I decided to give myself a weekend more biased towards the bike than university work as uni work had taken a front seat this week with training being fit around it rather than the usual 50/50 split... but in 2 weeks time the hardest 2 modules of my course will be behind me and extra training will be the order of the day..
I have to say that i follow Jeff Kerkove's blog everyday and i am jealous at the amount of bike time a rider at his level gets to put in... maybe someday i will have the luxury of a life dedicated to the bike and work as a sideline..
Weekend started well with the usual Nottingham Clarion Club run on saturday morning... got to the meeting place and i think the low temperatures of the day had forced people to reconsider riding as only Phil turned up.
We set off into the strong headwind heading west, pace was relatively steady, a few cheeky short climbs which i did sitting down concentrating on my breathing and pedal stoke and really trying to work my legs hard.
30 miles in and i think Phil was having a bad day, it happens to us all, he just couldn't get his legs to do what he wanted so he decided to call it a dayt and just make his own way back at his own pace.. at his request i made my own way on, left my energy bar with him and set off on my own.
Just so happened that our parting of ways shortly coincided with making the turn for home and heading back east... nice tailwind and an effortless 30mph for a long way, gettting out the saddle on the short drags to keep the pace nice and high.. there is something deply satisfying about being able to propel a bike along at those kind of speeds...
Made it home with just over 60 miles in the bag.. a nice steady run..
In the afternoon i popped to TSW CYCLES to collect my bike that was being checked by Dave.. clean bill of health given, alot of healthy banter later and took it home to bed...
Sunday was a day of dirt... not very often i get to ride my Trek in a non race environment as i usually train on my single speed due to high cost of maintenance all cyclists experience during winter..
Below is the first pic of the Trek on my blog.. looking super clean.. i love cleaning my bikes almost as much as i love riding them... its an instant gratification thing.. you are there and then rewarded for your effort...
First pics also of my SUPERSTAR COMPONENTS fitted... gold in my opinion looks great against the red... you can't really appreciate the BB as its in large covered by the cranks but i can assure all its a great piece of kit and i don't expect to be touching it for a long time..
I have been reliably informed by Neil at Superstar that there are some new additions to the range coming in the near future, i'm excited and if price and quality is in keeping with the rest of the range then Neil will have some high demand on his hands
The final latest additon to the Trek is the new Conti Speed King tyres, they replace an old set of the same model... unfortunately Coed Y Brenin marathon race destroyed my old set... i managed D2D and first Thetford Winter Race on the old tyres but i was pushing my luck really.
They are in my opinion the best race tyres you can get... nice and light and unbelievable traction.... you just gotta be careful when it gets really rocky but you can't have everything..
Definately on my list of support to find is a tyre manufacurer... would be nice to be able to cover all consumables as these are the killer costs.. once you have you bought a bike the expenses doesnt stop there.. you then gotta keep it running.
Ride was at Sherwood Pines, Nottingham... not the choice of most hardened riders as its often thought of as a bit of a learner spot.
However those who rode the NPS series this year will know that there a course strung around the forest of some good singletrack and very similar to Thetford... as next round of Thetford is next week than i thought it good practice to have a thrash around some tight singletrack to get ready...
Todays riding partners were Lee and Andy, these guys both raced Nps rounds with me last year... Lee is claiming he isn't training but i think he will come good next year.. especiallly as he has a fancy new hardtail on order.. also out was Stuart (Pryce) with his brand fine new mountain bike.. a mountain biker of old he has unfortunately decided to get back into racing so i am thankful i plan on riding now NPS cross countries next year as he is quick.
His weapon of choice a rather nice carbon fibre Giant hardtail... a bike built for a specific purpose.. being very very fast!! At times today when we went wheel to wheel for a bit of fun he made me feel like i was riding a bit armchair as his little racing snake weaved about... There is no way i can afford a new bike but i think i would consider a hardtail to have as a second option especially for 4 hour races... i still think full sus is the best for longer endurance races.
We started by a ride around the NPS course... i raced this year on a fully rigid.. not quite sure how i managed it as its rut and route city in the trees.. much faster riding on the Trek.
Considering the amount of rain we have had it was remarkably good going...no getting boggged down just plenty of puddles = more fun.
After one lap we headed off into sherwood forest and lapped round to Vicker water which has the only climb of note in the area.. its like Thetford in more ways than one... back into sherwood pines to finish with more riding of the NPS course..
All in 2 hours worth of riding in the mud.. and plenty of fun was had by all... one thing i miss about living away from Nottingham is the great mountain biking that is accessible here.. think next time i have a free weekend i'm gonna get reaquainted with some of the peaks riding i used to do so much of.
Anyway Thetford round 2 is a week away now so i will be spending this week getting ready... couples of turbo trainer sessions and making sure i'm eating and drinking well all week... if i thought i was under pressure for the first round its just doubled as i'm currently in second place and need to score some points to stay there...