Wednesday, 28 January 2009

get your XC on!

Two races, two good causes.

First XC race of the season is at Blairadam Forest (by Kelty) on 1st March in aid of the local trailbuilding group. Online entry open now.

And a couple of weekends later - the Alistair Lees Memorial XC Time Trial is on at Innerleithen on 15th March. Online entry also open now.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Getting schooled!

What an awesome weekend, Got home last night from a great weekend with Jac, Chris, Steven, David and James in Mol, Belgium for the World Cyclocross Masters.

The course was fantastic with huge long sections of truly evil wheel eating sand interspersed with truly wonderful winding singletrack and not a drop of mud in sight! We left the UK on Friday afternoon loaded up with spandex, whiskey and 'cross bikes in damp and miserable conditions fearing a mudbath, drove up to Mol in Mandy my ever trusty racing car of a Land Rover (compared to Rosie she is a rocket ship!) Where a little later than planned we met up with the Scottish contingent enjoyed a cheeky beer before being sent to bed so as not to ruin our (and others) chances the following day. I awoke to Davey coming in from outside proclaiming it to be quite cold outside. Now being a southern poof it concerns me when a man from Mull who surely must be used to colder weather than myself says it is cold. However within half an hour the sun had made an appearance and it was not to bad (for January).

We wondered over from the cabin the 100m to the startline in time to miss the start of Jacs race but in time to catch her on her second lap and Heckle out some encouragement and have a wander round the course to see how things were looking.

Now being the in the position of young guns our race was not until the end of the afternoon so we proceeded to eat food and kill time watching the other guys racing whilst trying not to pay to much attention to how fast everyone was going. Eventually it was time to strap on the spandex and go for a pedal round the course. Four crashes later I had soiled my whiteys (knee warmers tsch!) and completed my practice lap. So feeling not so full of confidence we waited for our start.

Eventually 3.15 rolled around and we were called up to the grid and off we went I successfully defended DFL for the first two laps until my body decided to wake up and alow me to go a bit faster. I clawed back two places and dragged myself round to the end of the race to be handed one of the best tasting beers of my life by Chris followed by one more for luck!

Then with post race certificates collected it was back to the cabin for a Burns night supper of Haggis and Frite with a light lubrication from Duvel and Tobermory whiskey. A truly great way to finish a days racing.

The Moulin kit seemed to be very well received by the locals with plenty of support from the commentator and lap counters on every lap and knowing nods from aging gentlemen in Duvel caps whilst recovering at the end of the race.

The race was amazing I will be back next year without a doubt. I had a shocker of a race and loved every minute of it (once it was over).

Cheers to all the guys for letting us arrive late and crash on their floor and for all the support before, during and after the race It made the weekend very special.

kharma

I try to keep my steeds clean and shiny - it makes me happy and they work better.

I've been seriously negleting my winter road bike though for a while now and today i got what i've had coming to me for a while. I could argue that a little bit of neglect was ok as i've only really been using it for my 15 min pedal to and from work but that would be pretty lame excuse indeed.

The back brake had been seized for months, then more recently the front had got a bit sticky too. The chain meanwhile had gradually morphed from silver to grey to odd spot of orange to total rust brown colour. At the same time, the noise down there had grown from a quiet squeek to a lumpy squarking twitter. Even a sagging chain last week failed to spurr me into action to revive things..

So, today 5 mins into my commute and running late for work, the chain decided it'd had enough and unceremoniously dragged my rear mech up round and into the cassette, beautifully bending the rear hanger at the same time. I was embarrassed enough by this state of affairs that I skulked off the side of the road and down some steps to sort things out.

20mins of faffing, cold hands and single speed botching later I think i learnt my lesson...

Belgium...

Anybody got any pics from Belgium?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

it's back!

The Badaguish race course is back on the SXC calendar on 6th September. Possibly the UK's best XC race course has been off the SXC menu since 2006 (although some wee race or other was held there in 2007).

See y'all in Mountain Cafe for a pre-race breakfast.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

puffed to Puffer

Photos kindly supplied by Joolze Dymond


I've got two weekends worth of action to squeeze into one post here, so I'll try and keep it brief.

On the 10th of Jan I was up in Yorkshire to race at the National Cyclocross champs. Phil and I had driven up in Rosie admiring the ice floes pouring off the over passes, frozen in state. We clocked an impressive average 40mph all the way to Bradford. Yeah.

Race day for the girls was Sunday. The course was tough without being technical. It was flowing and fast but a devastating head wind made flats feel like killer hills and featured two cheeky run-ups to flog the legs and lungs. I had a good start but got some poor girl's foot properly caught between my down tube and crank when she slipped negotiating the hurdles. After dislodging her from my bike, I'd lost the leaders and spent the next portion of the race slipping further down in to the pack. I finished 14th out of an impressive field of 28 girls. And as expected, Helen Wyman took the title she deserved. It was an amazing turn out and although I wasn't lapped, I was darn close to it, suffering the humiliation of crossing the finish line moments before the prize giving commenced.

Apart from watching the juniors race, we didn't hang around, and just as well. Poor Rosie got us as far as the Woolly End services before she snapped her alternator belt. We were left to spend the evening waiting in the back of Rosie with beer and DVDs till roadside rescue loaded us on and towed us back to London. To be honest, they got us back sooner than if we'd actually manged to drive there under our own steam!

