Kustom Bikes winter series Rd 3 Coombe Syd country park (between Taunton/Williton in Somerset)
Words and Pics:Ace Woodley
Well racing in snow ! new one for me, never done that before, made things more interesting. So Coombe Syd, an old NPS venue last used for that back in 2004, not up to current NPS specs but a firm favourite down south as it’s got good length, a fair vertical drop, carpark and UPLIFT, and not to rough an uplift track and the tractors go round in a big loop, none of this one road up same road down business. Anyone out there who raced back in 04 would have felt right at home as the track is still the same. Not the most technical but great for a work out and not to scary for newbies which being a local race there where a few popping the old race cherry.
A few minute push up from the drop off point, and Sunday morning was a bit fresh and the snow was still there, the timing was set up where the red posts are. So from the start my 1st run, lil Chris Lamley zips off, he isnt that far off me on shorter tracks so i go on the 30 second mark, drop in, few pedal strokes then slam into the roots and remains of a drystone wall, new wheel grabbing holes, tight through the trees, slip the pedals to stay up and scoot over the log into the braking bumps and hit the fireroad, SPRINT stay in the stream of meltwater or take your chances in the inchs of snow and slush, hit the bus stop hard and fast and you carry enough speed to get up and over, going well, dab the brakes line up to exit the bus stop you are about 10 feet above the fire road, i then wondered why the marshall was in the way down there, i am committed to the exit, an emergency stop is not going to happen, NO red flag, the marshall shouts stop ! lil Chris is lying on his back and the marshall has a hand on his head. I CANT STOP, stay put i will go round, this all happened in a few seconds, to try and stop there and then would have put me on top of the pair of them, i safely ride round, Sprint again hit the next bus stop again carry as much speed as possible to get over it, this one is long and flat with bumps and logs, step down exit, i go right of the tree slower but no roots, dab the brakes set up straight then hold on (somehow i managed to flat land it on the 2nd run, marshall here was impressed i didnt snap the bike again about 10 foot drop to flat) Into the middle woods, no snow here, tree cover too dense but its thick mud i cant hold the cheeky corner cuts and aim for the big rut and stay in that, the mud is clogging the wheels ( some had to stop and clear it to get rolling again) the bike is all over the place and slowing down fast, slower you go the more mud you pick up, stay in the new rut around the 2 small jumps to slow to jump, the gap jump is in sight, did it last year, screw it just skim it and the bike sheds mud and as if by magic picks up speed again.
The gap jump sends you into a right then left berm then hit table 1, the run in is full of braking bumps all full of standing meltwater, the upslope is rutted, no wind today so no worry of being blown off the jump, i skim it and pedal where i can, the open field is cross rutted and very wet, table 2 skim over that and into more cross ruts full of water and hit the double, thats Dan Fisher up there from Team Big Peaks making a better job than me, short sprint and i batter the double double, sit down tuck in and pedal to the small step down to the fire road and yes you guessed it SPRINT pedal like buggery, dead tearoff graveyard here, line up for the bottom woods, hard braking straight line, let go and stuff the front wheel over the roots and hard right, then hard left weave round the trees and straight line into the bombhole, my line now hits the big rut in the bottom of the hole that wasnt there a few hours ago and i get spat into that big tree stump on the upslope and go over the bars uphill, grab the bike try to clamber out with flat shoes on, run and jump to get rolling more roots and a line split, fast boys go left and aim for the spine of the rock drop, i go right and into a berm and go down the right hand side of the tree, loads binned it on the left faster choice, i choose the longer slower right and stay on the bike, go slow to go fast and carry speed to make the akward exit, hard right and a chunk of shale comes up with the mud and jams the cranks, back pedal then forwards then back again, it’s cleared exit the woods, line in sight, pedal over the speed hump and SPRINT and jump the finish, drop the bike and talk to Tony about lil Chris, a radio check goes up as they have heard nothing, he is ok and shortly sets off to finish his run and then crash’s out again, 7 mins after starting he rolls over the line and dont look good, he clipped a stump on the bus stop exit and went over the bars and flatlanded on his back, badly winded and sore ribs. We were surprised when he rolled up for run 2 !
Run 1 went well, no snafu’s with timing, loads of DNF’s but no injury (not that i heard about, and uplift is gossip central for whoever crashed out) Time to clean off the bike ready for the next run.
Other stuff ! i had the normal social things on the go and wanted to talk to a few people about things i have heard, keeping quiet about the details at the moment but we may well be getting an official uplift service (other than kustom bikes) at the moment it’s mates only, but they are thinking about a proper public service (bookings only) and have to look into the legal side of things, it looks good, have to wait and see on that one, if it goes “official” i will pass on the details.
The Men from Mule.
After the first run a banner appeared on there car, i wondered if this was a race sponser so slinked over for a chat, Jimmy and Giles from www.mulebar.com i have had a look at there site and they like adventure, well they got that allright, Jimmy(on the left hiding the bike) is the big Boss and this was his first DH race, Giles was making sure the boss didnt get nailed, it gets better (dont tell Intense!) they kind of “borrowed” an Intense Slopestyler for a “test ride” in the course of this test it was subjected to a proper tractor trailer uplift (we all know what that does to a new bike) and then got raced in all that grinding mud, Giles bagged 3rd in master’s on that 951 and Jimmy was happy to survive, who knows maybe they will appear at a few more DH races, it was nice to see industry people at a local race, and racing for kicks to try it out, the box of mulebars in the boot came in handy when they had to get out of the carpark, nothing like a bribe for a push, my Toyota is of course awesome and had no trouble getting out.
Other stuff, i heard via acebook that Mr Deakin is doing training days, i got him to stand still for five minutes and asked if this was true and not an internet windup.. I got a press release later on, heres the main details.
Ben Deakin Mountain Bike Coaching and Training days
This is one2one training whether you are into Xc, free ride or downhill or just an absolute beginner looking to get more from your bike and riding. Ben has the following, British cycling level 2 coach, CTC trained instructor, M.I.A.S. level 3 (mountainbike, instructor award scheme) and is trained in Adventure first aid, the course can be tailored to suit you and will cover, the basics and bike set-up, kit and equipment, cornering technique, jumps and drops, line choice, race prep and training.
Prices start at £25 per hour for a one 2 one session lasting between 2-4 hours. Or a group booking up to 6 riders at £20 per person, per hour for a 2-4 hour session. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 07940485311
Ben is a well known character down south and a bit of a powerhouse on the bike, he is also a Royal Marine and has been training them to ride and race, he is now riding for Torico and Muc-off. You see what i mean about down south getting going ! secret cookie races, Woodland riders winter series at Tavistock, the Uk Bike park is having a major facelift as well, Kustom bikes racing and uplifts now we have personal trainers, we might not have the big tracks here but we seem to have a very strong growing DH race scene, look out out for team big peaks this year, and it’s growing as i heard a few other things as well.
AND I HAVE MOVED NORTH against my will… bugger.
Ben is the one in the middle, Andy Payne from Torico on the left and Andy Wright from Axo/RHUK on the right, yes the HT podium for results check www.kustombikes.co.uk or go an d check out Sebs www.rootsandrain.co.uk which is pure gold for race results and well worth a look anyway.
Right trade show stuff next, icebike show here i come.