Wednesday, 31 December 2008
I dunno. Yesterday I managed to get out into the forest. My car temp gauge said minus 2 and if proof were needed it came in the frozen ruts that I had to negotiate on my rigid bike. At one point I took a digger and flew over the front. It seems I have been involved long enough in mtbland to come full circle. From rigid, through full susser to full on DH, back to full susser and now rigid. It's like going back to the future! Anyways, I put a little video I made up on one of my sites, just as an inspiration for the New Year (not that any of you fit guys need it!) click the pic of The King to view.
Happy New Year and keep the faith
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Hope you all had a great Xmas and have a sticky new years eve! Hope to see you all in the new year
Well done to the whole team for an awesome 08.
To get 484 directions for VCMers only, text or email me.
We will be there tomorrow for some New years eve DH fun and another BBQ if anyone is in the Pitlochry area.
Sunday, 28 December 2008
Sue's been on night shift this week, so it was a quick swap of car keys for a warm bed and I was out of the door right on schedule - the church bells chimed 0830 just as a slammed the boot shut.
Quick roll and sausage + a pint of stove top espresso in the car and I'm in tip-top shape for the bitch of a climb from Old Bridge of Tilt up towards Loch Moraig. Lots of ginger squirrels, hares and some frisky bullocks to keep me company on the way up. A couple of hillwalkers are parking their car as I reach the end of the tarmac - it's the last I see of humankind for a few hours - all the trails belong to me.
Landrover track gives way to quad track and a crossing of the Allt Coire Lagain. I'd been bracing myself for wet feet, but the water is low enough to use some rocks to cross it. A quick portage to meet the path that comes up from Shinagag and I'm back on the bike. No. Wrong path. Another quick portage to meet the right path that comes up from Shinagag and I'm back on the bike.
Lots of singletrack and distant deer brings me to Daldhu where the big climb begins. The landrover track gets whiter and whiter as I gain altitude. By the time I top out at 700m there are patches of hard icy snow on the ground. Which is a bit of a bummer, as what should be an elbows-in plummet down the other side is a full on mince-fest. Is that good snow or bad snow? Still manage to go arse over tit despite slowing to a crawl at points. Icy landing hurt, they really do.
No sign of life at Fealar Lodge, but the devildogs still have a right good bark and I have a couple of nervous looks at the kennels just in case they've worked out how to pick the lock. Memories of my uncle's mental sheepdogs are still fresh enough - always one nice one that would be let in the house to have it's tummy tickled and one completely nuts one that you were sure would break in during the night and rip you to pieces. Perhaps that's how they played it with the sheep - good dog, bad dog.
From Fealar things get interesting again - the boggy stuff was well frozen, so it was lovely riding. Then time to meet my nemesis on the way down to cross the Allt Garbh Buidhe. Not a technical feature by any stretch, but the hillside drops away from the trail's left edge and a slip would put you in the water 30m+ down fairly rapidly. I'm determined to make it today, so I session it. OK, I chicken out three times and make it on my fourth go. I'm so elated I smack into a rock 10m down the trail and mash my genitals into the back of the saddle. Nice.
The Allt Garbh Buidhe crossing is a piece of cake. One slightly damp foot is a much better outcome than a previous trip when the burn was in spate and I "enjoyed" a waist deep wade.
Last of the nice stuff and I'm over the bridge at the Falls of Tarf and on towards the landrover track back to civilisation. Those that have ridden down Glen Tilt might have noticed two things - the river must be running up hill and there is *always* a headwind. Today is no different, despite the wind blowing from the SE. Slightly regret having dropped a couple of teeth off the front for my US trip, so it's seems like slow progress. Manage to overtake a couple of hill runners and dog walkers on the run in to the car park, so I must be race ready...
Back at the car in 4.5 hours. Big smiles, car park nekkidness and another sausage in a roll and I'm rolling for home.
more photos here.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
The recipe for the success that is is straightforward; A few antics, good cycling and great company, a brilliant course, a generous land owner, a devoted organiser and Jammy. Simple really.
i was extra stoked to be receive the trophy for the most combatant rider, accompanied by a couple of bottles of Monteiths' finest. A sweet way to round off the season.
I hope I'm back next year it. It was simply the best.
