Friday, 26 September 2008

The season finale - Glentress forest

It is always quite difficult to get to grips with the last race of the season and my body was starting to show cracks due to the harsh season it had endured, in fear of complete shut down I tried just to enjoy this one. I was excited since it was a round at home which meant I could sleep in my own bed the night before, yippee as sad as that sounds you don’t know how happy it makes me. The girls at the hub were kind enough to show me the course the week before the race so I was able to get a little more practice than usual, always a bonus. The course was fantastic real proper hard climbing with some horrible little stingers waiting there to catch you out. The descending was pinned and technical, mostly natural with lots of roots and mud, it was a mountain bike race an a half! I think a special mention has to go out to Andy Wardman who spent relentless hours designing and cutting sections of the new course, it was a cracker!

So to the race, the Elite female were changed to go off a 2pm and compete in a 5 lap epic! I’m not sure that epic quite does that justice because it was so hard. Melanie Spath (MAD/Torq/Kona) made the trip North of the Border and took an impressive win, followed by Tracey Brunger (Glentress Riders) in 2nd and Lee Craigie (square wheels) finshing 3rd, I finished 5th on the day and was pleased with the performance.

So its now all over for another year, this year has been a pretty special one for me. I have reached the best physical condition I have ever been in and managed to get a lot of races under my belt. So I now have a few weeks off where I can rest and recover and eat a little more cake than normal J. Then its back to the hard graft and winter training, this year is going to be great. Watch out for me in 2009.
Enjoy the winter
Lesley Ingram

A black and blue round 6 at drummy

The last day of August and man did it pour!!! I turned up to the event in flip flops but they quickly had to be changed for wellies and full waterproofs on arrival, nice! So everything was going smoothly and I decided to pop down to the van just before the start of the race. So I was coasting down the road but I was met with a steady line of riders making their way to the start line, being the courteous kinda girl that I am I jumped onto the verge only to find the only pop hole there. It wasn’t pleasant, all of a sudden travelling at speed and no longer holding on to handle bars . . . oops! So it wasn’t long til I hit the dirt, the only problem was that it wasn’t dirt at all in fact it was a concrete road. So I kindly donated a substantial amount of my skin to that and gave my head a good whack on the way down! I jumped quickly back on to the bike poured some water over the cuts and headed to the start line. Good race preparation!!! My mum’s face was a classic as I pulled up with blood running down my arm and looking a fine state. There was not time to worry though as we were being grided on the start line so off I went. I felt a little sick when I finally stopped at the start line, so I popped a jelly bean and before I knew it we were off . . .

So race prep scored a zero but somehow I managed to pull out a pretty good race result. In fact it was probably my best race . . . Bryan thinks someone should be present at races more often to hit me on the head before I start, but I would like to give that one a miss. The course was the same as the British I raced early in the year however it was much harder due to the rain, cutting up the course and making the roots slippy as! But in some sort of sadistic way I really enjoyed it out there! Lee Cragie took and impressive win looking strong throughout the race, with Ruth Fraser-Moodie taking second and myself third.

A bit thanks has to go out to everyone who came to support me on the day, it wasn’t the nicest of weather for those guys!! Cheers I really appreciate all the support. Also to the guys at the St Johns Ambulance who helped clean me up after the race.

It’s now the day after and I am still suffering from a cloudy head and a rather sore body. I will survive, 3 weeks to recover for the last race of the season at Glentress.

Yee ha

10 more in the Moray

The forecast looked really gloom predicting heavy rain all day Saturday, it sure was sad to think that we were still in August and it seemed that summer had well and truly passed! However to our great delight Saturday morning was sunny and it lasted the whole day, what were the chances? So it was back on the bikes for another 10 hour event . . . . . I would like to say that I was looking forward to it but I do hate to lie. After a long discussion with Geraint as to why we actually compete in these gruelling events we decided it was mainly due to the enormous sense of achievement that you feel once they are complete, because it aint much fun out there (ha ha !!!!). The most surprising thing is that no matter how much you say I will never partake in any form of ultra-endurance event ever again, some how as the weeks pass and the painful memories fade you start convincing yourself that actually it wasn’t really all that bad and before you know you are standing in a line of people waiting to collect your race number. . . . . . . .

