It’s a cliché thing to say but my 2016 race season had it’s high points and it’s low points, as every single one must have. In that respect it has been a very average season, hitting many personal goals and coming home stoked after a podium to the flip side of that, more often, falling short of what I had set out to do that weekend and coming home disappointed and like I had ruined my weekend with a ‘stupid crash here’ or ‘time lost there’.
I had a fairly busy race season, competing in the whole series of the POC Scottish Enduro Series, the more fun and chilled out events of Muckmedden and a couple of other races that caught my eye such as blind racing in Ballo, snowy mass starts in Glen Coe and trail bike downhill races. My main aim being the Scottish Enduro Series.
We started off the season racing in Ae forest at a trail bike TT, a short sprint fest on the lower half of the jump line. This is effectively the same race as the Crankworx Air DH (only a tiny bit smaller scale) squashing tables and carrying speed are the main goals. I loved the short race and sprint and was happy to come away with 3rd, just pipped of the win from a couple of British downhillers. This race was good fun and got me extremely excited to race some enduro.
As a whole, the entire Scottish enduro series went terribly for me, I knew the competition side of it wasn’t hugely important as a first year junior, however I had expectations on myself and knew where I should have been competing and only got frustrated when I wasn’t where I wanted to be. The first races in Dunkeld, Fort William were plagued with crashes and subsequently being far too reserved as I didn’t want to crash again. My pacing was all wrong and I was tense and didn’t flow on the bike. Although these races were great fun riding, meeting new faces and getting to watch the pros getting it done, I was annoyed at myself for riding like I hadn’t ridden a bike before in my life.
The series to me only started to click for me in Dunoon, after taking the win at Glen Coe and at Comrie and a 2nd in Ballo, I knew I was getting on well with my new race bike (a sexy carbon Cube Stereo 160) and I went into the weekend with no expectations, no pressure, just the idea of a sick weekend at a place I’d never ridden before, having a good time riding bikes. I guess this is where I went wrong throughout the majority of the series, putting far too much pressure on myself and messing up, not enjoying it and therefore riding worse.
I couldn’t have been more stoked to come away with 2nd in Dunoon, my best result in a Scottish round and extremely happy with my riding that day, good times racing alongside Ramsay all day. Looking out onto the water, in the sunshine, during the transitions on race day, easily made that day my favourite riding day of 2016. Racing clicked for me that weekend as I realised that ‘fun is fast’ and I have said that to myself before every race stage since. I am having more fun racing and getting better results, this mind-set has me so eager for 2017.
Unfortunately I cut my season short right at the end racing in Perth, where I went from having two perfectly normal functioning kidneys to just one. Wrapped around a tree and into hospital wasn’t how I expected that day to go, this was the strangest race for me also as I got a text from when I was in the hospital, all drugged up, and got told I had taken the win! I was pumped to win, but was gutted to be out of riding for such a long time while the muscle, kidney and nerve endings recovered [insert sad face].
To say I’m looking forward to racing in 2017 is an understatement! I can’t wait to race the Scottish series again, races around the UK and an EWS. We will spend the remainder of the off season at BASE college course on the bikes, on the ‘elite enduro training programmes’ in the gym to prepare fully for the start of the race season.
Here’s to a successful 2017 racing season, ticking off goals as part of the Xtreme bikes team – it’s gonna be an unreal year, looking forward to good times!