Sunday, 25 September 2011

3 Peaks, 2 Punctures, 1 broken pump

Well, what a disappointment.

It was all going reasonably up until the summit of Whernside - 112th and generally making masses of ground up on the roads and the climbs. Took about 40 riders between bottom of Ingleborough and top of Whernside. Didn't feel hard either.

The descent off Whernside is bad - lots of drainage ditches on the 'top' section, then over the stile and it starts to get very tricky. That's where I had my first front wheel puncture. No problems I thought - take it steady and get it back up as quickly as possible. That was - before my pump pulled out into two pieces ! Thankfully, a very very kind spectator was standing next to me with a spare big pump - well I couldn't refuse could I !  I think I lost about 20-30 places but set off again to see more drainage ditches and 'those' rocky steps. Does anyone ride them ? No one I saw did.

Ribblehead - not my photo and not the same weather !
After that - it's a fantastic blast along gravel tracks to ribblehead (with a few stream crossing thrown in), down a steep grassy bank to the biggest crowds of the day. A phenomenal feeling. I must say, I didn't even look up at Ribblehead Viaduct. This was a lovely section to ride with so many people everywhere. I was going well so it seemed easy to look "good" pushing hard, soon to feel whacked when out of spectators view !

Yes that's me - no I didn't crash, a minor wobble!
Climbing up Pen y Ghent went well too - again overtaking 30 people according to the results. A couple of riders cried out 'whoa' and some spectators shouted that I was the fastest climber they'd seen. Well, I'm not sure about that but it was my sort of climb and I was loving it ! The climb and descent were again just classic stuff - quite some pushing at the top, but awesome on the way back down. Yes, there were several point where I had brakes full on, not slowing down at all - OMG ! All fine - until just above where Dave, Teresa, Martin and Lewis were standing where I got my second flat. I knew that if I got another, that with a broken pump it'd be game over.

Well, it was. Gutted that I'd missed the best and fastest descent of the day. Gutted to have travelled all the way up there to have not finished. Never mind - soon got my head round it, caught up with the guys and walked down holding Lewis's hand. Ah, bless him - I think he was more upset than I was !

Yes, smiling too ! About 151st at this point
I'd really enjoyed the early part of the race too - starting near the back of the peloton, I was passing people all the way to the first turn offroad. I probably started about 500th as not many behind me ! Simon's Fell was bad, ridiculously steep (hanging on to grass) but as a fell runner, this was a return to normality really ! Off Ingleborough it was virtually all rideable at speed, although I was a bit cautious. Good to finally drop out of the murk to see Teresa, Dave, Martin and Lewis, ready to taking the photo of me....

"One day son, you'll have a big bike like this"
"No Dad. Mine will be carbon fibre."

Will finish with this nice shot of Lewis and me by the van in the campsite at Stainforth. Ahhhh

So, to some up, it's really as much about upper body as lower body as it's pretty brutal on arms (with the rocks) and forearms - just trying to make the brakes actually stop the bloody bike ! Legs aren't tired at all really as there's not masses of cycling. Roads - yes, some climbs yes, but most of the proper climbing is a carry, apart from Pen y Ghent.

Top 100 and under 4 hours next year. The guys around me at the top of Whernside were all in the Top 100.
Two more great photo's I've just found - one of which you've just got to laff at...

This is the Bonkers bit

Why we all do it

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dalby Forest MTBO Weekend

Nice weekend just gone. We met up with Sheila and Dennis and took the van and Lewis.  After a bad forecast and a torrential downpour on the way up, the weekend turned out really good compared to what we expected !

Saturday was my turn. A 3 hour MTBO round the woods, but I thought I'd use my CX bike as good training for next weekends 3 Peaks.

Saturday's MTBO Map - 3 hours
As ever, I was thwarted by bad route choice ! Never sure if I can clear the courses (as I don't know how hard they set them at NYMBO), I opted to miss a 5 pointer and a 10 pointer near the start and set about clearing all others.  Despite a 10minute cock up heading out of Control 18 east instead of west, it went pretty well on the cross bike, despite having no stopping power whatsoever on the descents !

