This is mountain biking: Mud,Pasties,Chiltern 65k

Making the most of free time in between family and other non bike related life events I’m discovering is an essential part of work/racing/training/life balance. On that theme I spotted an event over in the Chilterns right by Oxford where I was going for a family party. An early morning departure from Bristol got me over the in time for the 9am start of the Trail Break Chiltern Ridge 65k. I hadn’t ridden in the Chilterns before so thought this would be a good chance to sneak in a few hours in new surroundings before family duties later in the day.

Trail Break organise lots of great value days out whether you’re in it for smelling the air and taking in the scenery or getting your head down and tasting pain (the latter not being actively encouraged mind). With three distances offered and feed stations along the route which was well marked and detailed on a really good quality print out, anyone could rock up and have a good day out at these things. Although not races the excellent signage means it’s easy enough to crack on if you want to. I was in the cracking on category, keen to get some hard miles in to offset any beering later in the day.

A very relaxed start with people filtering over the timing matt led us straight on the trails from the back end of the school in Risborough which was event HQ for the day. The trails were a mix of field margins, bridleways through woods and lots of linking road sections. A few sharp ups and downs mixed in kept things interesting but unfortunately a deluge the day before coupled with lots of horse riders meant some of the trails were served up choppy. Still, this was proper old school mountain biking before the days of trail centres. Perhaps a new craze will start up akin to this new  ‘gravel’ riding thing doing the rounds, perhaps it could be called ‘mountain biking’. People will turn up and ride their bikes mostly off road with linking road sections, most just enjoying the downs but a sick few enjoying the climbs as well….etc etc

Anyway, being a keeno I was one of the first to set off and put my head down and basically didn’t see any other riders until catching up with the middle distance riders towards the last few miles. I spent about 15mins faffing with a tubeless deflation realising I had packed some crap bendy cheapo tyre levers that couldn’t get the tyre off to put a tube in (lesson learned). I eventually got it up…but had stop a few times to top up with the mini pump and nurse it down the fun fast and flowing descents. With all the road linking sections the average speed was pretty quick and minus the faff I clocked about 13mph average over the 65k route and was first rider back for the 65k. Here’s the ride:

https://www.strava.com/activities/554521946

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A quick refuel with an excellent chilli pastie in the school canteen then it was off to Oxford. It was my Uncle’s 60th who also happens to run a Le Mans 24hour racing team. Funny how things work out as I looked at their racing machine next to mine considering how odd it was that different family members both ended up in 24hour sports. Le Mans racers clearly cheat though having 3 drivers and a garage full of mechanics, a bit different to my husband/wife team! Talking with my cousin the team manager quickly revealed there is a lot of similarities in how the 24hour races unfold between motorsport and cycle sport. Probably some learning to be had between the two.

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Keeping 24hour racing in the family

After a good refuel with a few of the local ales in the evening the next day was time to get home. I  had decided to ride the 70miles back to get some good endurance riding tired miles in. I only had my mountain bike from the day before so ended up hunched over time trial style in to the headwind for the afternoon. The legs felt good though with the time flying by and I was back in time for sunday night fish and chips. It’s the best race of the year next weekend, the Dyfi Enduro so looking forward to that one.

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Grimdon (Swindon) on route back from Oxford. 

Mad Dash Round 3 (series round up)

Bit late this one but as they say….

I’ve been trying to drag a few more local mates along to races this winter to share the fun. After all, having someone there to celebrate/commiserate and share war stories with after the event is half the fun. Next time I’ll have to leave my buddy Tim Trew at home as he smashed me and all but one of the field in round 3 of the Mad Dash in the Park at Ebworth near Stroud.

After some decent xc results over winter by my shorter race standards I was looking forward to my 3rd outing at the local xc series. As everyone comes up against sometimes you can end up with ‘one of those weeks’ in the run up to a race. These ones are still just winter fun for me but with a chance of securing a series podium it was pretty tempting to take this one a bit more seriously so I polished off Race bike number 1 whose 11speed drive chain I try to reserve for the dryer months! The week leading up wasn’t exactly ideal, finding out that Trek UK wouldn’t warranty my cracked Race bike number 2 frame, saying it had taken and impact as there were some marks on the rear mech. Not sure if they’ve ever seen the rear mech of a bike that has actually been ridden off road lately! To add insult to injury, literally injury came. Doing some lunges as part of a mid week E3 Coach prescribed session I took my eye of the ball and pulling my hamstring a bit. Concentrate whilst your doing strength work kids!

