XC Mountainbiking

XC Mountainbiking

Spring Time On The Home Trail

Birdsong, Sun breaking through the trees, and the leaves growing again. Spring. My favourtie time of year.

Singlespeed racing

Breathing hard. My face hides how much I love racing even on one gear!

Downhill Mountainbiking

Downhill Mountainbiking

Tour de France

Sunflowers on the Tour

XC Racing

World Cup Racing where the best fight it out over some of the most demanding terrain


Taking the sport to extremes

No matter what or how you ride, enjoy the trails out there.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Want It Wednesday - A Nice Holiday!

So that's exactly what I've done.  I have gone south of the country for a couple of weeks away.  In fact as I am pre writing this I am hoping to be on a beach somewhere but more likely being rained on.

I'm not near a computer this time so I won't be able to link up anyone I'm afraid, so any of you that would like a break, now is a good time to take it!  However, if anyone does take part I will still link you at the end of this post.

I hope you are all well and loving the summer season and getting some good riding in.  Be in touch soon.

Jez x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Racing: The Winners and the Losers

Somewhere in a small woods local to where I live, my legs were burning my back felt ready to explode and I was loosing touch with those that I was racing against.  At the time I just remember ticking off each section of the course; the fast swooping single track, the bumpy grassy sections, the loose pine cone strewn corners, the tight switchback climbs and the power sapping short climbs.

Later on I'm just left wondering why I was doing it.

This was Round 4 of the North East MTB league. I'd been excited about doing this event for months. I'd previously enjoyed doing round 2 despite the slippy muddy conditions.  But conditions were a lot more dry now and so the race promised to be faster and more favourable for my SS.  More importantly, this was a home race. Not something I thought I'd ever be able to say but this was literally in my home town and the start was only about 100 metres from my house.

There were some familiar faces and old friends there on the start line which always makes me feel relaxed.  Having pre ridden the course I was impressed with what the race organisers had created in such a short time and with such a small area.  It was certainly less hilly than the previous race and there was even a bit of dust involved, which has been a rare sight this summer.  As I stood on the start line I thought about what my chances were in this race and what I hoped for.  I'm no natural born racer as I've said before.  I'll never win, but I refuse to be last and so I thought that a mid field result would be a good target.  I was only four places off that target in the last race.  The field was small this time and looking at the racers I knew some of them to be out of my league.  My friend on my right used to be a uk cyclo cross champion and had won the last two rounds and some of the others were regular road, cyclo cross and mountain bike racers.

I was still the only Single speed racer in the field so was already at a slight disadvantage but I wasn't going to let a little thing like that put me off trying.  Once the race started the pack was quick to spread out and there was no real fight into the first bit of single track.  I was somewhere near the back and hooked up on the rider in fronts wheel.  First off camber loose turn and I slowed down too much dabbed a foot and lost him.  Not the best of starts but I concentrated on being fast on the next few sections and to try and pull him back.  As the race settled on the first lap I was tailing the only women racer and had a guy on carrera bike on my back.  He made a surging attack by the second lap and went away and another stupid mistake meant I lost some distance on both of the riders.  I could see the woman and Carrera guy about 30 meters ahead of me but they weren't getting away.but were working with each other.  By the third lap I had caught them back again and was enjoying the racing experience but I was already feeling the strain in my legs and lower back.

Sadly, it was on one tight switch back corner that I lost momentum and had to dismount run a bit then get back on my bike.  By then the other two had increased the gap again.  Curses, how had the gap increased by so much?  I pushed on but at the end of every lap I could see they were getting further away if only by meters.  I never caught them.  I was a bit disappointed that I'd let myself down technically but I had really enjoyed the battle and hope that they are there at the next race. I don't know where I came in the end as I'm still awaiting the results but I think I failed on my target.

So maybe that's why I still race.  Not for the glory of winning but for my own little race, the ones that don't matter to anyone else but me and those I'm up against.  It's exciting, it's hard it is quite simply fun.

Watching the women's Olympics I wonder if the pro racers feel the same thing.  There are those who will never medal and they must know it so why bother.  I imagine it is for similar reasons I race. It was good to watch though, and humbled my own bike handling skills on the bike.  Congrats to not only the medal winners but to all the field on a hard fought race.

 I always hold onto this point in any competitive sport.  There are always losers, but without the losers then there can be no winners.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Want It Wednesday #25 - Lezyne Products

It comes to something in a Want It Wednesday when I can't make up my mind on just one product but have to opt instead for a whole range of stuff.

