Saturday, 23 April 2011

Two Weeks and Two Hours

It's 10am on a Saturday morning. My wife is in work and I'm looking after my kids at home. The sun is out and I think a family bike ride is in order. In two weeks the whole way I look at MTB racing will change. 24hr racing has been a focus of mine for the past 9 months. In two weeks and two hours I start my 1st 24hr solo race.
I really cannot wait. It's going to be awesome. I'm a little worried how my body will hold up. Mentally I should be OK but current  issues with my Achilles tendons and the back trouble I had a week ago worry me a bit. I've run out of Vicks First Defence so I better pop to Boots and get some more. I wouldn't want t get a cold again in these next two weeks.
I pick up my Scott Scale 29r Pro tomorrow. Can't wait to get out on it and set it up. I have two weeks to work out if it will be my race bike or my spare. It being 2.5kg lighter than my Lapierre lets hope it I get it dialled quickly and use it as my main bike.

The clock is ticking.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I was slightly bricking myself. Preparation has not gone to plan but shit does happen. I'm looking forward to the road trip. I'm driving up with Simon Ernest and I'm sure we will have some good music to help us on our way. From his Tweets I think we like similar music and you might hear us coming. I think there will be a lot of RATM and Beastie Boys. Simon's doing the 12hr and I'm doing the 24hr. The drive home is going to be Hellish I'm sure.

I will report back when I have those big wheels when I have done some intervals on The Killer

Big Wheels

Thursday, 21 April 2011

More Illness & Injury

Off the back of my 3rd place two weeks ago I was in great spirits. Myself and some mates went for a long evening training ride. 5hrs out to Hampshire after work. It was an excellent ride but we got back a bit late and by the time I had eaten and tried to get to bed it was a bit too late I guess. During the ride I felt great but the following morning I felt rough and really felt that I was coming down with something. The following day I was coughing up some nasty stuff. Bronchitis again! Wonderful. I'd thought I'd had more than my fare share of illness already this year. 10 days off the bike. No training and only 4 weeks to 24hrs of Exposure. No sooner had I managed to get ride of the bad chest I hurt my back carrying my youngest daughter on my shoulders (I'm getting old). So the two days of riding I could have done in Wales were not going to happen. I was fearing I had done something similar to what I had done a few years ago which took me off my bike for a month.
Luckily for me a few days of rest and I was OK. 1st ride back on the bike 3/4 race at Hillingdon

1st, 2nd & 3rd in the Chipper

It's been a while since I raced at Hillingdon with a bunch of team mates Ralph and Ben were racing from my club. Being all third cats we decided to enter the 3/4 race. We had a little team talk and discussed tactics. Lets make sure we get someone or at least two of us in the break.
Not holding back at all we were a quarter of a lap into the race when I attacked off the front for the 1st time. Half a lap later I was reeled in so Either Ben or Ralph attacked. This went on quite a few times until Ben and Ralph were away with a lad called Gareth Thomas from Kingston Wheelers. The reaction of the rest of the riders was little slow. A few tried to jump across but failed. I sat behind a few of these fro a free ride but they all sat up. After waht I thought were bigger efforts from the stronger riders I thought they had had their chance and blown it. If I go now they will be not quite recovered.
Me still in the bunch with the trio up the road
A quick little sprint with a little look back to make sure I was alone and I was away. About 3/4 of a lap later I was in the break. A quick rest then straight to the front for my turn. We worked well together as a quartet. We put in a good effort and managed to get about half a lap on the bunch. We were suprised that the bell came so early for a lap to go but it happened to be at about 41 mins. They wanted us to finish early as there had been a nasty crash in the other race.
Nobody was as suprised I guess than Gareth from Kingston Wheelers. Unfortunalty for him he just happened to be on the front when we got the bell. Just where we wanted him. Coming over the top of the little Climb Ben attacked and we left Gareth on the front the chase if he wanted to. On the final bend Ralph jumped away and I followed. We soon left Gareth behind and we over took Ben. I closed on Ralph quite well but as I drew alongside him he kicked again and beat me by about a wheel or maybe more. 1-2-3. It couldn't have panned out better. Tactically and physically we shafted them.

London Cycle Sport Report
Just getting up to the group
Ben driving us forward
Not the best time for Gareth to hear the bell

Beaten by my team mate Ralph 'Magnus' deKaner 1-2-3 with Ben Moores in third

Thursday, 7 April 2011

3rd in a Chipper Circuit Race

Tuesday night was the start of the Hillingdon evening circuit races. They run from now until August. Normally the 1st night is a crash fest so last year I decided to miss the 1st week for that very reason.
Normally the race was split in two with the E123 race and the 4th Cat race. This year it was split but a bit different. The 4th cat race had a real bad repetation for crashes. This year they introduced a different race. This was for 3rd cats & 4th cats but without the BC points. It is to be an experiment to see if people just wan't to ride for a bit of fun and to take the manic sprint for the line for 10th spot and that one BC point out of the equation. I personly think that people new to the sport focus too much on getting to the next level rather than learning how to race safe etc.. So this race if for people who want to learn to race or just race for a bit of fun.
I've been a 2nd cat for years but dropped down to 3rd this year as I didn't really race on the road last year to gain the points required to stay up as a 2nd cat.
For bit of fun & training I decided to enter the 3/4 race rather than get my legs ripped off in the E123. There was only 26 riders entered which is quite small. Although this was a 3/4 race there were some pretty strong riders. My former team mate Rudie Marais is pretty strong but seems to be back down to 3rd cat. He's pretty strong and attacks a lot but would be a big fish in this race but not so in the E123 perhaps. There were a few mates who were with me who had dropped down to a 3rd. We were in this for fun.
The race started pretty quick and it was like that for the entire length. Probably because I was one of the stronger riders and my love of attacking I was pretty much down the front and out of trouble. I thought we had had a 4 man crash early on around the back of the bunch but I was wrong. The crash had come from the E123 race on the 1st lap.
We only raced for about 35 mins and I had a little dig for a few laps but nothing really came of it. As soon as I was back in the bunch we were shown the 3 laps to go sign. The next three laps is where normally if there is going to be a crash there would be. I kept myself in the top 10 and made sure I was up there. Now with just over a lap to go a rider jumped away. I had no idea of this. Where was I looking at the time I wonder? Normally I'd have a clue but this evening I just didn't. Coming into the final bend I was convinced I was sprinting for the win. I was third wheel in the sprint and Rudie was leading it out. the young chap on his wheel heistated so much that when Rudie kicked he just sat there blocking me in. Eventually he let me past (maybe I sould have been less polite but we are supposed to be teaching these guys how to race.) but Rudie already had about 4 bike lengths on my. I drove for Rudie's wheel but I just don't have the power for that now. My little legs have turned into diesel legs now. A bloody good job as well as if I'd caught and past Rudie I would have thought I had won and you can guess what an arse I would have made of myself.
So 3rd in a Chipper Circuit race. I will do a few more of these 3/4 races and move up to the E123 where I should be.