Sunday the 5th August was round 4 of the Pearce cycles events at Bucknell. Another absolutely scorching weekend of the amazing summer the UK has had.
I’ve never ridden Bucknell before so I was glad we arrived in time for track walk on Friday evening. After the long tracks of the last few races at Rheola and Rhyd Y Felin, the track seemed short but full of challenges. It’s been so dry there was inches of loam in the wooded sections, and layers of dust and blown out breaking bumps in the corners on the rest of the track. Unusual challenges for UK riding, it certainly makes a change to the sloppy mud fests with greasy tree roots that we are used to.
The track was full on, fast and had a few jumps, including one hideous looking ski jump to oblivion, which I believe had a landing, but I was never brave enough to find it, as I couldn’t trust that I would stay on the track round the next corner if I did!
The wooded sections with tight switchbacks through the loam were awkward and hard to keep your flow and stay on your line, but a great challenge. The track ended out in the open field, similar to Rhyd Y Felin. After breaking my hand on a grassy corner 2 years ago, they are still my absolute nemesis, so it takes a lot for me to let off the brakes but I think I started to get there over the course of the weekend.
The track was fun and being a shorter track we got a lot of practice laps in, I can’t say I was happy with how I was riding by the end of Saturday, I was still braking and stalling in a lot of the corners but it sounded like most of the girls felt the same and I had a really fun day riding with friends so I wasn’t too bothered. I feel like I’ve really reached the point where I can relax in practice and enjoy it. Some people hate the monotony of sessioning the same track for a day but I really like it. I hate riding tracks blind, I’m very analytical so picking it apart and then piecing it back together works for me, then trying to get faster and ride the lines better is fun.
Sunday was even hotter than Saturday, hard not to feel lethargic and sapped of energy when loading on to the uplift in all your body armour. After an OK first race run on Sunday I was sitting in 3rd just 1 second behind 2nd and knowing that I just needed to be able to trust myself to let off the brakes in the corners a little more. I had been gaining confidence over the weekend and it was now or never. I knocked 2 seconds off on my second run bumping me up in to second place, my best result for a Pearce round and I finally got to stand on the Pearce podium.
Another enjoyable round of the Pearce events on a great track that I felt I learned a lot from, a podium finish was the icing on the cake of a fantastic weekend racing.
The Pearce Cycles Downhill Series is a British Cycling Regional A Ranking Series. There are 3 women’s categories at the Pearce DH series; Junior, Senior and Elite. The Pearce series sits one level below the British Downhill Series (BDS) so is a good introduction to downhill racing. Find out more pearceevents.co.uk