One of the great things about the #pichampion team is the diverse range of riders, age, gender, accent, background, shape, size, fitness and discipline… There are inspirational stories about recovering from illness, losing weight, racing, riding, enjoying, encouraging.
Below is a list of a few of their blogs, Ill perhaps try and get some guest blog posts over the next few months as the team shares its stories.
At the end of last year I applied to be part of a new venture in the UK for Pearl Izumi. Pearl is one of the largest cycling clothing brands in the world and based in Boulder, Colarado. Last year Pearl Izumi sponsored the UK Tour Series but this year distributor Madison, based in Milton Keynes has decided to take a different approach and sponsor 50 grassroots cyclists as part of a PI Champion Team instead.
The selection process apparently had to whittle over 300 applicants down to us lucky 50, all from a diverse range of backgrounds and cycling disciplines! We were all invited for the launch day at Madison’s headquarters in MK last weekend and from the moment we got there we felt like superstars, signing in on a massive glass panel, TDF style. We had a series of presentations about the brand, some nutrition advice from Secret Training and then the grand handout of lots of sponsored kit including some very bright and comfy cycling shoes.
After a quick lunch getting to know everyone and lots of fettling of shoe cleats and bikes we split into a couple of groups, roadies and mountain bikers. The roadies said afterwards they felt amazing with a Shimano team car following them around, us mountain bikers got a emergency response medic who looked a little disappointed when we all came back in one piece from our ride around Woburn Sands.
To be honest I had felt a little bit apprehensive before the ride out, everyone else’s facebook profiles seemed to show them a couple of feet off the ground and gathering before the off I seemed to be very much the odd one out in lycra shorts rather than baggies, no knee pads and no dropper seat post. I decided to promote Mountain Bike Orienteering by leaving my Orifix map board on too!
Luckily for me the jumps area of Woburn was closed for felling so I was spared any embarrassment and the riding suited me fine, lots of swoopy decents in and out of the trees and fast narrow singletrack which needed the power on all the time.
A particularly big drop off was a challenge and on my own I probably would have bottled it but I it was fine.
Back at Madison base we were treated to tea and cake and another excited natter before we all headed home to catchup again with all our new cycling #pichampion friends on social media!
The UKs national Inter Clubs Orienteering competition is the Compass Sport Cup / Trophy. The Trophy is for small clubs and this year Walton Chasers has shrunk into the category.
I was meant to be at a Dark and White Mountain Bike Orienteering event but a 3 line whip from the club captain (my wife!) found me in Stoke on Trent at the deceptively tricky Park hall Country Park. The weather was amazing, so much so I probably should have put some sun tan lotion on my head! With my new #pearlizumi #endureandenjoy laces in m y shoes, I went out fairly hard at the start and ran well, sticking mainly to the path routes as the undergrowth would have needed a suit of armour to get through. I had a slow leg where I did try and go straight, but everyone else seemed slow too and I only lost 35 seconds or so thrashing around in the brambles and one mistake out the far end. The map wasnt great and I spent a couple of minutes trying to workout what was up and what was down until I relocated on the carpark! My legs struggled to keep the pace towards the end and I did start to slow over the last few controls.
I ended up 8th which I was happy with given the straightforward navigation and best of all Walton Chasers pipped the Potteries and we go through the the final in Devon in October 🙂
This Saturday I will be travelling to Milton Keynes to Maddison to spend the day with the 2017 Pearl Izumi Champion Team.
Drawn from all walks of cycling life, age and ability we have been chosen as brand advocates for the year, all enthusiasts, bloggers and social media addicts. After the inevitable team kit photos and briefing, we will be riding out in our different disciplines for a few hours, the mountain bikers heading for Woburn trails.
I will be riding and competing in Champion Team kit this year – looks bright so you should see me coming !!!!
Walton Chasers last event at Chillington a few years ago got it a reputation. A reputation – based of fact, that it was a bramble fest – armoured trousers needed. I took on planning an event on this area for a couple of reasons, we had a very small window at the close of the shooting season to update the map (which I can do) and the sheer challenge of producing some hopefully enjoyable courses on such a difficult area!
I concentrated on providing huge routechoice legs, keeping people out of the brambles and hopefully provide runners with some beautiful vistas and views of the estate grounds.