Monday, 22 December 2008
Just had a lovely ride down to see Rory at USE about lights and stuff for Strathsuffer.
But when will I learn that even if I have just eaten if I still feel hungry eat more before trying to ride otherwsie it makes things alot harder! Fortunately Rory had grapes and Tea. I Stopped in Cranleigh on the way home and with my £2.50 funds purchased a pack of Jelly Tots, Tooti Fruiti and a tin of halved pears in syrup mixed the syrup with the water i my bottle for extra sugar rush action and that diet of champions along with a tot of whisky from my trusty hip flask got me home the remaining 20 odd miles :-)
And in response to my own question I dont think I will ever learn!
Riding bikes is ace
Monday, 15 December 2008
It felt strange being on the other side of the tape on Sunday, not racing but cheering instead. It really hit home what a spectacle cyclocross racing is, especially in those conditions. Bravo to everyone who rode and toughed it out.
My biggest giggle of the weekend was Marty handing up the poond primes!
First hand to hand..
then hand straight to mouth!
A very well done to Anja for winning both days and taking the Series overall - flying the VCM flag in fine style. I don't think the Scottish CX Series has ever before seen such an awesome set of performances and such big smiles.
I'm sad the series is over...
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Relive the glory of last year's event including a seminal moment in Scottish Cyclocross history - our very own director sportif completing a rarely caught on camera, mudhole induced endo avoiding a face plant on video 2. I challenge you not to have a little giggle!
To rideout that endo must have taken some skill. Bravo!
Three Velo Club Mouliners made it out for the day. Word has it that Mr Savallas may have been under the weather. Other sources may say he was ashamed of his clean-shavenness with the threat of the moustache challenge at hand, and chose instead to stay indoors. So as it was Jac, John and myself were there to hold the VCM torch.
It was cold (And Dr Jon again insisted on sporting an unseasonably summery Magnum PI inspired number), and the course was good, despite the organisers having to make a last minute change of location due to the intended course being ice bound. Unpredictable and changeable between frozen solid and slidey mud with a lung bursting stair climb in the mix for good measure.
Ross Creber is your new Men's Champ and a well deserving one too. I almost got sucked off my bike in his wake because he passed me so quickly. Jac finished 5th in the Women's league. John, well, I'm not sure where he finished up. After valiantly offering me a tow (As I'd dropped off Eileen's wheel), I yelled at him to 'Go! JUST GO!'. Damned if I was going to accept assistance from anyone and in my stubborn and indignant manner, I pedalled on to catch up. Shortly after that, John lost traction on a slidey off camber corner and for his gentlemanly efforts, i thanked him by not running him over.
After leading the first lap, Eileen caught me, spent a few laps ahead of me and I was almost resigned to letting the race go... But not quite. I managed to chase and I caught her wheel, taking a break for half a lap, before putting down the hammer and riding away for the last 3 laps. Sweet success, and a third National Title (of three different nations in 3 different disciplines) was added to my wee collection.
Photos courtesy of Trina Ritchie
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Friday, 5 December 2008
For me working for my self usually forfeit's me the right to a summer holiday so I take mine at the beginning of winter. This year we went as far afield from Pitlochry as Dulnain Bridge 7 miles north of Aviemore in the highlands of Scotland. Just my way of helping us out of the economic down turn and spending the holiday pound in Scotland.
On Wednesday before all the snow arrived Frankencrosser (My converted 1993 cadex MTB)convinced me to throw a leg over the old girl and head out into the wildernes for some CX mini epic action in the northern Cairngorms. I started from our holiday let in Dulnain bridge on the tarmac as all good CX rides should heading south from Dulnain Bridge over the River dee thats carves it way west to east across the highlands of Scotland emptying itself in the north sea at its terminus in Aberdeen. From hear I stopped in a Spar convenience store in Nethy bridge having realised I'd forgotten any form of liquid refreshment in my hast to make the most of the ever decreasing daylight at this time year. From here it was all dirt and some really lovely Landrover paths through Abernethy Forest. The path undulates through some lovely natural old wood forest rather than plantation pines the gradually climbing to the highest point of the ride at Rynettin with spectacular views across the Cairngorm Massif.
