UK Gravity Enduro Round 2 - Innerleithan. Twelve50 Bikes Race Report. UKGE

  • 2014 UKGE Round 2. Innerleithen, Scotland
  • 8:55. Excellent, time to fit in a brew before Ross arrives to load the van. Matt’s at the shop early to swap his Maxxis tyres. Weather forecast’s looking grim, go for the Minion mate. Get that Ardent Race outta there. Packed and rolling, round two here we come. Apparently Russ and Co arrived yesterday and set the pits up, all Ross and I need to do today is turn up and ride bikes. In the mean time, the traffics flowing nicely so lets kick back, tune in to Radio Two and get up to speed with the local election results. Rock and roll baby. 13:30. Twelve50 towers is standing proud but looking quiet as we roll in to the arena. Time to relax and realign my life with pushbikes for another weekend of racing. The usual friendly faces are floating around, busying themselves setting up gazebos and living quarters for the next three days. The cogs of the UKGE machine, quiet since Ae last month, are whirring back to life. 

  • No pts are complete without a fire pit

  • Degsy's dirty burgers

  • Turns out my team mates are already up the hill. Nothing else for it then, Ross and I need to change in to our fresh Mavic kit and get up there too. I’m expecting big. I’m expecting tough. Innerleithen has failed to deliver anything else. I need to pace myself on this first practice lap or else I’ll be shattered come Sunday. 
  • Stage one, fairly standard downhill track. I can deal with that. Transitions to Stages two and three test the legs, that’s for sure. The top half of stage two is one of my favorite tracks on Plora Rig. Ross and I stop to swap lines we’ve spotted. Again on Stage three, although this time I think he’s more amused as he rounds corners to find me rolling in the dirt, having binned it on wet roots. He makes the appropriate sympathetic noises, checks I’m in one piece and pushes on. Bingo tactics won’t win me any prizes on stage four. Keep those eyes up Josh. Look for the taped cuts. Remember what Al told you about riding off cambers. I’m starting to tire now as we head to stage five. Conversation has dried up. Ross doesn’t seem affected and cranks ahead of me. Probably for the best, to be honest. As I search for somewhere to hang my tiredness, his dry chain squeak becomes the object of my loathing. Quick breather at the top, couple of mouthfuls of Powerbar and we drop in to Stage five. Holy trouser press. No messing around with this one. Full commitment required on the steeps, doubles and lightning bus stops. Hats off to Steve and Charley. They’ve pulled the trails out of the bag for this round, no question.
  • 19:00 Degsy’s dirty burgers are indeed filthy. Milk shake and onion rings to boot. I’m going to run out of adjectives before the end of the season. Des, keep serving it up and we’ll keep putting it away. Awesome. Matt arrives late with Clair. I try and scare him with half true stories of what’s in store on the tracks he now won’t have time to practice. Everyone has an opinion on which tracks he should get under his belt before race day. Sleep well Matt. 7:00. The familiar Velcro tearing noise wakes me as the gazebo walls are removed from Twelve50 towers. I’m tired before I even get out of the sleeping bag. Pace yourself today Josh! 9:50 Ross, Matt and I leave for an early recce of stages two and five. As we head over to stage five Ready passes us on his way to the top. He’s got his full face on, as have a number of others on the hill. Maybe that’d be a good idea for race day…? One thing’s for sure, the gradient on stage five hasn’t slackened over night. I launch the double above the arena to be sure I can cope with it when I’m tired on Sunday. Lets just get to the bottom. Food and rest is needed before qualifying. 17:00 I’m at the top, ahead of my quali start time and someone’s bust themselves up on the track. Course hold. Not a pleasant thought. Best park that one at the back of the mind for now. Right on cue it starts raining. The course re opens and I’m sliding my way down the steep stuff. On lookers watch silently as I lurch past. This isn’t going as planned. Pull yourself together Josh, at least hit the lines you planned lower down the course. The results don’t show what I’d hoped for but then there’s another five stages of this tomorrow. Distract yourself with interviewing Matt and Cheri for the blog before bed. The weathers moving in again. Lets see what track conditions we’re left with in the morning.
  • Nicole making light work of the steep stage 5
    Rider Interviews:-
  • Name MS: Matthew Steadman (Twelve50 Owner) CM: Lardy Category MS: Masters (old enough to know better) CM: Elite Women Years Racing MS: Riding since 1980! Racing mountain bikes since 1992. CM: 16 I say ‘Enduro Specific’, you say…? MS: I think you’ll find it’s just called mountain biking but if it means you want to spend more money, welcome to the Enduro Emporium sir…. CM: Are you sure its not just downhill?! I say ‘corner cutting’, you say…? MS: If I see it, I’ll cut it (within the bounds of fair play. Nobody likes a complete arse) CM: Is it taped…? Favourite UK Enduro venue? MS: Eastridge. Old school memories and the team always do well there too. Transitions aren’t killer and the tracks are always great fun. CM: Dyfi. It’s got a bit of everything hasn’t it? Twelve50 Bikes Race Team. One each; road trip, marry, stuck in a lift. MS: Road trip – Whole team. Where’s the fun on your own? Marry – Russ/ Des. I’d grow old and fat very happily. Stuck in a lift – Ready. It would be insane CM: Road Trip – Al. he could blag us in to any party. Marry – Ross. He seems to enjoy a few aperitifs when not racing. Stuck in a lift – Ready. I’m sure he’d have some sort of power tool to get us out! If you could have a meal with one famous mountain biker, living or dead, who would it be? MS: Steve Peat. My only hero and a true inspiration when you feel down, old and broken after a shitty weekend racing. Pick yourself up, have a word and get on with it. CM: Fabien Barel ‘cos I recon he’s super cool and a right laugh. 7:00 The Velcro tear reveals wet conditions. No way this is drying up. Get the Minion on the rear and the waterproof in the Osprey pack. 
  • Matt having a pre race interview with Steve Parr
    11:45 The team leaves the arena until I’m the last to go. It’s time to do this. I briefly chat to Steve Parr about the weather and he warns me he’d heard it was worse at the top of the hill. Not much I can do about that now. Sometime before the start of stage one the sun comes out. Its warm and there’s steam rising out of the ground. Picturesque almost, if only I had time to stop and enjoy the scenery. 14:55 I arrive at the top of stage five hungry. I haven’t packed enough food. Amateur. Luckily Ewan is waiting to start his run and kindly shares a packet of Gel Shots. That’s the trick. I only need to make it down this last stage, except there’s another course hold in effect and the weathers taking another turn for the worse. Word seems to be that it’s more serious this time. Someone is down and we’re not going to be moving quickly. Back pedaling on the bike might keep the chills away. Twenty minutes pass and the decision is made to pull the plug. Stage five wont count towards the overall. If I’m honest, it’s the decision I was hoping for. I’m cold, tired, wet and in need of a hot brew. Ewan and I ride our own stage five and pass the casualty near the bottom. It doesn’t look pretty, heal up soon buddy.
  • Rossco looking smooth

    Lardy in full flow
    Well that’s it’s. Another round done. Just the big pack down now. Having the best pit set up at the race comes at a price. The results are posted as we work. Nicci’s making a habit of this podium lark. Second place this time, good work girl! One position off the podium for Ready. Surely that’s got to come this year? Not a great position for me but I’ve enjoyed it hugely all the same. Keep on keeping on Josh, keep practicing lad! Big thanks to all the sponsors Mavic, Osprey, Renthal, Weber, PowerBar, Fox and Orange. You made a tough race enjoyable. Next round Afan. I’m going to need a slight change of tactics there I reckon.


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