Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Stickin' ya neck out

In the last week I have been and stuck my neck out on a couple of occasions to try something new and to commit another Winter of hard riding.

Firstly, I'm now a sponsored cyclocross racer riding for Cult Racing.  Owner of cult Racing, Paul, had asked for willing/wannabe racers to submit details to him for selection so I thought it would be worth a try and hit send, not really thinking anything would come of it.  Low and behold I got an email from Paul last Wednesday to pop in the shop to try out the bike and collect some kit!  

My first race in Cult Racing colours is coming up on Sunday 14th at round 2 of the West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League in Henley-in-Arden.  I then have quite a full racing programme over the next 4 months (see the Racing tab above).

The second time for me to put my neck on the block was yesterday when I announced that I would be riding 200km in Novermber (just 2 months away), to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.  It's something I had been thinking about now since my Dad passed away last year at the Hospice in Solihull.  I could have done any number of organised events, big or small, but I wanted to do something more personal and relvent to my Dad.  My Dad worked for the CEGB man and boy, for over 35 years, so I thought it would be relevent to cycle to those sites he had worked at in the Midlands after he and my Mum moved down from the grim northern mill towns of East Lancashire.  I had planned something much grander over a full weekend, including tough climbs on and off road, but my wife made me see sense with the fact that there will be limited daylight hours at this time of year.

So, now that it has been announced and I have donations coming in already, there is no backing down.  I'm a little apprehensive as the distance will be quite a lot more than my usual "long" commute to work, and now with committing to race there will be little scope for "getting the miles in" at the weekends.  I will therefore be trying to increase intensity in the hope that it will then help me "go long" at an easier pace.  I can but hope.


Monday, 1 September 2014

The Blink Of An Eye

WOW - Six months has past in the blink of an eye and quite a few things have occurred in that time.

I had a great race at Pembry Battle on the Beach and a few weeks later took delivery of a new Koga Beachracer which has been superb.  I've had over 900 miles of endless fun on it racing up and down bridlepaths, towpaths and it is surprisingly speed on the road too.  

I've taken the Tank down to the Devon coast and tried it out on the flat sands at Pembry and it has performed admirably each time.  At Pembry there was a noticable improvment riding over softer sand when compare to riding the Disco at the Battle on the Beach so I'm looking forward to next years edition with excitement.

Things have been a bit quiet on the event front, unfortunately I had a DNS at HoNC this year due to illness.  My planned TT failed to materialise due to pickiing up a particularly nasty stomach bug in May which knocked me out for a few weeks.  However my work's cyclo-commuting team took the team price in the Redditch Cycle Challenge again!

With the kids exams over and our holiday touring around Europe in the motorhome completed successfully, I'm now starting to gather myself for the forth coming 'cross season.

I have now re-started my running regime of 3 steady runs per week, and will be taking them on the trails soon.  The 'cross bikes still need a fair bit of feckling to get them in shape and I need to start some higher intensity work to get me back in shape too!  I'll be starting my 'cross skills work this week too and I'm hoping to get a full season of racing in this year.

Also, on Sunday November 9th I am going to be riding 200km around the East and West Midlands in an attempt to visit the old power stations my Dad worked at, and hopefully raise £300 for Marie Curie and they provided so much care and support for him this time last year.



Friday, 14 March 2014

Beach Trip ... with a difference

This weekend sees the UK’s inaugural Beach Race for cyclists at Pembrey Country Park in South Wales, Battle on the Beach. 

Belgium and Holland have been holding beach races along the North Sea coastline for quite a few years as an alternative was to keep fitness through the winter months, and now finally this masochistic side of cycle sport is coming to Britain. 

The interest in beach racing in the UK seems to be gathering momentum.  At the end of last year ran a very good article, “Beach Slapped” where the author was invited to the Netherlands to take part in the beach race at Noordwijk, a 52km out and back affair along the windswept beach.  Cycling Plus have a beach racing article in their March edition, and Koga dealers are getting ready to receive the first consignment of their Beach Racer bikes which won awards at Eurobike 2013.

 In a contrast to most continental beach races A Cycling, organisers of the Battle on the Beach, have taken the concept of the beach race and morphed it with some more technical looking single track ideally suited to a cyclocross race.  This increases the appeal to a wider audience than those keen on sadistic sacrifices to the wind and sand of the Welsh coastline and invites all with any off-road bike to take up the challenge, whether they are fat, medium or thin – and include the UK Fat Bike Championship!
There is a big cash prize list and trophies for the usual categories, though you’ll have to be on peak form as the organiser have had continental interest from Belgium and Holland with the Dutch KMC-Koga MTB team bring their entourage including demo bikes, and teams of beach racers from Belgium too.  

The organisation for the event is looking good with course signage and details emerging over the last few days, along with the usual race schedules and overnight accommodation options.  They have even planned to screen the rugby for the hardened followers, well it is Wales!
I’m hoping not to disgrace myself too much but running a ‘crosser that takes only 35mm tyres might mean I’ll be stretching my running legs a little more than others, though I’m hoping to claw things back through the technical single track sections.  I’m now getting more than a little nervous and floods of anticipation keep washing over me as mind keeps turning to tread choices and tyre pressures.  Here goes ...