From Rynettin lodge it was a fast decent down grassy paths and back into the the forest for a few miles then the views and surrounding land opened up into open hill side and the mini pass that is Ryvoan pass that takes you into Glenmore and the trail network that is Rothiemuchus forest.
At the saddle of the Ryvoan pass is Ryvoan Bothy. A small modest Bothy with not a lot of room especially when it is full of Corporate white collared workers team building there way around the bleak winter hills. Although full it was a welcome relief to be out of the cold and wind for a wee bit to enjoy a banana and energy cake whilst try to answer questions about the integrity of my road bike with knobby tires. Even one comment of disbelief that I didn't have rear suspension in these tuff condition they were even more shocked when they realised it didn't have front suspension either and that it was basically a road bike.
From Ryvoan bothy the trail descends down to Glenmore Lodge for some fast hard pack riding heading around Loch Morlich to the head of the Lairig Ghru. Once hear I knew it wasn't far to get to Inverdruie and the Rothiemurchus visitors centre and my waiting wife and son for Coffee and scones. Oh and a Burger and a Coke!!! Yes I'm a large lad who needs to keep the tank full.
Only taking 3 hours to complete this ride it makes for the perfect winter mini epic made all the more pleasurable using the CX bike. If you up that way give it a go.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
It was cold and the ground was frozen and very hard when you hit it which made for a perpetually white knuckled ride. Did I mention it was very hard when you hit it?
Monday, 1 December 2008
However on Saturday I set out on a mission to the Fens of Lincolnshire to collect my new girl Rosie. So at lunchtime I jumped on the train with my trusty Langster and headed northeast to Newark were it turned out to be damp, misty and thankfully not windy! (I have a mental image of Lincolnshire always being windy) and began the second part of my journey to a small village by the name of Rowston where i was to pay for and collect Rosie.
Now the mission began, Rosie may be Female (as all mechanical things are) but she is no girl. She Happens to be my new race wagon an ex military Land Rover 101 forward control ambulance which has been lovingly converted into a camper/mission vehicle. I say mission as I had foolishly assumed that being based on a Land Rover she would be like my current Land Rovers to drive. Hmmm not quiteshe is getting on for twice the weight and a wide load. It was only when myself and Richard, Rosies creator went for a spin round the block that reality set in and I had a moment of pucker as her full dimensions sunk in. This lessened the more I drove her and started to find the right gears in the gearbox rather than Neutral or the wrong gear.
5 hours later I arrived back in London and nearly home. But before I could get Home National Rescue came to may rescue as the battery had lost its charge whilst playing with the flood lights without the engine running. So 1 jump start later and I was Home with my new girl and feeling very happy but shattered.
With no food left in the fridge and the prospect of sleeping on sunday morning, Playing with my new toy and buying food for the week or racing I took the lightweight option and slept!
So excuses in and no races on the cards 'til Mull I will continue to entertain myself with Rosie and just riding my bikes.
Ladies and Gentlemen may I introduce to you all Rosie Das Brick.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
When I looked out the window this morning, it was a wee bit chillier than I expected it to be, so I packed the extra few layers and tights rather than knee warmers. As Darkmarquis and I drove along the motorway from Edinburgh it just got colder and colder, until it reached -5 when we pulled into the car park at Plean Country Park. Ouch!
There was another big field today and a really good show of VCM riders (Anja, Andy, Chris, Mark, Doug and I) despite the very, very cold conditions. So we all huddled close together on the start line in the vain hope of getting a little bit of heat from the other riders after we'd all taken off our outer layers.
As usual, I placed myself pretty near the back of the pack on the start line. When the gun went, I found that I was working my way nearer the front and could see the first 3 lady riders. I was really pleased and was pretty confident that I could at least hold on to fourth place. Then it all started to go wrong. 3/4 of the way round the first lap, I slipped on some ice at the bottom of a decent and came off and slid right into the burn. Whilst I was trying to untangle myself from the undergrowth I watched most of the field go past (all asking if I was okay, which was very nice) and then saw Julie Nimmo do exactly the same thing just as I was trying to get back on the bike. Mental note for next lap - be more careful.
Up and going again, I felt pretty strong and was fairly sure that I was starting to make my way through some of the riders who'd passed me while I was on the ground. Then it happened again. 2nd lap, just hitting a corner in a little bit of singletrack, my back wheel slid out and I was on the ground, upside down again. This time it took a little bit longer to untangle myself and sort myself out because my hoods had turned themselves around so that they were facing each other. Grr!
