18/09/2023 - Steel City Downhill 2023

Steel city downhill 2023

Peaty's Steel City Downhill is one of our favourite days of the year, and the 2023 edition was another classic.

SCDH 2023

The 11th edition of this completely unique event, The Biggest Little Race, went down last Saturday in Grenoside Woods, just north of Sheffield. Cotic was in attendance once again, with a prime trackside spot. Despite having been at every single SCDH since it's inception, this year was a year of 'firsts'.

Our gravel focussed brand ambassador Abby Popplestone swapped her frame bags and rigid forks for a RocketMAX and full face helmet, and tackled her first mountain bike event.

Over to Abby:

“My first DH race and second ever day on a modern MTB!

When Rich at Cotic asked me if I wanted to race, I was unsure. I mean, I was hardly qualified given I'd ridden a full sus literally ONCE before, but I find spicy descents so alluring it was hard to turn down, plus, I'm trying to say yes to things that scare me rather than discounting myself by saying 'oh no, I could never do that'.

What if I *could* do that?

So, I chucked it in the f*k it bucket and showed up.

I had no idea how it would go. I was nervous but Cotic geared me up with protective equipment, a solid, dependable bike RocketMAX and went with me to practise. It took a while to trust the bike. Everyone told me 'the bike will take you, trust it', coming from gravel that felt like a big leap of faith. When I realised how much the bike could absorb, it blew my mind! After a couple practise runs I relaxed into it.

SCDH 2023

This was the best race I could've started with. Steel City is so friendly! It's designed for everyone - the ages ranged from 4 to 80 years old! The track was lined with people top to bottom, it felt like flying through a tunnel of noise, cheer and support. I could hear people calling my name and shouting 'go on lass', I lost my footing a couple of times and when I did, someone shouted something encouraging. It was honestly the best feeling and I flew down with the biggest grin on my face. It felt like everyone wanted me to do well.

I didn't try to go quick, or do anything snazzy. The only goal was to get to the bottom in one piece. I came last in my category but feel like the biggest winner because I pushed myself, tried something new and had the best time! I'm now in love with DH.

Lucky for me I got to ride next to Kelly, who was also racing DH for the first time. Her stoke, friendliness and support relaxed me loads and is a big reason I had such a good time.

Thanks to everyone at Team Cotic for getting me to the start line and making me feel so welcome. Proud to be on your team.”

Well done Abby, you smashed it!

SCDH 2023

My wife Kelly also donned her full face and a number board. She's done a couple of enduro's before, but this was her first Downhill race.

Over to Kelly:

“I did a downhill race!

I had an absolutely fantastic day on Saturday at Steel City with the Cotic crew!

The noise and cheers all the way down the track was amazing and the atmosphere of the day is just so fun!

I was quite nervous about this race, I've been a spectator cheering from the side for a few years now, and only did this because of a conversation with Manon Carpenter last year about just giving it a go, and more women being seen riding!

Riding with Abby was so cool all day "It's just a ride with friends" she said, and yup it was!

Thanks to Cotic for the stoke on the day.”

SCDH 2023

The girls' energy all day was infectious. They both had such a great day pushing each other and keeping each other stoked, so good to see.

Chay had a tough day. It started off well, me and Cy were watching some practise runs from our stand and as fast rider came into view Cy said “oo this guy is on it. Oh it's Chay!”

Unfortunately he had an 'unplanned off-bike excursion' after hitting a tree at speed, which left him battered, bruised and shaken. Heal up Chay, we know you'll be back on it again soon.

SCDH 2023

Stu Bailey represented on his BfeMAX, a well seasoned enduro racer, this was only his second ever downhill race. As the first runs are unseeded, he caught the rider in front on his first race run and struggled to get past, which slowed him down.

Fortunately racers are re-seeded for the second run, based on their time from the first go. This meant a clear track and faster run, bagging 10th in category.

Top work Stu.


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Special mention to local hero Pat Horscroft aka Granny McGnarly. 80 years young and lined up once again to race Steel City Downhill. Inspirational to all, and got the biggest trackside cheer of anyone. Be more Pat.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Cotic sponsored the 10-14 girls category and the 13-14 lads category too. Ace to see these nippers smashing it, many of them faster than I'd get down that track without a doubt!

We supplied cash prizes and merch bundles for the podium, a pleasure to support these up-and-comers.

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We strongly recommend giving Steel City a go. It's been a few years since I raced it, and I will admit to having a bit of FoMo this year, even though the track really doesn't suit me at all! The tunnel of noise down the track is the closest most of us will ever come to feeling like a World Cup racer.

If you ride a Cotic and fancy entering next year, we'll be there to support you and cheer you on.

It's perfectly doable on pretty much any Cotic mountain bike; Abby raced our demo C1 RocketMAX, Kelly raced her gen3 FlareMAX, Chay was on his mullet gen4 RocketMAX and Stu raced his BFeMAX.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by the stand to check out our bikes and chat.

Huge thanks also to the Steel City Series crew for another fantastic event. We'll see you next year.




RocketMAX is perfect for SCDH…

Jeht goes well too…

Be more Stu, race a hardtail…