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Mini DH The Codeine goes Downhill!

Main Photo: Nick Popham

Team Codeine rider, Rachael Gurney, has been putting her Codeine through its paces before the start of the Gravity Enduro series later in the month. Further proving the versatility of the Codeine, Rachael takes on the field at the Forest of Dean MiniDownhill race.

29th/30th March 2014 – Forest of Dean

Last weekend saw us go back to the Forest of Dean for the last of the winter MiniDownhill series run by Chris Roberts and team. The track to be used this time was Ski run with a different top half to mix things up from when it was used earlier in the season. I felt pretty relaxed approaching this race, I had decided to ride my new On-One Codeine to give it a good test over some steep rough stuff before racing the first round of the UK Gravity Enduro mid April. I’d be lying if I said that the race results didn’t matter to me but I knew I would probably be at a disadvantage on my 140mm 29er. So with that in mind I was chilled, knowing that as long as I went as fast as I could I’d be happy.

Saturday practice was a great day, the top part of the track was new and less cut in than the rest of it, it was interesting seeing new lines form and the day went on. I played about up there a lot, working out what was best for me. Eventually deciding on a line further to the right. This mean a tighter, slower entry to the corner but you could get out faster and in a better position for the next small berm – I was much more consistent here and I like that! The rest the track was the same as last time we raced here, just now I needed time getting used to the rough stuff with 140mm of travel! I was worried that a 67° head angle, compared to the 64° on my usual DH bike was going to make me feel less confident in tackling the steeper sections but I needn’t have worried, the big wheels took everything in their stride, feeling stable with mountains of grip on my trail tyres! The middle section was steepest but pretty straight, with a couple of drops and really quite rocky. The bottom section of the track was pretty flat to be honest with a few berms thrown in, I took advantage of this and pedalled like mad! Next up…… learning to jump the 29er – I had not done this before and at the end of the race I needed to clear a table and a road gap. It all went swimmingly though, the Codeine was eager to get into the air, loving every second of it!

With the clocks going forward, Sunday came round very quickly! It was set to be a beautiful hot day, just right to sweat it out in body armour – joy! I have about an hour and a half of practice before I need to make my way back up the hill to get ready to race at 1100hrs. Over the last four DH races (this being my first DH season) I have found a system that works for me. I take a first run down, practicing any little bits that are still niggling at me but not spending too long as by now, if I’m not going to get it right, I’m not going to do it before the race! Then I have two full runs down, timing myself to get an idea of the time I should be aiming for and that’s it. What with getting a drink and going to the loo, it all takes about an hour and half, so just time to push up to the top and find someone to chat to, taking my mind off the race ahead and stop me putting loads of pressure on myself to do well whilst sat on the start line!

I was first lady down and had a good clear, safe run. I was pretty pleased with my time – only 2 seconds off the leader Sarah Crellin. Last time I raced Sarah she was 5 seconds faster than me, I thought it would be a similar gap this time. After first run results stood with Sarah in first place, me in second and Lindsay Hanley in 3rd. Nothing changed after our second runs, neither Sarah nor I improved our times so results stayed the same! I was so stoked to take second in amongst all these DH bikes. I really felt as if I had got to know my new bike this weekend, safe in the knowledge that I had not even come close to reaching its limits! The other girls shuffled about the results table, strangely none of the top 5 improved their time in the second run but everybody else did, knocking seconds off here, there and everywhere bringing smiles and congratulations as is normal with us girls as we watch and cheer the rest of the riders down.

Photo: photo-bike.co.uk

Overall my group of racing mates had a great weekend results wise. Full results here. My boyfriend Adam Wight, slowly falling in love with his new Cotic BFe, took 4th place in his first race in the hardtail cat (he calls it the man’s category!) and Darren Park took 10th in the seniors also on an enduro bike. Cheering all the riders down in the sun was almost as much fun as racing itself. Getting out and about this year, we have already found people we recognise from race to race and are bound to meet up again – this is what racing is all about – people, bikes and the atmosphere!

4 April 2014

Codeine

Comments

  • VINCENT D
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    Encouraging to read I've made the right choice. Thanks for the write up.