Friday, 30 October 2009

Hello, I just wanted to wish all VCM'ers bags of luck and fun in Aviemore this weekend, sorry I'm not there in person but I'll be ringing my cowbell from the Surrey hills so I hope you can hear it!
Remember, ride it like you stole it!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Mud och aye the noo


I must say that was fun! Good turn oot from vcm. Cheers for the support on the course.
Cheers to Trina for some great photo's. Makes me laugh. Results should prove interesting. Not quite sure how on earth they work it out. Just got lapped by Craig and Moodie one lap to go. Shame Must try harder. Sure will be great next week for a wee bit of banter. Will bring some extra strong tape for DrJon. Anyway let's Shown em how's it done out there kids. Miffae de Muir

Mugdock!



The suffer-fest circus came to Mugdock on the 25th of October. GMBC put the show on and a busy youth field was followed by an enormous 'main' race. As the 130 riders jostled for all important start line position, it was clear that not only was passing going to be tough, but the mud was going to claim its fair share of victims.



With the bang of the gun, we all raced for the much lauded Mugdock singletrack. Unfortunately, a bottle neck formed which immediately meant those with good position on the grid got well away. It may not be gentlemanly to push to the front at the start, but if you don't you'd better be happy with a mid pack finish.



Moulineers john, neal, simon and doug got away but a small issue with some metal (my stereo fell off my bike, and i neeeded to run down the course to find the ipod before it was buried) meant maddy, chris, marty visitor~chipps and myself bent our backs to the task of fighting through the crowds, before the leaders came round to lap us as the rain started.



A log-hop that was fine to ride early on became like a greased pole, as the mud through the trees moved aside to let roots like black ice see the light of day. Riders were going down left right and centre but the spectators hammered their cowbells to keep us going all the way to the final lap.



Placings will no doubt be up soon, hopefully slightly more accurate than for Auchentoshan. To be fair the organisers will have their hands full sorting out so many riders especially with a generous coating of mud to obscure numbers!



Next up, the 'home' race...Glenmore...

Nys - the master!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Auchentoshan

Seems to have been a looong time since I raced properly (I'm not counting my Kielder disaster), so where better to get the race legs going again than with cyclocross at Auchentoshan.

Guessing most folks will have this one down as their favourite Scottish course - if not, go and ride the first bit of singletrack and try to drift sweetly round the LH bend at the bottom just a wee bit too fast until it is. :)

Seven VCMers took their places in another massive field and rolled out on the B of the Bang of Jammie's six-shooter. Some crazy overtaking moves by some re-jigged the long line on the singletrack and before you knew it you were looking up at the muur from the bog at the bottom. Up, round, down, try not to slip on the tarmac s-bends and it's back to the start.

REPEAT!

Good solid performances all round and another podium for Maddie.

Bring on Mugdock. Raar!

p.s. had a wee tour of the secret training grounds of Neil and Simon tonight. Sweet singletrack and a good workout. Who's out next week?

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Gears!

Last Thursday I got my gears back.
Exactly 209 days (that's almost 7 months folks) after my arrival back in NZ, I finally got my beloved bikes back. I've had one bike, with one gear for twohundred and nine days. Dunedin's not flat either. So, i've gone an entire winter without gears, but most notably, that's a whole winter without cross.

My leg warmers have been feeling ever so slightly snugger lately. Probably due to the increasing girth of my calves that I can only contribute to the regular suffering I put myself through, hauling the brown creeper (my trusty Redline Monocog) around the local hills. So it was with great anticipation that I got my beloved Cross Check out of the box and took it up the hills. Oh, the thrill of it to be changing gears again (even if they are 105)!

Anyway, wanting to believe that summer is on it's way (the sun was shining but it was a moderately chill 9 degrees C) , I took the Cross Check out for a spin up to the shops. Eagle eyes will note the platform pedals...
Here's a lesson for you all - Bunny hopping speedbumps in jandals will only result in grazes, stubbed toes and a bruised ego, and the losing of forementioned footware. Don't do it.

Viva la Cross.

PS...

I love gears

Friday, 16 October 2009

receiving the Signal



I had no intention of turning this into some sort of Bike Porn website, however over recent weeks there has been an element of I'll show you mine if you show me yours, so here it is.

A fuller piece will at some point appear over on funknbikes but in the meantime, enjoy the redness. A big thankyou to Matt over at Signal for being super helpful, Daniel WP for hooking me up with these guys and Carl at Bikelove for loan of his workshop I look forward to many years of active service. (and yes it does have mudguard eyelets!)

