It’s not all about my rides, here’s Will’s race report from Dalby:
Round two of the national points series was held at Dalby forest. This was one I was really looking forward to due to its reputation of being a very technical and hilly course. It was more or less the UCI World Cup course. As usual the unreliable British weather did its best to put a dampener on the race in the week leading up to it, with huge amounts of rain falling almost constantly. However I had heard reports of the course being very sandy and draining well, so I had my fingers crossed for a relatively dry race.
On the drive up on Saturday the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, one second it was bright sunshine and the next dark skies and heavy rainfalls. Arriving at the venue I set the tent up quickly in fear of more rain, however the skies did look to be clearing. After setting up I grabbed my Whyte 29c out the car, eager to test the big wheels out on the technical course. On the practise lap the course appeared to be holding up fairly well to the weather, the sandy terrain drained fantastically, that was until the hail stones started half way round the lap. I carried on riding round, with conditions gradually getting worse and by the time I had reached the start field again it was a mud bath. This was going to be fun, trying to get everything clean and sand free for the next day was a tough task.
Come race morning the weather persisted and after watching some of the earlier races the final verdict on the course condition was clear…seriously muddy. My race came around quickly as always and when I lined up to be gridded the rain had finally stopped. The start was across a boggy field, but thankfully I got away cleanly and had a good position into the first singletrack. The first lap was good, with the majority of climbs and technical sections still ridable, partly due to the sandy ground and partly due to the fantastic grip that a 29er offers especially on a technical course.
Over the next couple of laps I rode on my own, enjoying the technical riding and the big climbs. By the time I came round to the 4th and final lap it was clear the field was very spread out. By this point the muddy sections were beginning to get sticky, making it a bit of a slog to the finish. Thankfully whilst many around me were having technical problems the Whyte 29er performed flawlessly despite the conditions.
I finished 18th /39, a result I was happy with in such testing conditions! That just left the less fun task of packing up, cleaning the bike and the mammoth drive home.
Thanks for the report Will and well done. He would have been 2nd if he’d ridden Sport! JP