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Sarah Crellin - Race Report

Sarah Crellin - Race Report

Race Report Pearce Cycles Downhill Round 3

After only being on the dh bike since April, round 3 of Bala came round rather quickly. I felt nervous as I haven't raced DH since July '14 & I wasn't confident that I was ready. However, I went with an open mind looking forward to some good bike time in on a decent track, the weekend was going to be a family affair with my parents accompanying me, which was nice to help support me and keep my nerves at bay.
Friday night we arrived late due to the M5 traffic being horrendous! Which meant it was a late night set up being eaten my midges!
Waking up bright & early Saturday morning was made even better by being greeted by rain! Undeterred I prepped my bike, put on flat pedals prepping for a drift fest! I met a good friend Abbi to get some line advice off her as she had previously ridden the track, it was nice to have some good company on the runs and the uplift.

The track conditions throughout the day changed constantly, which was great as it was constantly making me think and take different line choices. After lunch the track was starting to run a lot faster as we were blessed with some sunshine. As the track was running faster I found I was struggling with my forks feeling rather harsh. After investigation within the pits I discovered my low speed compression had no adjustment at all as well as the air camber drawing in air pressure. With no tools or equipment to be able to resolve the problem I proceeded to carry on with runs as the track was so much fun it couldn't be resisted!

Unfortunately on the last section of the track which lead out to an open field, I hit a tree which resulted in a painful right shoulder, bruised bicep and a head ache! Luckily I had Ami and Emma who kindly helped me up and stayed with me until the medic arrived to check out my shoulder.
After having some painkillers and ice on my shoulder and bicep I called it a day and checked over my bike ready for race day. On inspection I discovered I had bent my bars and twisted my fork in the crown. I replaced my bars and loosened the crown and triple clamps to straighten up my forks and found the front wheel was running true!
Saturday evening consisted of chilling out, meeting new racers and catching up with riders who I haven't seen in two years, which was thoroughly enjoyable.

After a night sleep I was rudely awaken by my alarm at stupid o clock to prepare for race day! Once I had found the motivation to get out of bed, I was reminded of the price of failure with a stiff neck, sore bicep and a painful shoulder. I ate breakfast, which was kindly made by my mum, I got ready after taking some much needed pain killers, whilst my dad kindly check over my bike ready to go up for some practise runs.
The first practise run was good, I felt smooth and consistent, made a few mistakes but nothing major. I was struggling with the pain in my should which wasn't overly helped by the harshness of the forks. The second practise run was crazy, there were bodies and pile ups left right and centre. Once at the bottom A fresh set of kit went on ready for the race run.
On the uplift to my race run I felt like I was attending a wake, everyone was quiet! Awaiting at the top it was nice to have a chat with all of the girls.

Next up race run; the dreaded count down! Out of the start gate the aim was to be smooth and just stay on the bike and ride safely to prevent further injury after only just being back on the bike after having two seasons off.
That is what I planned and that didn't happen, on a right hand corner as you enter the last section I came off which then caused a massive struck to get any momentum to prevent the front wheel clogging up with mud. After what felt like an eternity, I crossed the line exhausted as the conditions were so challenging.
Once cleaned off, rested and talking to my parents and Abbi I decided to leave the second run as I was happy with the amount of fun I had had on the Saturday and I didn't want to do another run whilst being in the pain I was in and risking another summer off of the bike.
I gained a lot from the weekend and discovered a large amount which I need to work on, which includes not hitting trees.

It was great riding from all of the girls.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Mitchell cycles to the continued support which they have provided whilst I have been off and on the bike. Thank you to team manger and mechanic to dave for setting up both wet and intermediate tyres for me as both magic Mary's and dirty dans performed brilliantly. It was just a shame the rider didn't perform so well.
Overall it was a great weekend spent with my parents as I don't see them very often. Also it was great to meet new people and also catch up with the old friends which I haven't seen in years. I'm looking forward to the next round in hop ton.

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