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LUCY BELL GOES RACING – EWS ROUND 1 & GLENTRESS 7 RACE REPORT

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli

 

Our multi-discipline cycling star Lucy Bell is back in action for 2022, racing nearly all forms of cycling for Wheelbase alongside Cannondale UK. A regular visitor to our North East store in Darlington, Lucy has tons of energy and an almost unmeasurable passion for nearly all forms of cycling. Already deep into her busy racing season Lucy jumped into her van with her partner Helen Gaskell (the former World Cup Downhill mountain biker) and Travis their adorable trail dog to head north of the border for Round 1 of the EWS (Enduro World Series). We’ll let her take up the story…

I was surprisingly excited during the build up to racing at Round 1 of the EWS at Innerleithen in one of my favourite riding spots – the fabulous Tweed Valley in the Scottish borders. This was a chance to test myself in the demanding EWS 100 Masters race category on a series of stages that promised great riding conditions thanks to an unusually hot and sunny spell of weather, in fact I don’t think I’d ever seen the trails so dry!

We travelled up in the van on Thursday to get a good spot in the pits and get organised for a solid day of course practice on Friday – with the hot riding conditions in mind I made sure I was drinking a lot of water in the run up to the racing which was predicted to take place in really hot conditions. With Helen out of action due to injury I headed up onto the trails with friend and mountain bike pinner Kate Wakely to scout out the very fastest lines; practice went well and I was really pleased with how my Cannondale Jekyll was running on the pristine trails.

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli

Unusually dry weather made for perfect race conditions at round one of the EWS in the Scottish borders.

 

I love to tinker with my bike setup nearly as much as I love to ride! Despite me feeling I had my Jekyll race-ready before our journey north my practice time on the track had encouraged me to re-think a couple of things so I headed to the pits to fine-tune my setup. The guys at Cannondale UK very kindly did a brake bleed to achieve my desired lever pull and I also fitted a new Maxxis DHR tyre on the rear. In a bid to get the very best out of my Enduro whip I also popped into the Fox pits and picked up some valuable fork tuning advice.

Come race day and I got a really late start time of 11.10am with the last riders in my race category setting off at 11.20am; as a result there was a lot of queuing between stages but with such a friendly event it was just a good opportunity to catch up with old friends and acquaintances from the previous race season. Despite the one hour queue for the first stage I was relieved to find that the course was not too blown out even with the large number of shredders riding ahead of me. With such good weather the racing saw more spectator support than normal; as I careened through the trees there were clusters of people dotted all the way down the track making plenty of noise and giving loads of encouragement to every racer.

We raced five stages in total, four at Golfie (one of my favourite places to ride and an area which I’ve spent plenty of time exploring with Helen and Trav in the off-season) and the final at Innerleithen dropping into the main arena on a massive wooden ramp. There was a monster push up to stage four which, when combined with the stifling heat sapped what was left in my legs, but the stage from the top was worth it as we took on the infamous ‘Feed The Pony’ a mile long track with a brilliant whoop section and a big step up at the end. Props to the fast lads clearing that!

I came out with 5th in category and after seven hours out on the hill I was happy with that; time for a beer and a lie down! I really hope the EWS comes back to the Tweed valley next year but with the Mountain Bike World Champs in Scotland next year Im not sure if it will. I can certainly say that most tracks will be feeling quite short after that!

A HUGE thanks to Wheelbase, Wheelbase Northeast, Cannondale Mountain and Helen Gaskell for continuing to look after me!

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli

Of all the cycling disciplines that Lucy does, Enduro is most definitely her firm favourite.

 

Not one to rest on her laurels Lucy ‘turned and burned’ the following weekend, heading north of the border again to take on the Tweedlove Glentress 7 endurance mountain bike race. As the race name suggests this is a seven hour mountain bike race with the option to race as a solo rider, as a pair or as a small team. Lucy paired up with her partner Helen Gaskell who was just starting on the comeback trail after a recent injury to take on the Female Pairs U80 race category and we’re happy to report that Lucy and Helen took the win! This race was a great example of how Lucy can quickly pack away the Enduro bike, pick up her Cannondale Scalpel XC bike, don the lycra and race to win. Chapeau Lucy and Helen!

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli

A week after the EWS Lucy was back in Scotland to take on the Glentress 7 endurance mountain bike race.

 

Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli

Lucy and her partner Helen took a brilliant win in the pairs race at the Glentress 7 endurance race.

 

Cannondale Jekyll 1 2022

Lucy raced the EWS onboard her Cannondale Jekyll 1. Read a full review of this bike HERE.

 

Written by Lucy Bell

Photos by Jerry Tatton of JWDT Photography

 

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