Cardinham Woods, Thurs 21 Feb, Bodmin

Half Term this week and the weather was promising to be dry so on Thurday we headed down to Bodmin to check out the recently open trails at Cardinham Woods....

I'd heard lots of good things about Cardinham and seen a ton of pictures and videos since it opened and although there is currently just a 5 mile blue trail open a red run is currently under construction and due to be open soon.

Having never ridden here before and being quite keen to get going we quickly unpacked the bike and I had a quick look at the map before setting off on my first lap of the blue. I was supposed to be on a rest day in quite an intensive week of training so didn't go wild, just focussed on the flow and keeping it all neat and tidy :)

The blue trail starts with quite an aggressive climb up from the car park and then crosses up onto a fast flowing ridge section and then onto a fun descent before crossing the fire road and climbing up to the next ridge.

It was a bitterly cold day for riding with an east wind blowing like crazy and although the bottom of the trails are well sheltered once you climb up onto the ridge line it's pretty exposed.

The next section contains a really good mixup of fast rolling small descents and sharp climbs with a technical descent made up of tight switchbacks situated in the middle....a lot of fun!

The final part of the track finishes up with a small easy descent bringing you back to the car park.

Having only just opened the surface of the track was super smooth and pretty fast rolling and also very dry considering all the rain we've had recently!

We did another lap stopping to session bits and take some photos but it was super cold so we called it a day and headed home to get warm. All in all a really great fun trail to ride and I'll definitely be heading back there very soon when it's a bit warmer to smash out some proper quick laps :)

Strava info for the day can be found here.

Off Camber Winter XC Series - Round 5, Sun 17 Feb, Blandford Forum

Was an early 6am start for Hot Pursuit XC racers Tom and I as we loaded up the van and headed down the A35 to Blandford Forum in Dorset for Round 5 of the Off Camber Winter XC Series.

The forecast was promising dry weather and sure enough as we got closer to Blandford the sun began to pierce through the foggy haze...crikey, could we actually be on for a dry race?

The temperature was still pretty chilly when we arrived at around 8am, sign on wasn't open for another hour and neither of us had raced here before, so we decided to head out on the track for a practice lap to warm up and get any sneaky lines sorted.

The track, although not particularly technical, was very wet and muddy and a lot of fun to ride so with our line choices and attack points dialled we headed to registration to get our race numbers.

A quick change into fresh clothes followed by a jet wash of the bikes and it was soon time to head over to the start line. With a field of 73 riders split across various categories it was to be a rolling start down the tarmac driveway and then 3 laps of the 5 mile course.

So we head out following the lead bike, which after a short while peels off and it's time to go full gas!

photo: Eamonn Deane

I had put myself in a good position to get a great start and quickly snatched the lead. I attacked hard throughout the whole of the first lap and managed to extend the gap to Merida Factory Racing rider Paul Hopkins to around 16 secs whilst setting the fastest lap time of the day...

photo: Steve Boulter

photo: Eamonn Deane

...but Paul is a super fast seasoned Pro and set about clawing back my lead during lap 2. I battled hard to resist but didn't want to blow up so by the end of lap 2 he was on my back wheel and drafting me down the tarmac driveway.

photo: Eamonn Deane

We spent lap 3 trading places until towards the end when Paul was leading I decided if I was going to challenge for the win then I would need to send one up the inside and attack the final climb before the finish.

photo: Eamonn Deane

So I went for it.....made my move and BOOM, washed out the front end and hit the deck hard with the bike (still clipped to my feet) arching over the top of me and landing on my head...looked up to see Paul glancing over his shoulder and riding off to take the win....

Frantically got to my feet and jumped back on the bike only to find my chain was off and wrapped around my crank arm so by the time I was sorted I crossed the line 30 secs behind Paul.

So all in all a good days racing - really enjoyed my fight with Merida Factory Racing rider Paul Hopkins and in the end it was second place in the overall and 1st Junior. Hot Pursuit team mate Tom Dunn had a cracking ride finishing in 6th overall.

Big thank you to Hot Pursuit Cycles for fixing up my bike from Margam and getting it all race ready and also to Off Camber for organising another great days racing, full results can be found here and lastly thank you to Eamonn Deane for supplying all the fab photos of this race - check out his blog here for a detailed report on the race!

WMBS XC 2013 - Round 1, Sun 10 Feb, Margam Park, Port Talbot

So it was smashing down with rain when my alarm rudely woke me on Sunday morning. We loaded the van up and made a fairly early start, cruising up a very wet M5 aiming to get to Margam for just after 9:00am.

Me chasing super fast Elite rider Luke Eggar
With no sign of any let up in the weather during the journey, in fact the closer we got to Margam the heavier the rain fell, it was going to be a tough day....

On arrival we walked up to the start and registered. Just standing in the queue at registration and my feet were sunk in several inches of mud, the amount of water cascading off the hillside was unbelievable!

Having never raced at Margam before I got the bike ready and did a quick reccie lap. The track was quite technical and pretty steep in places but also soaking wet with a lot of thick sloppy mud.

After cleaning up the bike we went and watched the first race and spotted some better line choices on a few of the more technical sections as the track got more and more beaten up.

The rain was still hammering down, we were soaked through and it was freezing cold so we headed back to the van to get ready for the race.

Soon enough it was time to get racing and being a downhiller myself it was super cool to find that I was lined up on the start line behind the Elites which included none other than Atherton/GT Bikes World Cup downhiller Marc Beaumont!

So off we went, the starting pace was fast and I settled for 8th position off the line and quickly got into a good rhythm during the first climb. Had a great battle swapping positions with Marc Beaumont until I managed to pull a gap at the top of the climb.

First lap went really well as I made my way up through the field and onto the back wheel of the current Junior National Champion. I followed him through the last muddy section of the lap, which had to be run, and once we got back on our bikes I took a high line that I spotted earlier and made the pass which took me up into overall third position.

Once past him I had extended the gap to around 13 secs by the time I crossed the start/finish line to began lap 2.

I then managed to get into second place overall whilst working hard to create a substantial gap to the Junior National Champion on the climb but unfortunately riding slightly off the main line I rolled over a stick and managed to smash up my rear mech which ended up in my spokes, jamming up the rear wheel......race over! Was pretty stoked that Marc Beaumont acknowledged my efforts as he passed by though :)

Although I didn't get the result I was looking for today the main reason for racing was to gauge where I was at, so it's great to know I was very competitive having got the third fasted lap time of the day and that my fitness is looking strong for this years Nationals....can't wait - bring them on!

Big thanks to Maddie and Jay @ Fully Sussed for organising and running yet another great event which ran like clockwork even though the weather tried it's best to make things difficult!

Oh, and as you can probably see I've seriously upped my power to weight ratio since my last race......was pretty simple really, I've had a major haircut :)

Welsh MTB Series 2013 - Round 1, Margam Park

Busy getting ready for Round 1 of this years Welsh MTB XC Series on is down with the guys at Hot Pursuit getting a once over before the race and I have an active recovery session planned on the turbo....should be in great shape, can't wait - bring it on!

Oh, and here's a sneaky preview of Sundays course....

moredirt | online mountain bike magazine

Super-stoked that the guys at moredirt have asked me to blog about this years race season for the mighty moredirt website!!

First blog about the Soggy Bottom Round 2 race went live today....strap in for further episodes - it's gonna be a wild and bumpy ride :)

Cheers Billy and Angus!


Yea, we are finally getting a van!

Should be rad and will make travelling to races so much easier with all the stuff we need to take. Hopefully getting it on Saturday so we should be able to use it for Round 1 of the Welsh XC National race at Margam Park this Sunday :)