Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bontrager 24/12

Well to be honest ive been waiting for Jez to post his views on what was the most enjoyable event of the year, sunshine,music (jazz singer,24 dj's, live rock band,tour de france on a plasma screen, Geoff Waugh trying to buy my jersey !! )
But Jez now has a proper job working for Trek Uk ( great bunch of lads / lasses ) . And no time?
We both did a few laps in VCM colours, i did 4 laps back to back and yes lap 4 was a little slower i agree, but you dont want fresh legs Jez coming up behind you saying Go Faster Moulin' I had given my best for club / country by then and that was cheeky. I would expect that of the 'Pirate Duncan'. So i went back to the arena to change back in to my chief marshal's jacket to be shouted at from afar 'i want your jersey' from mr Waugh !!
So for the record Jez my lap times were 4o mins , 40 mins, 41 mins, 57 Doh! Wot Was Yours ??
Perhaps next year we take the whole VCM collective and take the silverware home, and Jez brings his now famous coffee machine and Mr Waugh takes the pictures we have a great time at what was a top event.
Jez top man ! you and Duncan together? Dangerous!!! Now off to Endura Sleepless In DA Saddle

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

after the highs come the lows...

Was pretty chuffed with the race at 10 @ KT. Thought the course was exceptional and for the first few laps I had a silly grin on my face on the descents plus it was ace to catch up with other VCM folk. Felt I pushed myself pretty hard and didn't blow up on any of the laps like in 2007..

Fast forward a week to my first road race of 2008.. East Kilbride Road Race, 55mile - 2/3/4/V/J. O.k it'll be pretty rapid with 3 laps on a lumpy course, so my goal is just to try hang in the bunch (or remnants of) and have a good dig up the final climb.

Unfortunately it didn't work out too well: Managed to stay with the bunch for most of lap 1 only to be shelled oot the back; bit of solo effort; catch a few guys in front; go a bit harder in this group; start feeling a little hungry (not what you want); start of final lap, bigger group from behind come up; been drinking lots and shovelling gels down but legs starting to stiffen..; half way round lap 3....boom! legs stop working and all that remains is to grovel to the finish, tail firmly between my legs.

Pretty dissapointed with this outing, especially being the first in VCM colours on the road. Still, it was a good training session and I can't really expect to be going well against roadie dudes who have been racing since March. Also feeling a bit run down all week from the race at KT with legs that never felt like they'd recovered, probably didn't help. Or maybe it was because I forgot to put my white oversocks on?!

Next up is a MTB TT race at Innerleithen next Tuesday night then the 4th cats support race at the Scottish Road Race Champs on Sat 2nd Aug. Hopefully, i'll be feeling a little perkier for these.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

"how many of you are there?"

velo club moulin made quite the impression on 10@kirroughtree last weekend, cumulatively clocking up 600 km (and 13km of climbing!) over the 10 hours. on our parade lap john and i were asked "how many of you are there" and ewan, the laddie solo winner, rolled past at one point and asked what the team and jerseys were all about.

anyhoo, scores on the doors.

winner: jac - lassies solo
winner: anja - mixed pairs (with phil t. horse)
2nd: andy and steve - laddies pairs
safely in the peloton: john and me - laddies solo

course was a real tough guy/gal special - lots of rocky singletrack and no place to recover - even the forest roads were tough going. very glad i stuck some boing up front. not enough chances to boost offa stuff (see 10utb report) for my liking, but entertaining enough.

some highly amusing moments watching folks struggle with the rooty sections and some fantastic suicide overtaking on the singletrack. i was still giggling after witnessing one particular manoeuvre (which had left the protagonist facing the wrong way, on his arse and a good way off track) when i overcooked a fast corner and had to hit the eject button to avoid the great big trailside rock. ach weel, skin heals.

next up? might try to fit in a sportive or two before jetting off to the singlespeed worlds. or i might just go local and roll around in nettles for an hour or two to get myself ready for the poison oak in napa...