The course was the usual winter muddy fun with a mix of terrain but enough to make it interesting with a couple of sharper climbs than the past rounds to get the lungs working and a nice sweepy gully section to keep riders on their toes!

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Race face gurn, standard

 

I had taken 3 days off the bike and hoped for the best on the start line. My buddy Tim Trew came up for the trip after enjoying a good thrash round the woods at round 1. We’ve always known Tim was a bit of an animal on the trails, always on a pretty shonky ride but nonetheless ploughing on at a fair lick. After telling me he’d been running to work ‘a few miles’ every day to his new job I still didn’t expect him to rock up and shoot off at the start after series leader Nic at 110%. Oh and did I forget, he was on a singlespeed and this was only his 2nd ever xc race?!

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Piss pot, no gloves, no gears…Tim Trew!

 

Tim shot past Nic and I as we led out the pack and held the lead for most of the race until Nic eventually caught him due to Tim having to run sections in the mud! I rode with Nic for a while but was a bit cautious about my hamstring which seemed to be holding up fine. Aerobically I felt pretty good though so I must be getting a hang of these short xc things a bit better. Nic gradually pulled away and chased down Tim. I found myself riding alone with a decent gap back to 4th. Fairly content I plugged on until the last lap where I heard a shout from ahead to see Tim not far up the road towards the end of the lap and finish. At this point I felt mixed emotions with half of me thinking ATTACK, but the other half thinking it would be a total injustice for Tim to lose out on 2nd at the last as his singlespeed was getting stuck in the mud. Whilst pondering this I sort of didn’t attack or sit back and by the time we got towards the top of the climb Tim was pretty much at the finish so I shared a quick bemused laugh with Nic about how well Tim had done then rolled over the line stoked for Tim, big hugs all round and me thinking immediately he should do more of these things! Tim must have been pushing hard as a couple of days later he was in hospital getting his appendix removed, get well soon buddy!

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Mud slidey time

 

I’d secured 2nd in the series overall by coming in 3rd and despite being a bit sore had got through unscathed which was good news given plans for some final hard training before an attempt to do the South Downs Double a few weeks later.

Thanks to all the organisers and race marshalls, great to see a local series so well supported.

Thanks as ever to all my sponsors that make this possible

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Capture

Thetford 4hour: Racing against yourself

As a 24 hour solo racer I’m pretty used to the main battle in a race being with yourself and not other people. Unusually however this was a philosophy I had to draw on in an xc race at the G8 events Thetford 4 hour XC Enduro being the only one in my category. Of course the overall was still to battle for but setting off from the start line knowing you had already won your category was a bit odd.

Thetford as you probably know is pretty flat but what it lacks in hills it makes up for in relentless twisty singletrack where there is pretty much zero freewheeling to be had. 4 hours round here offers a pretty good full body workout, constantly having to get out of the saddle and wrestle the bike through the woods. Fortunately the density of trees and the sandy under surface make it a pretty all weather venue and the course was incredibly dry considering the weather we’ve had with only the odd minor bit of muck on the 4.8 miles circuit. The organisers had picked a pretty interesting course with a mix of fireroads, freshly cut singletrack and existing off the beaten track occasional dives in to the woods. The highlight was rolling up and down a series of weird twisty mounds in roller coaster fashion. The weather was pretty clement as well for the time of year, bonus!

The race had British Cycling commissaires which was a bit odd as the 2 and 4 hour options aren’t official BC recognised events. Even more bizarre was the call up to the line to be ‘gridded’. For some reason the commissaires thought that all the 4 hour riders should go at the front and as the only one in ‘expert/elite’ category I was called first to soon be followed by some confused looking vets, grand vets and women’s category contenders, most of whom would have clearly preferred to have slotted somewhere mid pack. The result was me getting heckled by the waiting throng, “you’ll be gutted if you don’t win mate” and even more entertaining was the resulting set off which involved me firing from the gun and 20 seconds latter look over my shoulder to see a pack of 90 riders in a bunch about 30 metres back with the 2 hours boys desperately trying to fight their way through the 4 hour gang.

This hilarity is all captured at the start of the video from the drone camera. I think they might have got carried away with using it though as the its 9 minutes long!

