It all started in Plymouth back in September 2013 where I competed in the Red Bull Urban Downhill event. The race was based on the university campus and included jumps, drops and steps over the 530 meter course. The weather was on and off all day leaving the ground wet and slippy. This lead to many riders crashing including some of the pro’s.
Practice started late and I was second rider on the start line (sat behind Jim Davage) as we set off my adrenaline was pumping more than I have ever felt before! We flew around the first 3 corners but on the big set of steps my rear tyre exploded leaving me at the side of the track whilst the other riders continued on past me.
Now the race was on to replace the inner tube and get back on to the course for the second practice run. Luckily the good Samaritan himself Tom Burch was on hand to lend me his spare inner tube. This gesture sums up the sport in my opinion, everyone helps everyone. I then set off with my fixed bike for the second run but before I knew it, my chain had come off! Now I’m in a really bad mood and have still not managed to get even 1 practice run in! After another 15 minutes of fiddling around the bike was back up and running. I managed to get on the line for the 3rd attempt and final attempt at a practice lap before the course was closed for the lunch break. The run went well although I was carrying extreme caution and just wanted to make it to the bottom without any problems! Job done, I had 1 full practice run before the lunch closure.
Now its race time and with only 2 race runs per competitor, I knew that going ‘hell for leather’ was my only option. I went for it and lay in 2nd place after every rider had their first run.
Time for run 2 and knowing I had everything to play for meant the bike was in for a hard run! The first 2 corners went to plan and the tyres felt like I was riding on the edge of a cliff where they could loose grip on the slippery concrete at any moment.
Over the wooden drop in the central section of the course listening to the sounds of air horns, cattle bells and 400 spectators screaming was enough for me to ‘send’ the big set of stairs in the middle part of the course. Then for the final 150 meters with just 1 chicane and a long straight; ‘pedal like you stole it’ is what I shouted to myself. Through the invisible laser at the bottom of the course and that was it, it was all over….. I went to the top of the leader board and had achieved what seemed like an impossible task for my self.
Had my dream just begun?