Monday, 28 March 2011

Time to come out of hibernation

Its easy to get caught up in winter, travelling to and fro work in the dark, training in the dark and just missing out on that much required sunshine. Every year when winter starts it feels long and difficult, but within a week or so you get in to the swing of things, charging lights and such like just fall in to another step towards getting out on your bike. Then something weird happens and you start enjoying it, night riding is pretty special! When you get one of those clear starry nights . . . well you really don't need much else to keep motivated. Once February approaches you can start to see a difference in the day light hours, you feel refreshed and ready to hang up the lights for the summer . . . .

Then March hits . . . the race season begins and everything changes!

This year it all kicked off for me in Innerleithen for the Alistair Lees Time Trial. Its nice to be close to home to race and this race is one of those must do's if you love a technical course. This year was no different, Steve Deas the course designer put together a brutal 25km loop not designed for the faint hearted. It was mega, the descents were tight, twisty very muddy and fun and the climbs were steep technical and tough. There wasn't any chance of getting a breather out on the course as after ever decent a brutal climb followed and that kind of summed up the whole 25km.

There were broken bikes, comedy falls . . . not so comedy falls but so many smiles! It always amazes me that nowadays cross country course designers seem to be listening to the people carrying the red tape, removing challenging sections of courses and in my view not really moving with the times of the sport or bike technology available. However put a tough tough course on like this one and everyone loves it . . . .Why? Because its such a challenge, when the whistle blows and the red mist of racing descends upon us, its amazing what we can achieve . . . .or stumble over!

I really enjoyed the whole event even though my legs were falling off me going up the last climb. The last descent was also timed in order to award a King and Queen of the descent . . . not so easy with all that brutal climbing in your legs! I was really happy to take both the overall win of the TT and the fastest female descent . . . . (5th fastest descent overall) yee ha. Below is a shot of me coming down the last descent from Ian 'Snap Shot' Linton, in the background you can see Inners. Ian is a good friend and a fab photographer, check out his work at


The following weekend is was time to pack up the van and set off to Kirroughtree for the first round of the Scottish XC series. This of course was also the first road trip for Kerry and I . . . . ha ha I have actually missed them! Stoked to be back on the road!

The course at Kirroughtree had been changed a little and I was slightly disappointed to see some of the natural sections that I love so much to be absent from the course. Some of the new natural sections that had been cut turned into a bit of a run, I'm never really up for that. The race was a bit if a shock to the system but I was happy to take 3rd and get on the podium, Lee Craigie (Torq) took the win with Elke Schmidt (Squdra Porcini) 2nd. That's not my pink bucket by the way (see below).

This weekend Kerry and I were on our travels once more, heading south to Sherwood Pines just outside Nottingham. While everyone in Scotland kicked back and enjoyed the sun we were down there freezing our little behinds off . . . . can you believe it??

The course was good despite the fact the course was mainly on the flat! Lots of tight twisty singletrack was cut through the trees keeping the amount of firetrack to a minimum. This type of racing is hard! I was racing on the Lapierre Pro 500 hardtail (look left), aint he something else. To make things a little harder for us all the race got moved forward by half an hour and it was the weekend of the clocks changing-oh oh! Kerry and I weren't sure if our phones updated automatically so we had to set alarms half an hour apart . . . thankfully everything went to plan!

There were 19 starters in the Elite Women's field which is so good to see. The photo to the right is of us at the start, that's me front right as you look at it . . . . .to be honest that blur was how most of the race felt. The pace didn't ease at all and it was brutal from start to finish. I finished in 13th, happy with the result! The Podium read as Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory), Annie Last (Boardman Elite) and Lily Mathews (100% Me). There were alot of fellow Scots down for the race and a hec of support from them all during the race . . . Cheers guys!

Next one Dalby

See you there