This was my first time mountain biking in the Moray. As far as a course goes for a 10 hour event the lap wasn’t too bad. It was deceiving at first as the hills didn’t seem that bad but my legs were screaming otherwise. The man made sections of the track were different, lots of humps and obstacles that weren’t tricky by themselves but sometimes their positioning on the track caused a few close ones. There was a lot of pedalling involved in the lap but I really enjoyed that aspect. The last section turned into a bit of a mud bath due to our delightful summer, it was really hard grafting through there and the hidden roots kept surprising you throughout all good fun really.

So for this event Geraint and myself decided to join forces, coach and athlete together would that ever work? Well there is a simple answer to that question yes it did, there were niggles about time taking to pass over the timing chip but I guess that says a lot about the kind of people we both are. We functioned great as a team and managed to churn out 11 laps in 10hours 23minutes finishing first senior mixed pair and 4th overall in the pair category. You see there is still life in that old dog (G) yet (ha ha!)

Another fine mess was back on form completing an impressive 8 laps in a time of 8 hours 37 minutes. Fergus Lamb decided to hang up his downhill bike for the weekend and try his hand at 10 hour events. In true downhiller fashion he had to make things a little more difficult for himself, only riding with a rear brake. That didn’t slow him down any on the descents what a surprise!

Lesley Ingram

SXC Round 5 - Fort bill

Another trip to Fort Bill, another magnificent day and a different course once more! Fort Bill was the first course that I ever raced on so it always feels special returning there! I enjoyed most of the course that amalgamated sections of the new world cup course with sections of the old, it had a little bit of everything to keep everyone interested. I was slightly disappointed that the toughest climb had been taken out as that one is a real tester, but fear not there were plenty of other testers out there!! The biggest has to be the inclusion of Nessie, to make things worse it was wet at the top so you were already drifting before you were properly in the corner, from there it was a case of getting off the brakes and holding on for dear life! I had a few close calls but you always get that with racing, its part of the thrill. Unfortunately the sting in Nessie’s tale caught out a few riders, I hope all those guys recover well! The last section of fire track at Fort Bill always gets to me, when you are on your 4th lap it really feels like it is never going to end!! All in all it was another good day racing!

Ruth Fraser-Moodie was on top once more in the Elite Women’s field, followed by Annabel Simpson and I claimed 3rd spot. Lee Cragie put in an impressive performance after returning from a knee injury and also having to deal with a puncture during the race finishing 4th over all. Fort Bill is notorious for punctures, must be jaggy rocks . . . . or evil trail trolls, not sure which! It really is great to see so many women getting involved in the sport these days, must have been one of the biggest line ups yet!

A big thanks to everyone up at Fort Bill supporting me and making sure I had enough fluid out on the course! Also to Matt for giving my bike a makeover just in time for the race!

Next race Drumlanrig . . . I love it there!

Yee ha


SXC Round 4

SXC Round 4 Gleniffer Braes – The Scottish Champs

It is now June and it looks certain that we have had our summer as the rain clouds gathered over Paisley. So this years Scottish Champs returned to Gleniffer Braes for a second year running. I was most impressed as we rolled up to the race venue on Sunday to find that road closures had been put in place for the race and Rock Steady security were there to make sure everyone behaved! There was a buzz around the race venue maybe this was amplified by the fact that it was the champs, sponsorship flags took heavy presence around the start/finish zone and the organisation of the race seemed to be perfect. A bit thank you has to go out to the Rock Hard racing group who had evidently put a lot of time in to the race organisation. Furthermore to the marshals who stood out in the pouring rain supporting every rider that passed, they are stronger people than I am!

So to the race…..well there was a bit of a dilemma at the start as riders assembled at two different points on the hill, a few marshals were late in getting to position so the riders were left penned in and rather cold on the start line, in true Scottish tradition the rain started to get a little heavier at that point. Before long we were set on our ways and the games started. It was not possible for the course to be marked out on the Saturday prior to the race so I was left to ride my first lap of the race blind. The course in general was not my cup of tea, too flat and no real descent in there. Hence I struggled from start to finish. I actually preferred the course that was used the previous year as it incorporated the hill of gleniffer Braes. Ruth Fraser-Moodie continued her domination of the women’s field and won the race, followed by Vicki Barclay in 2nd and Katrina Brown in 3rd. I finished in 4th spot, slightly disappointed but that type of course just does not suit my type of riding. Sadly Lee Cragie had to sit this one out due to a bad knee injury.

So I now have a few weekends off before the next round at Fort Bill. I will be spending that time enjoying my biking again and heading out on some of the trails I just haven’t had a chance to over the past few months. Happy days.

Lesley Ingram