Category Archives: racing

Riding a sine wave of emotion

I’m halfway up the eastern track, winding its way up the Worcestershire beacon, with a murky rural Herefordshire unfolding on my right. The wind is howling up, over and across the rolling hills beating my bike across the path. The going is tough, and whilst my mind is stubbornly focusing on reaching the top of the climb, it does waver briefly to reminisce about my experience last month at the Bristol Oktoberfest.

 

It was lap 3 where my race went awry. Having discovered that my “out-of-date” energy bars were well past the sell-by-date (a good year by all accounts!) I found myself heading out from transition onto my third lap with no food on board, and just a bottle of carbohydrate-charged drink to keep me going.

 

Mistake. After an enthusiastic start, only a quarter of my way into the lap I can feel the nauseous, light-headed feeling creeping in behind my eyeballs as a dreaded sugar-low begins.

 

“Just get yourself through this next section”. My minding struggles to push the empty legs on.

 

“C’’mon… …it levels out in 100 metres…”

 

I don’t want to stop on the incline, but my legs have lost all power and feel like I’ve donned a pair of lead ankles weights. The drain on my energy is so much that I almost come to a standstill as turning the cranks on the singlespeed steed takes its toll.

 

Then the incline levels out, slowly turning to a gentle decline allowing me to freewheel and reach into my back to grab my emergency gel blocks. I scoff half and swill the gelatinous mouthful down with the carb-drink.

 

Slowly the energy seeps back into my muscles and the light-headedness ebbs away, minutes more and I’m back on it and swooping through Ashton Courts finest.

 

Lesson learnt – no matter how unfit I felt before going to the event I really should have gone a little more prepared on the nutrition front. Mental note; also make sure you have an emergency pack of gel in your back pocket to get you out of a mess.

 

Back to the Beacon, and I’m cresting the top of the hill and whilst the wind threatens to rip me from the very spot where I’m standing, the view is grey but clear – it’s good to be alive.

Pre-race nerves…

Every time. No matter how short, long or hyped the event is – there it is, the little niggle of uncertainty of what is about to unfold. I can’t deny, that’s part of the appeal…

It’s the first enduro of the year, the Wentwood Forest 50km Goshawk Challenge down in South Wales and a chance to see friends I have ridden with since last summer, put the new steed (an almost luminous red On One 456) to the test and to see just how many mince pies and pints of Gunniess I consumed over the winter months. Sadly I already know the latter…

After the Irish Singlspeed trip last August I decided to pursue the 69er build and the 456 comes sporting 29 inch Rockshox Rebas. The shakedown rides have proved fun, the 29 inch front wheel and forks eating up everything in their path. My partner on the trip has gone full blown 29er and it will be fun to see how they both ride over the weekend.

New bikes. Untested fitness. Uncertainty. But we’re all in the same boat and will come out grinning.

So will 2012 be the year of the 29er? It’s been an explosion of activity from manufacturers, and a great deal of hype. Personally I’m already planning a venture into the 29er world, eyeing up the Giant Anthem X or the Scott Spark. @BikeMagic have been tweeting about some great featurs and reviews on the latest in 29ers.

Are you tempted?

Clean slate.

Happy New Year peeps! There’s a fresh page on the desk calendar, the evenings are starting to draw out already & there’s a new biking season creeping upon us.

Wow, where did the last year go. All the adventures, achievements & fun times with friends in the last 12 months are now fond, glowing memories. Whilst I’m chuffed with the fitness and personal results I achieved, I know from my focus on personal mojo over the last 18 months that they are just part of those glowing memories. There are new challenges out there to be had.

So it’s a clean slate. Nil – nil on the scoreboard and the pot is open for grabs.

My challenge for 2012? Well there is only one tattoo I shall want to grace my body with, and it lies in South Africa, SSWC 2012.