Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gauntlet














Sam of Singular Cycles posted me this challenge for the forth coming 'cross season.

Bring it on...

/click image to biggerify/

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Good Choice?



Over and easy make it look classy!

Looks like Dr John and I have the same taste in bikes. Couldn't quite stretch to the height's of IF, hope my Kelly Luscious X looks as tidy. Maybe if I ask him nicely, he might gimmae a shot next week?

Friday, 25 September 2009

New guy in the ranks

Just a few words from the new guy in the squad! Well if ya don't see me ya might hear me (sorry it's my way of being nervos at races I suppose). Or I liked winding Neil Dryden up aka Nelly. A wee brief insight of what chris d has let himself in for... Well I've done quite a few Scottish road races, from the girvan to the peebles hydro Apr back in the day. Mountain biking has always been my first love (let's not get confused with females) My first mountain bike race was the Edinburgh bike co-op race in penicuik early 90's. Anyway am suprised cross has come so late in. Just wished I had done it ages ago.
Well hears to a blinding cross season. Will try and do ma best for the V.C.
Oh and John Anderson needing a shelve before I leave the bike works.
Or else.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Racing Bikes

Me.
Hmmm. I've been doing quite a bit of racing lately. It's been pretty awesome.

It all began with a trip down to the Darley Moore racing circuit, near Derby somewhere far South. One of the Women's National Team Series. I hadn't done any road racing for ages, so was a bit nervous about getting dropped on the first lap, but no such thing occured, the race went pretty well and I really enjoyed it.

Next up was the Cumberland Challenge Cyclosportif, 110 Pennine miles, which are at least four times as long as normal miles. I actually really enjoyed it, and didn't find the distance too bad (apart from one point where I was asking passers by 'seriously though guys, where the hell is the god damn food stop? Tell me now!), which was surprising. I rode most of it on my own, but got a good pull for a while at the end of the first loop (the course is like a figure of eight) which was really good fun, riding in a fast bunch of men, it felt like a road race, and zooming past loads of other people. I ended up 4th woman which was pretty cool, considering I didn't have a personal domestique.

Then I went for a trip across the water to Ireland, to ride the Women's Ras na mBan, an International Stage race, four stages over three days, I loved it! Three of the stages were road races, and one a (downhill, two mile long) time trial, which wasn't really playing to my strengths. The first road race went really well, it went over a Category 1 climb, Molls Gap, I was with the leading group until just before the top, then rode with a smaller group to the finish, beating all but two of them in the sprint for the line, which was pretty awesome, as a lot of them were Dutch, and Dutch girls don't tend to get beaten in sprints all that often.

The second day was a really hard four laps of a tough little circuit with a really horrible gravel road with grass down the middle. There was a big crash on the second lap as everyone went hareing around the corner to try and get onto the gravel section first, I missed it but the bunch was split from there and never got back together. My legs gave up about 2 metres from the top of the climb on the last lap, however the Chief Commissaire said the day was the best example of women's racing he had every watched, as every place was so well contested.

The time trial was...over within about three minutes.

The last day was pretty epic, they sent us out over a Category 1 climb, around a loop and then back over the same climb, which I thought was pretty cool. The weather was glorious and the racing not that fast, everyone seemed pretty content to sit in and enjoy the sunshine.

Last weekend I made another long journey down to do the Coalville Wheelers Women's National Team Series event, it was six laps of a nine mile circuit, with a couple of sharp climbs. The race went well, I was in the leading group for four out of the six laps, and then rode with various other girls, winning my bunch sprint.

Oh, I also did an Open 10 mile Time Trial, in which I beat my pb by about 2 minutes, which wasn't too shabby.

Now Cyclocross is on the horizon, as well as a little spin around the Tour de Trossachs Time Trial, which should be fun. I'm also looking at doing the National Hill Climb Champs and the University Hill Climb Champs. Looking forward to wearing my shiny new VC Moulin kit.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Tuesdays of hurt.


