Friday, 22 February 2013

Adventurous streak

Well continuing my rather sporadic blogs, and indeed rides, at the moment I think I might be getting some vague reminisce of form back. Rather than driving across the country catching up with all the old haunts riding seemed the transport de jour. In anticipation of Mike’s 200 mile cross country epic in a little over a month it seemed like a good idea to get some 100+ mile rides in on some hills.  I always seem to enjoy point to point rides more than out and back, probably the adventure in me – bailing out when your 80 miles from your destination is always more hassle than its worth…

So half past eight on Monday morning and two counties down, the day was going to be long but with enough tea and cake it was looking like a good one. 

The planned route took in Stratford upon avon, Worcestershire, the Malvern hills and then on down through the Forest of Dean through Chepstow and into Bristol, where I had a training date with Kim and some roller racing… The next day would see me heading back up through the Cotswolds (Deceptively hilly) back into the Midlands.
 I’m not going to bore you with a hit by hit account of the ride, just a few hastily grabbed photos from the few days. I think in total there was about 300 miles covered in a little over three days, not to bad but im still on the back foot compared to most on the Informal 200…

Peaking out at Worcester camp on top of the Malvern Hills.

 I miss the roads in South Wales, no one but the sheep and the odd tractor to distract you.

Deceptively big these Cotswolds, the long straight approach to hill climbing.

Next challenge, apart from cleaning the bike - 200 miles across wales. Gulp.
Thursday, 14 February 2013

John Flitch Memorial Duathlon

If you like being beside the seaside in North East Kent, in your cycling/running kit as the icy wind blows in of the sea at the beginning of January then this is the duathlon for you. It's a fast, flat course consisting of 2.5 mile run/9 mile mtb/4.5 mile xc run. ''Flat'' I hear you say...sounds easy does it, well the first run is straightforward out along the seafront normally into a raging headwind, then back, hop onto the bikes for 2 laps of what can either be frosty, slightly muddy ground, or if its been raining a lot recently mud, mud, oh and a bit more mud before back along the promenade before doing one lap of the bike course as the xc run. The added bonus on the xc run is that you get to jump/wade/fall in about four dykes towards the end of the run, before four mounds to run up and down before the finish.Heaven!

I have done this event several times now and the earliest was in 2005. I have never been able to crack the top three, having had a few fourth places just to frustrate me even more. With family in tow we arrived a good twenty minutes before the start ( not bad for me! ). Suitably psyched up on several renditions of the ''wind the bobbin up'' song from my two boys en route to the race I was feeling fairly confident . I say fairly, as  I was ill at Christmas and then again during the week before this race, and it was 50/50 if I would race on the Saturday. Still, I had paid my entry all ready so here I was.

The 1st run leg kicked off and I set off, resplendant in my new Team Cycleaid Skinsuit, with several comments of ''that's not going to be white by the time you've finished''. Back towards the bike section and four of us were evenly spread at the front. A quick change onto the bike and we were off for the mud, and there was plenty of it. I had opted for cyclocross tyres for my On One Race 29er. I don't know if it helped or not, definitely not when the back wheel slid on a rut and I went head first into some brambles. Two laps of mud hell later and it was back along the seafront into the headwind into the transition for the last xc run. I was fourth and I knew I could make up the places on the last run, but I was feeling the cold. I caught the third place solo male and was feeling confident. Then my lace came undone so I had to stop to fix that and then the cold really hit me and the legs didn't want to co-operate, so my run turned to a shuffle. I lost third just before the dyke crossings and then fourth just after them. I kept shuflling as best I could even having to walk a few times as I was feeling that rough.

With just about enough energy I crossed the 5th place for a change. Oh well, try again next year I guess. Looking back at my times, my last run leg was 9 minutes slower than last year, so that sums up how my body was feeling towards the end. Onwards and upwards!

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