Time moves differently in the off-season. When the season draws to an end it feels like there’s an endless void of free weekends and open opportunities stretching out through the winter. The last of the warm-weather means evenings of thrashing round the woods, drinks in the pub with your mates, weekends to ride rather than race.
Eventually the End of Season party rolls round, we head out to Spain for our off-season blow out trip and then it’s Christmas. New year passes and we’re in to January, training hots up but still the race season seems a million years away. There’s still plenty of time to make plans, get sponsors, train hard. And then – bam! It’s race season! Time accelerates and before you can blink it’s time to put the whole winter of planning and training into practice.
So – we blinked – and after a winter of training, travel and preparation we were at Antur Stiniog and ready to race. Wideopenmag elites Rich Thomas and Jay Williamson were joined by two new faces on the team, young gun Joe Parfitt and BMX legend Kye Forte. Two very different personalities but both perfect matches for the team and both buzzing to race. Another new face was Ian Lean, our new photographer and a friend of Jay. Ian will join us this year to bring you the goods. And – of course – our mechanics Chaz Curry and Oscar Newton-Mason were back and wielding the spanners from dawn till way past dusk. More so than ever I was blown away by how hard those two guys work – Saturday night saw both working way past midnight to make sure every bike would be in top conditions for the relentless slate-hits of Antur Stiniog.
The blink and you’ll miss it pace didn’t ease up on race day. Blink once for seeding runs, twice for race runs. Joe came down first. He put ten seconds in to his seeding run time and put in an 8th place in Youth. Fine work for his first race on a new team. Kye was next, he stepped in to the hot seat but was knocked down to second place. New team, new setup, new bike, awesome result.
The elites were last – but not least. Jay and Rich came down one after the other having seeded with almost identical times. Jay stomped into 18th and Rich in 16th. Top 20 results in a deep elite field was a damn fine start to the season.
That’s our 4th year of racing for Team Wideopenmag and – thanks to Kye – our 16th National podium. Things are working.
Next stop is Fort William in 6 weeks time. Something tells me we’ll be hitting the road before we know it!
Huge thanks to FoxMTB, Nukeproof, Conti Tyres, Camelbak, Fenwicks Bike, Five Ten, RoostDH and MRP for making our team happen. You guys rule.