Velocity Directors, Lee Craigie and Evan Beeswax, took part in a 2 day mountain bike orienteering event over the weekend. They covered 85km and climbed a total of nearly 2000 metres over the 2 days taking pictures of marked controls as they went. They stayed focused on the job and managed to pull ahead of closest rivals who had travelled up from Glasgow by taking strategic cafe stops (including a community Bring and Buy sale worth 30 points) thus winning them the day. They are pictured taking a well earned rest on the Drover's Monument, near DIngwall. Although the Drover himself seems to be taking advantage of the situation somewhat.
I have just fished the last bit of mud out of my eyes at a service station near Penrith and now no longer have to drive with alternate eyes shut.
Round 2 of the British National Series carried beefy Category 1 UCI points which accounted for the elite women’s race starting with 27 riders including Hungarian, American, Chinese and South African representatives.
With weather conditions heralding Armageddon, poor Celia the Lapierre went through a set of brake pads just in practise. She was not happy. She is French. From the gun, the race was led out by World Downhill Champion Tracy Mosley who showed us all the line round the tight muddy turns and initial downhill section. After the start loop, GB’s Annie Last was leading followed by Barbara Benko pushing Tracy into 3rd while I stuck to the dowhillers wheel in an effort to copy her line choice. For the next 2 laps Tracy and I ding donged, me overtaking her on the climbs and she getting the better of me on the technical, slippy descents until I eventually dropped her for good. During the battle the Chinese girl cruised gracefully past us both on a steep climb and we exchanged withering looks. I now sat in 4th and I just had to consolidate. I felt more fatigued than expected. My leg muscles protesting without consulting my heart and lungs first. I did manage to find a rhythm and limit any more loses and finished 4th with Tracy 5th and South African Samantha Sanders in 6th. A big thank you to my support team Natalie and Alex (pictured with their fine artwork) who suffered the cold and the wet alongside me. Though without so much of it in their eyes fortunately.
If the Sport Institute nutritionist reads this, I honestly only had a fruit smoothie and a boiled egg. The photo is just for reference purposes
THAT was really sore. The Houffalize course was a brutal reminder of how it feels to race at this level. Apparently I looked like I was going to die much of the time. This news did not at all surprise me. Despite feeling pretty good in practise I just could not get the effort out today and finished 4 places back on my start position. But I didn’t get pulled, or lapped and I only had one embarrassing off on the final lap on a rock drop (sharp intakes of breath all round and a bruised left buttock). But, Belgium was brilliant. They know how to put on a spectacular bike race those guys. AND they make a mean waffle. Bizarrely, only hours from thinking to myself I would never do that again, I am already planning to do that again. Am I tweaked? Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
I m on cup 2 and it’s only 11.30. This is bad. But I m in an airport and different rules apply here. Where else would you get away with ordering a whiskey and water at 9am on a school day? (Not me, the chap over there. The one with the red nose). On Sunday the 2nd round of the World Cup Series gets played out at Houffalize but before then there is course practise and the Sprint Eliminator to get through. Then, the biggest sprint will be to the airport as we have 3 hours 40mins from when I finish my race to when our flight leaves Brussels. I’d like an interview with whoever thought that was a good idea. So. If all goes well I ll be back home on Sunday. If not I ll be forced to stay the night with a race hangover and a coffee addiction in Brussels airport. Messy.
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My relationship with pain has taken a new turn. Often I dread it. The pain I know I will experience in a sprint or a steep climb will often be the reason behind my nerves rather than the outcome of the race or test. Its a funny thing. But on Wednesday I plugged myself in to a ramp test at the Institute of Sport and allowed them to whip me into a froth (testing to failure they call it. Whipped to a froth is my more descriptive interpretation). I tortured myself with all sorts of ways I could escape the test but when it came down to it, it wasn’t that bad. Its just a moment in time and then it is past and you feel good again. Better than before in fact. Once someone has picked you up off the floor and held your hair out of your vomit. Same here at Houffalize, Belgium. You’ve never seen such a brutal course. The climbs go straight up and the desents straight down leaving no time to rest or recover. Muscles scream, lungs rasp and hearts bump hard against ribs but then it’s over. The hurt has gone and it gets replaced with a euphoria that is part pride, part relief but all a trick of the mind. Clever eh?