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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Aug 2011 Race 3 Results are in...23rd

The end must be close...

The results are in and I managed 23rd out of a starting field of 38 in the Weekend Warrior Male class.  Not bad, considering everything.

I checked out the lap times and on average I was completing 18 minute laps.  So, it is weird how I managed to drop that to a 17 minute lap after hearing the bell for the last lap.  I definitely remember coming to a stand-still between two rocks on the last lap, which won't have helped the lap time (it was a slow part of the course so no real dramas) and still the lap was a better time.  I just can't remember feeling like it was faster on the last lap.

The results are here.

There are photos from the event here - my favourite here

Looking forward to keeping much fitter now and improving...maybe a road bike for putting some miles into the legs could be part of the next step?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Finally got back racing after long term injury

Well I finally got back into the Brownbacks Racing after a while out on the sidelines.  Injury-free and a little fitter than couch potatoe - but not too much fitter than that - I managed to get racing again.

The course at Lee Quarry was one which went around the outside perimeter and it was heavy and uphill in places (I ended up with a few get-off-and-push parts to the course) but that is probably down to sheer fitness, or lack of it.

The event is extremely well run, as I remembered from 2009, and quite exciting to get off the start line.  I just didn't remember my lungs being turned inside out at the first race in the previous series I raced in. This was until I got to the top of the quarry on lap 2.  Then I remembered!  Leg burn and heart rate were definitely in need of a speed check.

I'll have to wait to check on the actual laps completed, I think it was 5 or 6 but it's so easy to lose count after concentrating on simply hanging on, particularly on the last lap when I know I could have easily fallen off.

A video will be available on Vimeo soon.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Overall Results

The results are out for the Hope Series 2, both for the final race (Race 3) and the overall series positions.

I managed to retain a respectable result even though I couldn't compete in Race 3, managing the keep 14th place overall. Matt managed an excellent 12th place in Race 3 and a great start.
Follow the link to get the pdf version of the results:

Overall Positions

Race 3 Positions

Last weekend saw the first ride after the back problems, which are now clearing up. Just a short ride and not a blistering pace, so a good re-start after 2 weeks off. Re-starting riding a little less frequent has given me chance to get the wheels into the wheel builders for a replacement for the broken spoke and needs a little truing.

Gears are the next issue that need sorting, I have a feeling a next cassette and chain might be required with the amount of gear slippage under heavy load even after aligning the gear changes...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Hope Series 2 Lee Quarry - Race 3

Injuries - I hate 'em.

A few days of serious back pain led to a trip to the Osteopath on Saturday, and with it any chance of starting Race 3 evaporated. I was completely gutted, especially having convinced Matt to join me and enter the last race.

Attending the race as a spectator really opened my eyes to the size of the Quarry, particularly how the track loops back and forth which provided lots of viewing from a central vantage point(and no wonder Cath was able to put good videos together with much of the action coming past her a number of times). I followed Matt and gave encouragement where I could, knowing the first race was simply going to be a shock to the system.

The layout of the track looked great. The back of the quarry right through to starting line was basically downhill (this I'm going to have to come back and try without it being race day). Unfortunately, the down side to this is the fact that the start-line up to the top of the quarry (which in most people's eyes is quite an evil climb) was included in every lap!

I'm glad I visited the race as a spectator, I managed to chat with the chap who allowed me to use his photos on the previous blog, but also nice to chat with a few racers who I'd spoken to at previous races.

I'll post the overall race series positions when they are available, but the race series after 2 races had me with 60 points from the 28th and 14th place finishes. That put me in 9th position for the Weekend Warriors overall. I don't expect to keep that position with the huge number of competitors from today, which is disappointing that I couldn't race today to try to maintain that good series result. After my first race just a few weeks ago, I'm really happy to be part of the top ten at this stage and maybe in the next series I'll be able do something similar.

I'm definitely going to enter the next race series at Lee Quarry, many thanks to the organisers again. Check out the
video of the last race, following Matt as he has a great ride.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Race 2 Results

From Hope Series 2 Lee Quarry - Race 2 - Sept 2009

The Hope Series 2 - Race 2 results are in and I've somehow managed to get 14th position!

I'm absolutely delighted with that and actually a little bit unexpected as I had thought most other people seemed to improve as I had. So, that is a great result. I submitted the video to SingleTrack Magazine who posted it on their website along with the excellent review.

