It isn’t uncommon to be patriotic to your home town. But it makes it a little easier when you live somewhere as awesome as I do. Fort William is known to most as the home of British Downhill, but this small highland town has so much more to offer than just a Downhill track. Sure the track is heaps of fun and brings in thousands of visitors every year but the riding is so much more diverse than just that one track. This was showcased at the 2nd round of the Scottish Enduro Series a few weeks back, the race had a perfect balance of bike park to natural riding.
The 2nd round of the SES was my very first Enduro race so I thought I’d ease myself in and enter the lite category. I came away from the weekend with two thing.. 2nd place and an enduro convert. I now see the appeal of this discipline. You don’t have the same waiting around that you do in Downhill, your constantly on your bike having fun and after all that’s why we all ride to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Despite this I still have a love for big bikes and chairlifts which I can’t see changing anytime soon.
My favourite time of the year in Fort William is normally around late April till the end of June. The weather is usually nice, the midges are still in hibernation and most of the visitors still think we are snowed in so the place isn’t overly busy.
As I sit writing this outside in 22 degree heat I think it is a fair statement to say that winter is behind us (despite last weeks snow). I must admit I surprisingly enjoyed winter this year, there wasn’t too much snow at ground/trail level so I got out on my bike heaps and there was still enough up top to get some good snowboarding nailed. I am however glad to see the back of winter now. It was fun while it lasted but now it’s Bike, BBQ & Beach time. Summer plans are nearly finalised, we’re heading to France, Italy & Switzerland in June and then over to Slovenia in August. We also have our first Girls group ride in just under 2 weeks in Fort William. It’s a great chance to ride with like minded girls (at a discounted rate). Check it out here.
This past weekend was the first weekend of Gondola uplift in Fort William, which to me signifies the start of Summer, the sun even made an appearance on the Sunday too.
The weather over the last few days has been phenomenal in Fort William the sun has been shining so brightly that it woke me up at 5am this morning and I decided to head out on a pre work bike ride (I might be a sleep at my desk by lunch time). Long may Summer continue.
Until Next Time 🙂 x
Fort William DH tracks opens tomorrow for the Summer!
Specialized bicycles will be on hand all weekend with demos & ride outs! Even offering people the chance to try out the Öhlins equipped Demo 8 Carbon.
Saturday ride out will take place at 10am & 2pm. Sundays ride out with Specialized rider Hannah Barnes is at 10am.
It is hard to believe that we are into the month of May already. The 2016 season is already well underway but there is still heaps to look forward too. Here is a round up of what’s happened so far.
Sports clothing innovators X Bionic have a real passion for getting it right. Every aspect of there kit is researched and designed thoroughly, technology wise this kit is on another level to most of its market competitors. But the question is does that justify the high price tag that come with it. The kit is definitely more trail or XC based as apposed to Enduro or Downhill.
I have been testing out the Mountain Bike Pants for a few months now, the shorts feel very XC, they are fairly short and definitely not compatible with knee pads, a large gap was left between my pads ending and the shorts starting. The waist fit on these shorts however is excellent I found them comfortable and non restricting when moving around the bike. If you are more XC inclined these shorts are probably perfect for you, they are extremely lightweight, they are quite fitted & have a light compression level so don’t give the same restrictiveness as lycra. I probably wouldn’t recommend them for DH or Enduro style riding.
Overall these shorts are good for XC, the price tag attached to them is pretty high and I’m not sure they gave me any enhancements to my performance unlike the Anatomical Bike Beaver X Bionic top. However when combined with other pieces of the kit such as the Beaver Top I believe they work exceptionally well together. The shorts retail for £127 and can be purchased directly from X Bionic.
These shorts were provided FOC by X Bionic UK.
The world cup season is well underway! I can’t believe we have already had the 2nd round.
Local Aussie Tracey Hannah put a stop to a British 1,2 &3 grabbing 2nd place and her best result since Wyndham 2012, Rachel Atherton continued to dominated securing the win by a huge 7 second gap.
There wasn’t any major surprises in this race. We had previously predicted that Tracey Hannah would do well on her home track and that Atherton would continue her domination. Carpenter however seems to be struggling to get out of the start gates, after dominating back in 2014 she has never quite got that flow back.
Rd 3 sees the World Cup to head back to the old favourite that is Fort William on the 4th/5th June!
Full Womens Results
Lourdes was never going to be an easy race, but the continual rain for days before certainly didn’t help. The three British riders, Manon Carpenter, Rachel Atherton & Tahnee Seagrave looked like the top contenders right from the off and with Myriam Nicole out with her 3rd broken collar bone and Raggot retired the field was looking a little more bare than usual. All the French hopes were on 2012 World Champion Morgane Charre.
Australian National Champion Tracey Hannah was looking pretty fierce on track despite having a nasty crash in Lourdes last year. She is one to watch out for this season, after a few seasons of lacking in form and being riddled with injury it is clear she is thirsty to be back on that top step.
Switching the snowy French Alps this winter for the muddy Welsh countryside has clearly paid off for former junior World Champion Tahnee Seagrave after she smashed qualifying by almost 5 second, even with a crash. But on the day no one could hold off Rachel Atherton as her good form from 2015 looks set to continue into the 2016 season. But Seagrave was hot on her tail with a gap of less than 5 seconds between the two.
Surely this is the year Seagrave will get that first World Cup Win.
The next round is just under two weeks away in Cairn Australia and my prediction is that Hannah is going to pull something special out of the bag for her home round, she is clearly hungry for a win!