Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Keys to the Kingdom

 Sorry, late change of plan for Keys to the Kingdom - rescheduled date to follow.


The Fife Monument is back for 2013 with Keys to the Kingdom. New route, new date.




100km to 125km long and back for some race or other on telly and cake. Pace social, coffee stop possible, 30s to be contested. Holler if you're in.

Let's get ready y'all.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

End of the season

As I write this I probably should be working warm up balm into my legs getting prep'd for the final round of the North West CX League. But I'm not. I'd never planned to race the final round & even though a good ride there would possibly push me further up the overall standings, I've switched off mentally & started thinking about the upcoming season. And it's a bit grim out. That might sound a bit lame, but it's been a great season for me with a good bit of progression.

My last post took us up to the round 4 of the series with an uncharacteristically awesome ride, where I took 3rd on the day. Here's a brief run through the rest of the season's races I made it to...

RACE: Yorkshire Points, Brighouse
RESULT: 5th
I'd had to miss the next two NW races, but not wanting to waste this strange run of form I dragged myself along to Brighouse. Nice to race on a course new to me, against some new faces & catch up with a few folks. Pretty brutal course with two horrible long run/crawl ups, rewarded with techy descents. Had a good battle with some guys at the front end of the race, getting the better of a couple of guys on the final descent, breaking away to finish 5th.

RACE: NWCCA 7, ST Helens
RESULT: 7th
It rained all week, making the going extra tough for a race held in an already boggy field in St Helens. Another big run up cut the course in half with some nice fast trails in the first half of the lap and proper sloggy sections in the other which ended up quicker to run than ride. Managed 7th in that one.

RACE: NWCCA 8, Geoff Bewley Memorial, Otterspool Park
RESULT: 20th
And then the wheels fell off. I usually like this race. It always gets a great quality turn out and usually delivers a killer course. But I left my legs in the van. Started fast (even led for a short while) but then dropped back. Whenever anyone came past I had no response and kept losing place throughout the whole race. Ended up 20th. Not great, but I put it down to an off-day. Surely I can't lose form that quickly.

RACE NWCCA 9, Horwich
RESULT: 12th
Back on track, but hindered by equipment. The running theme of wet races continued which as a one bike racer, didn't help me. Once again my start was good. Felt comfortable riding up in 3rd/4th spot, attacked out of corners, rode fast down the big (for cross) descents & even coped with the long run up ok. But as the bike clogged up, got tonnes heavier, the gears stopped working, I inevitably slowed up. Others around me were switching bikes and nailing it away from me. I know a bad workman blames his tools, but I finished 12th although my legs were good enough for 6th.

RACE: NWCCA 10, Stadt Moers
RESULT: 7th
Wet again! Really wet though so less issues with clogging. More issues with finding traction. Ended up running my tyres so low in order to get traction that it came at the expense of the ability to steer properly with tyres flopping about all over the place. Massive fun though, not had as much fun in a race in years. Finished 7th with a big grin.

RACE: NWCCA 11, Rhyll
RESULT: 4th
Wales is in the North West, right? I shouldn't pick at the geography as I achieved my second best result of the season there. An interesting course mixing up long tarmac stretches with some good tight off-road turns & soul destroying quagmire-like fields. For once a poor start meant I missed the front of the race & rode the entire thing on my own. Strong throughout though & managed 4th.

RACE: NWCCA 12, Clitheroe
RESULT: 14th
This didn't go well. I was on a two day long hangover after work's Xmas do. Drinking til the wee small hours, then not managing to eat anything much the next day meant the tank was pretty low to start with. There was an indication of form for the first lap (was running in 4/5th spot), then I ran out of gas & crept round the rest of the race. 14th - should've stayed in bed.

RACE: NWCCA 13, Maccesfield Supacross
RESULT: 15th
Supacross always gets a top class turn out. Its proximity to the National Champs guarantees a quality field. In the past I've never got on well here. Its proximity to Christmas usually guarantees I've given my liver a hefty battering. Not this year though. Finishing 15th was actually a cracking result bearing in mind who turned up. Lined up with the likes of Paul Oldham, Dave Fletcher & Nick Craig puts it into perspective. I beat all of them off the line too. I've come to accept that over half a lap I'm pretty much as quick as anyone in the country. It's the other 55minutes I've got to work on.

