2016 British National MTB XC Series – Round 3 – Dalby Forest, Yorkshire
British National MTB XC Series – Round 3 – Dalby Forest, Yorkshire – Race Report by Laura Sampson
Round Three of the XC British Nationals took place on 14 and 15 May at Dalby Forest, Yorkshire. The Sampsons had been to Dalby twice last year riding all the trails and thoroughly loved it so they were really looking forward to this race! They already knew that the race was going to be based on most of the Dalby World Cup course with possibly two ‘A’ lines excluded. A planned early arrival on Friday midday gave Caitlyn and Laura a chance to ride the course without too many other riders queuing up to session the sections. The trails were dry, dusty and perfect for racing…
Sadly, Andy was not racing due to a foot operation that he had recently. Good news is that he is on the mend and hopes to be back racing very soon 🙂 Disappointingly, there was no race for Dean at this round, just a 30 second time trial around a very flat area so it didn’t really capture his excitement 🙁
Sunday morning arrived and was dry and sunny. Caitlyn was racing first at 9am in the Youth category which has some extremely talented girls in. She was to complete 2 laps of the very demanding course. Laura’s race at 1.00pm consisted of 4 hard going laps in the Elite Category. Both Evie Richards (who earlier this year won the Under 23 Cyclo Cross World Champs 🙂 and Annie Last (who competed in the 2012 XC Olympics 🙂 were in the race as well as many other very strong, talented riders.
The track was fast and flowing with brutal climbs and some tricky sections. There were plenty of rock drops, a large rock face step back onto the course and a rocky decent that led you to Worry Gill using the ‘b’ line into the gully of the valley. The gully was extremely bumpy and slippery from the damp and as it ran downhill it was definitely better taken at speed. Once reaching the bottom you had to tackle a very steep 24% climb with switchbacks that really got your heart rate going! Next was going down again into a tricky rock corner at the bottom of Merdusa’s drop. We elected to use the berms rather than the ‘a’ line which had become quite eroded. Turning the corner you really had to psyche yourself up to tackle the next brutal climb that just went on and on at 18%. There was relief once you reached the top but you then had to ride a steep rocky decent with a tight turn that could easily have you off! There were not many places to recover, only one section of fire road that led you back down into Worry Gill offered some respite but still had a short sharp climb out using either ‘a’ or ‘b’ lines up the rocks or the less demanding ‘c’ line. Both Caitlyn and Laura took this line as during practise they struggled to get up the rocks and was quicker for them to take the ‘c’ line. Finally there was a climb back to the top of the course with some flowy berms that led you back to the start/finish line. It was a tough lap!
Laura using her Mondraker Podium Pro SL to good effect
Laura & Caitlyn both absolutely loved the course. Caitlyn had a good race finishing 13th in 54.14 minutes after a sprint finish, just 3 seconds behind the 12th placed girl. Laura, after 4 knackering laps finished 12th in 1hr 33 mins. The finish times were very close, just a few minutes between 9-12th place and Laura tried her hardest to reach 11th place but just wasn’t able to. Laura was only a tantalising 1 minute down on the top 10! They are both extremely pleased with their results and are looking forward to the next round in June taking place in Wales.
Thanks again to all our sponsors. Our TORQ gels & energy kept us well fuelled throughout the race and our Mondrakers really did make the climbs as easy as they could be!
Once again, well done to all our friends that raced, it was great catching up with you all.
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