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Today I coached my mountain bike academy riders, the session was based around pumping, a key trail skill that is used to carry speed through transitions. The key to this skill is using your body to ‘weight’ and ‘unweight’ the bike.
- Look a head
- Feet in the ready position
- On the downward slope into the dip of each roller push yourself into the bike to ‘weight’ it
- keep your heels down pushing forward on your pedals
- On the upward slope and to the top bring your body back up to ‘unweight’ the bike
- 90% of the movement should be your legs squashing the back wheel into the ground
- Keep your chin up, don’t lean forward to wait the bike, instead crouch back and down into a squat
Pedal 2 Pedal mountain bike academy runs from Queen Elizabeth Country Park If you are interested in joining please use the contact form.
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Training for the Trans Alp is going well I have been working on my stamina doing long 5 hour steady rides where the key is working on my fuelling and also keeping a consistent pace. I am working on breaking the 100km in 5 hour barrier which is my goal!
There is only four months to go now which is really daunting and exciting. I have such a mixture of emotions as the Trans Alp gets closer, my fitness has improved and I feel stronger than I have ever done, but I still have weak days. Days when I don’t know if I can keep going and days when I question my motivations behind taking on such a challenge.
On days when I feel like this I find sometimes its good to just go and ride to remember why I love being on my bike and the freedom that comes with being out in the countryside on two wheels. Check out my latest training rides on my you tube channel and please subscribe it’s a work in progress!
Getting ready for a stage race is very different to anything I have ever experienced because there is a lot more pressure. Michelle and I have been working hard together to make sure not only our bodies are up to the challenge but we need bikes that can cope with big days of knarly trails and our heads can cope with day after day of keeping focused on being race ready. It has been really fun to have a friend and team mate to bounce off it makes training and nerves easier to deal with because someone is there who gets it.
The fun side of all this preparation has been designing our new team kit! It has been good fun and we are finally ready to give a sneak preview! What do you think?
This weekend I am off to my first cross country race of the year. I am keen to see how my speed has improved, I know it has but as I have been concentrating on endurance it will be interesting to see how I can perform in a cross country event.
I will let you know how it goes!
It’s 23:51 and I am waiting for Martyn to finish his first double lap. I don’t usually start blog posts half way through a race, but then my races are not usually in a pair, for 24 hours, so why the hell not! Plus there is so much to remember I need to start now as I fear my brain will not be the same come 12 noon tomorrow!
Today started in the usual way me making breakfast for me and Martyn, the difference today being we would be sharing in this adventure together. After practising the course together yesterday I was excited about racing as a team but hadn’t really considered the fact when one was riding one would be resting so actually apart from the hand over the baton there would not be much ‘time together’ never the less I was excited about the race, along with those beastly pre-race nerves I always get!
At 11 we went to rider briefing followed by a Le Mans style start, I pulled the short straw and started which meant not only would I be riding the first lap I would be running the 800m to my bike! Not one for running I wasn’t thrilled by this idea.
I lined up helmet on bike parked behind me and when the horn sounded slowly crept forward into a run all the time being mindful not to trip or twist my ankle! The first lap went without a hitch and I passed the baton over to Martyn ready for his first lap and headed back to camp.
Now an hour is usually a long period time, but for some reason these ‘resting’ hours seemed to go very quickly compared to the time spent on the bike.. Anyone who can explain this please do!
We had decided to do one lap on one lap off until 6pm and this worked really well I got in some fast lap times, perhaps getting a little over excited!
Each rest stop I would have a small carb snack mainly malt loaf or porridge seemed to be my nutrition of choice, also yoghurt coated peanuts and raisins so scrummy!
6pm arrived quickly and I headed out on my first double lap of the day, half way round I felt like my pedal stroke had become a bit jumpy so stopped and got off and wriggled my crank arm, sure enough my bottom bracket had come loose I gingerly completed the lap, luckily as I came round to our base Martyn was standing on the side line ready to cheer me on so I pulled in after a quick decision Martyn sacrificed his two hour break to go back on the course so I could get my bike fixed. As expected I couldn’t get a new bottom bracket so had to do with getting it tightened.
Once Martyn finished his lap I went back out on my double lap just as the sun started to disappear the forest was so dark I was a bit shocked by how much the tree canopy sheltered the forest floor. It seemed like double laps were becoming my nemesis as this time my headlight gave up on me, so again I pulled into camp which and grabbed a new light before heading back out for my second lap. It now seemed pitch black in the woods, the wind seemed to have picked up and every tree branch now resembled some scary monster trying to pull me off my bike! I worked hard to stick with people not really being a fan of the dark! Especially at the Skratch laps lakeside trail!
I was surprised by how the dark changed the perception of the course, a course I would say after riding it several times I knew well… But things seemed to have moved the smooth line through now had a tree stump and the more technical sections felt hard, I didn’t seem to be able to find the nice flowing lines I had enjoyed earlier in the day. When I came back into the arena this time close to 11pm I new I needed that good two hour break my legs weren’t that tired but my arm and back muscles were sore and I was craving hot food! Meatballs and pasta sorted out this craving and to make sure I was properly re-fuelled I had a porridge pot for good measure!
