The UK Downhill National Championships were held at Ae Forest, Scotland this year and it turned out to be a wet and very muddy weekend!
Steve Peat and Jess Stone took the National Titles.
Coming into this race I felt like I did back in 2008 at the Junior National Champs – very nervous but excited! Thankfully this year I had my UK manager from Trek and a mechanic to look after me for this weekend so it took a lot of pressure off.
Saturday's practice went well and the track was pretty wet and muddy from all the rain we had the night before, so it was tough to start but right from the off I was enjoying it and felt really focused on the task. I got all my lines sorted and now all I had to do was to sort out my race head.
The competition this year was different but still challenging, there was the absence of Rachel Atherton and Tracy Moseley of course, however, all the other girls also ride World Cups and have the potential to win this event; I know they wanted to win this too so I had to give the race 110% if I needed to win. It was no easy task.
My seeding run went well, the run itself was chilled out for me, I unclipped at the bottom and lost all speed to do the step down and had to cruise down the chicken run. I got to the bottom only to find I was in the lead by 2 seconds! Everyone else had a good run too, I think I’d have easily lost 10-15 seconds there; it was a shock but I knew I was riding well.
I treated the finals similar to how I treated my seeding, except with more pedalling! The conditions were hard and the track was drying up in places yet in some parts it was like riding in a stream; it was not very predictable but I soldiered on and entered the finish arena. It was a solid run but I still made so big mistakes which lost me time, I had to make this up.
At first I didn’t think I got it, everyone seemed so quiet, but then as the results were read out and my name was in 1st place everyone cheered! Words could not have expressed how happy I was!
Big thank you goes out to all my supporters and friends who cheered me on in the bad weather and those who wished me luck. To Extreme Medics and also, massive thanks to Griff and Ben from Trek who helped me out this weekend - it was a team effort! Also to all my sponsors - Five.Ten, Adidas, SmartWool, eggraphy - for getting me this far, I never have had expected a National Champs title but couldn’t have got this without the support from you guys.