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.
Event report here
A couple of months ago I applied to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Champion Team. Amazingly they selected me along with lots of other people from a diverse range of backgrounds, abilities and 2 wheeled disciplines.
Next step will be a day in Milton Keynes in the New Year where we will get some limited edition kit, be briefed on what we will be up to, what we need to be doing as brand and cycling ambassadors and probably a ride out.
Initial introductions on our team’s private facebook group show we make up a jolly bunch keen to share experiences and I am looking forward to meeting everyone in 2017!
Wow, what a weekend…. Talk about burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, I came back completely shattered and longing for a long sleep but a great time with lots of old friends.
The event was completely centered within the city of Kaunas, the races taking advantage of the dense path networks inherent to rolling forests so close to large populations. The long race was well…… Long, very long, very very long and I was completely out of my fitness comfort zone. The mass start race was organised as a one person relay, riders coming back through the start zone a number of times, riding the various sections of the course in different orders.
I had a good start but as I came through the start after the second map I realised I was not racing any more, it was just a case of a challenge to finish the course. I eventually rolled in after well over 3 hours, completely broken…
Unfortunately there were a few problems with the Sportident Air in the results and with my experience of the system and my role at the event as IOF Juror I spent a fair bit of time after the race helping out.
The Saturday brought the middle race in a spectacular venue across a huge bridge a short ride from the city center near the university district. I was much happier with the distance and had a good race but again I spent a fair bit of the afternoon in my role as a IOF juror before heading out to dinner that evening a a late night with lots of friends from all over Europe.
Sunday morning brought a hangover and very tired eyes as we headed out of the city to a beach alongside a river where the Sprint race was to be held. Luckily I had a reasonably late start so well the clock beeped my start time I was fine. The sprint race was one of my best ever races, on a fantastic map and other than a spidersweb of purple lines well planned. Riding off track was allowed so I used some foot O skills a little cutting through when I made a mistake but essentially had a great ride. Coming into the finish was great fun along a springy singletrack next to the river. As I crossed the line I heard my name called in second place…. there were a few riders left to finish so I didn’t hold out much hope but as I watched the screens over the next half hour it became clear I really had had an excellent ride and I was in third.
Unfortunately I found out to my embarrassment at the prize giving Id actually been knocked into 4th after a rider was reinstated however I was really chuffed with 4th.
We had another good night out in Kaunas on Sunday before I got up at stupid a’clock to head for home and straight to work. Overall a fantastic event and well done to the rest of the British team, particularly Charlie who yet again came hoe with a clutch of medals!
This month 5 years ago I ended my burst of late 30s fitness jumping off a garage roof in Russia at the World Cup MTBO final in the sprint. I kept going that week but the long race from which I retired with sore race was my last proper international race.(see here!) This weekend completes my return to recreational racing with the World Masters Champs, running alongside the World Cup final in Kaunas, Lithuania. The last 6 weeks hasn’t been the ideal prep, I trashed my ankle at the World foot O champs spectator races and then got a dose of manflu which to be honest is still lurking under the surface.
Anyway I picked Lithuania as its flat (hills were never my strong point) and there is a large team of British Masters going out so the ‘Holiday’ side should be run.
Friday is a mass start long race – I am just going to chill out at the back of the race and see how it goes, enjoy the orienteering and riding as it will be all too easy to have the red mist come up and blow up after 90 minutes and start making mistakes or worse still hurt my back.
I am really looking forward to the middle and sprint races on Saturday and Sunday but not the silly o’clock return flight home on Monday morning.
The event website is http://www.mtbo.lt/ for more details
Entry lists are on Eventor https://eventor.orienteering.org/Events/Show/544
Preparing for the Brompton World Championships held in London on the iconic Mall is a strange one. It’s the event that doesn’t take itself seriously but somehow is becoming a hyper competitive must do event for all sorts of Bromponeers. The competitiveness comes in many forms – yes the race itself with gridded positions based on seeding, attracting huge names such as Michael Hutchinson and David Millar but also in some other areas. The best dressed award brings custom tailored suits and other bizzare outfits, pimped Bromptons include enormous chainrings and carbon wheels and then there is the folding race.
Holly and I arrived early enabling us both to get a lap of the freeride London in – a 12 km closed roads spin around London’s normally jammed roads, taking in some famous landmarks.