With this weeks WIW I have become like a magpie to shiny jewelry thanks to the lovely made stuff from Lezyne.  With my new bike creation I have opted to go with silver finishing kit after seeing a bike done in a similar way and confirming that it would look really good.  I had been looking for a silver bottle cage  and yes I found one which will me on my to buy list which you can see below:
alloy cage

But I couldn't stop there.  I really love their pumps which come a range of multi colour options so here's a couple more things!

Tech Drive HV

CNC Floor Drive

I like that the hand pump come with a flexi pipe that screws onto the valve so you don't have to mess with ensuring the pump is on right and fighting with air escaping when putting in high pressure.

Anyway that's me and my Want(s)  Who else has joined me this week?

If you want to join in then please visit my Want It Wednesday Page and follow the instructions!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Corruption In Cycling

I was in the middle of writing a blog post on nutrition in 24 hour racing and became totally side tracked by reading about the current farce that is the USADA trial against Lance Armstrong.  Now those that followed my blog from the early days will know that I take a very strong interest into doping in sport but have always remained open minded into its usage and the circumstances.  In a previous blog post (check it out) I was sympathetic to why cyclists are put into the position of doping whilst remaining very much against it. 

I also made claim that I felt that the UCI were and potentially are incapable of regulating doping within the sport.  I find myself coming back to this point.

Now I'm no big fan of Lance Armstrong (sorry to upset his fans!).  He is a great racer, certainly one of the best Tour de France racers to have been seen but I've never been a fan of his attitude, his control of the peleton, his strong no prisoners attitude to those who dope and speak out against the peleton.  I never believe for one moment he knew nothing of doping going on and yet the most influential man in the peleton did nothing but protect those that doped.  Now I'm not brave enough to say on hear that I think he doped, but I have continued to wonder his innocence.  If he did he wasn't on his own and would have only levelled out the field of all the other riders abusing EPO.

I have taken quite an interest in the recent investigation into LA by Americas own doping agency USADA.  I do think that it has become something of a witch hunt and I don't know enough about American law but there does seem some injustice in the way the court has been set up.  Don't get me wrong I would dearly like to know the truth and am really keen to know what all the evidence is that they have gained against him.  Particularly claims of him doping on his tours under Radioshack after his first retirement.  It certainly makes me question his innocence more but then I think 'so what if they find him guilty?'

What would the world think of our sport if they knew that its prime star was in fact a cheat.  It would be ruined all that history a waste.  They couldn't go on and give the yellow jersey to the riders next on the podium as by all accounts they were cheats too.  In fact between 1999 and 2006 of all the 21 podium finishers only one excluding LA have been known dopers.  And yet of these riders only one of these was actually caught by the UCI. The history books would just have to have a blank spot known for ever as the dark age of the sport.

Which brings me back to the UCI who have now wanted evidence from USADA to be given to them and are now trying to block the case as they feel it is not fair.  I'm not sure why they have taken so long to jump on this but I smell a rat.  Why have the UCI become so protective when they have allowed the USADA to prosecute in the past.  Do they have something to hide?  I've got to say loads of scenarios have come into my head regarding why the UCI would want to get hold of this evidence.  I have really started to believe them to be corrupt and I personally think Lance Armstrong could have a hold over them.  They will not want to be associated with being ineffective at catching its own athletes and more to the point of hiding results for the good of the sport.

If LA goes down then I think the UCI will be pulled to pieces for it and that wouldn't be good for cycling.  They will move heaven and hell to protect themselves and that may even include protecting  Armstrong.  Obviously I'm speculating but it should make you think.

I continue to live in hope that our sport is now cleaner but until the structure is clean then and only then will it really improve.  I have often wondered why in a team that is self managed that if a rider is caught that no others are implemented.  Why are the riders doctors, and sports directors not held accountable.  I tell you want if the rules changed that any rider caught was expelled from the sport AND its director the sport would change.  In house testing and monitoring of riders with in the team would be much more strict.  It's just a thought but its about time something big really happened then we can begin truly trust our sport.

oh.....and look who is back to racing.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bradley Wiggins.....

or should that be SIR Bradley Wiggins?  Totally apt as he added to his to his collection of medals to make him Britains current most successful athlete.  Fantastic ride by him and Chris Froome, so happy for them both.

Thanks guys for bringing our small world of cycling to the forefront of British Sport and giving hope to future generations.