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Some tool getting over excited at the start…

It wasn’t long until the fast 2 hour riders caught me up. I decided that I might as well join in their race for the first half of my 4 hours so I gave it the beans and held my own somewhere near the sharp end for about 90 minutes before my head told me I had a way to go yet and didn’t want to be crawling 3 hours in. Within all these it was impossible to tell if any 4 hour riders had been dragged along so I just focussed on keeping my head down and concentrating on pushing the pedals. I’ve been working with Jon at E3 coach for a while now and one thing we’ve been looking at is keeping the concentration to keep the pace high and remove my tendency to go in to survival mode as in ultra endurance events. This attitude is quite a contrast to my energy saving usual long game style but after doing a few more xc races this year is something I’m slowly getting a hang of.

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Surprisingly dry trails

As the business end of the race approached having no support crew meant I had no information after catching up and lapping a few familiar faces around me on the start line I assumed I was probably going well. One thing I did notice was the total lack of commentary at the start/finish and even after requesting some to liven things up, rolling over the line each time was met with the silence of a graveyard. Lapping at around 25 minutes towards the end and with an hour to go I was keen to find out whether I would need 3 laps or just two after another rider told me I was probably in the lead. To my dismay after stopping at the timing tent twice, on neither occasion were they able to tell me what the gap was to the next rider. I’m not sure they really understood the significance of having to do another lap vs knowing you’ve got it in the bag and a lady said, “oh you don’t really need to know that do you” my look of disgust probably said it all and after some vacant looks from the timing van I just decided to go out again.

Fortunately it turned out that I was indeed a lap up but my last couple of laps were a mix of full gas and chatting with other riders who equally had no idea what was going on in their categories either. On most sections you could see pretty far behind so I was able to cruise the last lap and thank the marshals which is rare you have the opportunity to do.

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Sparse Category Podium but overall winner 

A good outing despite some of the timing frustrations and although the field was pretty slim on the ground for the 4 hour event it’s always nice to get an overall. Keeping up with the 2 hour boys for a fair while was good for the speed training as well although I did have to shovel a load of food down after about 3 hours to recharge the legs for the earlier effort.

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Cool campervan graphics!

 

Winter racing round up

Determined not to believe the hype that UK mountain biking is currently broken due to trails resembling the Somme I entered a couple of post xmas character building outings to toughen me up for greater challenges to come.

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UK conditions, sloppy…

First off was the ‘Frozen Devil’ run by Red Kite Events in Llanwrtyd Wells. The 3rd of January was the date so just after the turkey had digested and normally some off season time for me. This year though I needed to get back in the game early on in the winter so I spent the festive period boshing out some back to back miles including a 2 hour 6am  outing on christmas morning! This left my legs a bit fatigued (which was the whole point of course) and after picking up a cold just before the event I was planning to ‘survive’ rather than race. As it turned out once I’d warmed up in to it I found that the endurance engine kicked in and ended up coming in 5th rider back.

 

 

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Fastest section of the race

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Good views but the fields were horribly slow

The terrain was pretty tough going with freshly cut tracks in lumpy woodland not exactly providing much flow but there were some interesting ravine style climbs (with the amount of water coming down them!) and some fun steep wooded stuff thrown in as well. I fell off more times in an endurance race than the entire off last year put together, good fun though! It rained most of the day as standard of late but the pub and ride HQ provided some decent fodder afterwards. The course had been cut a bit short due to the conditions which was a little disappointing for the distance travelled from Bristol for the day but probably welcome by the masses who came back pretty bedraggled hours later!

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Smiles or grimaces?

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All races should end in a pub

Round 2 of the Mean and Dirty events xc series just up the road from me in Stroud took place a week later on National Trust property at Woodchester Park. A bigger turnout than round 1 and some familiar faces on the start line meant this was going to be pretty competitive despite the nice local family race feel. The tone of the outing was set by the ride down to the event area from the car park, instantly covered in muck, this was going to be a grind… a buddy of mine turned up at the car park as I was just about to head off for a practice lap, stuck his head out of the car, said he didn’t really fancy it then promptly headed off again back to the dry and warmth, it was that kind of day!

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Getting rained on at the start, never good!

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Trying to get the weight low for grip!

