New start for Shoestring Racing in 2011 with the arrival of a new frame sponsor.
Toward the end of 2010 I left Genesis with the decision to get back to a more rounded approach to my riding and racing.
2010 was by far the best year in terms of diversity of riding to date.. I snow raced.. I raced at altitude.. I did multi day bike packing.. I did one day marathon events.. but I really felt little desire to apply myself properly to my training so although I enjoyed every moment there was always a wonder of what might have been if I had had the fitness of years previous.
Towards the end of 2010 I decided to do some race prep by just getting as many races under my belt as possible.. It was late in the mtb season so that left cross.. and I went for it .. soaking up every opportunity to race in the cold and the mud and it was immense!! I got some decent results.. I placed well overall and for 2011/2012 I will be trying my hand at a few nationals .
With this new found enthusiasm to race and a seeming glimmer of some ability to ride the shorter races I have structured 2011 to be more short events with a few longer ones rather than the other way around.. I will take in as many National XC races in the Master cat.. will see at least one road race a week once the season gets underway.. will ride at least 2 12 hour races.. might even take in a team 24.. and when there is a break in the racing I will travel to ride or bike pack.. Its going to be a busy year but its the building blocks for the next cross season and then 2012.
To race with this intensity lots of riding needs to be done.. lots of time on the bike equals lots of wear and tear and therefore without bankrupting myself ( I near managed that last year) a sponsor or a few is always useful.
I wanted to continue my use of smaller brands as to date this has served me well allowing more personal relationships to be developed and everyone happy at what they get from the deal... with this is mind I was excited to be informed by Jason Miles that he had seen Sanderson Cycles were trying to find a team to sponsor.. a few emails later and although I wasn't a team I guess they could see some value in what I could offer the brand so Steve at Sanderson sent me a few boxes to get me started..
Unfortunately my bike set up skills are lacking so luckily Billy at Edinburgh Cycles in Newcastle was able to build them up.. and a fine job he did..
Firstly the Breath, Japanese double butted Cro-mo, this is my geared race machine.. i'm still playing with the set up but the 40/29 front ring set up is perfect and allows me to ride 99% of trails in the big ring for that extra mental lift :) Bars will be swapped out for flat bars and tyres will be Schwalbe.
Next is the Singlespeed Soloist.. I will never be without at least one singlespeed in the garage.. Once you have ridden one then the simplicity is something difficult to give up.. the same Cro-mo as the Breath the Soloist has a nice eccentric BB design which is adjusted with some nice looking gold lockrings.. Ritchey Dropouts as per the Breath are also a nice touch..
Now I have a bike for every occasion and already a boat load of race entries in.
Having spent last week in Fort William the Breath got a baptism of fire but straight away handled well and inspired so much confidence.. 2 weeks to Whinlatter Challenge and its first race outing :)
Next on the to do list is to finish a website which will hopefully expand on the ramblings of the blog allowing some third party input from riders I have alot of respect for and also news from the people kind enough to support my racing and riding.