Back on again and fairly happy that I was making up time again. Quick swig of my water bottle - It was like lemon and lime slush puppy. It was so cold my bottle was starting to freeze!
I was really enjoying the fast course, flying down the fast downhill sections, cheering support to Andy, Anja, Darkmarquis and Dr Jon whenever I saw them at the bits where the course met in the middle. Getting lots of support from Trina, Caroline and the other folks in the crowd. Lots of smiley faced riders despite the sketchy conditions.
Then I did it again! This time on a perfectly flat, straight bit of double track. I was getting a wee bit frustrated and pretty beat up feeling by this time because the ground was completely solid. Anyhow, back to it again and I was really happy with my riding, making up time again, then again, then again.
In all 5 crashes. I think I did 8 laps, so that made only 3 clean laps. I'm not sure where I came, but I'd guess that it was pretty far down the field. I definitely won the most chrashingest female rider today though.
The prize giving was a very chilly event with lots of people showing off the icickles in their hair and beards! We saw Anja win the female race again today and Paul McInally take the male race (after working hard so far all series to get a win). There was also a prize for best beard (no prizes for guessing who got that) and lantern rouge, Fiona Walker who put in another steady race.
Despite all the crashes, I still thought it was a top course and I felt that when I was upright, I was riding well, I just wasn't upright very much. Roll on Dundee next week. It's another good course and since it's the champs course this year, we should see a really good turnout of riders. All I need to do is practice staying on my bike this week.
Thursday, 27 November 2008
p.s. anyone got a promo code for them? thinking the quarterly uci package might be worth a wee look.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Just time for a quick practise lap and warm up- the course looked good. A start finish area on grass then a cheeky climb through some trees that was just about big-ring-able followed by a short descent through the trees then up a set of steps along past the sign on hut, down a steep chute, back past the start area, up another set of steps and out round a field then back into the finish. Both sets of steps felt just right, at a sprint you could nail them two at a time, come the race this gave me a bike length or two on those around me but it was a little sketchy and I very nearly had a couple of serious face plants when the legs got a bit tired.
The race went well and from the gun I felt fairly strong. One rider broke away on the first lap and wasn’t to be seen again but two of us had a good scrap for second, Andrew Nichols just got me on the last lap, a stupid mistake on the entry to a grassy bend saw me loose the front end and he was away. Half way round the final lap I had almost made up the 15 seconds I’d lost but the legs screamed enough and I had to settle for second.
A good day out and a surprise trip to the podium, which was cool. Got to say a big thank you to Emma for even getting out of bed and coming with me let alone manning the pits and providing support. Looking forward to some more ‘cross racing very soon.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Well as with most of the country I woke up to snow on Sunday morning and possibly unlike alot of the country giggled out loud. I have no idea why I like racing in nasty conditions but the snow appealed and even when the temperature rose and it became rain racing still seemed the best thing to be doing on a Sunday morning.
And so it was that round ten of the London 'cross League hosted by Addiscombe cc came to be held at Penshurst offroad club (PORC) in Kent. After enjoying breakfast number two, plenty of coffee(cheers Raluca) and collecting my riding compatriot James from the joys of unpacking (they moved house the day before) we loaded up the van and set off.
Upon arrival we signed on and I had the treat of getting the number one plate we slipped back to the van to strap on the Lycra. Looking at the clock it appeared to be time to get a view of the course just before the race start. It was at this point we discovered the race start had been delayed by an hour. So back to the van we went to amuse ourselves until we could go and taste the mud. Despite the soggy condtions the course was fast with a treat of a loose fireroad descent a disproportionate amount of climbing in comparison to the downhill! and as expected more than a fair amount of mud which proved to have alot more grip than mud would be expected to provide.
The course and condtions proved to be hostile to a number of riders with more than a couple of people puncturing on the first straight. And the mud and climbs appearing to take thier toll on a few more. George Brent riding in the hosts colours made an impressive recovery from a front flat to earn himself 2nd place. Somehow i managed to escape the puncture demon mostly due to deciding on a firm 120psi in the tyres and the demon deciding not to pick on some of my more monster truck style riding moments on the descent!
