Saturday, 31 December 2011

A year in review....

Last night saw my last ride of 2011 with a 3hr blast in torrential rain and mud with zoe and Scott from South Wales who I had met at the Bontrager 24/12 in which with Scott's Support Zoe placed an amazing 2nd in the 24hr. Really great to be able to meet up with them on my local trails.

This week Ian and I will be travelling up to Northern Scotland to compete in the Strathpuffer 24hr solo, which will without a doubt be the toughest event we have faced to date. And what an opener to 2012 that will be.

Ian wrote a brief overview of the year recently for our newsletter which covers the years highlights:

Team Cycle Aid have enjoyed an awesome year or racing and riding. As always, the focus has been on endurance mountain biking events, but they have also participated in a wide range of fun events, sportives and other adventures.

The highlight of the year has to be Dean Pointer ranking 16th in the UK & European 24 hour mountain bike championships. This was Dean's first ever 24 hour event, and he just excelled against a really strong field, keep pushing hard throughout the event and felt a great sense of achievement ranking high against Europe's finest. Dean's season continued with 7th in Bontrager TwentyFour12 (12 hours solo), 9th in the Brighton Big Dog, and 6th at the Thetford Summer Enduro. Ian Read's season highlights were a well earned 11th place at the Thetford Summer Enduro, and a hard though 19th at Dusk 'til Dawn (in extremely muddy conditions).

The team participated in many of the regional sportives, including the Suffolk Sunrise, Wiggle's No Excuses Sportive and the main Norwich event, the Norwich 100/50. As they felt the need for the endurance training, they opted to do the Norwich 50, followed by the Norwich 100. On a hot day in June, they managed to get around both events whilst quite a few riders were still struggling with one - they felt suitably pleased with themselves! Next year, they are planning to do the 100, twice.

Next year's season will kick off in January at the Strathpuffer. For some weird reason, Dean and Ian are quite excited at riding for 24 hours in temperatures well below -10, 16 hours of darkness in the highlands of Scotland. After that they will be carrying on the Thetford Winter Series, the Wiggle No Excuses Sportive and the Cheshire Cat in March, back up to Scotland for the UK/European 24 hour championships, the Gorrick 100, more Thetford racing with the Summer Enduro, and unfinished business in Kielder! Look out for the Team jersey events and say hi - they are very talkative chaps!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Seatpost or Saddle?

Sunday saw round 2 of the legendary Thetford Winter series, a race series which I first rode back in the very early nineties under the management of Pro-Circuit MTB. I had a 16 year break from the sport and came back in the 2008 winter series, now my 4th year and I can only say they get better with age and maybe my riding is maturing also.

An early start sunday having to drop the sprogs off at their Aunties for some babysitting duties, for a change this didnt involve waiting around for Dr Read to get out of bed! as he made his own way down.
Got down to Mayday farm just after 8am for a 10:30 start enough time for a last minute tinker and waited for Read (who was on time for the first time ever) and we went of on a reccie lap of the 6.5 mile course, at a steady pace this was around 35mins. So over the 4hrs we were looking at 8 laps.
As I was 13th in the last round had the bonus of being gridded at the start which always leads to amore relaxed start so you can concentrate on the 4hrs ahead.

We were off settled into my planned 13mph average and enjoyed the flowing course, the whole race was incident free for me apart from nearly washing out at the entrance to the MX trail.
The Course flowed so well and even the bombholes were all easily rideable in big ring and the double shocker was a treat as long as no one failed to get up the ascents!
Saw numerous people laying in the bush on those sections, with bikes on top of them, moaning in pain, should confess to laughing at their misfortune but this made me giggle thinking - how on earth do you bail on a ascent!!

Another strange incident was a tussle and fall between a Fatbirds rider and a Numbpluz rider - Numbpluz tried to overtake me and took out fatbirds and I ooked back to see him on the floor.
Fatbirds "what did you do that for?" and Numplumz "We are all in the same cat!"
Who knows what was going on their but YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
Unfortunately, Dr Read's race wasnt as incident free with a snapped seatpost after 5 laps, so his Winter Series is not happening this year but hes ensured a stellar performance at the Puffer and im sure incident free once his On-One Whippet is unleashed.

This was my first ride with my uber light Hope Race X2 EVO brakes and they didnt dissapoint pure xc speed item and once the pads had bedded in a lovely modulated feel. Anyway as planned 8 laps and a excellent little burn up on the last lap with a CC Luton - Eddingtons - Bandon rider on the last lap - to take 3 riders at the end but these turned out to be Vet riders so no places gained - 12th place! So with that and last months 13th an overall top ten thus far i guess. Right now some more training and two top tens in the last two races.

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