Bit of a catch up

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here. Same old excuses… busy doing other things, etc. But mainly, I haven’t felt in the mood to write much.

A quick run down of the past month or so:

Mountain Mayhem memories

  • Mud
  • Mud
  • Mud
  • Laughs
  • The gazebo of dreams
  • Wonderful friends
  • General silliness
  • Laughs
  • Mud

Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon

  • Wasdale always takes longer than you think to get to
  • Despite being one of the wettest places in the UK, we avoided the rain while the rest of the country was drowning
  • I’d forgotten how much I dislike contouring on steep ground. With tussocks. And bog.
  • I’m lucky that I can share time outdoors, and racing with my family. It was great to catch up with my uncle over a weekend.
  • I met Joss Naylor. On the fells! A lovely man, and it was an honour to share 5 minutes chatting about the mountains.

I’m really excited about the coming four weeks

The Cairngorms

  • Can’t wait to return to the home of my favourite ever adventure.
  • Just a long weekend, but will be taking my Dad along some of the same trails. It will be a pleasure to sit up and take my time in the scenery

Settle to Carlisle

  • I’ve got a week off work. An entire week.
  • Rather than a long trip, I’m planning a few micro adventures. One of which will be riding from Settle to Carlisle in a day, then getting the train home.

Sleepless in the Saddle

  • Mayhem was great fun. I loved the friendly atmosphere. I loved having a lot of friends around.
  • I wanted to ride more though
  • Back to 24 hour solo. But there will be lots of friends around, both supporting, and out on course.
  • Best of both worlds!
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Racing season hotting up

I have a hectic month of racing ahead of me.

I have 3 races in June. Each of them has their own challenges and will require a different physical and mental approach.

Let’s take them in chronological order, starting with Glentress 7, this Saturday 2 June. It is a pretty straightforward format. Start at 10am, complete as many laps as possible within 7 hours. Most laps/quickest time wins. I came in the top 20 last year, while singlespeeding. Theoretically, I should do better this year. I’m fitter. I have a bike with gears (which should be a real advantage on a course that has a large amount of up and down per lap). I’m more experienced, and feel back into the swing of things as far as racing is concerned.

Weirdly, compared to the last couple of months worth of exertions, a seven hour race feels rather short. I’m under no illusion that this is no sprint, no walk in the park, no other stock expression for “easy”. I want to do well. It will be hard, relatively fast racing. To add to the challenge, I’m working all day Friday, and driving up after work. I will be “solo” in the purest of terms. I’ll be camping, and I don’t have a pit crew. All my bottles will have to be made up (by me) in advance, and I need to make sure my mini pit (luckily there is a solo racer’s tent) is suitably stocked.

I’ll be dropping my bike off with Garage Bikes tomorrow for a quick once over. ‘Arry is beginning to show the signs of well over 1000miles use since February. The lower headset bearing needs replacing, I’ve worn through a set of tyres, and the BB area has developed a familiar creak. Luckily Al knows his business. It makes a huge difference to my self-confidence knowing that I can depend on the bike.

The following weekend, I will be donning my VeloCake jersey, and it will be a new experience for me… I’ll be taking part in a mountain bike race as part of a team. Bristol Bikefest sounds like a great sociable event. I had originally hoped to race solo, but numbers mean it is far more sensible for me to join a team. Another “as many laps as you can” event, this time in 12 hours. It introduces some new challenges for me… going flat out for a lap, then sitting around for a while, then doing it again. Could prove difficult. The team I’m in will be trying hard, but not taking things too seriously. It will be all about just doing our best. I’m looking forward to meeting up with some old friends and turning some “twitter buddies” into real life acquaintances, especially Directeur Sportif Mikey Mullerton.

I then have a week off from racing, and I’ll be taking things (not so) easy with a lap of the Mary Townley Loop with my friend Peter. I’ve done big parts of the loop before, but never linked it all together into a single ride. It may not be the best riding, there may be a million gates, but I still feel the need to get it ticked off. It will also be a great opportunity to catch up with a guy who I don’t get to see very often.

Finally, into the last week of June, and Original Source Mountain Mayhem. An all time classic in the mountain biking calendar… and event that has all but passed me by. I’ve never been, but I’ve heard all the horror stories from the bad weather years. I will have my fingers firmly crossed for a dry weekend. Again, I’ll be competing in a team, with Jenn and Tim, amongst others. Tim is doing rather well in the summer CX and is a bit quick in general, and Jenn is bloody rapid. I don’t want to let the team down, so I’m glad it won’t be my first team racing experience.

I’ve been working on trying to find a bit of speed in my endurance legs… lets see if it pays off this month!