Next were the various stalls to look at and sample and the Women’s Classique Criterion to watch. Oh and I had a go at the fastest fold challenge and ended up with the slowest fold after getting the pedal stuck on the frame pump – oops, very embarrassing.
So finally the race. We lined up in 4 waves opposite our bikes (folded) at 20 second intervals all the way down the Mall based on our seedings. On the horn and flag we sprinted across the road Le Mans style for the great unfold.
I made sure I got my saddle correct (I have a scratch on the seatpost to mark the height) and then had a good unfold, although a little fumble on the frame spinner. I then tonked it down the Mall and tried to get the first lap in as fast as I could staying out of traffic on the outside getting past loads of slower riders with higher seedings. I realised straight away that I needed a bigger gear, running out of cadence but I soon settled into a good speed and concentrated on taking the corners as fast as I could and by the end the gear was spot on for my legs.
I was really struggling to find anyone to draft, just slowly overhauling people one at a time as I went though lap 2 and into 3. I had a major near off on the corner into Horse guards on lap 3, taking speed through on the outside up against the barriers there suddenly were some stragglers who forced someone wide. I am not sure quite what happened but I ended up unclipped and bounced off the barrier with a few ‘oooos’ from the crowd on the corner and a couple of ‘well held’ from the guys behind me as a clipped back in and got out the saddle to regain some speed.
I then realised why I couldn’t find anyone to draft – I had about 10 people behind me while I did the work. Soon 3 or 4 of us started to work together and I started to race properly, getting a rest on birdcage walk and working hard up the Mall.
Eventually as I neared the finish line on lap 6 the lead group with David Millar, Hutch and the defending champions streamed past taking the bell. I dug in and kept up the pace using various people for shelter before a final sprint for the line, an awesome feeling on the Mall with the crowds cheering.
I managed to get a parade lap in which was fun, crowds had stayed on the major corners and it felt very special to be cheered outside Buckingham Palace and coming onto the Mall again for the final time.
Final results are now out – 88th – well chuffed with that laptimes were consistent at about 3.45
Full results here http://www.brompton.com/Events/Posts/2016/BWC-London-Final-2016
Well, after not much to tell I’ve entered an event, got an entry and now have something to train for….
The Brompton World Championships! http://www.brompton.com/Events
My Brompton has been a little underused for about a year and needs a little TLC but I think this event might get me back riding it regularly. So if you see a green Brompton being ridden like its been stolen around Stafford…. that will be me training for July’s event.
A chance to ride a mountain bike orienteering event on my old home turf of the Quantocks, mixed with a weekend catching up with the family and a visit to Bridgwater Carnival was a perfect end to the half term holidays.
Bridgwater Carnival was fab, awesome huge articulated ‘floats’ interdisbersed with mad individuals in costumes, the odd majorettes band and of course a bit of wind, rain and the waft of sizzling sausages. I am not sure standing in the cold for 3 hours was the best preparation for a Mountainbike event but we had a great night. For those that don’t know about the Somerset carnival season, more info here http://www.somersetcarnivals.co.uk
The next morning dawned wet windy and with mist and cloud hugging the Quantock hills as I drove to the event, wipers lashing the screen. After a catchup with old faces and some general phaff about what to wear I rode the 20 mins to the top of the hill to the start.The clouds and rain had cleared to give fantastic views in all directions.
Even with the rain stopped there was standing water everywhere and lots of slippery slimy red mud. On the way to #1 I lost the front end of the bike and soon found myself in a slowmotion superman dive into a muddy puddle. In a way it spead me up for the day as already being cold and soaked I didnt mess about from then on!
I knew the key to the event was to pick a route which kept climb to a minimum. As I splashed through the mud I suddenly picked a route from the map that worked and went for it….
My legs are still struggling with 3 hours, the climb up to the top from my last checkpoint was narrow, steep and slippery, all too soon I was off and walking, craving some food… The minutes ticked away and it was only some bravery and a full suspension bike on the last decent that meant I only lost 20 points being 10 mins late.
However a smile soon formed itself on my face as I downloaded in third place
Thanks to somerset Mbo for an excellent event. Results and report here… http://www.bmbo.org.uk/results/report.php?event_id=597