Dan Cartwright enjoyed his very first downhill race at “Conquer The Cliff” at Aberystwyth. He even managed 2nd in Rippers category which was great for his first race and he got a lovely trophy. He was the very first rider to start of the whole event and the first run was a dry run and he was just 5 seconds behind the first place rider but as there were thunderstorms rain and lightening just before his second run he didn’t manage to improve on his time. The first place rider in his category fell off hard on his second run so didn’t complete the lap. A lot of riders took part in the event and Caersws had a good representation on the day with 3 x 2nd place in categories and one 4th place, not bad for a small village in Wales (boys pictured above). Dan saw his hero Rachel Atherton who was also riding but was a bit quicker than him on the day ! An enjoyable event to start his downhill racing career off and a great first result.
Cracking day at One Giant Leap Llangollen, I managed to get onto the up lift before my Borderline race on the 24th & 25th of June, the track was spot on after all the rain my Kaiser had plenty of grip and were running fast, the track the race will be on is Son Of Squirrel so that’s the one I needed to practice.
First run down was more of a sighting run so I took my time to see what it was like, a little wet and slippy in places but mainly good and steep, towards the end of the track before the finish in the field is a big step down drop, to start with I took the slightly lower side.
Before we stopped for lunch I think I had done 4-5 runs and was really liking the track, fair play to Martin the owner of the place he put on a good bit of food for us all to have for lunch, as we all got ready for round two dad said I should try the higher drop which is quite high, so I told him if he wants to take a picture to go there now as I’m going to do it on my next run.
The run down to the drop went well and now it was time to give it a go, it all went well on take off the landing went a little wrong but I stayed on, to be fair when you come to the top of the drop it looks really high but I had done it, on the next run I tried it again and it went a lot better so I was well pleased, all in all it was a fantastic day.
That makes a change, no rain and just dry dusty runs, I went to Henblas up lift again today I rode the freeride track quite a few times and it seems really good fun, then the Welsh a few times and then onto NPS I haven’t been able to do the first gap jump at the top, in the past I have just rolled through the gap which for a race run would add quite a lot of time, so I talked to James about it and he said I could do it no problem but to me it looked quite wide and on the far side the track builders had laid a log across the down hill ramp which looked like if you came up short and cased it, it would go wrong in a big way, James told me not to worry I could do it easy, so I had a look and thought lets do it I rode up to it but chickened out and hit the brakes, I turned around and tried again and hit the brakes again, I was so annoyed with myself I rode down the NPS and had a drink and loads of advise, as I went back up on the up lift tractor I kept telling myself I can do it and this time I came up to it and just hit it, Yes, Yes, Yes I did it.
Well that’s Conquer The Cliff done again, it started off a little stress full the gravel on the tracks was like riding on ball bearings, my brand new Mountain Kings seemed to have no grip at all and then to make it even worse as I was coming off the tram at the top of the hill my front tyre hit something on the steeps and blew a hole straight through the side wall, sealant went everywhere and I had to push the bike all the way back down the hill, dad got the remaining fluid out popped a tube in and off I went back to the top, I managed another two practise runs and then it was race time.
When I arrived at the top for my race run you could see the rain rolling up cardigan bay, oh no last year when it rained a few of the corners became skating rings, I think I was lucky as I got to the bottom without any problems the rain got heavier but didn’t affect my run and I was 10 seconds faster than last year, I had another hour and a half to wait until my next run so time for a chat and a chill, by the time my next run came the track had dried out but still had a little moisture which seemed to help with grip and knocked another second and half off my time which left me in seventh in my class, not to bad with the class of rider that was in it.
A race weekend at Antur Stiniog, when we arrived it was raining and the forecast said it would rain until 2pm and rain it did, thinking about it now I think it might have been better to wait it out but I was on the first up lift and away up the hill, the top of the track which I’ve ridden before was no problem, but the new part on Bendy G track was horrendous wet, sloppy, snotty and like a skating ring, there was zero grip people were coming off every where including me, I had my Conti Kaiser’s on and I couldn’t stay upright, so dad put my Conti Mud King on the front which did help a lot I managed a few complete runs, then some offs again, people were complaining every where, but as dad kept saying “it’s the same for everybody ” the pic below is after one run.
It did stop raining around 2pm and things did start to dry a little but by now it was time to head for home and get the bike prepped for the race day, all evening at home it stayed dry, we got up a 6am and looking out the window it looked like it hadn’t rained, but as we got to Antur it was black and cloudy, talking to the people who stayed the night it had bucketed down most of the night, bugger.
I had a walk of the track with dad and it was a sticky, slimy mess oh no here we go again, practise wasn’t the best coming off on nearly every run the Mud King didn’t seem to be helping as much as yesterday, I did my first race run with the Mud King on and I came off twice, as soon as I came off I picked the bike up and got back on so I didn’t hold anyone up, I was very disappointed in my time but thought I would have to try harder on the second run, my second run would be at 3pm so around two hours to wait the sun was out and the wind was drying the track, so I asked dad to put my Kaiser back on to see if it would make a difference to my times, I was a little nerves on the grip front, on the top sections the wind was blowing very strongly but the Kaiser seemed to be rolling faster and then it was the super slippy section and I managed to sail straight through it and knocked 30 seconds off my first run.
Ride.io Race Report
Well two weekends of fun and racing, at Antur this weekend on the beast my first Borderline Events race so I hope all goes well, been there a couple of times with James and Richard so I will hopefully know where I’m going and have a lot of fun.
The weekend after it’s Conquer The Cliff at Aberystwyth I’m going to ride my Stance there as it’s not a full on downhill course, so this week dad has fitted New tyres ( thanks Continental) new chain, new stainless steel suspension bearings and given it a good going over, mind I think it needed it and to be fair it feels like new bike now.
Not sure how long chains should last, but I’m really light and the chain has been on around a year and it was quite shocking that it had stretched half a link in that time, so new KMC X9 .93 chain was put on.
All the bearings have been replaced with new stainless ones and some white marine grease to keep the water out, well fingers crossed.
My new tyres are Continental Mountain King II’s not ridden on them yet but been very impressed with everything I have tried of Conti so far so these shouldn’t disappoint, they do come up slightly narrower for a 2.2 than the old Trail Kings but hopefully roll faster ( well faster than everyone else in the race )
Playing up Henblas tonight, since fitting the lighter shock spring when hitting the ramp of a jump hard the rear tyre would buzz on the saddle, so dad had a fettle with the bottom out control to ramp the shock up a bit on the final part of the stroke, which helped a lot but I could feel the rear kick up as I left the lip of the ramp, so more fiddling backed off the LS 3 clicks and increased the rebound 3 clicks harder and all seemed good no buzz, no kick back and the ride felt smooth.
As we aren’t suspension experts I hope we are heading in the right direction !!
Went for a ride up at Hopton Castle today, the sun was out and it was HOT, hot and sweaty, quite a few riders up there but once out on the trails you hardly saw a soul, the trails were bone dry and very dusty.
I’ve seen the castle a few times as we drove by and from the trails on the lower side of the woods so we thought we would have a look to see what it’s like.