Rostrevor Mountain Bike Festival 2013

This weekend might have been the best mountain bike event to ever be held in Northern Ireland. It saw the opening of the new purpose built trails in Rostrevor, Co. Down and staged 3 events over the duration of the weekend. I decided to enter both the downhill and the enduro as the enduro was being held after the downhill race and I had to give enduro a go sooner or later to see what all the hype was about!

My weekend started off early on Friday helping set up for the downhill race as my club (Chain Reaction Cycles) were hosting the event. This was the 2nd round of the IDMS. I got a good chance to look at the track when I was taping it so I didn’t have to do this again later on in the day.  The track was amazing in my eyes, it had a good mix of everything from fun flowy turns to technical rock gardens and awkward turns to test even the best of riders. I was really looking forward to practice the next day.

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Photo by – Dermott Sweeney Photography

Practice on Saturday went really well for me, I felt like I got up to speed after only a few runs down the track and was only having trouble with a couple of tricky sections on the track. Once I got all my lines sorted I ended the day with a full run and was really looking forward to race day.

Sunday rolled around and I was starting to feel the nerves a little bit, I did 3 practice runs in the morning and was feeling very confident. I grabbed something to eat and headed to the top with my turbo trainer and to watch the future of the sport come flying down the hill (U14 & U16). I walked back down to the bottom to get ready for my seeding run and then headed up. My seeding run was going pretty good, I was hitting all my lines quite smooth and then made a mistake coming into a tricky corner and washed my front wheel over the corner. I tried to get back up and going again as quick as I could and finished my run in 2nd place. I was feeling good after seeding despite the crash as I wasn’t that far off the pace.

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Photo by – Dermott Sweeney Photography

I got some food and chilled out for a while before my race run and then headed back up. My race run was a little scrappy, I made a few mistakes on the top half of the track and knew I needed to keep it smooth on the lower half,  I pedaled hard to the finish and came across the line in the lead with only one rider to go. Colin Ross came down into 2nd place which meant that I had won,  I was so happy and relieved at the same time about getting the win as I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me all weekend to get the win and was so glad that I was able to make it happen!

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Photo by – Dermott Sweeney Photography

Next up was the enduro race on Monday, after yesterdays race it was fair to say I was a little bit tired but as there was no limit to the transition times we could go round at an easy pace until we got to each stage. I went around the loop with a few mates and it just felt like we were on our standard Sunday spin with a few timed stages in between, it was a great atmosphere. All the stages were great fun, they made full use of all the new trails on offer and had a great mix of terrain from the smooth flowing single track to technical rocky sections. I pushed hard in all my stages and was having one of the best days on a bike I’ve had in a while. 4 hours later I finally finished the full loop and grabbed some food while we were waiting on the results. I managed to come 2nd in the Elite category behind fellow CRC supported rider Gareth McKee who was racing the XC race on Sunday so he must have been feeling it too!

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All in all a great weekend racing and I can’t thank all the organizers enough for holding such an amazing event to open the new trails.

Cheers to Dermott Sweeney Photography for the photos and be sure to head on over to his Facebook page and give him a like!

Thanks to all my sponsors for their support – Chain Reaction Cycles, Nukeproof, Schwalbe, Contour, 100% Eyewear, Crank Brothers & Mucky Nutz

My next race will be the 2nd round of the British Downhill Series at Fort William next weekend.

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