Thursday, 27 January 2011

Goatee of Filth

Often referred to as La Doyenne of the VCM Monument rides (rest of VCM Monument rides to follow), Goatee of Filth is back again for it's third edition in 2011.

Date - 3rd April 2011

What will happen this year:
* will be 80ish miles of Fife roads and lanes
* will be as many cheeky cobbled sections as we can find (hoping for at least one new secteur)
* will be soup, coffee, cakes (and a maybe a cold refreshing beverage) whilst watching the pointy end of the Ronde van Vlaanderen back at GoF HQ

What won't happen this year:
* won't be rain
* won't get lost in Saline
* Jon won't wheelsuck Maddy for the last 15 miles


Start time and exact route tbc. Pace brisk to middling. Sprints to be contested.

Anyone interested in a still to be named offroad ride soon?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

NECCL RD 7 - Eston Hills

After finishing the Christmas cross period with an 11th at the CXNE RD10 Gateshead race completeing 3 cross races in 7 days I was ready to take it a little easier.

I reigned back training to every other day and looked forward to the next round of the TLI ran NECCL cross league... we have the luxury in the North East of 2 leagues.. where I couldn't place in the BCF ran CXNE series due to my provisional license I could place overall in the TLI ran NECCL league.

Sundays race was at a classic North East mountain bike destination.. pretty sure maybe 15 years ago I raced mountain bikes here.. the course was altered slightly due to plenty black ice clinging to any piece of tarmac it could find but what was run as the course was plenty challenging enough.

With some wooded sections.. a cheeky climb and some horrible drags in grassy mud to bring your speed down to a crawl it was a tough offering.

The start was uphill and unusually I got on the front line... the field had a few big names mising due to the Nationals on the same day so it was an opportunity to shift up the field and claim some extra points.

From the off Tony Fawcett was gone.. gapping the field by 20m at the end of the first descent.. Darren Binks in pursuit with the rest of us a good 10m back from Darren. I sat in 4th and after a bit of jostling for position.. I was strong on the straight boggy sections and Alex Mcclean from Hetton Hawks would gap me in the woods.. I saw myself into 3rd with a good 20m gap.



As the race progressed I eased out my gap while Alex and Vince Potter (Blackhawkbikes.com) battled for 4th.

I equalled my seasons best finish with another 3rd place... still half a lap down on claiming a top spot but I feel I know where the improvements need to be made.

Best news is I am now firmly in the 3rd spot overall for the season... last race on Sunday and a minor miracle could see me creep into 2nd but as it stands i'm very happy.


Monday, 10 January 2011

Before I forget...

The year that was...

Dearie me - having had a rummage through the VCM archives for 2010 it would appear that I barely managed to blog a word.

Shameful, I know but it was a busy and fulfilling 12 months.

Kicking off almost a year to the day when I put a plaintive last ditch Facebook request for a Strathpuffer 4th man - answered in the affirmative by Oregon local Mr Tom Letsinger thanks to his BA airmile collection and penchant for doing slightly silly things. Somehow [and with no small contribution from Chops-Options & Mr Darwood we picked up our snowdomes for 3rd place in the 4 man team.


IMG_1481 (Custom)


I had met Tom while doing the TransPortugal the previous year and had kept in touch with one of the Organisers / Cheif Mechanic - Jose Carlos. One of the many hats he wears is as occasional guide for Saddle Skedaddle tours in Portugal. That company, based in Penrith, have an annual off-season guides get-together [a jamboree?]. Anyhoo - Jose Martin needed someone to pick him up from Manchester Airport and I happened not to be working that week - cue a mini-road trip to tick off some midwinter classics and cheek in the Peaks and Lakes. Ace!



Jac and I belatedly celebrated our birthdays at the start of March with a 2-dayer along the Fife Coastal Path. If you get a chance you should do this route - not much in the way of climbing, and a fat tyre bike would not be out of place. Is there anywhere else in the UK where you can get almost 100 miles of costal riding? If so please let me know...



An interlude of new-kitchen disruption followed and a post easter trip to Portugal to test mettle against the first Geo-Raid pairs-only, 2 dayer enduro race weekend of the year. Based in mid-north Portugal we had a frantic 5hour drive from Madrid to get to the race site. A Truly Brutal 100km day followed 4100m of ascent in 30 Deg C heat was too much - Both Jac and I suffered from being out in that furnace too long. This had been my first mtb ride that had not featured snow or ice for 5 months... we decided to bail the easier second day and see the tourist sights . A shame as the course and location were stunning. The descent to and resulting climb out of Drave were a highlight. I will be back.



Then followed some pit bitching at 24hr Solo and Puffer lite for Jac. July's Singletrack weekender was a great event and format [July] - although some over exhuberant descending on the first lap led to double pinch flats and plenty time for heckling.



The Welsh SSUKs was tip top in August. Amazing venue for riding and camping. And we were led out on a classic Doethie Valley loop by the lovely Goonster. We followed this up with a frantic drive back up to the lakes and a cracking North Lakes [North High Street] the next day.





All to soon it was cross season - Dan and I had received agreement from all the season orgainsers to run an electronic lapcounting system. We co-located our money and mouths and jumped on a steep learning curve to get our system up and running in time. Thankfully we found some children to test on and all was well...



A brief cross season interlude and 1st Wedding anniversary spend crumpled up in an airplane jetting off to NZ for the SSWC2010 - more stunning riding, the SSWC seemed a little less firey this year but that is more likely me than it...




Rotorua Trails! Oh my - hero dirt flowing goodness.




The Queen Charlotte Track - 75km of buff quiet seaside and ridgetop trail in the Marlborough Sounds - inspirational stuff. And the steak and cheese pies from any dairy in town... dribble.







Then it was back to minor calamity for the cross season: controversy and cancellations. Although the Scottish Cross series is made of sterner stuff - keeping calm and carrying on through to the series finale in Mull.

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Roll on the 2011 good times!