Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bontrager 24/12 2011

This was my first year at Bonty and having signed up sometime ago I hadn't given it much thought until about four weeks ago. The first shock was when I looked on the map and realised it was a 400mile drive! anyway I was entered so committed.
Having only competing in the ultra fast summer enduro 2 weeks previous and having to have the subsequent week off as managing to lose my voice through a bad cold/chest. I had thought that Im very unlikely to fit for this but took it easy and rode a 10TT the night before I left and only being 8 seconds slower than my course PB I realised my fitness was that off.
As it was such a drive I left Norwich at 4am on the Friday morning and only stopped for a "Big one" fry up @ services just outside Bristol and arrived onsite around 11am. It was lightly raining on arrival and got steadily worse as the day wore on and at one point was biblical in proportions.
The course was being pre-ridden and some serious mud was being picked up by the riders, as I was self pitting and with one bike I decided to save my energy and bike for the main event.
The rain stopped on the Friday night and after the usual 8 person portion of pasta and a beer I turned in for a early one at 9pm. Had the usual awful nights sleep in the pop up tent (need to seriously invest in something decent) having condensation dripping on my face during the night and having to stumble across the silent campsite a 4am for a pee.
Got up about 9am so got a few hours kip in albeit not that great and I had prepped everything including bottles the night before I just sat around and chatted to other competitors.
11:30 came and I rocked up to the start line, despite being 30mins before the start I was about 5 rows back but this was going to be enough to get a reasonable start and not get caught up in the mele that is a 1000+ riders trying to squeeze through singletrack.
As my first lap was also my recce lap I was quite impressed and shocked by how technical the course was. Lots of big roots, rocks, berms, river crossings and switchback climbs. This was going to make for a very tough 12hrs. Spent most of the first 4hrs battling for a top 10 postion with Rob B from Columbia/Bike food and Rob from the Royal Navy team and having seen Rob B laying on the grass at his team tent between laps I realised I wasn't the only one suffering so early on. Quitting was crossing my mind more than once as I just couldn't get my groove on but I plodded on thinking what it had cost my sponsors to send me there and with the help help of Scott and Mark (loco-tuning who were supporting Zoe on her solo 24hr quest) who gave me the motivation to get back out there and also at one point let me eat some on their delicious chicken curry!
Not sure if it was was the chicken curry or the copious amount of energy products finally kicking in I got my groove on and managed to catch Rob B up towards to last two laps and the 7th place Rob (royal navy) on the penultimate lap. The last 11th lap was just keeping it consistent and keeping my 7th position, came in at 11:57pm and not knowing the time all night it was to late to lurk so crossed the line and called in a night.
Showered and then sat up with Mark and Scott and cheered Zoe Frogbrook on with her 24hr solo in which she finished a very impressive 2nd.
My aim this year is top ten positions at large National events like this and job done, so despite the early fitness issues I left a happy boy!
Saturday, 16 July 2011

Gas Hill Gasp and MSG Summer Enduro

Last Friday finished work got changed and rode just around the corner of my office to the Gas Hill Gasp and local hill climb event which cycleaid were co-sponsoring.
I hadnt entered as the next morning I had the 10hr enduro but on arriving and having a couple of rides up the lung-busting 1/5 climb i was gutted I had not entered.
The event was done in heats of 4 riders at a time with 2 going through to the next round until the last four remained.
The fastest riders were getting up in just under 30 secs and the crowds were amassing with the sign on being situated in a city centre pub on a Friday night (possibly a cycling first) the crowds were fuelled by the easy access to beer and fine ales.
I stayed until 9pm but couldn’t watch the finish as I had to get off to Thetford camp out for the race next morning.
After arriving at Brandon Country park @ thetford at nearly ten and already having my tent and trade tent set up thanks to friends Johnny and Ian, proceeding to eat the usual 8 person portion of pasta downed with a couple of beers and tried to get some sleep in the pop up tent. after a usually awful nights sleep we were up and setting the food and drinks out in the trade tent for easy access on laps and got a little warm up before the 10am off.
Not having ridden the course didnt know what to expect but assuming that it was over a shorter than usual 10hrs and on fairly flat and fast thetford course knew it would be relentless.
With the first lap of a 8.2 mile circuit taken 33mins knew it was going to be a hard day, at that pace I got to about 8hrs and started to suffer big time.
Rolling in after 9hrs and 49mins after 15 laps and having another 11mins to go out an do another I decided against it and hoped that my gap over the 7th place rider would hold and with luck Mark was behind by a fair amount of time and also on 15 laps. 5th place went out for 16 laps but with 10mins on me it was unlikely I could have caught him on such a short/fast course.
So 6th place was a fair effort however I was a bit disappointed as felt had I prepared better and got more sleep I could have done better.

Results can be found at http://www.timelaps.co.uk/assets/uploads/EVENTREPORT.aspx?eventid=174FireRoad609/07/2011

Big well done to my training partner Ian Read who this was his first enduro event of the year and by far his best race result to date rolled in 11th with 14laps. His dedication to training as really paid off and should be really happy.

Mountain Mayhem 2011

A somewhat belated report on Mountain Mayhem.
Just five weeks after returning from the 24hr champs and squeezing in the Norwich 150, I left Norwich at 4am on the day before the event and arrived in Ledbury at around 8am.
With the weather not looking that promising quickly got the pop up tent out and set off for a wonder around the site while waiting for Caroline from Cycleaid and her family to arrive.
It was my first time at Mayhem and I was very impressed with the scale of the event and amount of trade tents.
This was the maiden voyage for the On-one Whippet and I had been promised brake hoses being fitted at the event also had planned to meet Hope to have my rear bearings replaced, so as the day rolled on and neither company were there I started to get concerned if I would even have a bike to ride.
Caroline and family turned up about lunchtime and we proceeding to set up the trade tent which which was a small job compared to watching Scott set up their immerse unit (and a definite air of jealously).
The heavens opened that afternoon like they had been threatening to do all day, so the majority of the evening was spent under cover.
A early night pursued and usually bad nights sleep in the pop up tent. Woke up around eight and after a caffeine fix decided to get off to On-one to try and get the frame sorted and see if they had any bottle cages. Whilst chatting to Adrian he offered and place in their 4 man team as they were one rider sort and as I was not really feeling up for the 24hr I had planned I jumped in (also the promise of some carbon cages for the effort assisted my decision).
So off to the guys at Hope who were providing tech Support for all riders with their products and they done a sterling job of rebuilding my rear axle after I let the bearings collapse on the axle.
My first stint in my team wasn’t until 3ish for had a while longer to relax than thought before the off. A team event was a first for me as I usually go for the long slog so didn’t know what to expect. Went out on my first lap and it was an hour dead which was at a lot faster pace that my solo events.
I found it difficult to relax and keep warm between laps but with the team management from Scott Forbes (out of race due to broken knee) and a promise of a 3hr sleep at 4am I kept motivated throughout the night.
I had the role of riding the last lap heading out at 11:30am and returned 12:30 and after our efforts we completed 23 laps and finished 8th in the mens 4 sport cat.
Great event and a even greater bunch of guys to ride with.

Cycle Accident SolicitorsOur primary sponsors are CycleAid - cycle accident solicitors.

Hope Technology

On One

The Gorilla Firm

Juice Lubes

Scimitar Sports