Not alot else to say other than it was a top days racing and i cant wait for the next one!
Photo borrowed from londoncyclesport.com
Sunday, 23 November 2008
The predicted snow was scant and entirely washed out by freezing morning rain before an early afternoon start at Prospect Park, Reading for today's cyclocross fix.
The Ashes Series continued as I took on Aussie Sam Alison of Singular in the mid-pack battle for supremacy. Another friendly face appeared in the form of Nigel of Brighton Mitre; so committed is he to 'cross that he takes his own cow-bells with him, heckling while simultaneously riding into the distance - cheeky sod.
The course was in fact rather excellent if also hard work. Very wet mud and grass meant it was just as a 'cross course ought to be. Some short climbs which the bike needed shouldering on, three steep and hilarious descents, woodsy singletrack with off-camber fun added and mud. Lots and lots of lovely mud.
The start went well enough and Nigel and I traded places for while, giggling and sliding our way round until he gradually pulled away leaving me to fall back to the patient clutches of The Australian. As the race wore on, in surprising warmth given the start of the day, my battles become purely mental as Sam disappeared and the mud slowly began to stiffen and stick to everything, whisked by the many riders and warmed by the Winter sun.
Approaching the bell lap, I was shocked to see Nigel only 100m in front as I stumbled up the final greasy climb. Drawing level, we had a brief mud fight, clearing the slop from our bikes by flinging it at each other. The joy and invigorating elation that is riding every section for the last time was shortly over and the inevitable was confirmed - 0-2 down to the chirpy Antipodean.
A fine way to earn a fire, a big cup of tea and plate stacked high with over-buttered crumpets. I'll be weeping mud until at least tomorrow lunch time though...
Today's cross race was a little different to last week's double header. Mostly due to the biting wind and freezing rain. Oh, and maybe the sand.
I started out warm enough, aided by an energetic pre-race skipping rope routine, but I found it so cold I couldn't maintain my temperature and finished with hands like swollen mallets, finding it difficult to shift gears. That might also have been due to the sand though...?
Anyhow, bits of it were great fun, bits of it were super tough and all the way round we were encouraged by some unreasonably enthusiastic marshals - How they maintained their sunny demeanor despite the baltic conditions, I do not know. One commented on the fact that I was still smiling. Several times in fact.
I know I was never smiling at the spot he was standing. I was actually grimacing and muttering curse words under my breath after fouling up a dismount, kicking my pedal, having my legs buckle under my weight and failing, once again, to haul my sand caked bike onto my shoulder. Instead I battered the step with my front wheel swore at my gracelessness.
Once home, it took half an hour in the shower to get the warmth back into my bones.
Please, oh please make next week less inclement, and maybe I'll have more reason for genuine smiles!
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Saturday - big crash at the cross race on the last lap attempting to pass 2 guys at the kerb into the off camber grass bit. A total mis time of a bunnyhop results in front wheel landing into curb and me passing the 2 chaps but in mid air and without my bike! 1 cracked helmet a bit of a stiff neck results!
Sunday - 2 crashes at Glenrothes. One just sliding out trying to go too quick round a corner. Grazed knee and bum. Second whilst in complete oxygen debt at the barriers, left foot catches on the barrier, I do a summasault with bike on shoulder, somehow managing to not injure myself or the bike. Gary McCrae is a complete gentleman and doesn't pass me/run over the top of me. Only a bit of a sore back.
Monday - Ros pokes me in the eye by accident..
Tuesday - in the dark walk straight into a metal road sign at work, again doing a full summersault over the front of it!! I get a sore right hip/pelvis bone for my efforts. Glad nobody spots me.
Thursday - cross practise down the park. All going well until practising dismount-bike straight onto shoulder by chucking it straight up on '1 handed' style. Crack my elbow hard on the top tube. Have to have a moment in the foetal (sp?) position. For some reason I keep going with the drills only to do exactly the same trick on the already sore elbow!! This time I stay down for longer, much to the bemusement of a passing dog walker...
Friday - front lights runs out on the pedal back from work. No accidents but a few sketchy moments attempting to ride along the pavement with pitch dark/fullbeam/pitch dark etc.. to contend with.
Hopefull my kharma bank is now restored to 0. Off to find some wood to tap....
