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guest blog: heather kay

Posted on May 21 2014

British 4X Rd 2 – Afan I set off early Saturday morning, not because it was a long drive but because I needed to go and pick up my new van. I arrived at 5:30pm so there were still a few hours of daylight for biking. I walked the track and checked out some lines through the trickier sections. Architrail had been up doing some work on the track and it was looking sweet. Out of the gate, into 1st straight some rollers and step up into first 180 corner, then a couple of tables into 2nd 180 corner, then a step up step down, then step up on to the bridge leading into the corkscrew taking you round on a tight 270 under the bridge and out to a left hander step down and step up into a tight right hander which lead into the rock garden. Then a choice between pro line or not, then into the last 2 corners with a couple of rollers before the finish. The track was pretty loose all along with stones lying around to catch you out, I was feeling pretty optimistic as it is more my style of track than the more hard packed/smoother tracks in the series. 10322933_10152351896628686_1367355511_n Photo by: Bike Photography It was great to be back in the 4X atmosphere, camping with the DBS team, sitting out in the evening sun, I got thoroughly spoilt as I hadn’t brought a stove and pasta was being offered from every direction. The teenagers went off to try out the pump track just down from where we were camping and unfortunately Tyde D’Souza (who had been showing us all up at round 1) managed to crash and get concussion, we had to rush her to A&E so with everyone worried we headed to bed. It was a cold night and I kept waking up so I got up early and made use of the shower to warm myself up. We had news that Tyde was OK but wouldn’t be racing so we were relieved but gutted for her. I took the dog out early on some of the trails nearby and wished I had more time to test them as they were well shaped with great flow, but I knew I needed to save my energy for the racing ahead. My front brake had been feeling pretty dodgy the evening before so I took the pads out for inspection to discover that I must have put something near the lever in my Mum’s car and lost all the fluid, luckily Simon Rickett had a spare which I quickly fitted to the Stanton for practice. A couple of practice runs and as I went through the rock garden I had that dreaded sensation of a flat tyre, I headed back to camp hoping this would be the last mechanical of my day… I managed to get one more practice run in and then it was time for motos. My first moto was perfect, into the lead from the first corner and held it all the way down, feeling good I headed back up for the 2nd moto, Meghan Wherry had the inside gate and managed to block me out on the first corner, we were then neck and neck through the next 2 straights until I managed to get the inside line on the corkscrew, I pushed hard knowing she’d be trying to get back at me but held on to the finish. Thoroughly stoked I headed up for my third moto, out of the gate and Liz Fowler managed to get ahead, every corner I tried to cut inside of her but just didn’t quite have the position to get ahead, I tried a different line through the rock garden but that also failed so I ended up with a 2nd place. These were by far my best moto results so I was feeling confident for semis. I quickly grabbed a sandwich and some more water then headed up to look at the sheets for semis, I was with both Liz and Meghan plus Mabel Mundy was looking good so I knew I couldn’t rule her out either, I’d have to be on my game to get through to A final. We lined up and this time I had the inside line in the first corner and managed to shut Meghan out, Liz was in front but I knew all I needed was 2nd place to get through and I didn’t want to crash with Liz and knock us both out of the running so I tucked in behind her and made sure I didn’t leave any inside gaps open for Meghan to sneak through. All went well and I crossed the line in 2nd, with Cara Murray and Clare Curtis also making it through to the A final in front of Beth Rickett and Abi Wherry. 10318678_10152351895618686_245979497_n Photo by: Eyesdown Photography and Film We all headed back up to the start ramp and I knew I had to get my tactics right if I wanted a top spot, I lined up in gate 3 with both Cara and Liz on the inside, we headed out on the first straight pretty even, I went high on the first corner and as Liz came round to cut me off she lost grip and I managed to just sneak through with Cara in my sights we set off down the track, I was pushing hard to get Cara but knew I couldn’t let my guard down as Liz would be trying to find a gap, we headed into the rock garden and I took a different line to try and gain on Cara, unfortunately I caught a rock and got a flat, with the adrenalin pumping and everyone shouting I didn’t notice at first and headed down into the 3 jumps of the non pro line, as I hit the 2nd I could feel something was wrong and went over the 3rd knowing I had a flat. I was so gutted this was going to be my best result in 4X and with 2 more corners and the finishing straight to go I couldn’t see myself holding on to 2nd, I gritted my teeth, shut out all voices warning me about my rims, held on round the corners and pedaled with all my might to the finish line, somehow I had managed to hold on to that 2nd place…
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