Monday, 23 June 2014


2nd one day race of the season

One of those things when go to a race you gave never done before you don't quite know what to expect. Well in my case it turns out that there were multiple starting bunches.  And of course I was in the last one.  We got to start a full 30 mins behind the good guys.  At least Nigel was with me so someone to chat in English on the start line.

We got to start behind the motorbikes and I was right at the front.  On the first climb no one seemed so keen to get moving so I led the whole way up it.  Not long after this you look around and realise that there are very few people with you.  Of course your already passing people from the bunch in front.  A spectator was king enough to tell me that I was in third (from our starting group).

I was on the 2nd climb just minding my own business when an English decided to stop in for a chat.  I'm not always the friendliest when running at max on a hill climb.  Why bother chatting and wasting energy.  Requires some thought and effort to keep the legs turning at warp speed.

I'd learnt last year that backpacks if your fast are just a no go and of course my Bikes only got one space for a watter bottle.  The thing is though the the "french" races here in Switzerland just seem to have not much support.  Drinks offered to you in cups or small supermarket screw tops!!!  It becomes a battle to get water in a hurry at the stops.  I normally chuck the bottle and grab another where possible.  I've become quite adapt at yelling at whoever has a bottle at the side of the road to grab it.  Managed to get one and shared it with the English guy who was now tailing me.  Didn't see him for much longer after this.

Not much else happened the whole race.  More ups and more down and nothing to technical.  Nice sunny day.  Steamrolled past so many people.  Was really nice to see the wife and kids at the finish yelling and cheering for me. 

Believe I was in the top 5 for our bunch which was amazing.  I finished 17th in Class and 76th overall.  If I'd started with the front bunch 'm sure my results would have been better.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The little things - Elsa Bike

A few weeks past Trans-Portugal and I had my first one day MTB race of the season.

Been a few weeks of rest and relaxation thrown in before the race.  Trying to avoid the temptation to set PR's up every little hill in the region and just take it easy.  So hard when you feel fantastic but important to rest up because you have another half of the season to go.

Wasn't sure how I felt come race day.  Torn between stomping around and giving it everything and yet I also just couldn't be bothered.  Met Nigel before the start and was promptly at least half way back in the field just lining up for the start.  Off the start it was fast and furious and through horrible street furniture and just trying to avoid all the dangers.

I would have said the heart rate was running at full max for the first 10km whilst I set about passing everybody I could.  Set an easy pace on the downs and passed everybody on the ups.  Passed Adam somewhere towards the start and got on with things.  Adam would come back past me somewhere much later on.  Keeps saying he needs to be able to start faster.  I couldn't be bothered trying to stay with him.  I was struggling to see a bit on the downs with my new dark glasses and wasn't enjoying the point and squirt nature of the course.

Would have said I was somewhere in the top 20 of my class when I came around a corner and into a short sharp climb.  I'd already dropped to the granny and pulled up a few gears and bang.  There goes the chain.  I guess 1150km though Portugal and it had finally had enough.  Went through the pockets looking for my chain links to discover I had none.  Hmmmn, flashback to where I knew they were and realised I'd left them in the back of the car.  Had to remove the rear derailleur which had embedded itself into the cassette and started pushing the bike

Started running up the hill and stopped to take the whole chain and throw it in my pocket.  Sweat was pouring into my eyes as it was quite a hot day.  Stopped at the next marshalls to ask for help and my French or lack of let me down.  Asked each and every rider on the way past for a chain link and not one even acknowledged me.  Ran some more and thought this was getting pointless.  Finally stopped again and knew I had 20Km to go, how the hell was I going to get to the finish line.

Stopped to have a 2nd look and had another go at fixing the bike for a 2nd time.  Pulled the torn link and took me twenty minutes to push a pin back through the chain.  Didn't think it would work at all.  Past expierience shows that they just pop again.  On my way again finally and took it easy knowing that I'd lost 30 mins.  Finished with not a bad time but it just shows the little things make a difference.  I won't forget a chain link again !!!

Finished 89th in Class and 267th overall