Thursday, 28 June 2012

Mayhem Done

My disappointingly accurate vision

Well, that was even muddier and nastier than I had dared to foresee when I set off on Friday morning. Mountain Mayhem 2012 was surely the muddiest ever.

the course on Sunday morning :-(
or should that be Sunday mourning? (sic)

Luckily I got to spend the weekend working as pit crew and riding with the Santa Cruz Bikes team, a role which lasted about as long as our enthusiasm for destroying our bikes whilst pushing them across a grassy field. OK, so it wasn't that bad and there were some great bits, but it sure felt like it at times on the lap!

A big thank you to Jungle and Santa Cruz for keeping me warm dry and full of BBQ & beer and a massive well done to those hardy soles who finished.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Mayhem 2012 Here We Come

I'm off to ride at Mountain Mayhem this weekend. As I pack the car with both bikes and every piece of mountain bike clothing I own, I'm trying to ignore the talk of the weather. More specifically, the talk of mud and rain. However, I fear it may become more a battle of man vs. weather than with the other racers out there! Here's hoping the predictions don't come true and it doesn't turn out like this:
Will everybody's predictions of weather of doom turn out to be true, I hope not!
I've got several waterproofs and two sets of mud tyres packed just in case......

Here's hoping for a fab weekend's furious riding, racing and maybe a few exciting moments on the inevitably "damp" course. See you there!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Mountain Biking The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail

Last September Josh Ibbett, Dan Milner and I went to the Dolomites and rode the stunning trails that make up the Lavaredo Ultra Trail over two memorable days in the Italian sunshine. It was truly amazing and just a little bit epic. Here's what we got up to:

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

2 Tall Boys On 2 Tallboys go to BristolBikeFest 2012

Saturday saw me pair up with Santa Cruz & The North Face team mate Josh Ibbett, under the apt team name (of which we are very proud) "2 Tall Boys on 2 Tallboys".

2 Tall Boys on 2 Tallboys...... and also on the podium :-)
All smiles at BristolBikeFest for Josh and I after a hard day's racing
After the mayhem of the first lap we were in 5th place, but we knew we'd come through strongly in the closing stages of what would prove to be a tough, and incredibly close, race, with just 13 minutes separating the first four places we'd climbed to third by the time 12hrs was up. Unfortunately for Josh, I'd recently been ill, so wasn't quite firing on all cylinders, luckily for me Josh was on good form and put in consistent laptimes. With Tom from USE helping us in the pits, giving me a kick between laps, firing me up to wring everything out of my legs and make sure I did enough to hold our position in the field and keep the lap times down, ignoring my screaming legs, before turning his attention Josh, who went out on the attack!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Santa Cruz Superlight 29er - A Teeny Tiny 29er

Not so long ago I did a short interview for BikeMagic on the pros and cons of 29ers. The final question was one of rider size, in which I stated my opinion that the benefits of 29ers were for all riders (well, those that wanted them), not just the tall ones, and that the only thing really stopping Grace from going 29er was the lack of availability of suitably sized 29er frames.

Not long after this, Santa Cruz announced the release of their new Superlight 29er frameset, with a special small size specific rear triangle, allowing them to offer sizes for a full suspension 29er their other bikes hadn't offered before, including a short and low small that is very small indeed. Putting my money where my mouth is I got one on order straight away and, after a lot of time and care on the build, a 23lb full suspension 29er, suitable for a 5'3" racer, is born!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Pennine Bridleway Northern Section - Bank Holiday Weekend Bivvy Ride

Ready to roll for some Bank Holiday fun 
Two weeks ago I rode, and completed, the "Pennine Bridleway Double", a 195mile route, into and across the Peak District and then back again. As I wrote up my experience I discovered that as I typed, the finishing touches were being put to the first major northern section of the route and that this section stretched from Calderdale, into the Yorkshire Dales National Park and out  of the northern edge to Kikby Stephen. I'd enjoyed the southern section so much it took me but an instant to decide that I had to finish my ride and complete the northern section too, that would open in June, just a couple of weeks away!

Still feeling a wee bit tired from my 26hr ride 2 weeks before, and with BristolBikeFest a week away, I decided a bank holiday treat was in order and a packed the bag for a luxuriously paced outing, with my luggage including a selection of movies for the evening and a cooked breakfast!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Stilettos On Wheels

While I got a view of life behind the race tape as mechanic and pit crew, last weekend Grace switched too, and took to the race course for the first Stilettos on Wheels, women's only mountain bike race in Birchall. Here's how her day went:
Looks like someone had a good time
Last Saturday, before it got sunny, was the first ever Stilettos on Wheels women only mtb race, up in Birchall, Derbyshire. A crowd of girls and their bikes met nervously in the car park of Birchall Golf and Leisure Club, for many (including my race partner Karen) this was their first mtb race ever. The organisers had done a great job - big smiles greeted us on arrival, pink water bottles were doled out, local mechanics were on hand to check over bikes pre-race, there was tea and cake, what could be more welcoming?