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Come the race I was not confident at all and really struggled to get into any kind of rhythm. My aim was to not get lapped and see how well I could do at a National race. Unfortunately after 40mins the flying Nicholas Bazin cruised past me and I was out. A good experience none the less and riding this race gave me a real appreciation for the skill the top guys have, they make it look simply effortless. I thought the technical side of this race would not be an issue and my mtb skills would get me round nae bother- how wrong I was. So some serious practice required for the next round at Rutland. I am determined to at least finish the race without getting lapped!
It was pretty impressive to watch the last few laps of the Elite race and see the skill of riders such as Paul Oldham and Jody Crawforth. The Vets race was also good to watch, a real close one between Chris Young and Geoff Giddings with Young getting it on the last lap with a cracking pass on one of the tricky off-camber banks. All in all a good day out finished off with a roast dinner in the pub on the way home- braw. Next weekend I’ll have a shot at an Eastern league race so I’ll report back how that goes.
Monday, 17 November 2008
It's been too long, but I'm back in my VCM lycra and back on the bike. A crash meant I've been off the bike for a month, so it was with trepidation and eagerness that I lined up for the Conham Cross race in Bristol on Sunday.
I was in the area for my Friend James' 30th birthday celebrations (he was racing too) and there was a big enough group of friends in attendance to mean there was encouragement from fellow racers and spectators alike. The lovely Mel did hand-ups and post-race refreshments of Limoncello and lemon cake while her husband-to-be, future Iditarod racer and all round good-guy, Shaggy showed how you can race at the sharp end on a singlespeed and a hangover.
It was surprisingly warm for mid-November and the damp ground had congealed to a clagging mass of mud, leaves and grass. I got away well enough, but found there was not a great deal in the tank and I drifted back through the mid-pack. My good friend Sam caught and passed me, but it was sadistically satisfying to find him at the finish vomiting into the shrubberies - clearly I need to try harder.
Still, it was great to be back out and riding with friends. It's the peculiar combination of camaraderie, rivalry and friendship that makes cyclocross fun for me. That and the mud.
There's a race nearer to home in Reading next weekend so that's next on the list.
(Top photo courtesy of David Hill.)
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
Last week I got all the motivation I needed to get some focus back- the dates were published for next years British Mountain Bike Series. The first race is in early April giving me 5 months to get in shape and ready to beast it. For me bike training is all about being focused and getting in a routine. In fact I find a routine is important for everything- take vitamin pills, if I get in the habit of taking them every morning then it’s no problem but once I forget a couple of mornings in a row that’s it, I stop for weeks. (Still not sure if they do anything but everyone in our office has the cold and I’m doing everything to avoid the inevitable) Having decided on some goals for next year I have a clear purpose and a good reason to drag my ass out of bed at 5.30am when it’s wet and cold! As for the winter training I think I’ll concentrate on getting ready for next year but the ‘cross is too much fun not to have a wee shot so I’ll do a few races and we’ll see how it goes. Got some particularly naughty Tufo Prestige tubs earlier in the week so once they’re glued on the ‘cross bike will be ready to roll- should be fun.
Good luck to everyone racing at Peebles this weekend. Wish I could have made my home race!
Ok folks, the season is still in full flight but soon it will end but at the end (officially the Isle of Mull cross weekend) and when it ends we must reward those riders who have proved themselves, which leads me nicely onto introducing the VCM Combatant Rider of the year trophy! The lovely folks at Pro Velo Support have donated us a fine trophy worthy of any true Combatant, which we in turn shall fill with Belgians finest on the day!
Thursday, 6 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Prior to that though I had the treat of a bivy night up on the North Downs. Got myself all set to go slipped into some warming spandex, helmet strapped on, pack on, grabbed my bike and headed out the door when the minor inconvenience of my light not working reared its ugly head. Never mind i thought I'll just change the battery, Hmm tried both my other batteries which were fully charged but not a bean ah well i think this can be added to the list of things killed by Thetford and rain :-( Fortunately i still had my working head torch and it was all go. The bivy was great despite being woken up by someone growling at thier dog as a form of communication at 4 in the morning. All this was soon a memory as the coffee was brewed and we watched the sun rise over the valley below us. Good byes were said and off we pedaled towards the saturdays ahead of us. For myself more riding for my felow bivyer (?) it was a saturday of gardening.
