15/08/2017 - Hannah's Ard Rock Report

Hannah's Ard Rock Report

I'd wondered what I'd be writing in this report during my training. Would I be explaining how I'd not managed to complete it? Trying to justify that to myself, and to you? Or what I hoped for was to tell you I'd finished it! And I did! I finished! Here's all about my journey...

I met Cy at his house on the Friday, and we drove up to the beautiful Dales. I was very apprehensive. I'd never been to an event like it before, never mind racing in one. Cy put me at ease "You ride in the Peak District! You've got this.", I tried to keep that phrase in my head all weekend. As soon as we arrived I realised Ard Rock has the coolest vibe of anywhere... ever. It's so chilled out and everyone's there to have a great time. That helped my nerves a lot! The Cotic stand was so busy with people demoing bikes and interested in the brand and our display bikes. It was great to meet so many people and put faces to names I'd emailed. I loved being on the stand and it really set the tone for my race on Sunday.

Ard Rock

I'd won the entry to the race through Maxxis. My High Roller II Double Down tyres arrived a couple of weeks before which gave me time to get a few rides on them. I ride the Small Cotic Flare prototype and just before the event I got a SunRace 11-50 cassette and a nice new SLX drivetrain to make sure I could make it up the transitions. Swaledale is brutally steep! I was glad of the new cassette and drivetrain as it made a big difference.

Ard Rock

I woke early to our campsite on Sunday morning. I was camping with team riders Chay and Swinny. I felt positive but nervous. Chay woke up and was chatting to me about the race, helping me with my bike and bag and making me "more enduro", in his words. He then started getting himself ready. He raced on the Saturday and came 3rd. "You're not racing again are you?" "I'm going to come with you, it'll cure the hangover!". It was quite a celebratory evening after the race...

Ard rock 2017

It was a long ride to even get to stage 4, it took in stunning scenery which made it all the more bearable! Stage 4 was absolutely wild. I followed Chay down, the plan was to keep up with him and stay on his wheel! It was the steepest, rockiest trails I've ever ridden, so I put my trust in Chay and the bike and just kept going! I was completely buzzing at the end. Chay couldn't stop laughing at me and my huge grin.

On the transition to stage 5 we met some amazing people and got a nice little group going. They were all lovely people and thrilled to speak to Chay and ask him questions about the upcoming stages (everyone was very happy to learn stages 5 and 6 were less rowdy than stage 4!). Big shout out to that group - you know who you are! You kept me going!

Cotic Flare

Another long transition between Stage 4 and 5, it involved riding through a mud bog and pushing your bike up what I can only describe as a mountain. But Stage 5 was fun, it was far more smooth and fast! I was 8th fastest in my category on that stage. It then felt like it wasn't long before we were at the top of Stage 6, ready to be greeted by our friends at the bottom! I was so relieved to have finished and felt so proud I'd done it, and finished in one piece - no crashing! I wouldn't have made it round so smoothly or enjoyed it so much had Chay not been there with me every pedal and step of the way. The comradery was fantastic and I felt so proud of everyone we rode with, we all hugged and fist bumped at the bottom, it was brilliant. Huge thanks again to Chay for being a hero and everyone at Cotic for their help and support throughout!

If you've never been to Ard Rock, you really should! If you're unsure whether or not to race next year. If I can do it, you definitely can!

Ard Rock
Hannah at Ard Rock