Good luck to everyone at Auchentoshan this weekend, sadly I can't make it but I am sure you will all make plenty of noise without me ;-)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

hakka lugi lugi lugi

You know that incredible feeling when you just can't keep a smile off your face - yup, you know the one.

Well that was me today returning to my work office at Glentress this afternoon to be greeted by a lovely brown box with Ibis on the side.

The smile continued upwrapping the box to find a frame even better than I imagined it would be. Super super light, beautifully finished and a glorious lugi green colour.



A big thankyou to Ian P and the fine chaps at Stif



Promise i'll not bore y'all with every detail of the build. ; )

Monday, 12 October 2009

Updates from the South East

Bit of a mixed bag since the Three Peaks. Round 3 of the Eastern League 'cross series was at Colchester and was very flat and very fast. This type of race is not really my thing but gave me an hours worth of practise on terrain I don't go well on, worthwhile then. Position- well down the order. How can riding round a flat football pitch feel harder than riding over the three highest mountains in Yorkshire, I no understand this?

So onto the weekend just past and a new venue, for me, at Welwyn. Signing on was a bit more lively than usual as six Belgians had signed on, getting some practise in ahead of Sundays National Trophy at Derby. A nice wee course, mainly on grass with a couple of nice woodland sections and even a wee descent. A few practise laps and I felt much happier that I could ride well on this course, the ground being soggy would help too, a bit more of a slog than an all out sprint. As expected the Belgians took off and cruised round at the front chatting away to each other. Behind them the racing was fun and close. Quite happy with ninth place, feeling like I'd gone as fast as my legs would allow me to. Still getting used to the all out one hour effort of cross- it's a bit of a shock.

Being too chicken to attempt the Derby National Trophy I decided to ride the third round of the Lincolnshire League yesterday. The lap was kind of like a mini mtb course, some fire road, a nice piece of singletrack and some tight twisty bits though the woods. Being my first time at a Lincolnshire League event I was unsure what to expect, surveying the carpark there were a few likely looking suspects, shiny oiled up legs, shades and plenty swagger. The start was quicker than I expected and it took me a couple of laps to get up to the front where I joined the two leaders, we raced round in a good wee group for a few laps. Then a crash, completely my fault, as we were passing another rider I totally missed my braking point for a ninety degree bend and t-boned my competitor in front- oops sorry mate! This allowed one guy to get away by thirty seconds or so. Determined to make amends I got the head down and pulled in the leader, we rode together for the remainder of the race till I got a gap in the final wooded section meaning I could cruise the last hundred metres of fire road. Finally back on the podium, it's been a while. Hopefully with some training it won't be the last this season. Looking forward to race the Scottish Series at Glenmore.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ooooya.

Plean.




It was beautiful to see so many folk out on a crispy day for the first round of Scottish Cyclocross. The course was generally fast, and the large field took full advantage, speeding from the gun like greased lightening. A surprise call up left me going backwards, then settling into the mid pack around the first loop and taking the run up reasonably. John Mac helped me lift the beast as it pumped out 1 watt of rock and roll for the masses.



And then the climb. No way to get on top of the gear, hug the thorny sides and act penitent. Grind it out, shifting to and fro in the saddle and try to catch everyone back on the gravel trail after the woodsy descent.



The first half slipped by and i continued to slip back. The Moulineers pounded out the rhythm though, and it was surely a top team performance and Maddy on the podium.



45 minutes in and i thought i may split my thighs. Then the emotional release of finishing.



Forget spare wheels, i may need spare legs next time. Bring on Auchentoshan.

Singlespeedwidow pics.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Addicted.

Before I had crossed the finish line of this years Three Peaks Cyclocross Race I'd begun thinking of next year- where I could gain time, changes to my bike and how to approach my third attempt.

I hadn't planned to enter this years race however soon after the first round of entries had closed I regretted not posting an entry. Thankfully the race didn't sell out so I got in the second wave of entries. Game on.

Training didn't really go to plan; the Kielder 100 was horrible (amazing event but not a good one in which to be having a bad day) and didn't give me much confidence I'd be able to race the Peaks. Not having much hope of a good ride I decided to take it easy and just enjoy riding my bike.

Taking a relaxed approach to the race I decided to change a few things from last year's safe approach. I used tubs instead of clinchers and went for the lightest set up I could carrying only a single bottle, six gels and the regulation whistle, safety blanket and waterproof. A light set up worked really well, less weight on the carrying sections was nice, tubs were just the job and gave me no worries, I'll use them next year for sure. Using a bottle instead of a pack was good for less weight and not having something bouncing around on my back but carrying it in my jersey (no bosses on my crosser) limited me to drinking on the road sections.