What better way to finish off a good hard ride than a cold beer, steak and potatoes? Well the addition of this helps:

Nike Debacle from mike on Vimeo.



I don't really pay much attention to skateboarding but this video made me smile. Added to the fact that i finished building the Yeti today ready for 3 peaks action.

It has been a good day!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Borrowdale cross

Ooo I think I'm the first crosser of the season. Hit the Borrowdale show cross at the weekend for my VC Moulin debut. No kit, not naked though! Maybe be on Mull, if it snows.
Second round of the North West series (they start early), fabby sunny day in the wettest valley in the UK. Good turn out of riders, over 50, I managed a 27th overall and won the womens event comfortably.
Course was a bit different to our loved Scottish mud, grassy fields and 1 dead duck. Only one dismount and a bugger of a climb, too slick to ride after the second lap. Don't often get a sun tan on a cross course but did at the weekend.
Good start to the season after a shady summers result due to health things. Glad to get back on a real bike and burst my lung for an hour.

See y'all at Plean.

Mad

tasty


Should you find yourself nearby I *highly* recommend a visit. Stunningly good pancakes and belgium waffles.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Steez for miles...




Apologies if you've seen this, but then again it is worth learning off by heart by the VCM Choral Arm for chanting at the next Worlds......

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

VCM colours on road.cc!

details about the upcoming Scottish Cyclocross series, of which road.cc are are a sponsor, are just out.

VCM's own Marty has done a sterling job putting a new website together for the series - http://www.scottishcyclocross.org.uk/

First race - Plean, Sun 4th October. Oh yes! Excited. Hell yeah!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

SM100


(pic courtesy of SMT)

So, Shenandoah. I've been waffling on about it all year. I rode this race last year, and some may recall the Singletrack magazine article about it. I just missed the 10 hour mark. It is a tough race with several significant climbs, technical and rocky terrain, fast, fast singletrack descents with a real chance of puncturing and long dirt road rollers. 100 miles with 14,500 feet of climbing. The goal this year was to knock 8 minutes off the time from last year, and try and ride the steep singletrack climbs and enjoy (rather than grimace my way down) the downhills.

So: lower gearing, a year spent learning to spin faster and lots and lots of early season miles.

Mistake: i needed to have done more steep climbing and i needed to use a not-quite-so small gear.

The nitty gritty: After hitting New York, we sped westwards to State College in Pennsylvania. There i hooked up with east coast imba dude Frank Maguire and Jim Malta (indy fab and Genuine Innovations honcho). We had a few beers, and rode for a few hours at Raystown trails which they had been instrumental in building.

The legs felt great. A few massages prior to leaving had seemed to decrease the muscle tightness i had been suffering since Kirroughtree, and i was hoping that being on holiday would melt the fatigue i have felt recently. All good. Bike shod with new wheels dropping 450g from the front and 150g from the rear felt skippy light.

After picking up some last minute stuff for the road trip, we took the 4 hour drive to Harrisonburg, home of team Hugh Jass. For those who don't know, these guys rode 24 hour races and other endurance events with 1 pair of shorts between them, on fixed gear shopping bikes over the gnarliest terrain imaginable and basically upped the ante so high that i don't believe anyone has gotten close since.

A quick refuel at a quality eatery and out to the campsite, arriving just after dark. A few dogfish head ales calmed the nerves, but my jet lag meant precious little sleep. Up at 4.45am, with some coffee and some cereal. The day was to be dry and dusty and record times were predicted. The startline was busier than last year, but i managed to make a reasonable start and headed out on the initial dirt road happily enough. After the short steep fire road climb to the mast, we headed along a classic east coast rocky, rooty ridge line, Wolf Ridge, before the first significant downhill to aid 1. No need for refueling yet so try and knock the bike into a high cadence and spin my way along the dirt road.