The course seemed to be a mix of three types, fast rolling fireroads, off camber muddy as hell short traverses and muddy as hell off camber fields. I got a bit of a bad start not being able to shift up a chain ring for some reason so the couple of riders at the front including last round’s winner Nic Burridge were off and away. I settled in around 4th but the front 3 immediately started making a gap after the first wood section. I didn’t have the puff to keep up. Around the second lap a chap behind came storming past at a rate of knots so I can only assume he got a bad start, I’d catch right up to him on the wooded sections but then he’d gas me on the fireroad bits and eventually the length of these meant he pulled away. I then started getting hunted down by a couple of other riders who appeared to be working together to avoid the wind on the fireroad sections. Again I managed to keep a gap in the woods but they loomed ominously on the fireroad sections not far behind. Fortunately they split up on the second to last lap so I saw a chance to put in a hard effort to get out of sight. This seemed to work and I was able to back off on the last lap a bit and came in 5th. The main achievement of the day was having avoided sliding down the hill detached to the bike which many ended up doing that I skirted round.

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Ugghh

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UK conditions, sloppy…

Good banter was had as ever at these small local xc events. I had to rush off to get straight in to a fresh set of kit as I’d planned to head north to meet up with singlespeed nutter Steve Day to collect some gear and go out for a ‘gentle ride’. Needless to say after stiffening up in the car for a while and then straight out on the bike the legs were a bit dead but the ride made up for it and a couple of hours later we were back at Steve’s tucking in to an awesome sunday roast (thanks Ingrid!). Cue more sitting car with stiff legs. After a full day of sanding floorboards the day before I arrived at work on monday looking forward to some recovery time i.e sat at my desk!

 

Winter Enduro Action

What do you call an Enduro race that’s cancelled due to snow? sNOwduro….

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The white stuff cometh! 

Fortunately despite a hearty downpour of the white stuff on the hill of Dyfi Forest the day before the race it soon turned to wet rainy downpours overnight meaning racing was game on for the final round of the Borderline Events Welsh Enduro Series come Sunday morning.

A sell out of 250 winter enduro warriors took to the four timed stages offered up by the Borderline Event crew with the promise of two natural and two hard pack trails. You might have noticed there’s been a fair bit of rain of late so I’d packed the kitchen sink to make sure I had three sets of clothes to last the weekend. I also applied my xc marathon racing approach of strapping everything to the bike or in the back pockets to avoid dragging a rucksack round. Top tip, xc boys know how to travel light, watch and learn!

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No baggage! Weldtite spaff  in a can at the ready

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Practice in the dark like a keeno

The pre event trail descriptions were spot on with Stage 1 presenting a mega pedal fest as it traversed relentlessly across the hillside. The benefit for the downhillers was that there wasn’t much height loss so the transition to stage 2 was pretty mellow. Soggy conditions underfoot meant you couldn’t entirely relax on the non techy traverse as drifting off the narrow man made singletrack was a real threat. A quick blast down a slatey fast doubletrack at the mid point broke the rolling singletrack up a bit but it was definitely one for the pedalers not the downhill pinners. This was a stage that suited my pedalling inclinations these days so I was able to give it the beans although I was feeling the four pint handicap from the night before a little bit more than I hoped. Enduro weekends in my off season give a rare chance to relax with a pre race beer! My efforts were still good enough for my best stage result (7th masters).

Stage 2 was a big contrast to 1 with a more traditional UK DH track feel to it, off camber, muddy and root fest through the trees after an initial fast blast down the slatey trails that the Dyfi Forest is renowned for. A few lines were available out of the main gulley but getting on them could spell disaster so many just stuck with the rut including me. With some steep shoots dotted throughout and limited pedalling this one put the smiles back on the downhillers’ faces. Not having the best mud tyre setup i.e. the ones that I had left on from the summer alpine gravity adventure meant I felt a bit on edge all the way down this one, with tyres nearly instantly clogging up it was a case of “stay on your bike Danny” as the steep hillside could detach you from your bike pretty quickly. I made in down in one piece despite a few scooting punts.

Stage 3 was along the same theme of stage 2 but with a bit more variety as it shot between steep muddy shoots and fast open woodland double track style trails. This was my favourite stage as it had a bit of everything and flowed really well. Somehow the slate on the trail kind of mixed with the mud to create channels that held you and bike in line on the track despite the steep gradient. I was having a decent run on this one until I ended up in a hard gear mid muddy traverse and ground to a near halt so needed a quick hop and run to get momentum going again. Overshooting a drop across a fireroad to the next section meant I lost a fair bit of time on this one. I was happy to have stayed on my bike though.

