For the sixth year running, the Steel City Downhill returned to Grenoside Woods to fund ever-important trail building and maintenance in the local area. It has grown the reputation for being the 'biggest little race on the calendar' by attracting folk from all across the country of all ages and abilities to race in a fun and friendly environment. It's also a rare chance to compete against some of the biggest names in British mountain biking. As Peaty said, "It's getting better every year!" The race also appeals greatly to spectators, who can heckle from the side of the track, enjoy food from one of the stalls around the finish area, or browse and buy products brought in by exhibitors. As ever, Bradfield Brewery were on site to provide their fantastic event beer 'Peaty's Trail Ale'.
Steve's ACL surgery early last year prevented him from competing in the last race, but he was back with a score to settle and fresh energy to deliver the goods. Josh Bryceland, who took the win last year, was not present, and so it was up to the remaining Elite men to challenge Peat for victory. A heroic first run from Craig Evans put him in the lead, and bettered by his own second run, but a scorcher of a second race run laid down by Peaty brought home the win.
Also, present on the day was decorated British rider Tracy Moseley, who most recently became the Enduro World Champion for three consecutive years (2013, 2014, 2015). She claimed victory by over six seconds, showing her prowess once more.
I am sure everyone present at the race would like to give thanks to everyone who helped organise the race and make it a success: Steve Peat, Nick Hamilton, Steve Hardcastle, Henry Norman, all the marshals, medics, exhibitors and the sponsors.
A common site in Farmer Jack's field throughout the day. It wasn't long before the Land Rover was deployed to tow vehicles about... Until that got stuck! In came the tractor.
White van + muddy field
Early morning sign on for riders started the day off.
The team behind the race arrived on site long before any riders to prepare the course. Thankfully only a light dusting of snow fell overnight and clearing it didn't take long.
Grenoside was looking particularly picturesque with a dusting of snow
Peaty started preparations at the crack of dawn with his crack team of race organisers.
A welcoming cup of coffee from Bean Rover to help wake up - and warm up.
Race-day snowy bike Instagram posts were obligatory.
Chicken wire preventing face plants on the icy wooden start ramp.
Only the elite know about the aerodynamic number board placement technique... Craig Evans gaining every possible advantage.
Practice session is a go!
Ice hanging from the tape had just about thawed by around lunch time.
Jake Peat riding a rather swanky Santa Cruz. He did a practice run but decided not to race.
Kade Edwards may only be in the 15-16 age category - and only completed one race run - but would have placed 5th in Elite men. This kid is fast.
Peaty leading Tracy Moseley down a practice run. These two went on to win their respective categories.
While most people walked, Tracy preferred the pedal to the top of the course.
Steve and Tracy always have time to indulge their fans. It's a rare opportunity to have two legends of the sport at such a humble mountain race.
Blue skies, bikes, and bells.
2nd place elite Craig Evans showing some style as the sun decided to come out to play.
James Swinden and Chay Granby race for Cotic bikes and have played characters in promo videos for the company.
Meet Rocketman (Left - Swinden) and Straightline (Right - Granby).
Monk twin 1 - Jake missed out on the race entries and settled for marshalling instead.
Monk twin 2 - Oscar got his place and took second place in the age 17-18 male category.
Matthew Atkinson keeping it low and fast.
Age 13-14 category winner Thomas Dodd. His times are only two second off being competitive in the Elite field.
After winning the PMBA Enduro just a month ago, Dan Hole achieved an impressive second place here in Grenoside. Second only to Kade Edwards.
Luke Wall during his first race run, which was his fastest and enough to claim the win in age category 17-18.
Skinsuit for the crowd!
Bradfield Brewery were on site as usual to provide beverages to spectators, as well as prizes to those on the podium. Better than champagne?
With all the spectators in the bomb hole trampling the wet ground into mud, queuing for a beer became a slippery affair.
Evidence of mountain bike spectators: Helmet, coffee, beer.
SPS rider Becci Skelton brought home 8th but was full of smiles all day.
A big crowd had gathered around the Jolley Gap Jump by finals time. All eyes on T-Mo.
Periods of rain didn't dampen the spirits of the crowd!
Craig Evans laying down a belter of a finals run. His second race run was faster by just 0.12 seconds. 2nd place.
Joey Gough navigating the tight twisty corners to take second place in Elite Women
SPS rider Tom Grice crossing the line as 5th place Senior.
The diversity of entrants was astounding.
10-12 boys - 2nd place rider Kenzie Nevard.
Riders spanning at least three generations came to compete at all levels in Grenoside.
Jim Buchanan, the UK editor of Enduro Mag, came to race at the Steel City DH again. He couldn't quite match his 4th place of last year and settled for 9th instead.
This was a noisy crowd, that's for sure! Noise makers of all shapes and sizes came out to deafen the oncoming riders.
Carl Newbigging laying a table into the bomb hole.
Steel City DH t-shirts were available to buy (in blue, blue or blue!) from the Ride Sheffield stall in the finish area. The awesome design is by Sheffield based company TADO. Last years design proved so appealing, one racer had it tattooed on his leg!
50/01 and ClaySpades joined forces to provide some quality merchandise for purchase. James Pettitt is to thank for the centre t-shirt design.
The hashtag #lastorders appeared in a number of places, signifying Peaty's last year of World Cup racing.
Lee Hawden powering for the line to take 4th place in the Senior Men category.
Josh "Loosedog" Lewis living up to his name in finals.
Peaty dropping into the infamous bomb hole to claim victory at the 2016 Steel City Downhill race.
Nick Hamilton saying a few words to the gathered crowd during podiums and prize giving.