Bike Team - Recent
Jess Stone reports from pearce Cycles Round 1....
"I had decided that I was going to be missing out on the World Cup Round 1 in South Africa due to University commitments. A tough call to make, however, being my final year at University, the work load is huge and with having to juggle the demands of both racing to a high standard whilst completing my coursework on time also to a high standard is certainly a challenge and takes a great deal of time management organisation! Instead, I opted to race the Pearce Cycles Series Round 1 at Bringewood, Ludlow. The Pearce Cycles rounds are very local to me and are a series in which I most look forward to out of all the races I compete in. The atmosphere and organisation of the race and uplifting is just phenomenal; furthermore, the tracks (developed by Pearce Cycles themselves) are incredibly fun and addictive...
Saturday’s practice went amazingly; I had so much fun it was unreal. It had taken me a while to get into the course; the course was fast and it all looked the same! I was so excited to be riding I blitzed out 11 runs and even when the uplift stopped I really wanted to keep going. I was very interested to see how different the new session was in comparison to last year’s bike on a course that I was familiar with. The 9.9 is much more responsive and the acceleration out of the corners is impressive...!
Even after the 11 runs during practice on the Saturday I did not feel tired at all, and on race day, I still felt pretty fresh. It had rained slightly over night and it was still showering, which made the course a little slick for practice, however by race runs the course had dried out and the sun had graced us with is presence.
My first race run was pretty good, it was certainly smooth, however I didn’t pedal as much as I should have! I came down with a time of 2mins 32 seconds, 11 seconds ahead of the next Elite woman in 2nd place.
I was absolutely determined for the second run I could make up a good few seconds and get well under 2min30s. The second run didn’t quite start off as intended – with a snapped chain which got jammed in my chain device off the start, I knew I would have to work hard! Being unable to pedal, I pumped off everything and tried to carry as much speed as possible. I was riding so well, until the chain came loose and flipped me over the bars half way down. I pulled the chain off and carried on, still riding really well. I crossed the line and was only 10 seconds off my first race run with a time of 2min42.
The race runs count on your best time of the two runs, so I won the Elite Women’s Category by 4 seconds.
Great start to the season."
We're all psyched on Jess's new team and wish her all the best for 2012...
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #4 Mont Saint Anne, CAN and #5 Windham, NY
After missing out on Leogang World Cup through my injury, I was certainly hungry for some good racing. Fort William was a good race and I thoroughly enjoyed being back on a DH bike but I failed to qualify and ended up in 23rd place. I struggled to hold on after 4 weeks previous having a grade 3 separation of my shoulder at the South African World Cup (which my doctor said can take 8 weeks to heal and 18 months to be back to normalish). I decided to stay home, train and rest instead of racing #3 instead. My intentions at Mont Saint Anne and Windham were to go in and get good solid results from where I could then build on throughout the remainder of the season. My confidence had definitely taken a hit too, so getting solid results would be good for me. MSA is one of my favourite race tracks and was looking forward to riding here as I had not been here since 2009. Windham I wasn’t so keen on but I was sure to work hard none the less.
MONT SAINT ANNE
The first day of practice went good and I was really enjoying myself. It had rained and the track was pretty ruined so it was physically tough and I had to work pretty hard to get the lines right otherwise you ended up in a big bog and losing tons of speed.
Come qualifying morning I went to do my practice run only for it to be so ridiculously foggy – visibility was only 5 metres which was eerie on the chairlift not being able to see anything but the three wires above your head and then having to ride blind into stuff! Not ideal! I was pretty nervous for the race. I managed to come down in 14th place, but with the most horrendous race run I have done yet...! I totally underestimated how physical this track was in the weather conditions; it made the race more challenging and demanding than ever.
Practice went pretty good on race day and I was happy with the way I was riding. I was still on the brakes too much which was frustrating me. The race run went good and actually I didn’t make any big mistakes. I could have improved it but the way I was riding stuff I was happy with. I just needed to let go of the brakes. I finished in 13th place. I was frustrated but it was good solid points for the board.
Last year, i finished in 13th place, which was the best world cup finish I’ve achieved. After walking the track, some of the features was made a little easier and it looked much faster than it was last year. I was feeling confident I could do well here but there were a few things that daunted me a little.
Practice day went slowly, it took me a while to get into the flow of the track, it’s hard to explain but at first it’s a very weird track. After doing a run with Tracy Moseley and getting towed down the track, I soon discovered the secret to riding good here – pinned and flat out !!! It required precise riding and line choices. I started to enjoy myself from here on.
Qualifying went well. I was incredibly nervous at the start but I finished in 11th place and was half a second off 10th place and 5 seconds off 7th. I didn’t do the road gap in my qualification so I knew I had that in the bag as that was an easy 6 second gain. But again, I had problems with riding rigid and I was not happy with the way I was riding.
