Pedal Progression Racing Report - Ollie Hooper - Pedal Progression


15 March 2015

Pedal Progression Racing Report – Ollie Hooper

The first race of the year is always a daunting one. Who’s done the most training? Have I done too much training and not enough riding? Have I sat around too much on my arse and not done anything?

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The first race of the season saw me travel to Bike Park Wales near Merthyr Tydfil to race the first round of the Mini Endure/Welsh Enduro series. Luckily, i managed to get the day off college on Friday so I could take a ride around the loop before racing Saturday.

Although the race was only 3 stages, the route managed to take in the best of the bike park incorporating technical rocky chutes, steep switch backs and long pedally sections. It was apparent from the ride on Friday that there wasn’t much line choice as all the stages were on bike park and not off piste. After practicing for the majority of Friday with fellow competitors/friends, Tom Parker and Roo Phelan, we all felt good going into Saturday’s race.

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So, Saturday was upon us and everyone was ready to race. One thing that I like about the Mini Enduro series is that it has a really chilled vibe. It always seems that the riders are there to have fun and that’s how racing should be! After having a coffee and some breakfast, we made our way up to practice a few stages. We decided to ride the shortest stage first (Stage 1) as this was the most technical track. The track was a lot drier than the day before which made the stage much quicker. After we had practiced the track we finished by going down to the bottom of Stage 2 which was called ‘Rim Dinger’ and it lived up to its name!! This track caught many riders out in practice and in race runs. Coming down I caught my wheel on a rock which slit a hole in the side wall of my tyre.

“After we had practiced the track we finished by going down to the bottom of Stage 2 which was called ‘Rim Dinger’ and it lived up to its name!!”

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Unfortunately in the Mini Enduro series, the Under 18 category sets off almost last, which meant we had about 3 hours to kill. After messing around on the pump track and heckling at fellow racers we made our way up to Stage 1 ready for racing. This round saw the new incorporation of timing chips which I have never used in racing before. The chips were great as it meant that the results were out almost instantly after you had finished. This moved riders on quicker at the top and we managed to go 20 minutes earlier than our stage time which was brilliant because we were getting very cold at the top!

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Stage 1, although this wasn’t my favourite stage, I felt that I had a decent run and managed to get down the hill putting me into 5th place. We then made our way back up the fire road to ride Stage 2. Stage 2 was one of the most demanding stages as there was a head wind all the way down the hill making it very difficult in the first quarter of the run as this was an all out sprint. The bottom section of Stage 2 was ‘Rim Dinger’ where I got a puncture the day before and in my race run fell victim to a rock on which I caught my wheel and this sent me OTB.

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After seeing the medics they advised me not to carry on, so with some bent bars and a broken mud guard I rolled down to the car park. An annoying end to the day, but you win some and you lose some, however I still thoroughly enjoyed myself, racing with all the lads and had a great time. Hopefully I will do a better job next weekend at the first round the of Welsh Enduro Series.

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