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Enduro douchebags 

Stage 4 again offered up something a bit different, taking in the classic Climachx final descent. A great natural feeling trail centre style decent with some potentially tricky gullied rock sections presenting a worry as they appeared immediately after some fast launch drops/jumps. Hitting these flat out seemed to do the job and my 29er clown wheels bombed through no problem. Despite having a weird stomach cramp thing that had developed throughout the day I set off like a rocket and felt those perfect moments on corners where you start feeling the wheels drift but you are totally in control. I think some call in flow… that was until I caught the chap in front about 1 minute in (after giving him at least 30 second head start). From about 20 metres behind him I gave a polite but firm ‘rider’ shout to make him aware of my presence, followed up by another call to come past when 5m behind, followed by several more polite requests followed by a begging please let me past mate what felt like a minute later. I had been tempted to scoot round but that would have been a Dick move and not something that has a place in a usually courteous form of our fine sport. Not sure what the guys deal was but I had to bite my tongue pretty hard not to hurl abuse at him but that wouldn’t have been in the spirit. I’ve been overtaken many a time in races and would always get out of the way instantly if someone was behind so no idea why people don’t save themselves the stress of having a rider on their back wheel by pulling over straight away. I eventually got past him only to approach another rider in front and in the process lost focus on the trail and got jammed on a rock for a bit, uggghh. Bit of a frustrating end to an otherwise top day out and weekend with riding buddies from Bristol.

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It was muddy!

Enduro’s are a nice break from my usual long distance suffer-fests but I’ve obviously been spending too much time on the skinny tyres judging by my tentativeness on the steep stuff. A few week night missions to the local steeps should help with that in the coming months before my next dabble into enduro. There are loads of local enduro’s popping up and making a weekend of them with mates is always a good craic. Get yourself to random pubs/bunkhouses and random things always happen like a completely drenched local finding his way in to your bunkhouse at 7am claiming to have fallen in the river and needing a hot drink and a taxi number… A tale for the pub.

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Always something random occurring on an enduro weekend…

 

Thanks to all the people who help me do these things: M Steel Cycles, Roll for the Soul, Tenn Outdoor, Weldtite, USE, ESI grips.

World Champs reflections, next year’s goals

It’s been nearly three months since the World 24 hour Champs and it seems to take a while to get your head round these sorts of races to break them down afterwards. You can read my report here:

http://www.ukxcnews.com/british-bulldog-spirit-at-the-world-championship/

I didn’t quite achieve my aim of top 10 elite elite coming in 13th and strong age groupers meant my overall position was lower than the previous year at Fort William. The positives I take are that I rode faster, further and longer than I ever have done before in a race and that I was there to the death riding for over 25hours. Normally riding for this long would pick you up a couple of places at the death but despite a massive drop in lap times I was too far back to catch those in front. As I’ve improved over the last couple of years there will always come a point of realisation that my physiology will come to be a limiting factor. I certainly couldn’t ever imagine for example, being able to recover from the world’s to fly half way round the planet the next week and win your national championships like Jason English did. Although the race was the main reason for our trip had an awesome trip across there and the people were so friendly it was unbelievable.

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Lake Tahoe, California Road Trip

 

One thing that I’ll be working on next year is trying to get my head out of survival mode for 24hour and fully in to race mode. When you’re 15hours in to a race your body and head are telling you to conserve but as I get stronger I should have the legs to ‘race’ not just ‘survive’ these things which means keeping concentrated on pushing the legs. Essentially making sure your are always bumping the rev limiter not just cruising. Jon at E3 Coaching will be helping steer me in the right direction and I’m delighted to keep on my brilliant sponsors for 2016 to help me achieve my goals.

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Winter off season testing, that hurt!

 

So next year I’ll be mixing it up again with a bit of everything from a dabble in XC and Enduro to my main stay, single day ultra-endurance events. The big early season goal will be an attempt to be the first person to do the South Downs Double in Winter whilst I’m hoping to make the trip to Davos to the European 24 hour Championships.

See you in 2016.

WEMBO World 24 champs preview

North Californian town Weaverville hosts this years World Solo 24hour Championships put together by WEMBO. It will be the second time I’ve competed after last year’s champs slightly more conveniently taking place in Fort William. The No Fuss team put on an excellent event so there will be a lot to live up to from the folk across the pond. Here is a little clip from my last lap featuring TV celebs no less, there is also an excellent preview by Santa Cruz  here.

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World Champion Age Cat last time out, upgrading to Elite this time.

World Champion Age Cat last time out, 17th overall, upgrading to Elite this time.