So the race went pretty well, the neutralised start was more relaxed than last years mad dash. The first climb up Ingleborough was steep and tough but went well, somewhere around the top ten at the first summit gave me some confidence I could do a good ride. Descending off Ingleborough I discovered how rubbish Frog Leg cantilever brakes are- these are going in the bin as soon as I can find some Pauls! Brakes were to be my only problem but one which cost me minutes on every descent. Last year I loved the descents and enjoyed making time coming down, this year I was really struggling and riding the down hills like my gran! Annoyed at losing time off Ingleborough I got my head down and beasted myself along the road to Whernside. The climb to the highest summit went well and my mtb gearing allowed me to ride parts others were walking. The descent again was awful and I got repassed by all those I'd over taken on the climb.

Back on the road at Ribblehead and determined to make up lost time, shovelling in plenty juice and a few gels, head down and on to Pen-y-Ghent. The more rideable climb of the three went well and all those gels helped me pedal well passing a few more folk. The top of Pen-y-Ghent is, for me, the best bit of the race as you know it's down hill all the way to the finish, and the descent is fun. Unfortunately I lost out to the four people I passed going up as they ripped past me flying back down to the final tarmac section. As I popped out onto the road Emma, my girlfriend and super support team, shouted THREE TWENTY; I knew if I beasted the final road section I'd break thee hours thirty minutes and get an elite time. To my amazement I did it and got home in 3 hours 27 minutes. So it seems taking a relaxed approach to racing works- lesson learned, enjoy the ride and the results will come! Big shout to other VCM chaps Gareth, Phil and Dean for beasting it round, Shaggy for doing the singlespeed record, my two mates from home Gav and John for good rides too and Nick Craig, what a ride!

So, next year, more training, some fell running and hopefully a top ten and sub three fifteen time. This will be my main goal next year. A serious attempt but relaxed too and with some good brakes!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Bring the pain.

I have sprinted up stairs until my legs have bent asunder.
I have ridden through storms.
I have fought with lions.
I have shaken the hand of World Champions.
I have eaten bacon in extremis.
I have cleaned and tuned my bike
I have wrestled the Amazon Queen.
I have stolen golden moments in the hills.
I have eaten the apple of the eye.
I have chopped down trees with my bare hands.
I have stroked cats and dreamt of domination.
I have wiped blood from my mouth.
I have warped metal to my needs.
I have railed against weakness of muscle.
I am ready.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Rough in the jungle (peaks)

Hmmm, The Three Peaks Cyclocross race. Last year i crossed the finish line and threw the remaining toy out of my pram swearing that it was horrific and i would never do it again....

So at 9.15 on Sunday morning there i was lined up on the starting grid with fellow VCMers Jones, Deano and Stevo and off we went behind the sort of neutralised start (this year was considerably tamer than last years sprint to the base of Simon Fell).

The race strings out up the first climb i manage to keep Jones in sight and we summit together and he promptly drops me on the descent. I reach the tarmac section and wind myself up for the ride across to Wherneside, Hoping to be able to get in with a group of riders to ease miles away. This does not go according to plan and the group i have been chasing down for a break from the wind i catch just as we reach the start of the next offroad section up onto the second peak.

Nevermind, Wherneside is my least favorite of the 3 Peaks. The climb up to the top is not too bad, But the descent is hard and unflattering I miss a hotline off to one side and see riders i passed earlier go past whilst i mince around some sharp lumps of rock - Bugger. Eventually the trail opens out in to a gravel lane and i spy Mel and Dave A with a fresh bottle of drink and words of encouragement.

Back onto asphalt and another Timetrial on my hands across to Pen Y Ghent. This is fine as i know soon it will all be over. However first i have to get the final peak conquered.

A large portion of the final climb is rideable and i settle into a steady pace and winch myself up towards the penultimate check point. This final section is an out and back along the same trail. about a third of the way into the climb the leaders fly past on their way to glory and it is a pleasant suprise to see Nick Craig in the lead followed about 30 seconds later by Rob Jebb.

The climb continues i spy Jones up ahead and get admonished by spectators for shouting words of encouragement to him, He is suffering from badly rubbing shoes and cramps we chat for a while as we push on up the hill and slowly i pull away from him. Stevo comes past and I think i can see Shaggy in the distance.

Dragging myself up the final peaty schlep to the check point Shaggy comes past on the return leg and is flying. I reach the turn around and start mincing my way to the finish.

The finish arrives but not before i nearly bin it on the gravel just before the line, keep it upright and it is all over for now...

However a few days of recovery and i seem to have found some unfinished business with the Three Peaks.