Tuesday, 10 April 2012

UK/European 24hr Champs

Last Thursday saw our journey up to Newcastleton begin with a drive up to Newcastle for a brief stop en route and a meal out at the Metrocentre to celebrate my stepsons's 16th birthday. Ideally, he has quite a appetite, like myself, so this doubled up as a carbo loading session at the Big Luke's All You Can Eat @ the Metrocentre. A few post meal drinks, some bowling and amusements with the kids finished off the evening.

The next morning we left our Travelodge and headed off the Newcastleton which was about another 2hrs drive. On arrival we unpacked and Lily was straight off on her bike enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Rock UK centre.

I went off for a reccie lap that afternoon of the 12.5 mile course which at the time was very dry compared to previous rides. The rain started in the last 30 mins of the lap, but not too heavy.

Back to camp to get Lily ready for her first ever MTB race, the "12 Mins of Exposure", for the under 8's.

I was chuffed to see Lily racing and given that she has only ridden her bike about 3 times, she gave it all she could and looked quite worse for wear at the end. She was given a medal for her efforts and it didn't leave her neck for the rest of the weekend.

A early night for me pursued as I wanted a decent amount of kip for the next day. One of the funniest and painful moments of the weekend came when I decided to put mine and Becky's beds together to make a double but on turning the light off I forgot I had done this and dived onto the space where the bed was and landed on my hip on the wooden floor. (This is still hurting 4 days later!)

So, up saturday morning, showered and changed into the kit and milled around contemplating the next 24hrs of riding.

My form was not going to be great, as I had come down with a cold 3 weeks previous and it was still lingering around. I had considered changing to the 12hr but thought I would still give the 24hr a go and take it easy.

Met with Mark and we both were told separately that we didn't have our timing chips on! That could have been interesting if we had forget!!!!! Thanks Rob.

We headed down the the village centre of Newcastleton, met our families and enjoyed the locals support at the start. 12pm came and the usual following of the piper began.

Mark decided to head off further to the front as he was in the 12hr event and every minute counted.

We got about a mile into the course, just up the first climb and about to enter the first singletrack section, when I couldnt believe my eyes, seeing Mark walking his bike back down the course. Mark will explain this further in his blog, I'm sure.

So off we went, lap after lap with most of my early laps spent chatting the Jamie Willetts and enjoying the club run pace. I lost him on the climbs and he dropped me on the descents and this continued for a few hours. I got to about 6:30pm and had been thinking about the benefits of picking up my Exposure Sixpack and Joystick lights from the pits but forgot!! As it got dark about 7:30pm and my laps taking about 90mins this lap entailed a fair amount of riding using only "the force" to guide me. I was thinking at this point if there really was any benefit of eating more carrots and was wishing I had.

As I rode the final descent in the dark into the arena I heard a couple of familar voices and it was was local Norfolk riders Ollie and Alex who had came up for a look whilst camping at Kielder.

They followed me to the kitchen where I had a brief chat while stuffing my face with Becky's lovely chilli she had made that evening.

I went and changed into suitable night kit and headed back out out for another couple of laps. After this I hit a bad patch and decided to have a sleep for a hour and head back out. This didnt really happened due to a combo of kids and and energy gels and I keep extending the hour!!!

Got showered and changed into fresh kit, then got back on the bike with revised energy and proceeded to get my groove on and ride about 7 laps with minimal stops right up until a very painful last lap at 9:30am.

Rolling in about 11am with no time for another lap and a lovely greeting by my family - my 24hrs was over.

21st position was a lot down on my first ever 24hr and last years event with 16th. A combination of fitness levels, a lot less training and a far too slow pace and too many breaks contributed to this but still another 24 under the belt.

Not my best result but this was the most battered my body had ever felt with my lower back going into spasm on the final two laps.

I headed back to the cabin for a coffee and full English, then proceeded to lay flat on the bed for the next 20hrs.

Movement in my body is not much better 4 days later.

Given all this, will I be back next year?..........you bet your life I will ;)

A big thanks to our sponsors Cycleaid for funding this madness and I will ensure my continued efforts and a attempt for a top ten position next year.

A special mention need to be made to the Hope Race X2 brakes which we are riding this season as I fitted a pair of the sintered to my bike before the Strathpuffer 24hr solo rode that and then two 4hr enduros and various long training rides. Checked before this event and decided to run the same pads and unbelievely they lasted the full 24hrs!! And this event required a fair amount of braking.........Hope, you rock!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Spain Calling

Well on the eve of the European national 24hrs up in Newcastleton I’m sat on a balcony a good 2000 miles away on the south coast of Spain. On the plus side I’m surrounded by mountains, unfortunately there is not a bike to be seen for miles…

Unfortunately family issues have dragged me out here, missing a week of school free riding days and the nationals all at once. But then again I can’t really complain at a few days eating, drinking and sleeping (Lots of sleeping) in the sun! Haven’t really got a whole lot to say, riding has been curtailed while On One sort me out a shiny new frame to try (VERY EXCITED) but with any luck normal service will be resumed next week. Now all I have to do is hope the French don’t go on strike again before I land…

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