Monday, 23 January 2012

New year, New team. Oh and an introduction...

Right, new year, new team and all that. No seriously I am really excited about this year – but ill get on to that in a minuite.
This being the first of my blogs for Team Cycleaid/on-one/exposure I guess I should introduce myself to you and outline what I’ve done, what I’m doing and most importantly what I hope ill achive this year (Then at least I’ll be able to look back on this come November and laugh!)
I have been riding and competing off for a while, actually as long as I can remember. The local midland scene (Anyone Bobs bash, Ashton court and the Midland Super series…) saw (ir)regular results and ignited a competitively that is still burning! As I got older and moved away the lack of a car curtailed most racing I began ‘just riding’ again; to cut a long story short the rides got longer, I got introduced to enduro’s, 24hr’s and the ability to swap tea for lifts and have never looked back…
My life at the moment pretty much revolves around teaching, spannering coaching and riding. Although this does leave me with a serious lack of spare time which I wouldn’t change for a second…

First entry into a long and relatively successful racing career came as a complete acsedent, having entered the race as a pair I was told at the last minuite (Were talking on the drive down) that my partner had in-fact changed the entry for two solo’s. D2D ’03. Still the most painful race of my life (Carbon saddles; just say NO kids). This has then spiralled into all forms of 24hr racing, team, solo and paired although solo is where my heart is!

This year a combination of some expert advice, some serious mileage, a little bit of speed work and the support of the Cycleaid boys, Mud Dock, Bristol Mountain bike club and my ever supportive girlfriend I’ll be attempting to improve on the results of last year. I’m also planning a short jaunt down to the south of Spain on the bike this summer so doubtless you’ll get to hear about that when it finally gets sorted out (That’ll be on the ferry to Calais then…)

Scotch Adventures.

First appointment with what was to become the new team was first started by a comment made late one night on Facebook, in much the same way as drunken ebay purchases saying yes to pitting for the lads at strathpuffer was not really given the gravitas that it deserved. For a start it was over 800 miles away, secondly it was in January and thirdly; well did I mention it was over 800 miles away???

Once committed I was in though, letting the boys down was just not an option so it was with some trepidation that we began to organise what would be one big old road trip. It transpired that the lads would drive over from Norwich to collect me and then we would head on up to within a hop skip and jump of John ‘o groats.

Did I mention it was 800 miles?

Heading up on the Thursday afternoon allowed us a few nights in the local Travelodge to get over the mammoth drive, acclimatise to the cold and get any last bits and pieces sorted. It turned out this was well needed as although we had all the kit required for such an adventure I wasn’t to sure where it was, this was a theme that would continue throughout the weekend though. Saturday dawned and the early 10am start necessitated a 6am depart from the hotel we were held up in, it was raining. This did not help.

Frantically trying to revive the Gazebo which had blown away over night while sorting food, clothing, lights and everything else we were supposed to be doing for the next 24hrs didn’t leave much time for anything else – luckily the lads were pretty relaxed about what they were about to enter into and made my job of trying to play team mom that much easier. Once everything had been sorted we all headed down to the traditional bagpipe start. It was still raining, although disappointingly (For me at least) no snow to be seen.

As is always the case when pitting a lot of what goes on is VERY boring and repetitive, feed rider, check bike, clean bike, feed rider some more and away so I wont bore you with the details of the whole race; suffice to say both Ian and Dean have written extensively about the race in their Blogs and as I wont steal their thunder.

What always makes the Strathpuffer so hard, indeed one of the 10 hardest mountain bike races on earth, is the unpredictable weather – during our stay we had everything from sunshine through to hale, with a nice just above freezing damp wind to make it that little bit more special. I’ve been told it was the nicest year recorded although I think they were just trying to make me feel better…

Both guys were obviously putting in there all and it really was great to see them working so hard, taking strength from the sheer stupidity of what they were doing, in the end Dean although comfortably in the top 10 finally admitted defeat with 16hrs under his belt. The fact that I had to carry him off his bike says a lot about how much he had put into the race. Ian made it to 20hrs and im sure could have been talked into continuing if the medics hadn’t intervened and quite rightly advised him to stop after some rather nasty pain coming from deep within.

As for me I made it through, very cold covered in mud and a bit confusded but looking forward to getting back on the bike and kicking this year off with a bang.

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