Battered!

Battered!

I’m amazingly lucky to be heading across there and have scheduled a total of 3 weeks to tour California in a motorhome (or RV to get the lingo right) with my wife and chief pit crew Sarah. Getting set for a 24 hour race is always pretty stressful so adding on top the logistics of getting there from a few thousand miles away makes things a bit more interesting! Bike wise I’m actually surprisingly well prepped in advance with no last minute panic next day deliveries scheduled (as yet). Thanks to Roll for the Soul getting the bikes all prepped and M Steel Cycles for sorting me out with such excellent steeds. I’m pretty lucky to be rocking two very similar 24 hour racing machines. Details of my main ride are here

Bikes

Essentially for me it’s a balance between lightweight and comfort which I seem to have got fairly spot on with these. A test run was passed with flying colours at the extremely tough European Championships course in Finale Ligure. Both bikes being flawless leaving me to focus on hauling my ass round the course a mere 40 odd times!

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Exposure lights at Finale24 European Champs

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Expecting some similar heat over the pond like in Finale, ice in bottles time!

The bikes will be shipped across in a couple of plush bike bags a very helpful chap from Bike Science in Bristol has loaned me. However to keep the travel bill down we’re taking the two bikes as our main luggage so hand luggage only for clothing! Top tip though, get yourself some vac pack bags so you can stuff loads in a small bag, worked at treat for us and saves the £110 per bag excess luggage charge.

Vac pack, genius!

Vac pack, genius!

Having limited space makes things somewhat easier on the packing in that I’ll just have to buy anything I need on race day but with neutral tech support on site and some trade team style setups I’m sure friendly neighbours will be happy to help with any major mechanicals.

I’ll also be pitting with singlespeed ‘machine’ Steve Day looking to take the win in the singlespeed category so combined with his family we should have a decent little pit area to keep us both pedalling.

As for the race itself the organisers put together a really cool video to give you a flavour. I think it will be very different from Fort William which was extremely rough on the body. The course goes straight up a 20 minute or so fireroad climb so those long zone 3 hill repeats will come in handy. Along a flatish section of ridge before a long and gradual descent with a few short kicks thrown in. The descent looks like swoopy fun but it won’t have the same technicality of the Witch’s trail at Fort William. This is a bit of a shame as it’s these sections that I tend to make up some time on but I think some flatout speed through flowing singletrack should see me right.

Another contrast will be the weather. In Scotland many suffered with the damp and cold conditions which we won’t be seeing in California with daytime temperatures in the late 20’s but dropping down under 10 for night time where I’ll be booming some serious lumens with a raft of super Exposure Lights. The changing temperature will provide a bit of a challenge in terms of kit choice but I’ve got lots of Tenn Outdoor gear to take across to give me lots of layer options. Although I’m not a big fan of the heat after some successful pre Finale24 heat acclimatisation I’ve followed a similar routine for Weaverville, coupled with a week in the heat before the race should mean I’ll cope just fine.

As for strategy, I’ve been working on getting faster this year taking on a coach for some advice and hope to move up the ranks from my 17th place overall finish in Scotland. As ever though I’ll be riding my own race and looking to finish strong as usual to pick up any stragglers. I see pacing for a 24 hour race in a similar way to which my Dad explained putting in golf once, you’ve got to feel and visualise the distance to the hole (or in this case finish line), measure the effort based on that. I try and ride as hard as I think I can sustain for 24 hours, simple as that really. This is only possible with kit that works and a sound and well tested fuelling strategy. Keeping it simple in the food department really helps my stomach take the inevitable hammering so I tend to stick to just Torq energy products with the occasional banana and mouthfuls of soup and/or rice pudding. Oh and some bog standard tea to help settle the stomach and provide a bit of caffeine.

So I’m aiming for a top 10 elite finish which is pretty ambitious given the likes of U.S rippers Josh Tostado and Kelly Magelky lining up with Jason Miles looking to be the best placed Brit, pushing for the top step. And that’s even before world dominating Jason English gets thrown in to the mix.

The town of Weaverville has already been welcoming to riders coming from afar and we’ll be hosted by a local family who are one of many that have very generously offered to house competitors. This brings a real family feel to the event and we look forward to hearing more about the area from them.

The scales say race weight is close, the legs feel good, the head is in the right place. I’m all set.

Thanks as always to the people that help me do this stuff!

Thanks as always to the people that help me do this stuff!