2nd place at 1st round of British Series for Lapierre UK. Pleased about that!

All that form finding in South Africa was worth it today at Sherwood Pines, near Nottingham. With the disappointment of the World Cup still ringing in my ears, I went into the domestic series a bit upset with mountain bike racing and all the painful lessons it has to teach you. Remarkable how a good result turns things round so quick. I ve not been home since 15th Feb though so I m on my way there now. Only 9 hours driving left to go before 2 weeks of build for the next World Cup in Houffalize Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

You win some and you lose some. I lost this one!

Well that didn’t go according to plan. The World Cup at Pietermarizburg was what I had been building towards this past month so bearing the bad luck I suffered was hard. I was sure I had worked hard enough to get my best ever result in a World Cup but I blew my back tyre off on a drop and that was the end of that. Still, that’s mountain bike racing. Its how you handle the disappointment and insecurity that comes with a bad result that makes or breaks the rider. I don’t feel broken. Just a few hairline cracks that will heal with some positive reflection on the rest of my time here in SA. I’m flying home tomorrow ready to hit round 1 of the British National Series at Sherwood Pines next weekend. The cracks should be filled in again by then. Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

On safari

We are in St Lucia which is an interesting world heritage site on an estuary full of crocs and hippos. We saw some yesterday from a boat at sunset. Did you know hippos could run at 15km per hour on the river bed and hold their breath for 3 minutes?
We are taking some time away from Pietermaritzburg before the World Cup this weekend because we are all a little sick of it and bike racing.
I am spending my morning in a bizarrely kitch coffee shop calling itself Tymes Square which is decked out Alice in Wonderland style. The staff are all wearing pink polo shirts and pearl necklaces and copies of House and Garden are littered everywhere.
Safari yesterday was amazing. The guide was pretty anxious we might not have had a good time because of the volume of the voice of the annoying american expressing his disappointment at their being no animals but I was impressed. We got up at 5am and made our way to a game reserve in an open topped truck. It was pissing it down and a bit cold but I was alright cos I had lots of clothes on. We sat there getting buffetted around my warminsh wind and rain and watched the sun slowly rising over the most incredible green jungle hillside. We drove until 7 when we got off the truck for breakfast and hoped we weren't eaten by anything. Afterwards while the mist was still rolling about in the valleys we bounced along the dirt roads in search of game. We saw a rino who walked like me, giraffes, massive spiders, buck, vilderbeast, tortoise, warthog, zebra, a herd of elephants, a very cool male deer type thing with orange strips and yellow legs and (with eyes like a hawk from his time on the veld) the guide spotted a lioness on a far off hillside. And baby elephants. Did I mentio those? Very cool.
Then we had a braai for lunch, came home then went off croc and hippo spotting on the boat. Very eventful day.
I am feeling absolutely dreadful tho. After last weekends racing my body has given up. I have a hacking cough, sore throat and ears and every time I stand up I think to myself I don't want to be doing that for long. I slept 9 hours last night tho so I m hoping that will help with the mend.

I've got a couple of days left before I have to find the form of my season for Saturdays World Cup. 

LionessZebras_1Hippos_1Warthog

World Cup Test Event eventful.

Ooft! Yesterday was the Category 2 World Cup test event at Cascades, South Africa and IT WAS HARD. 5.8km and nearly 250m climbing per lap after 5 laps was always going to smart a bit. Throw into the mix a 3 foot drop, 5 foot steep log section and 2 rock gardens then stand back and watch how a riders bike handling ability deteriorates over this length of time. Well, you can watch how mine deteriorates anyway if you go on U Tube. Its not graceful. By lap 5 my hip flexors and forearms were cramping so badly I couldn’t stand up or brake which made things interesting. But I finished. I consolidated a good start and sat in 9th place for 3 laps then, as my body began to object, I just tried to minimise my losses in the final stages of the race. I dropped a couple of places but still managed to finish 12th against some of the best riders in the world. Cecile Ravanel took the win from Annie Last who came in 10 seconds later. Next weekend we step up for the World Cup on the same course but against double the size of field. 60 plus women will battle it out at next weeks World Cup. Let’s hope I can hold on. Literally. In the youth races, my Orange Monkey house mates dropped like flies with 2 boys suffering 2 broken wrists. In the men’s race, Nino Shuchter took the win with SA’s own Bury close on his heels. Today, after a recovery spin, we all head north for a couple of days respite on safari. More Giraffes. That’s what is needed. Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange