Diary of a Mountain Biker
Friday, 26 October 2007
That’s what I’m changing the name of this website to. Why? Because for the last two weeks that’s all I’ve done – the fence, the shed, the spare room walls, the ceiling, skirting boards, doors, architraves, the kitchen. You name it, I’ve probably painted it. And I haven’t ridden my bike once! The closest I’ve got to bikes is sorting out the shed.
So I’m looking at this as my off season bit. Hopefully by the end of today I’ll have a fully functioning kitchen. Hurray! Five months without one was starting to get a little annoying. And by the end of next week I should have a finished spare room and a house that is easily liveable, which means my goals for the year have been accomplished. I can put away all the DIY tools in the revamped workshop/shed, and get out on my bike and go exploring again.
I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be getting these things finished, this house stuff really has dragged on! My fault for going away so much this summer I supppose, you can’t have your cake and eat it as they say. Mmmmm, cake…
Labels: diy, non-cycling
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Dusk ’til freezing Dawn
Another excellent course to play on at Thetford with mile upon mile of swooping, twisting singletrack making up the epic 12 mile lap. This was going to be fun. I love riding at Thetford! Ickle Paul started off as usual, I’m surprised nobody slipped and twisted an ankle on the testosterone covered start line seeing as he’d grabbed centre stage along with Ben Dale and Paul Gibbons. Boys will be boys eh?
It was quite a spectacle as the hundreds of lights streamed past underneath the start banner, only to reappear a couple of minutes later a little more spread out and even more impressive.
Fifty minutes later and I was taking my final swig of Sloe Gin Liquer from my Surly hipflask, ready for the handover. I.P didn’t look very happy when he came in, oh dear. Still, my first lap was SO much fun. Singlespeeds rule at Thetford and my Surly 1×1 was handling like a dream in the tight trees. During one particularly tight tree lined section Jo Burt and another couple of singlespeeders came up behind me and were whooping, hollering and generally making high pitched squeally sounds. The whole thing reminded me of that scene in Star Wars (oh come on, you know the one with the hover bikes through the giant trees) and I flew through the section at light speed. How much fun!
It was now getting a bit colder but I knew I was still going to sweat a lot in the trees so donned my trusty Endura arm and knee warmers to keep the chill off. They performed brilliantly but sadly it was too late for my knee which I’ve been having trouble with since soloing at Sleepless in the Saddle. Swiss Schali crept up behind me about half way round – his lights had failed so he was sitting behind me as we ducked and dived through the singletrack. On the fire road I’d spin like mad to keep up with him and then he’d let me go first again. “Hope I didn’t hold you up too much?” I asked at the end of the lap. “No no” he replied, “I’ve been doing 52’s so it was nice to have a steady late 50’s to recover a bit.” Hellfire! I was giving it everything I had to get those late 50’s! Back in the handover, I.P didn’t look very happy.
My third lap and I decided to give it everything I had again as I was pretty sure it was going to be my last. Traffic was a bit worse on this lap and the pain in my knee was increasing. It was my slowest lap but I was still under the hour. At the handover, I.P didn’t look very happy. I told him the good/bad news that I didn’t want to carry on and risk further damamge. I.P looked happy and went out for another lap. Turns out he hadn’t been feeling very well either and things hadn’t fallen into place. So, at 2.30am, after a total of 7 laps, lying in 4th place, we happily retired to the warmth of the Climb On Bikes camp – to drink, eat, sleep and hide under our duvets for the rest of the race. And from the pale, freezing faces we kept seeing diving in and out throughout the night, we’d made a good decision.
Hours later, the freezing fog lifted and it turned into a pleasant morning. A 1st, 3rd and 5th for our boys and girls in various categories and some rather lovely trophies to reward the massive effort everyone had put in to an extremely tough endurance race. Well done everybody! Full team write-up here.
Labels: mountain bike, race, singlespeed
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
It’s NOT the 2nd of October!
It’s not, really it isn’t, and I’ll tell you why – because over the last few weeks my motivation to ride bikes has been lacking to say the least. So I’d decided that I was going to take things easy in September, just take a step back from riding, racing and decorating and get back in the saddle in October.
Well, I’m not very good at keeping track of time – I find that happens working shifts. I rarely know what day it is and weekends don’t mean a thing, it’s either a work day or a day off, nothing else registers – so on Monday I was convinced it was still September and that riding would start Tuesday. Sadly, Monday evening I was informed that it actually was October already and therefore I’d missed the boat. Damn!
Still, determined that my vigour for riding bikes would return at the start of the new month, I declared Monday null and void, and Tuesday as the 1st of October.
And so today I went out for my first ride in, well, I can’t remember how long it’s been, that’s how long it’s been! I dusted down my Surly cross-check, a trusty steed that has so far been neglected this year; She didn’t hold it against me however and we were soon cruising along the Hertfordshire lanes like best friends again, Old Faithful never missing a gear change.
The weather then took a turn for the worse but I didn’t care. I was wearing my new Endura Air Defence jacket, that may well become the Old Faithful of my wardrobe this winter – we got a lot of miles to do together guys!
Labels: road ride, surly, training