So I am now sitting in camp waiting for Martyn to get back and the plan is a few hours rest before starting again.
At the moment we are lying in third place and have completed 13 laps so far not bad going for our first 24 hour race. I am very impressed with Martyn’s stamina he has not had time to do much training but seems to be breezing round.
After a well-earned and needed sleep I woke at 5 (slightly later than planned) and got breakfast ready. I had been having some bike issues so Martyn took the first lap. The last couple of hours went by in a blur of eat, ride, repeat. We decided that if I put in a fast last lap and got in just before 12 Martyn could then go back out, this worked well and I completed a fast lap feeling exhausted but proud to have finished as Martyn headed out for his last time. Meanwhile I started to get camp packed down, a little while later I looked up to see Martyn go charging through, sadly I missed his big finish (I’ll be there next year).
We sat down and had a well-earned rest Martyn had a celebratory beer or four! We had held on to our third place even with a 4 hour nap! So felt really happy with our achievement. Going up to collect our trophy from Princess Anne, who owns Gatcombe Park, was a moment I won’t forgot she shook our hands and asked how we divide the laps and I said I did the lions share! Actually only two laps more than Martyn so hardly the lions share but Princess Anne found it amusing. As you can imagine he won’t let me forget this!
Thank you to Pedal 2 Pedal sponsors, Bike Fixers, Dog Tag and Grip Grab. Thank you to the organisers who put on an amazing event it was our first Mayhem and I am sure we will be back!
I have been training for Battle on the Beach for a good couple of weeks and felt happy going into my first endurance based event.
It was my first race of the season and my first endurance race! I was really excited and a little nervous but new I had put in the work over the Winter to be ready for what was about to come!
Saturday morning we packed up and left for Wales Martyn came along in the hope of surfing.
We arrived in sunny Wales (another first, sun in Wales!) and pitched the tent I went off to ride the course which was part beach, part double track, part singletrack. The beach part was tough into a headwind and then pushing my bike back up the steep dunes entrance was lung busting. I had never raced on a beach before and the prospect of racing along it tomorrow was tiring!
The double track was great fast and flowing, the singletrack meandered through the tress with a few short sharp ups which had the surface been solid would have been easy, however the loose sand made it hard work, the key to keeping moving was a low sustained cadence you had to keep a good rhythm in your legs to keep the bike edging forward, also keeping your body weight central over the bike worked well for me, my tyres dug in and my bike creeped past those who had decided to walk.
There was one A/B line the A was a sandy shoot which I found quite fun! As long as you stayed central over your bike and kept away from your back brake just easing the front now and then the bike kept traction, most of the time! At the end of the shoot was two longs the first was roll-able the second, not so much, I went for the jumping off and over instead of jumping over as im still working on this on smaller obstacles and felt this was the quickest option!
The hardest part of the course was through the dunes the very soft sand made keeping up speed and traction tough but a fun challenge.
After practise Martyn and I decided to go for dinner at a pub instead of cook as it was getting quite cold. When we arrived back at our tent it seemed a lot colder the night sky was bright with stars and there wasn’t a cloud in sight, we were in for a chilly night! Just how chilly we hadn’t really realised. Waking up at 5am to find frost on the inside of the tent was another first!
The morning brought more blue skies and we were in for a great days racing and fantastic weather too!
After race briefing all the racers huddled on the beach ready for a mass start (another first) I found myself in the middle back of this group of 600 riders all with different shapes and sizes of bike, as the starting gun sounded we all edged forward through the soft sand onto the harder beach where we could finally get riding.
I paced myself on my heart rate trying to stay at my AT (anaerobic threshold) as I knew I could sustain this pace, the beach was longer on the first lap and seemed to go on forever as I worked my way forward from one bunch of cyclists to another, this was hard work especially when you found yourself out on your own, even though the breeze was light it seemed to make it so much harder! I got to a group moving as a good pace and stuck with them.
After we left the beach and got to the singetrack there was a huge bottle neck which meant having to stop for a couple of minutes, this would be a consistent theme of the first lap at every point where there was a big up or a tight bit of singetrack the pace slowed. (I lost around 6 minutes here)
I enjoyed the first lap coming through the start I hopped off and grabbed a new bottle of drink. On opening it had a slight surprise when the top came off this meant having to stop to fix it! (not helpful!)
After the first lap which was around double the distance of the second and third these short laps where rather ‘easy’ compared to the first one. I crossed the finish line in 2 hours 10 minutes feeling very happy with my performance. I had paced myself and felt like my laps had been consistent.
Things to think about for next time:
- Get further towards the start at the start to avoid so much bottle neck!
- Carry two bottles of drink for the entire race and only stop if I have to…
- Attach pump to bike, so annoying banging around on my back
- Jelly babies as well as gels, cut down the gels and try to eat something else
I came 7th overall in the woman’s open category with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes.
Thanks to Silverback Bikes, Bike Fixers, Grip Grab and Dog Tag for your support.
To read about how the rest of Pedal 2 Pedal did go to my website.