This 20 mile section has one or two climbs but is generally a relatively easy ride. Worryingly, my left hamstring and quad were twitching with cramp every time i ramped the cadence up. I tried to hydrate and take in some electrolyte. With little more than 56 hours in the USA and 9 hours driving after a flight, my system wasn't on top form and unfortunately the accelerade i was using was making my stomach a bit achey. Corn fructose? maybe...I decided to cool it a little and see if i settled into things. The long singletrack climb was hard work, and i ended up walking some of it, but the drop after was sweet relief. At aid 2 at Todd Lake, i filled the bottles with Heed, and ate some PBJ's. With this i headed up Hankey's with some hope that the lower gear would ease the pain. It did and i was still aiming for a good time, my legs were not great, but i was holding.

As i popped out at aid 3 after the wicked descent of Dowell's Draft (on which i punctured, but repaired rapidly thanks to a loan of jimbo's Genuine Innovations pump/CO2 unit) i hit the road to spin out to Braley's Pond, the leaders came through. Um. Wow.

As i tried to get a spin going my body hit a blank. It just wasn't playing. I didnt feel tired in particular, but i had no va-va-voom. The following section was a bit of a grey time as i realised 10 hours was looking very optimistic indeed. After Ramsay's Draft climb, a technical singletrack ascent i was able to roll quite well, a hairball descent over sharp rock clinging desperately to the steep hill side, aid 4 was a blessing. Refueled again and pedaled out to the beginning of the long climb up to Lil' Bald Knob. With many false summits i was prepared to suffer here, but the roll out to the start of the climb seemed to take forever. I tried to do some sums and compare with last year. I knew it was possible to slip in under 10 hours at this point, but i'd have to climb well, and rock the tough decent down to aid 6.

It wasn't to be. There was no way to muscle the bike anymore than a gentle climbing pace. The false summits were punishment after a quick refuel at aid 5. They seemed to double in number compared to my memory. I made the decision to just go with the flow, enjoy the downhill, and chalk it all up to experience. Caution to the wind, i ripped downhill, the jones allowing aggressive lines to be taken and the speed was exhilarating. I *love* the riding on the east coast. At aid 6 i was crashed out. I stopped for a while to eat, stretch hydrate and talk to a few guys who were intrigued over my bike. Reluctantly i remounted and rolled to the bottom of Hankey's for the final big climb of the day.

After helping a fellow singlespeeder with a leaking tubeless tyre, i began the climb. The tanks were empty and my motivation to dig deep had gone when i had realised the time on the way up to aid 5, so this time the ascent took forever. I walked the dustier parts that had been building up all day and then rolled through the final double tracks and beautiful singletracks to the campsite.

10.46. Disappointing in some ways, but i think i may have stacked the cards against myself with a pretty tight schedule to even get to do the race.

Next time.....

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

the transfer window

With the deadline for transfers now past it is time for Velo Club Moulin to announce it's winter signings.

First up shouldn't need much introduction to any regulars at SCX events, is Maddy Robinson. Maddy is a consistent rider and ardent Cross enthusiast. Last years 3rd place overall and 3rd place the the Scottish National Champs. Maddy has come over from ERC and will bring some strength to our cross squad and especially help to strengthen our standing in the womens category..

Vicky Ward is the next new member coming from the KMB team, a relative newcomer to racing but with an already impressive list of achievements, having started riding in 2007, that year she was 9th in the U23 national road race championships. From there she was awarded a Scholarship to race in Belgium for a month by the Cycling Time Trials National Committee. She is one of 20 athletes at Edinburgh University who have received a Sports Bursary alongside several Olympic athletes. 07/08 NE Cyclo Cross Champion. She is about to ride the womens Tour of Ireland before focusing on cross for the winter.

And lastly Simon Muir, makes the jump from the Bicycle Works team, last into the squad for the year, Simon it's fair to say is a jovial fellow and strong into the bargain. Cross again is his main focus and next year he is going to be doing a plethora of enduro type racing mostly on his single speed, he assures me, he's a good guy and passionate about his sport.

Welcome all three, please make your selves known to anyone sporting the colours and vice versa.