photo of popeye by trina

Monday, 14 July 2008

too much work

After what seems months of non stop working on events, the time has come to buy a couple of new steeds.
First was a new hardtail mtb, carbon has been my choice for the last three seasons so why not again? Trek 9.8 hmmm every man and his dog has got one! Specialized stumpy No ! its always red or blk in colour? Giant xtc c1 the spec is a little hash/bash. So what did i go for? Cube elite k24 teamline, looks great, spec fox forks,sram x0/shimano xt, syntace carbon bars/stem seatpost,white saddle hmmm dt swiss wheels.
The second is a wee bit tougher ? The cross bike.
Choice's - Pinarello Carbon ( total porn)
Trek xo (good value)
Lemond (try finding one)
Yeti ( expensive)
Focus/Cube (will do the job)
So far my season has been the tour of ireland what an event that was, and thats it ! Now iam going to make a big effort and wear my VCM kit with a purpose.
Main aims are Wild Wales,Welsh Cx Series,Dusk Till Dawn, Forest Of Dean enduro, Real Ale Wobble ( yep 40 miles offroad, with 1 pint off real ale every 10 miles) november Wales. plus national CX rounds. Grizdale Mountain Bike Challenge.
So training a must from now on, as for work its the Bontrager 24/12 in 2 weeks, then Endura Sleepless InThe Saddle in Aug .

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Breaking News!!!

A text just in from Jac down in Kirroughtree.

Andy and Stevo 2nd place Male Pairs.
Jac 1st place solo woman
Anja and Phil 1st place Mixed pair.

Oh happy day, no doubt a full story will be told.

Big Weekend

A big weekend of racing for VCM this one. 
Firstly up North in Glencoe, Mark W and Dougy are racing the Scottish DH champs rocking out the masters category, good luck big guns, keep it clean and smooth.
And down at the 10 around Kirroughtree, we have 3 solo riders, Jac Strachan (wearing her new Scottish Single Speed crown I hope), Marty Steele and John McCallum all capable of respectable finishes. Over in the pairs, Andy W and new boy Stevo are hoping to go one better than last years second place, go whippets go. And even more in the mixed pairs, Anja is partnering with fellow UK single speed champ Phil the Horse and should be in the firm favourite category to get astride that podium. 

GO TEAM GO

Sunday, 6 July 2008

The World's Most Efficient Engine

I popped out for a ride today - I thought twice about it when the rain was lashing at my window at 7am, but i repeated the mantra; "It always looks worse from inside...."
So i kitted up and departed.  Bearsden, Drymen, Balmaha, Rowerdennan, The West Highland Way, Inversnaid Hotel, Loch Katrine Forest, Aferfoyle, Strathblane, Home.

I  stopped at Aberfoyle to refuel.  The man behind the counter had too much gold jewelry and very long fingernails.
me:  "How's it going?"
him:  "Good.... Well,  I was good on Friday..."
my internal monologue: oh dear lord ... (cringe!)
him:  "I read the obituary on Friday and i wasn't in it.  So i knew it was a good day on friday."
me: (nervous laugh) "ah." 
my internal monologue: just smile and nod... (i nod.  and smile)
me: "Cheers very much.  I'll be off" (I teeter out as quickly as my road cleats allow)

I bought a bottle of lucozade and packet of rainbow coloured popcorn, which came to the grand total of 99p.

There's not much point to this, but it certainly proves, we are indeed,  very efficient engines. Factory standard, I can travel around about 80miles on less than a pound.  Just magine how far i could go on 99p with a bit more fine tuning...

Oh yeah, and I didn't even eat the popcorn :-)



Tuesday, 1 July 2008

12 hours

An earlyish start on Saturday morning saw Chris and I frantically pack the last few things and realise that we had no spare brake pads and not enough gels. So, we decided to stop off in Pitlochy on the way up to Golspie to pick up a crate of Grimbergen from Chris D and swing by Escape Route to pick up a few last minute provisions.

