Discipline: Downhill, Enduro
Competition Level: Open Women/ Female Veteran
DH Bike - Saracen Myst, Enduro Bike - Specialised Enduro
DH Bike Saracen Myst custom build set up with Marzocchi 380 forks, Rockshox vivid shock, Sram Guide brakes, 9 speed with road cassette and 790mm bars. Preferred tyres Magic Mary and Dirty Dans subject to track and conditions. Enduro Bike Specialized Enduro modified with offset shock bush, shorter stem and taller bars to be slacker and more suited to steeper trails and reduced to single ring 10 speed.
Proving age is just a number I didn't really pick a bike up till I was 42 and this was only because I was given it for Christmas by my other half to help rehabilitate my knees from a total of 6 operations/reconstructions spanning the past 6 years from playing around and racing motocross.
After a couple of months of riding forestry roads and a couple of trips up Afan I was bored so entered my first downhill race in March 2013 at the Forest of Dean 4 years and 72 races later I have gone from strength to strength.
I have never really owned a trail bike as my first bike happened to be a Carerra Banshee X with Rochshock boxer downhill forks I went straight into downhill racing this was soon replaced with a Giant Glory and more recently the Saracen Myst. December 2015 I bought a Specialised Enduro and started to play around on the local trails then entered and won my first enduro and then the series.
19 races, 19 podiums and 3 championship titles
1st in 2016 British Downhill Championships
1st in 2016 Pearce Cycles Championships
2nd in 2016 Welsh Gravity Enduro Championships
Finish in the top 3 of the British Downhill Championships
2018 World Masters Championships
Finish in the top 3 of the Pearce Cycles Championships
You know you're in for a good event when you have to be towed into the pits. It was the final round of the championships and I was laying in second place. Like the Bds I was too far behind to catch first, but with a fairly comfortable points gap to third I was unlikley to lose second. So maybe I could relax and enjoy the final race with out having to take any risks for a change.
Well if BDS finals history repeats its self then I will be injured by mid afternoon Saturday and having to do my seeding and race runs in pain. 2015 I arrived at the final round in 4th place but with a good chance of getting 3rd. This year I entered the finals in second place, too far off for me to catch first, but third was hot on my tail, I was taking no chances and wanted to actually make it through practice and race runs crash and injury free.
Initially when Llangollen was confirmed as a venue for this years BDS it was advertised as using the woods track known to most racers as "Death Woods". I was looking forward to this super steep and technical track as much as it scares me, it's where my strength lies. I had made my mind up before even arriving on site I didn't like the track and was not excited or looking forward to it.
But you know as soon as you hear the beeps at the start you need to be 100% switched on and within 20 seconds of the start your heart rate can be maxed out and adrenalin spiking as you sprint for the roadgap. So I soon find myself back on the start mound. I got down pretty clean, with only minor bobbles where you feel it could have cost half a second at most. But I felt exhausted and found it hard to push.
It seemed strange leaving work at 5.30 on a Friday afternoon to only have to drive 20 minutes up the road for a track walk instead of the usual 2.5+ hours. Rheola forest has a well earned reputation stemming from the old Dragon downhill days when the likes of Manon Carpenter & Mike Jones cut their teeth on the same course. One the gnarliest old school tracks in the UK, oh and did I mention its always wet at Rheola?
Aberystwyth Cliff race always promises to be a great event and part of the Aber Cycle Fest, its great for spectators and the short 'different' semi urban track makes for fun racing. The day started with a track walk to scope out the track and look at what lines I would use, the track was very similar to when I raced there a couple of years ago although the foot path seemed much deeper under gravel.