walked away happy with a 4th place in my first ever BDS. We headed out to watch the other riders compete, and to cheer on the Pros, making the most of the Welsh sun, before heading back down for podiums and the long drive home. This week it’s 4X prep with the first round this weekend, then it’s time for some local racing and preparation for Round 2 of the BDS at the renowned Fort William.