Massive thanks to Phil for the mechanics and heckles. I think his presence may have lightened up/torn up the pits just a touch..?

The next endeavor was Strathpuffer. After solid (maybe somewhat counterproductive) preparation of my sprint strength off the back of a season of Cross, I decided it would be smart to have a crack at my first 24hr solo. On a singlespeed. Aided by the ever helpful Singletrack Savalas crew of Dr Jon, Chris Marquis, Dave MacDonald and Phil, I managed to keep it together for just over 22hrs. Whereupon, I went a bit doolahly, couldn't ride up anything or down anything and had managed to warp the wafer of brake pad that was left around the break piston. I won the girls solo category and was 2nd singlespeeder... to Shaggy.

Shaggy put in an effort of all efforts to win the solo event with 27 laps. I'm wholeheartedly impressed and his win bodes very well indeed for his forthcoming Alaskan Iditabike mission.

Some kudos is due to Rory at Exposure Lights. I managed the whole 17hr of dark without a light or battery change. I had ample light and was only running my Joystick and Maxx D on half power. These are seriously good bits of kit. End of story.

Good luck to those in the VCM colours in Belgium. You'll look just like locals. I'm sorry I can't be there, but I'll be thinking of you. i expect much beer and many photos on your return!!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

back and fat


January is well and truly underway and riding seems to have slowed right down for me, the end of season finale of Mull left me somewhat depleted and need of a rest as well as catching up with my family and life outside of cycling (the horror). My sorry mountainbike lay in a very tired looking state untouched since the last kiss of summer, my road bike hung clean likewise. Funny the different regards we have for each bike. Now liberated from the Yeti and cross season, I could start to think about riding for fun once more. First up was getting my SS into a ridable state, that poor bike has had nothing but a hard life but still it keeps coming back for more, a quick sponge down with a bucket of hot and soapy, a blast of GT-85 here and there, add some heavyweight no brainer tyres and away I went. Having been riding solely the cross bike for months it was a pretty cathartic ride back on the Curtis I was over at Laggan and went for a gentlemanly ride around the red trails there. I must admit every time I ride Laggan I remember how much I love the flow and crispness of the trails. It was cold and fairly wet but those guys have done a lot of work to make sure the trails drain well and they do. The ride hurt, having been off the bike pretty much since Mull, I was glad to be running a leisurely 32-18 gearing and cruised my way around without a care in the world. (well for the hour or so I was there) Unfortunately my ankle is still playing up and I am wondering if it is too late to get some specialist attention on it? Other than that the ride was good which was kinda what I needed to blow away the winter break and clear the head for 2009.

A couple of riders up at Strathpuffer this weekend, I don't envy them, it was howling here last night so I can only imagine what it is like up there. Good luck to them all.

Apology, I was late getting the team affiliation payment made so if you have applied for a license you may have got a knock-back, I apologise, they should have the payment by now and I will try and clear it up next week, my head kinda switched off over the festive break.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

road to roubaix

just watched the dvd, a powerful, beautiful film that really gets under the skin of the race and everything in encompasses.

watching it stirred something deep inside. Not sure exactly what but I suddenly have the itch to start training again, after a few weeks of post cross season blues/run down -ness/bicycle fatigue.

anyone fancy a roadtrip in April?

Friday, 9 January 2009

Thursday, 8 January 2009

A Cheeky Little Sponsorship Plug

I am un-ashamedly copying this from a new story we ran on Descent-World as Stuart was a great supporter of downhilling in Scotland and really drove our National series to the success it is today. A team will be competing at this years Strathpuffer to raise money in his memory.

As many will know a long standing stalwart of the Scottish downhill scene, Stuart Ruffell, sadly passed away recently. Stuart was a previous owner of the legendary Probikesport in Innerleithen, organiser of the Innerleithn Winter Wet and Wild series in past years and a chairman of the SDA. Outside of the downhill scene he was a leader in the Mountain Rescue amongst other things.

In January this year Stuart entered the Strathpuffer 24 hour event and Dave Hutchens dropped us a note to say that "The Old Puffers" team intend to compete again this year in Stuarts memory.

As a mark of respect for our good friend Stuart, the "OLD PUFFERS" team consisting of Dave Hutchens, Alisdair Camburn and Brian Gibb will again be competing in the Strathpuffer 24 hour MTB event in January 2009, but we want to raise money in his memory for the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA) that Stuart was involved with.
Stuart will be there in spirit I am sure making sure that we keep pedalling to the bitter end. We though
t it would be a nice gesture to raise money for a charity that he was directly involved with.
Please dig deep and sponsor us online here: 
http://www.justgiving.com/davethefish


So dig deep folks and give to a worthy cause!




Sunday, 4 January 2009

events

For the durty boys and girls:
1st March - XC at Blairadam. 2 mile lap of singletrack, tech and forest roads -1.5 hours to ride as many laps as possible (a format briefly known as NuBelgian). Some nice stuff in that there forest. More info at blairadam.com presently.

For the roadies:
21st June - the Trossachs Ton. 160km sportive starting in Stirling and taking in a wee climb or two including the Duck's Pass and the Crow Road. More info here.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

white = faster

spotted the cannibal wearing these white carbon soled beauties whilst pouring over the christmas holiday cross results. Imagine a VCM team issue version!

also the colour scheme for the 09 Kona Major Jake has got me a little flustered:


pic from the kona site

I need a lie down..

Happy new year to one and all.

andy