Sunday, 18 January 2015

Week 2 & 3 Let's go Racin'

Week 2

Nuffin' to report for this week, was a bit poorly, the only bike related activity was some retail therapy courtesy of Howies and some other choice online retailers
Week 3 Action
I wanted to get into a routine of a bit of pedalling followed by a bit of spannering on my old van, this week I managed it
Dragged out my single speed cyclocross, haven't used it since before Christmas, ironically this was a purchase for commuting purposes but now I no longer work for Vertu (other luxury mobile phones are not available) it is likely to be side-lined quite a bit.
I set out on my commute route towards Windsor Great park, at the park, instead of continueing my commute route to the train station I deviated off following another cyclist towards one of the large houses, from here I looped back to the dear enclosure and the Copper Horse. The skies were clear blue and the air fresh. The views were beautiful and the return home pleasant. It was nice to be out and even better it was nice that my knee didn't give any trouble.
I planned to ride Wednesday mountain bike stylee but first I would need to bleed the brakes, front brake was locked on and the rear was conversely virtually inoperative
Brake bleed kit and a Youtube combo later and the brakes were all good.
Swinley Forest was the destination of the days pedalling activity.
The weather outlook was good but with previous overnight downpours the ground was likely to be soggy at best.

Much work has been done to Swinley Forest to make it a pretty good trail centre, this day unfortunately there was a lot of other works going on which meant for detours and very wet sticky fire road use, the upside was that some of the naffer routes had been bypassed.
Having not been mountain biking in quite some time it was as enjoyable as it was tough. Constant pedalling meant the intensity was high, very different to long distance road riding, no time for recovery, no cups of tea with a full English for sure.
The rewards for the enchanting woodland climbs were momentary views at the crests followed by fast flowing technical single track.
My bike road well, I had forgotten how good a bike it really is, amongst the various trawling of bike reviews and new release bulletins my eyes have often wandered towards potential new steads but one ride now again is enough to remind the senses that steal really is real and despite the aging parts it still performs.
My body had grown complacent without mountain biking to keep it flexible and I suffered the following day with aches and pains particularly in my shoulders and neck.
The climax of the week was to be an audax, mountain bike race combo, Saturday and Sunday respectively.
With poor preparation and a cold trying to grab hold of me I bailed on the Audax so I could focus on the mountain bike race.
Gorrick Spring Series Round 1 at Camberley/Bracknell was to be my first ever mountain bike race. Nerves were kicking in as I loaded the car, all the events are local'ish so half an hour later I arrived the boggy car park, nerves a little calmer.
The whole event was very well organised, the sign on process very slick.
It was suggested I went for a practice lap which reluctantly I did, I say reluctantly because I didn't want to knacker myself out but go I did.
Guess what? I was knackered at the end of this practice lap, really interesting, mostly single track with some great downhill twisty turny bits and a couple of pretty evil drop offs, one of which I was convinced would get me by the days end.
I was overdressed for my practice lap so I stripped off a couple of layers which helped me blend in a little as pretty much everyone was lycra only, mostly with sponsor logos knee to neck.
After some nibbles I made my way to the start, now shivering.
The start  was quite energetic by most folk, I was in the veteran class as this is the year of my 40th birthday but don't let that make you think this was for old codgers, the field was mostly elite athletes and the rest were, well, er, like me.
From the offset I had a problem, the chain kept jumping almost every revolution of the pedals, this was peculiar as the bike had ridden faultlessly round the practice lap and to the start. I was going no where in a hurry, after a few hundred metres I stopped rendering me dead last to study the problem. Somehow my chain was bent and twisted, I thought it was game over, with the limited tools I carried I managed to bend it back a little, enough that it would rotate without jumping.
Good enough to get a lap in I thought, good enough for all 3 laps as it turned out, fortunately having an old 9 speed drivetrain paid dividends as I'm sure a spangley 11 speed setup would not have been so forgiving.
The laps went well considering the initial set back, I was plodding to be fair, fuelled by gels and energy drink, something I avoid on Audax events, I finished with few aches and pains, my knee felt like a normal knee, just fatigue and tiredness and a slightly sore neck.
It was tough but fun enough to have another go next month.
Practice Lap: 33 minutes 30 seconds
Lap 1: 51 minutes 35 seconds
Lap 2: 34 minutes 25 seconds
Lap 3: 36 minutes
Distance this week: 74.1k
Distance so far this year: 231.1k
Weekly average: 77.03k

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