Downhill For Normal Humans: #MakingUpTheNumbers

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February 16, 2017

We have a mortal, normal (well, as normal as the rest of us here), Downhill racing snake (but one of those big anacondas that can eat a whole deer type snake) reporting for us in the year ahead. Racing with the Revolution Bike Park Race Team, George Thompson will be dropping us a line from various races during his season ahead.

#MakingUpTheNumbers
George Thompson #MakingUpTheNumbers

Hello, I’m George Thompson. If you’re partial to an uplift or a Downhill race you may recognise me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, being 6’ 6” and 17 stone I’m pretty hard to miss and secondly, growing up my dad placed a great value in “being able to talk to anyone” and it seems to have rubbed off.

What am I doing here on the webpages of Singletrack?

Well, indirectly I’ve probably got the old man to thank again. He’s always been very keen for us to try new things and I spent my childhood with the words (adopt Yorkshire twang) “get tha sen for’ad, av a go” ringing in my ears. Great advice now, not so good when you’re 11, you weigh 11 stone & the Turkish lady is calling for people to get up on stage & belly dance with her. Oh how he laughed. But, with that spirit in mind, at the grand old age of 40 I started racing DH and over the last 3 seasons I’ve gradually improved to the point that I’m about to start my second season on the Revolution Bike Park Race Team. I’m still not ‘that good’ though, and given that there is a glut of ex-Elite riders in the Veteran’s category, a podium position is another league away.

Last season with the other members of the Team regularly challenging for, and on some occasions actually winning their categories, I started writing a blog #makingupthenumbers about life at the other end of the field (click here if you’re interested in the back story). Hannah got in touch towards the end of last season for some info on a race, and here we are.

So, for the 2017 season I’m going to be delivering your race reports for the British Downhill Series and a few other races as and when. I’ll try not to bore you with an extensive list of riders who came 1st to 3rd in every category, but instead focus on some stand out performances and an overview of the weekend.

#MakingUpTheNumbers
Jack Mills

Plans for the season…

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Well, I imagine it’s the same for anyone who’s pretty heavily into racing bikes, but winter is a treacherous time. Having already decided which races you’re planning on doing next season, you sit there waiting for entries to open. Every time you pick up the mail and there’s a handwritten envelope you bloody pray that it isn’t an invite to a wedding or a significant birthday party. Then, when you’ve managed the whole situation brilliantly you’re still not actually clear, because the race season is roughly six months long and you’ve just booked 13 races in, so you’re away every other weekend on average and it looks a lot on a calendar, so you’re probably going to have to give one up if push comes to shove. The perils of being in a relationship and not being a complete sociopath.

Anyway, 2017 had all fallen into place pretty well. No significant birthday’s. Three weddings and only one on a race weekend. One stag do, also on a non-race weekend. Add into the mix one of the weddings being in Portugal and bang, you’ve ticked off the summer holiday as well. I suggest Rachel (Mrs MakingUpTheNumbers) comes out to Masters Worlds in Andorra and I’ve gone above and beyond. And there we go. In total I’ve signed up for an early season race in Portugal, six rounds of the BDS, a few SDA’s (Scottish Downhill Association), the aforementioned Masters Worlds followed the week after by Mountain of Hell, National Champs & anything else that takes my fancy on a clear weekend. Living the actual dream!

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Then, BOOM! We’re pregnant.

It’s due on the 17th July, three weeks after Andorra, two weeks after Mountain of Hell, and five days before National Champs, on the weekend of the stag do. Stag do and Mountain of Hell now out of the window. Rather naively, I’m still hopeful that I can make National Champs. You have to believe…

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The Revolution Bike Park Team

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Richard Binns

On the team with me this year we have my good mate Binnsy (Richard Binns). 52 years old, British Cycling’s No. 1 ranked Grand Vet in 2016 and also winner of the BDS Series. The ‘Rad Old Dude’ has also been racing for three seasons and I’ve never beaten him. Well, that’s not strictly true, he had a shocker at the Megavalance in 2016 and didn’t qualify for the Pro race. I did, but then he had an accident on a luge and didn’t race so it was a moral victory rather than an official one.

The other two lads are at the opposite end of the age spectrum. We have Louis Meade, the current Welsh Junior Champion who represented Britain at two rounds of the 2016 World Cups. Louis is moving up to Expert in 2017. And then there’s Jack Mills, Winner of the Youth Category at the 2016 Pearce Series and current Youth 4X National Champion. Jack will be moving up to the Junior Category in 2017. They’re both rapid.

#MakingUpTheNumbers
Richard Binns and Jack Mills

That’s the Revolution team. Binnsy and I will kick the season off at the first Portuguese National in early March. Last year a huge number of Brits made the trip with Sam Dale, Josh Bryceland and Jack Reading all finishing Top 5 in the Elite category. Can’t wait to ride some dry and dusty trails again after the slopfest we call winter!

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