Getting back to the finish nearly 20 mins early was the next "issue". I ran out of controls to collect, but I thought - "what the hell, I've done them all apart from 15 points".  Anyway, it was only on checking my results that I found I'd missed Control 16 (20pts) down near Worry Gill / Medusas drop area. Gutted !

I think I need to just go for all controls next time and lop then off at the end. I do also now finally need a better map board as mine just isn't good enough for competing at the top level.  Lovely evening including a look round the very swanky Pace bike shop in the woods and the purchase of a nice T Shirt.

A lovely Sunday morning on the High Rigg site

Sunday morning was just stunning ! Sunday was her turn, who along with Sheila and Dennis was doing the shorter 50k Marathon route over the moors.

Lewis excited about being in charge of the event !

Lewis and me volunteered to help marshal a control as Steve Willis was short of volunteers. As we had the van it was easy. Lewis was very excited when I told him we were in charge of the event ! He was very busy asking riders if they needed a water top up !

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Apprehension and Excitement : 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross

Well, this Sunday's rest is going to be amazing - be it good or bad.
It's the reason I bought a Cyclo Cross bike 9 months ago. After going to spectate last year, there was that feeling of - "oh my god, just look at what these guys are riding over, hats off to them".

If you watch the whole of the video below, watch out for the most epic climb and descent in any bike race - probably in the world, as it's only in GB that something so silly can happen. We were gob-smacked last year how half of Yorkshire seemed to head out on to the mountains to spectate. It's just a massive event with it always being over-subscribed nowadays. There's still 700 on the entry list who got in.

The climb is up Simons' Fell at about 1:20. Pretty scary!
The descent is about 3:45 which I am very wary about !

It's not just the terrain, it's the fact that effectively you're doing it on a modified road bike.
After last weekends' "taster" using my cross for an easier MTB-O event, I can now say rocky descents are nightmarish. Brakes don't stop you and your eyes pop out their sockets with the jarring from the track.

No flat handlebars this year. No Rob Jebb this year. But they've got me !

Taking the Van up to Stainforth Sat pm and Lewis is coming along.
I can't wait - any bets on the number of punctures I'm gonna get ?!?!?
Hoping for 4 hours, but will probably be slower. Just gonna aim to enjoy it.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Matlock cc Chaingang, 23.6mph

A lot faster than last week, but kinda felt easier. Legs were tired after Tuesday cycling up the A6, but no problems on the ride.

First climb to Hassop out of Bakewell, legs absolutely felt like they would explode - I think there was no blood left in them, just lactic ! 

Soon recovered though

Sunday, 11 September 2011

MTBO Torver

Well, a great weekend was topped off by two flat tyres when I only had one spare inner tube ! Nightmare. Can't say I enjoyed the 1h10 walk back in the wind and rain either.

Never mind, there was some great riding - you forget how good the Lakes really is for riding wet or dry and I got back just 1 minute late !

Results are here

Dave n me used the van as the forecast was dire and parked in Staveley. We checked out the new Hawkshead Brewery bar which was very swanky and rounded off with a couple in the Eagle n Child - one of our favourite pubs in the lakes I think.  Up with plenty of time, we snook in coffee in Wilfs to set us up for the ride.

Great weekend all in.

Just gotta order two of these prints now...most original print I've seen for ages !!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Chris Akrigg Trials Video (and fall)

it all seemed to be going well until about 4min 20...lovely video, but not a nice fall
Not If, But When from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Matlock cc 1st Chaingang, 23.4mph

Crikey - that wasn't much fun ! But then again that's why I go.
For once, the hills were the toughest bits which confirms that I'm either off shape or slightly under the weather.
20 odd miles either way gave 43 miles in 2 hours.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

BMBS 2011 Video, Wasing

BMBS 2010 Video, Wasing

Midlands 2011 Video, Eastridge Woods

RRP Midlands XC Series 2011, Round 4 Eastridge Woods from Richard Solaini on Vimeo.
Footage from round 4 of the 2011 RRP Midlands XC Series, held at Eastridge Woods Shropshire, on September 4th 2011.

Music by Louis

Midlands 2011 Video, Hanchurch Woods

RRP Midlands XC Series 2011, Round 3 Hanchurch Woods from Richard Solaini on Vimeo.
Footage from the 2011 RRP Midlands XC Series held at Hanchurch Woods Staffordshire.

Music by Louis