How to have a baby, pick up a bike and take the win - Carrie

May 27, 2017

When Nick Hamilton asked if I would race the Howard St Dual slalom race that he was organising down the streets of Sheffield as part of the Outdoor City Weekender, I was a little unsure. My last race was September 2015 before I became pregnant and had a baby in November 2016, so I was a bit out of practice. I normally race Gravity Enduro and sometimes Downhill, so dual slalom racing on concrete felt a bit out of my comfort zone. But I really wanted some time on my bike so any excuse to pass over baby care duties to my husband while I ride my bike was a winner. So I registered. Dual slalom is head to head knock out racing. Two racers ride two similar tracks next to each other down a slope, negotiating a series of gates/flags. Both riders’ times are taken then they switch tracks. After the combined times are added, the slowest rider is eliminated. The winner goes onto the next round, until there are 2 riders left in the final.


After an amazing week of weather, it then rained all day the preceding day and race day was forecast to be rather unsettled, so I was a bit apprehensive on what the course would be like, no doubt involving flat, grassy and concrete turns. However a walk down the course got the excitement going and I was looking forward to getting on my bike and getting some practice runs in.


The course started down a long flight of steps then over a set of 4 custom built wooden rollers, setting the rider up for a wooden kicker onto a set of downhill grass rollers with 2 tight flagged corners. The course takes the riders into either a set of steps or a custom ramp then straight into “Chaos Corner”; a flat 180° corner manoeuvring through street furniture. The riders then tackle a series of flat grassy corners with a wooden kicker in the middle. An awkward right hander before the final feature, a fade away; a steep grassy bank into the finish line.


After just a few practice runs, I started to really enjoy it and tried to get in as many runs as I could, partly because my time on the bike is limited these days! As I got more confident, I picked up the pace, though I got a bit wild at Chaos Corner and nearly lost it. We all had a seeding run on the left track which would set us up for the race pairing order. I was happy that I stayed on and ended up with a good time, putting me up front of the lasses. There was a now a little wait until the first ladies race so I took the chance to grab some lunch and feed my baby who was watching from the sidelines.


The ladies were called to wait at the top, and my usual race nerves kicked in. First race was the quarter finals, the ground was wet and I needed to keep cool and stay on my bike. Got through to the semi’s with a win, win. I’d got more familiar with my lines now so needed to pick up the pace to reach the finals. However, I got a bit loose and nearly missed the sharp corner into the fade away! Phew! Another win win but my combined time was slower than the other lass who I was to race against in the final. A big crowd had now gathered along the length of the track. Lots of cheering and heckling could be heard. Adrenaline was rocketing through me now and knew I had to be smooth. On such a short track, the racing is so close. I managed to take the win on the 1st track but only by 0.5 sec so the race was still on. Anything could happen. Track 2 and my opponent had a good start out the gate. I was trailing behind down the flight of steps. After the wooden rollers I cranked hard to enter the grassy rollers. I nailed the corners and caught up, round Chaos corner and just overtook her at the next lot of swooping flat grassy turns. The finish was in sight and I was hungry for the win. Tackled the dodgy right hander, down the bank and across the finish for another win win! I was so pleased. It really made me smile and remembered how much I loved racing!

Size Guide

Women's Tops

UK USA World Bust Hip Length (front)
8 4 X-Small 87-90cm 96-99cm 53cm
10 6 Small 91-94cm 100-103cm 54.5cm
12 8 Medium 95-98cm 104-107cm 56cm
14 10 Large 99-102cm 108-111cm 57.5cm
16 12 X-Large 103-106cm 112-115cm 59cm
18 14 XX-Large 107-112cm 116-121cm 61.5cm
20 16 XXX-Large 113-119cm 122-128cm 65cm

Women's Shorts

UK USA Waist Hip Length (inside)
6 2 70-73cm 84-88cm 34cm
8 4 74-77cm 89-93cm 35cm
10 6 78-81cm 94-98cm 36cm
12 8 82-85cm 99-103cm 37cm
14 10 86-89cm 104-108cm 38cm
16 12 90-93cm 109-115cm 39cm
18 14 94-97cm 116-122cm 40cm
20 16 98-101cm 123-129cm 41cm

Men's Tops

Size Chest Length (front)
X-Small 87-91cm 55cm
Small 92-95cm 56.5cm
Medium 96-99cm 58cm
Large 100-109cm 59.5cm
X-Large 110-119cm 61cm
XX-Large 120-127cm 64.5cm
XXX-Large 128-135cm 66cm

Men's Shorts

Size Size  Waist Hip Length (outside)
28" X-Small 69-73cm 84-88cm 60.5cm
30" Small 74-78cm 89-93cm 61.5cm
32" Medium 79-83cm 94-98cm 63.5cm
34" Large 84-88cm 99-103cm 64.5cm
36" X-Large 89-93cm 104-108cm 65.5cm
38" XX-Large 94-98cm 109-113cm 66.5cm
40" XXX-Large 99-103cm 114-118cm 67.5cm