I also asked if I could use a couple of photos from the race that one of the photographers had captured. See below for the two great shots from Steve Hyams who kindly allowed me to show his shots on here. His web site for all the photos can be found here:

From Hope Series 2 Lee Quarry - Race 2 - Sept 2009

Keeping riding and working on the fitness seems to be the order of the next few weeks, not sure if I can improve on 14th considering the last and final race is likely to be packed, but I'll try, we'll see how I get on...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Hope Series 2 Lee Quarry - Race 2

From Hope Series 2 Lee Quarry - Race 1 - Sept 2009

The second race weekend came around quite quickly and with around three weeks of regular riding (2 to 3 times per week) I hoped to make an improved ride this race.

The race organisers had changed the route this time round, some of the original course still existed though which would be impossible to remove, like the starting hill which spaces people out nicely before the first singletrack and the downhill / cattlegrid section towards to starting area. The newer sections were towards the middle of the lap and reasonably tricky, I'm sure one part was actually vertical right before and 90 degree right hand berm/turn.

I felt the consistent riding I'd been doing over the recent few weeks paid off as I started quite brightly. Only to wonder whether burning myself out of lap one would actually be the best way to improve on last time...?

The end of the first lap felt like I'd gone off way too fast and following that with a lap of reasonable pace, I wondered if the third lap, like last time, would just hurt my lungs and legs again.

Yep, it did! Lap 3 started to hurt.

But, this time, I was able to take a bit more time to recover on the next lap or so. By lap 4 I was getting back into it. I was going up hills slower by now, but for some bizarre reason I was able to clean the up-hills without getting off and pushing, in fact completed an entire lap completely clean. I fully expected at the end of lap 4 to hear the welcome sound of the last lap bell, except it wasn't there. The range of emotions at this point was weird...thinking it was probably the end of my energy levels, but yet knowing that I'm likely to get a better result compared to Race 1, I wanted to try to kick on.

So, lap 5 was back to some pushing up hills again, but with the marshalls giving great encouragement that the end must be reasonably close, I did think I was likely to get to the end of the race at lap 5 (I thought I must have just missed the bell and the leaders would be past me at any time). As I closed in on the end of lap 5, I did get the final lap bell and knew I'd managed to get that extra lap. Even though it was going to be a hard lap 6, the bell was still very welcome and gave a great extra morale boost.

It turned out to be a good tactic to start as fast as possible, just getting that early position in the whole field and trying to keep that going helped me to keep a high enough pace to improve. Without seeing the lap times and positions, it's difficult to judge how well I did and if other people improved also as I feel I have, so time will tell on the result. Trail Guru link of the course.

Again this was very well run event and enjoyed the whole experience better the second time round as I knew (basically) what I was doing. It would have been better if people didn't go home back down the track when the race was still running (presuming they'd crossed the line and finished already), I know there were a few behind myself who might have had this problem too.

I'm looking forward to seeing the race lap times and finish position later in the week.
Here is the video footage that Cath put together for me.

No photos this time, video only, but will look online to see if any of the photographers have any.

Next & final race of the series: 18th October 2009.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Preparation for Race 2

Preparation has started for the next race.

The reason for the chain jumping off in Race 1 is now clear, the bike had a broken rear derailleur inner plate (which holds the idler gears). I have managed to source a part from a carbon fibre manufacturer and not pay the £150 for a whole new rear mech. Amazing how bike shops didn't really want to entertain helping me to source just the part that was broken, seems Shimano won't supply just the carbon fibre part on it's own as a repair item. Mmmm, strange that they put carbon fibre on anything mountain bike related and then won't offer a repair item?

Anyway, I found a guy that will make me one if I break it again and that's the problem solved. Might even buy a few and put them on ebay...? Do other people break these things or was it a one off for me?

The bike needed a service, so it's gone in for that, including rear hub re-build. Shimano hubs just need a new ball race I'm hoping. Hope they are repair items and I don;t have to buy a whole new hub :-) The rear shock has also gone off to Mojo as it sounded very 'squelchy' like the oil was not where it should have been. A couple of people in the week had mentioned it sounded like it needs looking at, so another warranty item I hope. With all that, I should be able to pick it back up and get it home on Friday, just enough time to go on a short ride before Sunday's race.

I'm looking forward to the race this time a little more as I've managed to get a lot more rides between the last one and this one. I managed to get to Sherwood Pines and a few local rides with the Wakefield mountain biking club. I do find my legs burn quite often now though, think I'm just trying harder all the time when I get to hills.

My finish position for Race 1 was 28th out of 31 in the Weekend Warrior section, so at least not last, and gives me something to build on. I've already read that the track will laid out differently, but I'm looking forward to giving it a good try.

More after Sunday...