Once a year, in a sleepy town of Grenoside… a mass-gathering of like-minded folks meet to whoop and frolick in everything mtb. Having been aware of the phenomenon known as Steel City DH for a number of years, this was my first visit and I was giving myself the added of bonus of having entered the ‘biggest little race’ on the day too.
For anyone that has been living under a rock/in a commune, the Steel City DH is held on the infamous track of the same name in Grenoside woods, Sheffield – home of the Steel City man himself – Steve Peat. As mentioned, this was my first time at this event and I was simply blown away by the sheer number of people that descended trackside to cheer on the racers like myself and enjoy the glorious sunshine that visited our neck of woods for the weekend. Having woken up super early with nerves, I was looking forward to meet up with my friends who I knew were also racing to look at the track changes and have some practice runs to get the nerves under control. Lucky for me, one thing I didn’t have to worry about was what to wear… that was taken care of by delivery of my new spring/summer collection by Flare a few days prior and I had already set aside my fabulous new threads for the day.
After my first practice run, I began to feel comfortable with the mostly-familiar top section of track but my main source of discomfort was the large third gap jump in the lower section which didn’t have the most easy-to-spot b-line to avoid. In fact, on my first practice run I managed to miss the turning and had to apply the emergency brakes to slow down enough to be able to roll over the take off! This gap jump took no prisoners throughout the day and many a red flag were raised by marshals from those who didn’t quite make the cut. During the break in between practice and race runs, I took the opportunity to visit Hannah at the Flare stand and provide myself as a walking mannequin for the new collection. It’s always a fun time hanging with this awesome lady (no bias here) and her infectious attitude had me buzzing to get back up the track to do the team proud.
Come race runs, I was suitably pumped up enough to be able to try and focus on putting a decent time down, I knew I wouldn’t be vying for medals from the start but wanted to put a good time down for my pride and team! After a clean first run, I was nervous about my second as my past history at crashing at races was pretty stellar until this point. Lady luck stayed with me all day though and I finished both race runs without a hitch. There were some near misses as always, thanks to both brake levers deciding to fail on me at the start of the day, and the fact that I didn’t check my tyre pressure beforehand and was riding on less than 10psi in the rear (oops). But the thrill and excitement of the crowd got me pushing harder down the track than I think I’ve ever done before.
Stacked against an impressive field of talented ladies, I came away with a respectable 7th place and PB for the track. I also managed to ‘drop’ into the bomb hole for the first time ever during my first race run which both terrified me and left me with wanting to fly off the ledge faster. I know one thing for sure though. I’ve caught the Steel City bug, and will definitely be aiming to enter next year and see if I can improve.