Sunday: Ah 'cross how it should be rain, mud and a chill in the air. Round 7 was held at Reed Court Farm, Marden back into the Kent country side. Not my ideal course the start involved a drag race up a gentle bumpy grass covered rise followed by a pancake flat route around the edge of some fields interspersed with twisty singletrack through a copse's. Once again the pace was hot i was just getting into my rhythm when my bike started to feel a little loose. The source of the looseness was soon found to be my left hand crank which had creaked during the practice lap and I had written off with a Blase "these cranks always creak" After a few attempts i managed to find a spectator with a 5mm Allen key to fix my woes and with my cranks duly tightened set about making up some lost ground my legs felt great and all was good. For 1 lap just as i came past the previously mentioned gentleman spectator he enquired how my fix was holding up to which i replied she was running just fine. Maybe i should just keep my damn fool mouth shut 100m later grinding my way out of a bombhole my left foot made a successful escape for freedom joined by the crank arm too. After a curse and a fumble the offending article were handed to a spectator with a request to look after them until the end and the one leg drill began in a futile attempt to keep going. As i passed the finish line the welcome noise of the bell was heard sweet i thought just one lap of hauling myself around the course using a mixture of running, limping swearing and flailing.
Not the ideal first outing for the skinsuit but things can only improve especially if i listen to what my bike is saying!
Monday, 27 October 2008
the rains did. I loved it. Secretly, once they had jetwashed their bikes and selves, deep inside I know some of the racers did too.
PS: Hope you don't mind me showing you my outings. If you do let me know!
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Gripes aside, it was another great race. Props to GMBC for putting in the hard yards. Muchos mud, skiddy grass and perishingly cold. Perfect!
Friday, 24 October 2008
apologies for the dullness. to make up for it - a perfect handup from crossvegas last year:
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Anyway Round 6 was held at Temple School, Strood, Kent. On first appearance I was dubious to say the least of a course that circumnavigated football pitches full of Sunday league footballers and a school. However a practice lap erased any concerns I had and it proved to be a fun and fast course. As for the race it was the standard fair of 1 hour of feeling like i wanted to be sick. But some strange internal voice kept me pedaling round in circles as usual and I had a ball! Looking forward to getting my VCM kit to race in.
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Auchentoshan once more delivered a classic race, after a pretty decent start I was quickly passed by DrJon, when I tried to kick to put up chase nothing happened, bah, I quickly started to go backwards and was feeling pretty rubbish to be honest. Thank heavens for the arrival of arch nemesis Davie Graham, that was just the motivation I needed, we proceeded to race each other into the ground, it is pretty unusual to have such a good rivaled race from the middle of the pack but this was pretty inspiring stuff, the upshot though was that I started to feel pretty good and managed to get a wee gap which I held for the line finishing only a lap down on the leaders for the first ever time! Delighted. Good work Davie.
Monday, 20 October 2008
I got a flyer off the line, somehow pulling out a gap on the field! That skinsuit must be giving me extra powers! From here I got my head down and tried to ride smooth, but also backed off a little so as not to completely roast myself.
After a couple of laps Dan Whitehead caught up but somehow he dropped off after a couple of laps and I was out alone again. I'm not used to this feeling, so maybe my confidence to totally commit to go for the win wasn't quite there, but as James started to close in a shout from the TSPC/VCM pits in the woods of "dig deep - you can do it!" gave me a huge boost to keep riding hard. Thanks for all the cheers. "Eye of the Tiger!" also helped, even if I did do a wobble straight after!
James caught up and was riding strong, faster than me on some bits, me faster than him in others. On the final lap I made a mistake on a short steep bit on the far part of the course and he had 30m gap. I tried hard to close this up but into the car park he had the win in the bag and I rolled in a fews seconds down. Feelings straight after swung from initial elation at the race being over and getting second, to a little frustration at missing out on the win to then just happy..
I'm was extremely chuffed with 2nd though and how i'm going at the mo'. I didn't expect to be leading the series after 3 races! Getting some good results has really boosted my confidence.
Must get "Eye of the Tiger" on the MP3 for Mugdock.
