Round 1 of the HSBC UK National Downhill Series presented by GT Bicycles brings us to Nant Gwrtheyrn, in North Wales. Taking place this weekend the 1st and 2nd of April. The secluded Victorian village has a heritage of quarrying and sits nestled beneath steep cliffs dropping to the coast of the iconic Llŷn Peninsula in North Wales.
The series is the heart of UK downhill racing and many of the countries best riders will descend into ‘the Nant’ as the venue is often called. The event is one of six rounds co-ordinated by British Cycling in partnership with the experienced BDS team.
Today's practice kicked off the series with some stereotypical Welsh weather; riders awoke to find a saturated track with thick fog for the majority of the descent. The thick fog only let up around the finish arena, where the view out to sea was visible. The forecast for the day was to improve - however the weather only really cleared towards the tail end of the day.
The morning pre-practice track walk gave rise to moderate layer of mud over the rocky base. Most riders were planning to opt for a cut spike such as a Maxxis Shorty or Schwalbe Magic Mary. The general consensus also included a slight increase in tyre pressure, to minimise risk of pinch flatting in the many rock gardens. The track was well taped, with equal measure of wide sections allowing multiple lines to form throughout the day, versus plenty of tight sections between the trees - putting the riders accuracy to the test.
All in all a touch days practice for a lot of the riders, the track was constantly changing and with it set to dry out tomorrow will that provide another major change in conditions!?