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Gravity School Racing - Finding Speed Episode 1

Gravity School Racing - Finding Speed Episode 1

We are extremely excited to introduce our new series for 2024, Finding Speed, filmed and edited by LoamLife Media. The series will follow our professional race team and tell the individual rider stories as we move through the race season. Episode 1 takes us to Portugal for the first team training camp of 2024, and the UCI cat 2 Portugal International Downhill race at Caramulo.

"What is speed. Speed is subjective. If what feels fast to rider A, feels slow to rider B, then even if rider A has the race run of their life, rider B will still beat them comfortably. Gravity School coaching aims to develop every rider attribute, to make what feels fast to rider A on day 1, feel slow to them, as quickly as possible. We reset their speed. We help them with the process of Finding Speed. In 2024 we will be working with LoamLife media to document the progress of our Gravity School Racing athletes, in our exciting new series, Finding Speed." - Jack Reading, owner & coach, Gravity School Coaching. 

Finding Speed launches this week with episode 1 covering our first Gravity School coaching camp of 2024. These camps take place in Portugal, and are structured in two parts. The first part of the camp is held at Ventoso Gravity Park, where we work with TrailTools and develop tracks which are built specifically for riders to train to race downhill. For the second part of the camp the team travels to a Portugal Cup UCI race.

For this first camp the team riders who travelled to Portugal were Rueben Taylor, Oscar Hakes and Theo Goodsmith. We also had Jon Morley, who has been coached by the Gravity School for 2 years, join the camp. Rueben is 20 and rides in the elite category, and Oscar is 18, Theo is 16 and Jon is 16, and they are junior riders. After arriving at Ventoso Gravity Park rider’s bikes are built ahead of a track walk. For the first two days the structure works to simulate a race, so that riders can work through their “race process” alongside the coach.

Riders have access to constant live timing, video analysis which involves trackside, GoPro follow camera, and behind rider and coach overhead drone footage, so that retrospective coaching can be done following the runs of the track. Coach Jack Reading sets a track time so that riders have a target to aim for as they work through their race process. There is a daily timing record kept, including sector split times, and at the end of the two days, the Ventoso Gravity Park Leader Board is updated. Riders have constant access to the Gravity School Racing professional pit space to help them keep their bikes running in top condition.

On Friday the team headed across to the race venue for track walk and pit setup, and we were joined by our elite Portuguese rider Nuno Reis. At this camp the race was at a new venue called Caramulo, and it was a cat 2 UCI event. The weather was set to be wild with an Atlantic storm blowing in on Saturday morning. The track looked fast and fairly simple, which felt like a nice way to start the season. During the Saturday practice session riders worked through their lines and got up to speed, and Jack recorded a GoPro run of the track before lunch, so that riders could analyse this ahead of the afternoon practice session. Private Gravity School live timing was available for our riders in the afternoon and some rider coach follow camera GoPro runs were done so they could be analysed in the evening ahead of Sunday and racing. 

On Sunday the weather was very wild and the race was almost cancelled in the morning because of strong winds. Thankfully the wind was behind riders on the track which meant it wasn’t dangerous, and everyone managed to do one timed run. The weather deteriorated after lunch which meant the race had to be cancelled and results were determined from first run times. Our results were:

  • Jack Reading 1st

  • Nuno Reis 5th

  • Rueben Taylor 9th

  • Theo Goodsmith 15th (3rd junior)

  • Jon Morley 16th (4th junior)

  • Oscar Hakes 57th (puncture)

For the full story of the week, tune into episode 1 of Finding Speed filmed by LoamLife media.

The team has just finished a 2 week reset and is now heading back to Portugal for camp 2 and the next race of the season at Seia. We hope you enjoyed the first episode of Finding Speed and we’re already excited to produce episode 2, which will follow Theo Goodsmith as he tries to further the success he achieved during the first camp, as well as documenting the activities of the team as a whole! Stay tuned for more action.

Words: Jack Reading

Photos: Edwardo Campos

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