Thetford

Thetford

Monday, 20 June 2016

I am a very lucky man..................



If I was writing this blog a year ago I am not sure I would have been saying the same thing.  I used to blog in the comfort of knowing what I wanted out of life and knowing how I felt about other people around me.

That all changed in quite dramatic circumstances a year ago which resulted in me not being able to compete in Mayhem 2015.  The friends around me understood and carried on, they went on to do well and continue to ride.


Fast forward a year and I am writing this blog as a competitor in Mountain Mayhem 2016.  I have competed in this event a few times now and I love its ability to draw together a mad crowd of people who love mountain biking.  This year it also brought me closer to a sub set of people inside the event from our little mountain bike community of Sherwood pines.  This was enabled by a very good friend.  The bloke in question is called Graham Gee. 


Graham is a very special person and if you spent any time in his company I can guarantee you would feel the same way.  This year he asked me if I wanted to be a part of his team again and so of course I said yes.  The reality kicked in about what I had agreed to though about a week before the event.  It dawned upon me that I had actually agreed to take part, but also take part in a team that might do well in this race.  I had spent most of my year recovering from a life changing event and rebuilding my life, which didn't put me in the best shape, but it is also one of the reasons why I am a lucky man.

Anyway here is a picture



I am a very lucky man because I met somebody who had the same experience a year ago and for some reason wanted to be a part of my crazy journey.

I am a very lucky man because I have two beautiful daughters, a great set of friends who invite me to ride in their team, loan me very expensive lights (thanks Rob), and mates who text me when they see how well we have done (Carl).  I am lucky though because I met Debbie through cycling, and our community of cycling friends.  I really am a lucky man.




I might even start blogging about cycling again soon (nah,..... I much prefer talking about myself)

Keep riding your bike and keep going forward.



Monday, 4 May 2015

Selkirk National MTB Marathon Champs 2015

 My blog is called adventures mtb endurance racing and my trip to race in the British Mountain Bike Marathon Champs in Selkirk certainly lived up to its billing.  As ever, I have mixed emotions about what the race was like for me.  It is easy to look back and analyse the event and look at how to improve but the fact is that I have been doing this long enough now to stop making the same mistakes.





The race and venue is awesome.  The course was super tough and I have battled through (and given up sometimes) in some tough races but this was epic.  It was relentless, climb after climb and apart from some little road sections there was no let up.  The start was great.  The race kicks off in the town and by some miracle after the elites lined up I got my name called out by the commissioner.  It’s a nice feeling but also puts pressure on when you are clad in pro race gear and your name gets called to the line.


 
 
 



It was a neutral start behind the race van (ok it wasn’t that neutral) and it weaved through the town with quite a few people cheering us on.  They really get into this stuff north of the border.  Anyway as soon as the van peeled off it was race time and within a few hundred yards the top riders just went.  I managed to catch Julie up on the first section of the climb and set off at a reasonable pace.  I latched on to the back of the elite women’s trio and felt comfortable for a while.  That all ended when I found to my dismay the climb seemed to never end, I could see the elite men a mile or so in the distance and they were still ascending.  The reality of what I had entered kicked I, and at that point and I just sat in and hoped I would make it round.

The bike was great and it descended brilliantly and was the only thing that was keeping me in touch with the riders around me at the back of the field.  Some of the main marathon fast guys then started to catch me and at about 8 miles my head dropped and I was seriously considering cutting it short.
I had grossly underestimated this race!  I had nothing in the tank, my legs felt heavy and I was not feeling great.  I didn’t want to eat or drink because I felt bloated so all in all I just wanted it to stop.  Perhaps the hard tail bike would have been better for me with all the climbing (it is a lot lighter).  Doing a lot of riding with no structure the weeks before probably didn’t help my cause either, and driving there and back on my own certainly wasn’t up there with the best decisions I have made.
 


 
I finished in about five and a half hours, on my best day I would have liked to do around five hours.  But hey it’s not all doom and gloom, there was success for Julie who managed 2nd in her class and to think I drove to Scotland and back, rode one of the toughest races on the calendar and didn’t actually come last is a testament to how far I have come in the last few years.
As ever the moral is just ride your bike and enjoy it.
   


Monday, 16 March 2015

New Bike

New bike, new season and new challenges.  Its that time of year when everything looks positive and the planning and preparation is in place to race again (or at least try too).  The main difference this year is that I have actually entered some races!!!!!!!
 
 
 
So the plan so far looks like this
 
1st round of nutcracker MTB at Whinlatter
 
1st round of NPS at Sherwood (my local race)
 
National MTB marathon champs at Selkirk
 
Mountain Mayhem 4 man team
 
Bontrager 24/12 24hour solo (yes I am insane)
 
 
 
 

Mixed in with these is as many of the nutcracker series I can manage and a few of the Midlands xc series.  So it looks like I might be able to string a few races together this year.  This is also off the back of a new start this year riding for Pines Cycles-Felt-Enve.

So now that Felt will be on my new top it made sense that a felt bike was in order, my wife totally agreed and was so happy that I added another bike to my collection.  I am not a sponsored rider so getting anything for free is a bonus, a free bike is well out of my league, however I did get a good deal.

I went for the felt edict series, basically a full carbon 100mm suspension marathon machine.  I have to say that I am impressed so far, I got this bike for the longer events and I think it will serve me well.  Its first outing was a Cannock chase where it performed well, then its second trip was in the peaks.




It ate the miles up and the bike climbed well, I thoroughly enjoyed the day out but if you look at the pictures its easy to see why, having a nice bike is a bonus.