That's it on new signing for this year, we are a big old bunch now and cross season is breathing down our necks. I'm especially pleased to have Vicky and Maddy on board who along with Jac should give us the dominant CX squad in Scotland. In the mens field we now have strength and depth which hopefully will see us as the dominate the results.

While I am here if everyone could email me through their winter race schedule and years results to date that would be cool, 2010 planning is already afoot.

Race hard, look good and stay healthy

Monday, 7 September 2009

K100



Still digesting this one. Basically it very much rocked.

A serious bike race professionally crafted and run with a light touch and fun atmosphere.

Chapeau! to Organisers, Marshalls, Givers of Permission, the Brewery Guys, Food and Shelter Providors and all the Riders. And a tip of the cap to designers of stout whisky packaging.

Moulineers Steve-o, Deano, Phillipio, Christo & Martino were in attendance having various flavours of racing - can we just have a big pantomime villan Booooo! for shimano free hubs.

A classic is born, I think.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Arguing with yourself.


Gorrick 12:12 Torq in your sleep

6 Laps in and i am getting fresh bottles and some food into my belly. I figure its going to be about 6pm and i will need my lights in an hour, I happen to ask the guy in the pit next door what time it is.

He responds with "quarter past four"

Minge! at this rate i will be clocking up something like 18 laps of this course. This is not good for my head. The course is good but there is only so much loamy dusty singletrack repetition my little mind can cope with. I swear a few more times get back on my beloved Spot and go out for another couple of laps whilst trying to think happy positive thoughts.

Through the first half of lap 7 i feel like i am going to puke, I console myself with the idea that if i puke i am allowed to stop. i start to wretch and instantly feel much better which is great.

Lap 8 passes ok the legs feel great, my bike is going like a dream but i am so bored! I carry on trying to coax myself up to 13 laps and a century under my belt.

Lap 9 comes and goes the course is getting pretty chopped up in places where you don't need to brake WTF? and the Loamy bits are getting deeper and deeper.

Lap 10 and Giz from Chelmer passes on some fireroad we have a chat he is racing on a team of four and i follow him into one of my favourite bits of the course a lovely contouring, fast, hardpack bit of singletrack goodness. He is going at team pace and i jump onto his wheel and we tank it through the trails nice and fast, Too fast for Solo! and it feels amazing lungs and legs burning from the effort and the satisfaction of knowing you just pinned some sweet trails!

Bang! the final nail gets driven into the coffin, 10 laps down and i have had enough. i could keep on going but with Kielder coming up a cold beer sitting in the tent and with no desire to keep pounding away at a course that is only going to become more hateful in my mind i come into the hand over area chat to a few friends.

I Find my tent, peal myself out of the Lycra with 7 hours stench and dust ingrained into it. and slip into something more comfortable. It has just started to spit with rain and as i take that first taste of beer, cool, refreshing and relaxing whilst warm in the goodness of a down jacket i go off to help Lorraine, pit bitching for Steve from Singular as he destroyed the solo category. And as an added bonus made alot of teams look a little slow!

Racing is great....

Sometimes a down jacket and a cold beer are better.

Roll on the K100

Photo credit: Joolze Dymond

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Goodbye Jake

For 3 seasons my fluro orange Jake the Snake has been my faithful mount upon which i've raced the Scottish cross series. I've had some very good races and lots of good times generally on it, as well as some not so great races. Auchentoshan last year stands out as my best cx race yet -i seemed to be going great and the bike just worked perfectly, repleat with spangly new tubs (thanks to Alan McLean for the pic).

Today though I sold Jake. Whilst stripping it down and cleaning it up I definately had some second thoughts, but with a new cx bike on the horizon and limited funds it needed to be done. Glad its gone to a good home too - Paul Newnham will be ripping round the Scottish cross races on it this autumn.

A few more weeks and I should have my new cx steed built up, can't wait! And yep, it'll be in an equally shocking colour!