After the huge success of last years event, there has been alot of hype and enthusiasm around the already buoyant Sheffield riding scene, in anticipation of the second running of Peaty’s Steel City Downhill. This race is not only for the enjoyment of the riders taking part, but provides a pillar of the wider plans for Grenoside woods. The race is aimed less at the die hard racers who may travel from a great distance to attend. But instead for the local riders and people new to racing to get a feel for it and to help raise money for a good cause. I was unable to attend last years race due to being at the shop, but had heard only good things and to honest was a little gutted not to have attended.
The track for this years race was purpose built and had alot more for the riders to consider and enjoy, although the track shared the same start and finish point as the old track. It used the hill more effectively, although if you wanted to record a fast time being on the pedals was key. With the top section off the nice start ramp resembling something similar to a trail centre. With doubles, berms and tables leaning into a gap jump into a short heath section. before a series of jumps lead onto a more natural undulating section of track. With a great series of berms leading down onto the finish bomb hole.
The gap jump after the first section proved to be a great spot for spectators with only a relatively small number of riders attempting the gap jump. Jolley who was marshalling at this point along with the other marshals did a great job to support and cheer on each passing rider. There was also a great attendance of spectators, people shouting at you to “pedal” helps some riders push on. The weather in the weeks before the race hadn’t been the greatest but everything was done to keep the track running at its best. Despite a rather poor weather forecast leading into the event the weather was perfect for the race. With sunshine most of the day, the track definitely dried out during the day.
There was a real mixture of bikes, ranging from hardtails to full downhill bikes. I decided to use the downhill bike not because the track really demanded that bike but I didn’t fancy hitting a couple of the larger feature of the track flat out with no rear suspension. With the ideal bike being a mid range full suspension bike, although for most people it was all about an enjoyable race experience not taking the win.
The race was as much about raising the profile of mountain biking, with the finish bomb hole being surrounded by stands and various organisations. local companies that make up the biking community. With the race even getting a short article in the guardian news paper.
Now the most important information, how did the race go! Well the racing was very close with there only being very small margins between the racers epically in the larger category’s, with literally every pedal stroke counting. I managed to finish in 12 place in Senior. The amount of lactic acid in my legs once I had crossed the finish line was rather shocking but looking back. I had two good runs, with the screaming crowd making all the difference on the second run. All that is left to say is thanks to the organisers and those who took part and bring on next year!