36th at World Cup in Andorra

That was so hard. I ve never before felt my face and fingers tingle in a race from oxygen deprivation but here in Andorra it was all I could do to stay upright!

Fortunately most of the field were in the same boat so we suffered together and rode as best we could.
For me this was a case of winding it up to tempo and staying there the entire race. If i tried to go any harder I started to blow so in some ways it was a pretty straightforward race. There was nothing technically hard, the enemy today was your suffer limit.

I rode a steady race catching people on climbs that had gone a bit hard at the start. I rode up to 32nd at one point then had to back off to ensure I could finish the race and 4 girls who wanted it more than me on the day came past. Good for them.
Still, a solid result and a great training and international race experience. It’s all part of the bigger picture right now – getting prepared for the commonwealth games. So glad Glasgow is cold and wet and at boring old sea level. Remind me I said that.

Andorra beautiful, hot and high

We are in El Serrat, high in the Andorran Pyrenees. At 2229 metres and 32 degrees there are a few things to battle against in order to prepare for this World Cup on Saturday.
Today I dropped down to the valley below us and climbed the adjacent one to the event arena which took an hour of solid pedal pushing. By the time I had done this and signed on at accreditation it was time for a nap!

It’s true to say I am still pretty wasted from the nationals last weekend. The race in Glasgow was hard but so was the emotional build up and release and so now I am frantically recovering (despite knowing that is impossible) in time to do my best at the weekend.
When I did get out in course today I was a little disappointed. In this amazing high alpine bowl laced with bike trails, the xc course is comprised largely of grassy field! The bouncy castle village will liven things up a bit though.

There are some terrifyingly fast single track sections and a couple of killer climbs too so all is not lost. I just need to find my legs and lungs, remind them of the importance of working together and get stuck in!

Off to check out some wild swimming spots in the Pyrenees. Might do a World Cup while I’m out there

It’s been a surreal few days since the national champs win in Glasgow. I have been overwhelmed by the congratulations and kind words of so many people. Thank you all very much.

After a “recovery” ride with my BFF Rab Wardell on Monday and a quick promotional video posted to You Tube on the benefits of Prancersie (Rab also very much involved though my sister not without influence too. They were her flattering white leggings for example) I drove to London to drop my van in preparation for the final NPS round in August.

But first I’m off to Andorra for a World Cup. Still a bit bruised feeling and definitely lacking sleep I am sitting outside gatwick airport hoping that Ferga will turn up in time to get this flight to Barcelona. We’ll have a reunion there with coach Paul Newnham and fellow Scottish squad member Gareth Montgomerie (who got a cracking 5th at the nationals last weekend). Then all 4 of us will drive 3 hours north west to the ski area of Vallnord where we will prepare as best we can for a race at altitude on Saturday.
After that, plans get a bit silly. Ferga and I will pack down our gear and ride north with a pannier each. Our only objective to be back in time for the NPS in London (me) / work (her) by the 18th August without being too broken to perform. We will follow points marked on a map taken from a wild swimming guide. What could possibly go wrong?


photo.jpg Yeeeehar!

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British National Mountain Bike Champion and on home soil. Feels good!

Yesterday I won the British National Championships at Cathkin Braes in my home town of Glasgow.
I have never been more nervous before any race in my life and am so pleased with the outcome.
I led the 6 lap race from the start with the former downhill world champion Tracy Moseley on my wheel for lap 1. After finally managing to get a gap on Tracy I just kept the pressure on to build my lead over the remaining laps.
But my heart was in my mouth on the penultimate lap when my gears jammed and I spend what felt like a fortnight trying to pull my chain out from my frame. By then I had enough of a time buffer to survive so I just concentrated on keeping it smooth on the remaining lap.
Coming over that line to the cheers of a Glasgow crowd felt incredible. A dream come true.
Well done to Jane Nussli and Tracy Moseley on 2nd and 3rd spot and to all the other British champions in their respective categories.
Enormous thanks go out to my family and partner, Ferga, who have to put up with so much beyond the call of duty.
My coach, Paul (see above!), and my fabulous sponsors Cannondale, Schwalbe, High Five. Off to Andorra now for a World Cup. Better get my head back on. In minute…

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. My prep for the National Mtb Champs

With the British National Mountain Bike Championships being held in my home town of Glasgow this weekend, I have never been more interested in winning a race.
The week before a targeted event like this usually finds serious riders training in short, controlled efforts then resting like mad in darkened rooms while nibbling cottage cheese on rice cakes.
I am finding that at this stage of the season (and perhaps this stage of my life) more important to me is remaining in love with my sport. Last week I sacked off the intervals and practised wheelies instead. At the weekend I rode with my dog up the Fungle Road in Ballater then went swimming in Glen Tanar.
I can’t justify this approach with science. But the number crunchers in the lab don’t know the first thing about the power of the mind yet and so I think as long as I’m not being lazy then staying motivated and delighted by my bike is the best prep I can manage for this weekend.
There is more than one way to skin a cat. Take advice but find your own way and keep loving it or give up taxidermy.