As I said though, I am not owt special so who cares what I think lol.  I know the guy who is helping our professional rider this year whose opinion and results really matter.  However if he reads this and wants me to do a proper write up, especially how well the Vredestien tyres work, any equipment or spares lying about which could help my endeavours would go down well (yes I am selling myself lol)


Anyway as I always say, when I have actually done some races I will try and blog about racing my mountain bike which is what this blog is meant to be about.












Saturday, 13 December 2014

Foo Fighters and trails like these

A couple of weeks ago I managed to drag myself up to Coed y Brenin and catch up with some old friends, and meet some new ones in the process.  I really love it up there and when the opportunity to ride a couple of days were offered; it was a no brainer really.


I knew Shergie and Andrew from our endeavours as pronghorn riders and racers, to which I still had plenty to talk about.  I was quite negative at the time of its coming to an end, but out of it came some great friendships.   So, this weekend I also got to meet Stuart and Tom and needless to say I think they are cracking blokes.  To cut a long story short I managed to wreck Stuarts new forks (it is sorted now thankfully). But when I spoke to Stuart recently I said that in a mad hour during the weekend we managed to break three bikes but made some great friends (but that's mountain biking for you).


Anyway, fast forward couple of weeks and there were some further developments locally that have really made me smile.  My local shop and team arranged a meeting mid week to sort out next year.  I was just going to do what I normally do and just ride what I can when I can and keep my head down.  Anyway it looks like I will be riding with not only my mates, including Mick who is a national champ; but also a professional mountain biker and all round top fella.

I cannot say much more than this because they have contracts, but needless to say this person has been on the podium in a world cup!!!


Its amazing to think that I will be riding in the same kit and might even compete in the same events, I never saw this coming.  I genuinely am grateful that http://www.sherwoodpinescycles.co.uk/ have let me be part of this.  However it looks like I might have to step up the training and be a bit more focused, and a little less my normal beer swilling self. 


This morning I got out for a couple of hours and hit the local Kitchener Trail, this picture was from the early part of the trail and captures what Sherwood is about.  Look out for team Sherwood Pines next year, I will try to keep people updated; but also because also we have new riders and old ones who might surprise us and get some results (no pressure Jon).

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Not racing

This happens every now and then, stuff happens and family commitments get in the way so you end up missing out.  That is all it is though; its just that feeling that all your mates are racing and having 'fun' and you are not...but to your work mates and friends (who do not ride bicycles) they see it as you get a break and get to hang with the family.

This is true, but it does 'mess' with your noggin.   Anyway I will put up a picture of a race from last year as it happens, and as it happens I didn't finish that race either (its a good picture though).  But this blog is to get a message across about how I feel about the 'scene'.




The fact is I have lost motivation to actually race (it will come back) but its a problem because this sport is hard and you cant rely on team mates to help you; this is because they are the ones who normally want to beat you.  I have found a great friend in Jon Lightfoot though, and he is going great at the minute.  So that's the first thing off my chest in this blog; also I have good friends who are now in other teams which is not a bad thing either.


Which leads me in to what I actually want to get across; no matter what you do or how seriously you take this sport, it is just a sport.  It was 2008 when I decided to put shop kit on and pretend I'm a cyclist.  From then I have started my own clubs, been in super teams where the earth was promised as long as I coughed up some money in the first year (oh yes I fell for it) and now ride for the shop where it all started.  Two pieces of advice have stuck with me, the first was from Andy Cockburn "forget the team stuff just enjoy riding your bike", the second was from Gareth Hayes, "stick to riding with that fast bloke (Mick Powell) and stay with your local club".


And that's the rub folks, Sherwood Pines Cycles are my team, they are my local shop, they are a meeting point for so many of my friends and the staff are a great bunch of personalities.  Its a local shop for local people as Edward would say. 

Monday, 24 February 2014

Thetford winter series

I have this blog to talk about stuff which a) is about bike racing and b) is about stuff that matters to me.  I f anyone reads this shit then that's a bonus.  This series is probably the only one I have ever completed, but in doing so I have learned a lot about myself and life in general.

I have probably landed 6th or 7th overall with coming quite close to a 3rd place in round 3.  For two rounds I was going well and for the other 2 rounds I probably should not have bothered going.  The difference between entering or not was my team mate Jon.

He has been brilliant throughout and has driven every round.  No hassle just get up go, ride and go home.  I wish I could be more like that sometimes instead of over thinking things and making more excuses than just getting on with it.  I don't though which sort of makes me who I am. 

I am going to keep this short, I basically need to stop thinking and just enjoy the ride which is something we all need to tell ourselves every now and then.

 


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Thetford winter series Rd2

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

I have loads of them for this one.  In real life though I cannot complain it was a fair result in the end; 10th position, and if I could have been arsed to do another lap it could have been 8th.  I really did not have the verve to even try though.

Excuse 1

I had a weird run up to the event, I missed a cross race and the following week I broke my rear mech before the start so missed another round.  I know it shouldn't, but things can start to nark you after a while.

Excuse 2

My wife has changed her job and this is not a moan but it meant that I had to step up the dad duties, which is no bad thing.  It just affected my riding and I felt I had missed out.

Excuse 3

I just felt crap!! I had mouth ulcers, felt tired and if Jon had said he could not go I would have thanked him and stayed in bed (I am glad I rode the event though).

Excuse 4

I crashed early in the race which knocked me back (I landed on the stem with my soft parts!)  I just could not get back to the group Jon was in.


So there we go.... plenty of excuses

Still a great event though, the course was tough and if I wasn't such a mardy arse I could have done better..........................................................