2nd for andy
solid performance by chris
punctures for jac, john and me
Saturday, 18 October 2008
The Lodge is Scotland's national outdoor training centre and lies in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park. It offers courses in many different outdoor activities, but this was probably it's first experience of cyclocross. This round would be the UKs most northerly cyclocross this season and almost certainly the only one to be played out in the shadow of some 4000 foot mountains.
The race team met early in the Mountain Cafe for a hearty breakfast - Jac, ChrisM, Mark, John, Davie and Dan (who'd already been up and down Carn Ban Mhor by the time we met). Several thousand calories and a good few cups of coffee later, we convoyed up to the Lodge and had a quick look round the proposed course with Carl Haberl .
The team quickly got things going. Hurdles down, course mainly marked (although we couldn't tape the zig-zags on the lawn as a rescue chopper was scheduled to drop in later in the day), risk assessment done. Sweet!
Fellow VCMers Anja and Phil along with Gareth and dRJ0n pitched up and it was time for a quick ride. Off into Rothiemurchus, up the Lairig Ghru path and back by the Loch Gamhna via an impressive faceplant for Mark. Nearly four hours later our band of slightly tired cyclocrossers are back at the lodge with rosy cheeks, raging hungers and not a single puncture between us.
Showers - curry - burgers - beer - port and lemon - bed
We're up sharp in the morning for a quick breakfast where Mark and I marvel at John's two black pudding race fuelling strategy. More taping, a final safety check and we're ready for racing.
Dan and Karen man the sign-on desk and before you know it, Jac the chief commissaire is giving the juniors their safety briefing.
Racing is underway!
You can read more about the actual racing in Andy's fine report over on British Cycling website. Some braw performances from VCM racers with Anja taking the win in the women's race despite a severe mechanical and a quick bike change. Andy took second in senior men with two more VCM riders in the top 10 - new signing Phil in fifth and John in seventh.
The U12s race follows and sees the best racing of the day, a tantrum and a few tears. Damn, these kids are competitive!
After prize giving, the team whirs back into action - tear down the course, bundle up the fence stakes and complete the paperwork.
Done and dusted.
I predict big things for the Glenmore round next year - it's an awesome venue and the race course is a corker.
Many thanks to Carl at Glenmore Lodge and to Dan and Karen for their valuable help. Thanks also to Carl at Bikelove for sponsoring the numbers.
Next - back to racing tomorrow at the one of the classic Scottish courses - Auchentoshan.
(bottle of Grimbergen standing in for winner Dan Whitehead)
photos by Mark and dRj0n
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Monday, 13 October 2008
I would appreciate some feedback if only to know it's all working properly.
Hope you like it!!
PS: Also just booked the tunnel to go to Koksijde World Cup. If someone sets fire to a lorry that morning I'm gonna be that cross!
Thursday, 9 October 2008
I can say however, Chris, I was far less resplendent in my skin suit on it's first outing than your good self. I can also say, that white skin suits take on quite a different hue when wet, and the amount of mud lodged between it and you becomes quite conspicuous... much to the amusement of the crowd gathered at the finish line as dawn broke and I completed my last lap.
There's a good write up of the night on the British Cycling web site and some photo evidence of the biblical rains we endured on Joolz's site.
There were many dirty damp but friendly faces, including that of Deano, who took an impressive 8th in the solo mens, Phil Hodgkiss, Nigel and Gareth all completing the sapping 12hr mud grovel. Jenn Hopkins took the sensible option by pulling the plug early to get warm, clean(ish). Jenn, along with Adam (a man who will change a tire when you most need it!), doled out oodles of support coffee and the odd whiskey for the dogged riders who were silly enough to battle on.
For those of you who are concerned about the fate of above mentioned skin suit, it washed up quite nicely and is ready for a sunny ride in Aviemore this weekend ;-)
Monday, 6 October 2008
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Friday, 3 October 2008
drop me a note for more info. naegears[at]googlemail[dot]com.
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
A portion of the team that lined up for the 46th annual 3 Peaks Cyclocross race (courtesy of the very lovely Trina Ritchie. What an amazing event. My back, hands and arms are still recovering... think they will be for a wee while. Lucky with the weather, blessed with great company and spoiled with oodles of top notch nosh and booze. A perfect weekend away.
By the way... How pro are Chris' white arm warmers?!