So overall that left me 7th overall. If had bothered going to the final round the best case scenario would move me up one place. Likewise, the worst case would only see me dropping one place too. That's not really the point. I've ridden better again this year, the league has been more competitive too. I've had loads of close racing with some good guys & had a laugh (most of the time).

Time to getting plotting a race schedule for the Spring & Summer.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Plan.

Bit quiet on here- what's everyone up to? 

Keen to crack on with some training but unsure exactly what to train for thought I better note down a few events to attack in 2013. So, after some thought, here's the plan;


2013


  • Whinlater XC Enduro - 24/03/13
  • UK MTB Marathon Champs - 14/04/13
  • Dyfi Enduro - 05/05/13
  • SXC 3 Cathkin Braes - 12/05/13
  • Glentress 7 - 01/06/13
  • Selkirk MTB Marathon - 08/06/13
  • NPS 4 Margam Park - 07/07/13
  • UK XC Champs Cathkin Braes - 21/07/13
  • Brighton Big Dog - 10/08/13
  • NPS 5 Hadleigh Farm - 18/08/13
  • SXC 5 Kirroughtree - 01/09/13
  • Kielder 100 - 15/09/13
  • 3 Peaks Cyclocross - 29/09/13
  • As many cross races as I can handle Sep-Dec

Not too mental, an average of a couple of events a month with the focus towards events I know are worth spending a few hours in the car for. The two targets for 'results' are the GT-Seven and 3 Peaks, good results in other events would be a nice bonus but really it's all about the last weekend in September- I'm not going to be challenging Jebb or Craig but behind them, who knows, lets see what's possible! Besides the above there will be a few fell races, hopefully one or two of these MTB Enduro jobs and a trip to the Alps for a big week on the mtb.

Be good to hear what plans others have for the year, racing or just plain having fun. If anyone will be at any of the events mentioned above, get in touch- always good to have a brew after the race get someone else's take on events. 

Any suggestions for classic/savage/fun events missed off the list please say- it's always good to have some fresh ideas too! 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

what's up dock?

 Dig In at The Dock 6-1-2013

Lyndsay tastes the lovely sea air
pic by Steve McG

Cross racing after Christmas for the second year in a row, thanks to Dave Hamill and John McComisky and before I get into my inglorious tales of pain and suffering a big raise of the glass to the pair of them for a splendid exhibition of initiative followed by an even greater display of execution. Right and onto the day.




Turning the pain on fellow mid-lifers or vice-versa
pic by Steve McG


Having ridden this event last year I kinda knew what to expect, flat, fast and exposed, no rest, no place for the weak, just why I thought this would be a good idea I have no idea but if this course proves one thing, you don't need gradient to make a super fun and great race. Arriving sharpish it was great to see so many folks already on site and a real buzz in the air which just grew and grew. And it was a pretty handy field of riders that made the effort, a great warmer for those doing the British Champs the following week and for the rest of us just a pleasure to move away from the festive spirits. 
Anyway after the obligatory blethers and a splendid double espresso from Steampunk Coffee it was finally time to line up and face the music. 




Addy about to get a whipping

Bang, we were off to the clatter of bells and the shrill of Jammy on the commentary it was all a fairly heady experience, from the wrong side of half way down the starting grid it was frustrating to watch the race disappear in front of me but I was here to race so I better get on with it and see what was what. The usual melee of a first lap saw all the usual faffing and stopping and starting which by around the end of lap two had sorted itself out and we all tried to work out who we were racing with. One of the good things of racing in a mixed 'open' category is you never run out of people to chase or be chased by.  Chase, pass, be caught, get lapped, repeat and that is pretty much the way it went for the next 50 minutes, having not raced for quite sometime i was pretty pleased to finish in with some of the guys I usually finish with, not particularly impressive but it was a race ridden and finished something that has been a long time coming.



A great day out and a super way to ease yourself out of the New Year slumber. See you next year.


Hamill and McComisky relaxing post race