After another full season of racing the 2016 season came to a close at the British Championships in Derby. The event went well for both myself and Ryan and straight after the event had finished we went to Belgium and had a well earned holiday in Belgium.
We stayed overnight in Folkestone so we could get up early for the Channel Tunnel to Calais. The journey to Belgium was easy with little traffic and we arrived at our accommodation at 10am. We had planned a full week of activities which included some much needed rest and recuperation and also some track playtime at some of the tracks in Belgium.
The first track we went to was the Worlds track in Zolder which incidentally is the Worlds track for 2019. We started by warming up on the 5m hill and dialling the track in. After our warm up the big hill was opened and both myself and Ryan decided we would give it a try. Having not been down the big hill before it was always going to be a big for us both. The Zolder track had the luxury of having a ding board between the first jump which made it a little easier mentally.
I was the first to roll down and get used to the speed and compression at the bottom. It felt good and I didn’t feel fazed by it at all. Ryan on the other hand needed a bit more coaxing and a few more goes before he felt more comfortable. After a few more tries at getting the feel for the speed and compression I decided to send it. A combination of speed and technique and I floated over the jump with ease. This not so much for my parents watching as they had their hearts in their mouths seeing me go down the 8m hill for the first time. After a few more goes without the gate it was time to see if I could do it from the gate. I set myself up on the gate with a few people as they hadn’t seen someone as young as myself go from the 8m hill before. I felt really confident and as the gate dropped I pedalled to the crest of the hill and sent the first jump with ease.
I now had an hour to gain more confidence and try to get the hill and jump combination better which by the end of the session I had been attacking the hill more and squashing the first jump more.
Ryan was next to do it and he also paid attention to the speed and compression of the big hill before hitting it at full speed and by the end both of us where very confident and where doing it easy.
We left Zolder on a high note having both done the 8m hill, we were happy that we did it and couldn’t wait to go again later in the week. But first we went back to our accommodation and played table tennis again for the rest of the night. The next day we planned to go to a track called ……. We were able to go on the track whilst the club did there coaching session which was very nice of them. We were gaining more and more confidence as we rode the track. Both of us were trying to manual as much of a certain straight as we could. The club’s coaching session then finished and we were able to use the gate. It was a good, fast gate and very grippy so we didn’t wheel spin at all.
The last jumped on the first straight was quite big and appealing to me; I wanted to jump it as soon as I saw it. But the outcome told me that it wasn’t such a good idea, I got a good gate and I knew I wanted to jump it as soon as I came out of it. I boosted as much as I could and the landing was terrible, I 50-50 it and after a couple of seconds I heard a sizzling sound coming from my tire, yep my tire completely popped. My dad took it to the car to have a look at it, he showed me my rim and it had gone straight and I’m sure its suppose to be round.