I had to arm chair plan the courses over the winter and gained access at the beginning of Feb – just a month before the race. A recce showed lots of felling and the brambles even worse, but we did get access to the grounds around the hall itself and most of the parkland so I concentrated when re-planning on making the most of those.
A week before the race and along comes Doris (the storm) – big trees down and a very waterlogged area with lots of mud!
I put out all the controls on the day before the race, just leaving me to check them and wake them up on the morning of the event (electronics). Saturday was beautiful, almost perfect spring day – Sunday though dawned cold with a front racing through which caught me good and proper out on the area with torrential rain which then turned to sleet and snow.
By the time the runners rocked up it had improved and then event went well with over 150 competitors enjoying the parkland, with the start and finish based in the ‘model farm’.
Quick analysis of the GPS routes people post afterwards shows the big route choice routes seemed to have worked – so happy bunny me!
My day job is as an Information Management Consultant for Major Construction Projects and Estates Management at PCSG – whats that exactly I hear you say – well its making sure the right document, drawing or 3d computer model is available in the right version at the right time to get things built and then to maintain them going forward – sometimes the acronym BIM is used – Building Information Modelling but my role goes well beyond that.
Anyway the UKs main conference on BIM – BIM Show live was this week in Newcastle. I was speaking with one of my clients and generally networking but one of the exhibition stands run by BIM Technologies had a zwift hill climb challenge to raise awareness and money for MIPIM charity ride later this year. (MIPIM is the worlds premier property and development conference in Cannes)
Olly Thomas from BIM technologies is taking part in the Legal and General MIPIM bike ride and he cajoled me to have a go at the challenge (not that I needed much persuasion)
The leading time was 2.41. Ive never ridden a zwift before and on the TACX Neo it was amazing – I went out way to hard trying but soon settled into a decent rhythm and using the gears to keep the cadence high.
With about 20 people cheering me on I smashed it in 2.27 but was completely broken afterwards and it took me about 30 mins before I was back to a normal temperature, even then with no blue inhaler with me I was struggling with wheezing for a couple of hours !!! you dont think youd need an inhaler at a BIM Conference !!!
Later on someone pipped me by 2 seconds and finally Olly jumped back on and managed 2.17 but ill take a vets victory I think 🙂
This photo is of my 1991 Kona Fire Mountain, taken outside my Student house on column road, Cardiff in about May 1991. I road the bike both for commuting, recreational mountain biking and even the odd race until about 1999 when I bought a replacement (Raleigh ex works race machine). I then lent the bike to a Walton Chasers junior who took it off to use as a student commute in Sheffield for about 5 years. I got it back briefly and then gave it to a friend who used it for commuting in Matlock before moving to York and using it there for a commute until about 4 years ago.
Eventually her bike to work scheme made it redundant and I got the frame back and it has been gathering dust in my garage.
I’ve been thinking about building a commuting hack bike for the 4 mile ride into the station when I don’t take the Brompton with me on the train and thought the Kona frame would bring a bit of Retro to the Stafford station bike racks.
I’ve used all sorts of old bits, with a donated fork and just had to buy a seatpost and a stem to get it up and running.
I’ve only pootled up and down the road – it rides OK but its definetley rose tinted glasses – how on earth I rode it up and down Snowdon in the early 90s I have no idea!
The attraction of foot orienteering and mountain bike orienteering on the same day, a couple of miles apart and in the lovely Forest of Dean was just too good to ignore. The morning of the event dawned rainy and cold in Stafford by the forecast for FoD was good which overruled my initial thoughts of binning it due to a very light morning dose of manflu – well a runny nose…
The foot orienteering organised by Bristol Orienteering Club was superb, a gorgeous mature forest and well planned. I got into a great head to head race with someone I knew, Gavin Clegg, after I fluffed a control and had a great time. Good too was to catch up with my old junior coach Anne Donnell – now 86 and unfortunately unable to get out into the forest she was helping at registration, pointing people in the right direction.
I shoved a tiffin and can of drink down my neck and then headed up the road to the Cannop Valley mountain biking centre – which was heaving with riders, the day having turned out to be really quite nice!
The Mountain Bike Orienteering was really well planned by Black Mountain MBO on an excellent map and after 2 hours of pedaling I finished tired and happy ready for the long journey home.