The few provisions turned into quite a chunky purchase, but the espresso Kev gave us both balanced it all out.

We eventually arrived in Golspie at around 4pm which meant we had plenty time to put up the tee-pee, have a snooze and fettle with bikes before the rider briefing. (The fettling with bikes saw a bit of Chris' brakes come flying off into the boot of the car never to be seen again. So there was a big thanks and some Grimbergen to Al from Square Wheels for coming to the rescue.)

The race started at Dunrobin Castle (about 2 miles away from the main transition area), so at around 7.15, all those doing the first lap made their way along to what must be one of the most spectacular start lines I've see. Around 50 riders lined up in front of the castle to start the first, longer than usual, lap. We all set off up the main drive of the castle when the starting rifle (yes, rifle, not pistol!) went off and quickly ducked off into some singletrack in the castle grounds. We then swung back around and rode along the track in front of the castle between the castle gardens and the sea. It was very difficult to force myself to keep riding rather than stop and stare at the beautiful view, but keep riding I did.

We then headed along the main street of Golspie to the entertainment of the locals and then off onto the long climb up Ben Bhraggie. Part way up was the fantastic "rent a crowd" who were at Strathpuffer earlier in the year. I swear they are such an enthusiastic and encouraging crowd that I want to hire them to come to every race with me! (Those of you who went to Strathpuffer might remember the crowd who were out on the hill ALL night.)

The climb up to the monument at the top of Ben Bhraggie was pretty tough on a singlespeed, especially with the techy rocky bit at the top, but I was promised by the marshall half way up that it would be worth the view and she wasn't wrong! Almost a 360 panorama of mountains and sea. It was only when my bar of McCowans Highland Toffee was thrust into my hand (as proof that I had done the longer first lap), that my attention was drawn back to the decent ahead of me.

And what a decent! Fast, techy, rocky, pretty sketchy, but ace! After around an hour of climbing, I reckon I was back down the hill to the transition area in around 20 minutes, grinning like a mad woman.

After that, we all settled into the fairly short regular laps (7.5k seemed pretty short, but with one long gradual climb on singletrack and fire road followed by a fairly techy singletrack decent, it was pretty much spot on).

By 11pm it was pretty dark in the woods, so my lights went on then, but out in the open you still didn't really need lights because the sky was so light. (If I could have figured out how to switch my stupid lights off, I'm sure I would have enjoyed the twilight much more.) Then by 3 am, dawn was well on the way and the light flooding over the north sea was lovely. There were several points where I did an entire lap without seeing another rider, so I had perfect peace and quiet to enjoy the view and the birdsong on my own.

Before I knew it, it was 4 am and I was having to figure out how many laps I still had in my legs and how many I could reasonably fit in before 8 am. I was feeling surprisingly okay, not particularly strong, but not the gibbering wreck I expected to be, so I plodded on.

At 7.20, Chris and I went out together for our final lap and very quickly found ourselves in a little pack of singlespeeders steadily plodding around together. We lurked for a few minutes to avoid having to go out for another lap and then rode in to finish just after 8am.

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic race. The venue was great, the views were amazing, the spectators were fantastic and I actually felt I had ridden pretty well. Although I still didn't get the red mist (I suspect I never will), I felt that I had worked hard and consistently for the whole 12 hours, so I was pretty pleased with myself.

Given the fact that everyone was pretty sleepy, the prize giving took place pretty promptly at 9.15. Although there were lots of sleepy people, there were a lot of happy faces, so it seemed like it wasn't just me who thought it was a cracking event. The whole thing was made even better for me by being awarded both winning female solo and Scottish Singlespeed Champion! What more could I ask for?

Let's hope the guys decide to run the event again next year, because it was a fantastic event with a great atmosphere. Thanks guys!

For now though, I think I need to rest my legs for a wee bit...well, after I've gone out for a scoot tonight maybe.