Race day slowly came round and I was in such a great mood. I couldn’t sleep the night before and could hardly eat a thing but I was so looking forward to riding.
The race run went well and for the first time since Vigo, I felt like I was back on form. I wasn’t afraid to let go of the brakes, and I really tried my best. There were a few areas where I could have done loads better, and looking back, I should really have focused more on that in training, but I was chuffed to finish in 11th place and be 1 second off that top 10 and only 11 seconds off Tracy Moseley.
So I finished the USA World Cup trip on a high with some good solid points on the board and more importantly – the confidence is coming back!
A BIG thank you goes out to: All the guys at TREK (Ray, Monkdawg, Sander, Eli) for being such amazing fun and for all the help with making sure my bike was in the best possible condition for racing. 23 degrees, Fionn Griffiths, Emi R, Katy Curd, Tracy Moseley and to anyone else who has helped out in any way over the two weeks. I really appreciate it x
Pearce Cycles #1 – Hopton Castle
This was the first Pearce cycles round of the season and I always look forward to their events; the atmosphere is so cool, the races are always well organised and everyone gets along really well.
The first practice day went well; it was very dusty and ironic that the weekend before this race was in Spain and there was more rain there than there was in the UK! The track was running fast and I was enjoying every moment. I normally do about 6 runs but this time, I did 8 runs and pushed up lots too. I made sure I made the most of it. (That evening I also went for a rally drive; my friend had brought their rally car down as I wanted to have a go and I did my very first handbrake turn!!)
The next day the weather was strange; it rained hard for about 10 minutes and then we had 20 minutes of sun and it was like that for the whole day. The track got very beat up with big holes and huge ruts all the way down and was very challenging to ride.
My first race run was awful; I came off the track a few times and had no flow to my riding at all. I came down with a time of 2 minutes 56 and I was so disappointed. My second run was much better. I had relatively good focus for the majority of the race and tried to keep as smooth as possible. I made a couple of big errors which cost me time so I finished with a time of 2 minutes 44. It was an awesome weekend though and I really enjoyed myself. Massive thanks to Steve Carry and Family for looking after me this weekend.
Next Up: 9/10th April; British Downhill Series #2 – Moelfre, Wales
I know when my alarm is set for 3:40am; I’m mostly going to be jetting off somewhere, usually somewhere nice! This was my first abroad trip of the 2011 season and I was so excited; I was looking forward to a change of scenery, riding in dust for a change and to get a decent dose of Vitamin D! My hotel was literally across the road from the beach and down the road from the track. The only thing was that I knew I wouldn’t get to spend much time at the beach – I had to do my Uni work while I was there! Gutted
The first day of practice went really well, the track was dusty and very fast; I had absolute awesome fun! It is a pretty rocky and rough track also, with some cool jumps, so after 5 runs I was pretty tired! They had made some changes to the track; the big north shore jumps had been taken out and a lot of smaller ones replaced them. Which were fun but I wanted bigger jumps to prepare for South Africa. However, this track required a lot of precision riding – precise line choices, which is similar to SA.
The next day of practice was great in the morning; my first two runs down were awesome. I had the lines dialled, now all I needed to do was let go and hang loose!! I had planned to do a couple of runs in the late afternoon – however – it rained really hard from 1.30pm onwards and didn’t stop until 4pm. Riders were coming down looking soaked and I heard it was going to be a nice day tomorrow. So I decided not to ride, to stop the course getting beat up and there was no point riding in the wet if it was going to be dry tomorrow.
The next morning I woke up only to see that it had rained all through the night and continued through until 9am. So my first practice run was pretty wild but was amazing fun! I only had time for one practice run and then I shortly went up for my qualifying run. The run itself was not the best, there were many sections I wasn’t happy with and I lost a lot time. I qualified in 3rd place with Myriam Nicole 1st and Manon Carpenter 2nd.
I went up a little earlier for my second run and had a look at a couple of lines at the very top where I lost a bit of time.
The race run went well, was smooth and I was happy with it. It was by no means a perfect run and there are areas I intend to work on this year. I finished in 1st place, with over a 3 second lead ahead of Myriam Nicole 2nd (who got 5 UCI World Cup podiums in 2010 and a 6th place at the UCI World Championships in 2010, and she didn’t crash in her race run!) and Manon Carpenter 3rd.
I was really happy with how I was riding and I felt strong on the bike. I am now looking forward to the next couple of weeks racing; next weekend Pearce Cycles Series #1 at Hopton and British Downhill Series #2 at Moelfre before I head off to South Africa for two weeks where I’ll be racing the SA National Series race and for the start of the UCI World Cup tour.
I would like to thank Trek Spain, 23 Degrees and Trek World Racing for looking after me this weekend.