Team Nukeproof’s Chris McGlinchy travelled to the Shambhala DH race in Bulgaria recently. Here’s his blog from the trip.
I headed for Dublin Airport in the early hours of the morning to catch my flight to Sofia for the Shambhala Open Cup. Unfortunately the plane had some issues and there was a delay which caused me to miss my connection flight. Eventually when I got to Bulgaria I was greeted by Steve from mtb-bulgaria.com who had booked my accommodation for me and was transfering me from the airport to the race venue. We eventually arrived in the little town of Sopot where the race was being held late on Wednesday evening.
Due to the delayed flights I was unable to walk the track on Wednesday. I got up early on Thursday to build up my Nukeproof Scalp while Steve was busy getting the pits set up to cover us from all the sun!
I got kitted up and headed for the chairlift for my first run of the day. The track was amazing, it was filled with loads of dusty turns and rough rockey shoots. It was also fast and full on the whole way down which really kept you on your toes!
Thursdays practise was great, I started to feel really fast on the track and there were already alot of braking bumps forming on the track which just made it rougher and more fun! After practise we went down to sample the local resturants and was shocked at how cheap the food was. I had a massive feast and all for less than 5 pounds!
Next up was qualifying, I was feeling good on the track on Friday and was looking forward to seeing where I would end up in the UCI category as there were a few big names racing. I headed up for my qualifying run planning on having a fast clean run and this is what I ended up doing. I had a clean run and felt fast, I wasn’t attacking the track just trying to stay smooth and hit all my lines. I came down into 3rd place with about 40 more riders to come down. At the end of qualifying I was sitting in 6th so I was happy with that as I knew I had more to give for my race run.
I woke up on Saturday very excited about the race. I had a few fast runs before the finals and then went back for food. This is when the hevens opened which caused the race to be delayed so long they had to rescedual for Sunday as it didn’t look like the wind was going to settle. I was egar to get racing so had an early night so that Sunday would come quicker. Before bed I decided to cut one of my Schwalbe Dirty Dans as I had done this previously and thought a cut spike would be ideal in the deep dusty conditions.
On Sunday we got another few hours of practise before finals giving me the chance to test out my newly cut tyres. They were amazing, I had so much grip and was feeling confident in all the loose and dusty turns. I had some lunch and got ready for the finals. As it was a UCI class 1 event we had to run back numbers so I made sure I had that on the back of my newly printed Nema jersey.
My final run was going great, I was riding on the edge and getting pretty wild in a few spots. Around 2 minutes into my run I suffered a puncture which seemed to be the thing to do on this course. Despite this I tried to push on and finish my run giving it everything I had. I came down only 9 seconds slower than my qualifing run so was on for a descent time. Despite puncturing I felt this trip has been a very benificial for my riding and Im very excited coming into Val di Sole.
I stayed for another few days after the race when I also did a helmet cam run on my Contour on a clear track which really showed how fast it was !
Thanks to all my sponsors, Nukeproof, Schwalbe, Nema, Contour, Eight.ie, Phunkt.