Dragon Downhill - Abercarn
|1/||Dragon Downhill - Abercarn|
|3/||Racing - Sat & Sun|
Described as a riders course, Abercarn was hard to get a handle on. A lack of mega features, keeping you up in the night with indecision (Should I hit it? Should I not?) meant the course was simple to dismiss as easy. Easy, eh? OK then, ride it well, ride it smooth, with style and more importantly, ride it flat out in a winning time you can be proud of.
The first challenge was to hit the opening bus stop without pussy-breaking! Doing good - now keep 'er lit across the fire road and down the loose rock garden, trying not to hit the first of the mystical magnetic trees that litter Welsh hillsides. A flat grassy left warmed up the banking skills before plunging into the rooty switchbacks warmed up for the steep middle section.
Steepening up now, the speed picked up effortlessly. A small jump (optional even for air-merchants like Rowan) broke the traverse to the steep chute. Another magnetic tree loomed, wide behind if your brakes weren't up to it - or pinned on the high line into the next section with multiple steep lines working the skills. Where the track plunged, I couldn't take my eyes of a sharp ridge that ran down the track. Don't look at things - you tend to lead with your eyes, follow with the shoulders and then the bike. Not fun - I hit this every run but the last!
The middle steep, tight section had a final sting in the tail. Dropping out onto the long pedal was a harshly braking bumped 90 left corner that dropped to flat. Too fast and you ran wide with nothing to stick the front wheel into. Wide wasn't an option here as the track broke downhill to foliage - as did many riders! You needed speed here to nail the final bus stop into drop-off. Better save some skills as it's about to get tech...
Dropping off the bus stop, a braking hole hooked up as you stripped speed for the right hander onto the final fire-road. This flat corner sketched out many talented riders - a real case of balancing speed and traction. That corner stuck, it was time to choose again - tight inside of longer but arguably better setup outside berm-drop off the road. Let the roots begin!
The final section was tech as it gets - set-up lines into rooty corners the needed pinning to stay between the tapes and on track for the finish. Off camber grease forced you down before the last right and pump to the black mat that signalled the chip sensor of the Dragons timing system - and the end.
Relatively short with great uplift, this track is definitley easy to ride - hard to ride fast! All the little features contrived to catch you out, slip you up and show up the riders with poise and skill.
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