The RideItOut crew headed to Rhyd y Felin for the next stop on the National Downhill Series.
It’s been an epic weekend of racing in the Classic Venue of Rhyd y Felin. Saturday morning we were treated to glorious sunshine, loads of grip and some seriously high speeds. But then just as the weatherman stated. At 1pm it started to drizzle it down for the rest of the day.
Anyone who has ridden Rhyd y Felin in the wet knows how hard this track gets. It’s a horrible mix of tree stumps roots and the filthiest welsh clay available that makes for next to no grip. A lovely peanut butter dirt! When it rains hard here it actually gets better, the mud thins and you get to have a relatively lowish level of grip. When the rain is intermittent combined with hard sunshine, that’s when the going gets tough and the tough hit the deck! Im talking the hardest conditions you could imagine! As an Elite racer of 10 years I struggled! Respect to anyone that managed to get down.
Check out my handle bar mount run from practice-
I’d like to say conditions got better but no, they either stayed the same or got worse. Sunday stayed a perfect peanut butter dirt storm of sunshine, and rain showers every 30 mins. I went to Full Dirty Dan spikes, 17psi front 20psi rear. That’s how slippery Rhyd y Felin was!!! Thank god for Schwalbe Pro Core. As the rocks in the top section combined with my 84kg brute force would have crumpled any rims without it! And no burping either. Unreal Technology eh!
Suspension had to be tweaked and the compression settings went right down on my Ohlins setup. This made a huge difference making my suspension that much more supple for optimum slippery root grip. Cheers for the tune and advice J tech Suspension!
I was on form, a 5th first split and going hard for it. Then my head went hard into the Rhyd y Felin dirt… Yeah nice one Ems. But on a positive note. It was a nice opportunity after the crash to find out the limit of grip for racing.
For the 1st time all day it didn’t rain for at least 2 hours! Grip conditions was still hard to predict though.
I struggled to commit to going fast after my crash in my qualification run. And it showed as my first split was 4 seconds off the pace way back in 11th. As the run went on I realised that there was more grip to be had. I had a little talk to myself and went for it. I sent it from 11th in the first split to 2nd on the second split to 3rd place over the line!
STOKED! 3rd Place! My best ever Elite result at a UK national!
And even more stoked for a Welsh top 3!
We just had to get the welsh flag out for the podium!
Highs and Lows
Team Ride it Out’s Expert Pinner Louis Meade was on incredible form this weekend! I literally couldn’t keep up with him in practice! He was the only one to hit this gnarly stump gap on his race run. I was convinced he was not only going to win Expert but he’d win the Fastest time of the day. Sadly it was not to be, he ended his hopes with 2 crashes, yet somehow still ended up 4th expert! MAD DOG!!!
Man down, Will was in the same boat as me in awe of Louis speed. He unfortunately ended his race on Saturday afternoon when he went down hard. He made the smart move and decided not to race, I was gutted for him, but glad he did the right thing.
Here’s what Will had to say:
“For my first time back on a DH bike for approx 1 month due to a whiplash injury I felt surprisingly at home back on the big bike! Sending runs with the boys all Saturday on a mint track, can’t beat it! The heavens opened up for the last few runs on Saturday making the track pretty lethal! A 20m under-steer into a tree on the last run re- injured my neck so that was my weekend over! Still had a rad time, hoping for a bit of luck to swing my way sometime soon…”
Overall it was a great weekend of racing and I’m stoked for Louis pace and my podium result. Will you’ll get some luck soon bro!
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the VLOG out tomorrow! (Tuesday 14th)
Next stop for me is the World Cup in La Bresse!
PHOTO’S THANKS TO –
Jo Heard – https://www.rootsandrain.com/photos/life-in-raw/
Dave Price- https://www.rootsandrain.com/photos/dave-price-photography/
Big Thanks to the Team Ride.IO sponsors. Keep up to date with their latest an greatest product by clicking on the links below –