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.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Let the Racing Begin : Rd 1 North East MTB XC League 2013

Rd 1 North East MTB XC League - Ponteland

It was with a bit of anticipation I entered this round, after all its hard to have high expectations of yourself when training plans have fallen by the wayside and the mileage just hasn't added up.  I was, to say the least,not even riding fit let alone race fit.  Still, on arrival after recognising some familiar faces and chatting to friends, race nerves were put aside and I was able to enjoy the friendly atmosphere which made me enjoy this series so much last year.

The course was newly dug and was said to be about a mile in length with which we would commit to an hour of hard racing.  The ground was dry for the first time in nearly a year and promised to be a fast paced race.  I took the choice not to pre ride the course as time was getting tight and to avoid panicking myself. (I have been known to pre ride a course and not make back in time for the start!).  With the sun beating down on us and mild breeze across the field a large bunch of us lined up.  Mixed abilities were all combined including a few juniors and a large number of veterans. There were only three of us riding single speed.  I'd set myself back as I didn't think my chances in the first part were very good and planned to find a wheel early and pace it.

The course firstly went across a couple of dry packed field with a slight downward direction giving plenty of time to string the field out before hitting the woods and the single track.  The single track was on dry peaty ground which went twisted up and down the side of the hill.  One of the climbs had tight switch backs in them, while the other was a straight steep slog up.  The track had a nice flow to it, with out it being overly technical or slippery.  After coming out of the wood its was back onto the fields heading slightly up and into the headwind before a fast decent leading to a steep climb with a near impossible top part due to some wet mud.  More single track on the field followed before a small piece of wooded single track looping back onto the finishing straight.

From the off I held back for a few seconds and realised I was not the only one being hesitant on the line whilst the more experienced riders shot off fast.  I found myself putting in some speed spinning my gear fast and passing a fair few riders down the field into the single track.  Its always at this point you have little idea where you are, but at this point I was confident I was in the top half of the riders.  Not much changed during the lap I lost a place in the single track but the large group of riders behind me stayed there.  I was racing at full tilt, breathing hard.  Probably too hard as the first few climbs I had no more to give and was dismounting early to make it to the top.

Coming onto the second lap I had six riders close behind me who I'd held off until now.  But with the slight downhill from the start, big rings were being engaged and I was passed by all of them.  I lost a few more places on that lap as I tried to regain a more reasonable pace.  It proved to be my slowest lap and likely the result of such a fast start.

By the end of the lap I was sitting in a no-mans land with no one really close behind me or in front of me, and was now finding a comfortable pace.  My nearest rivals were as follows:

Lap 3
DODDS, J          +  :22
ME                     + 1:45
CARR, J            + 2:03

Dodds dangled in front of me for that lap, I could neither gain on him or could he get away.  My pace was remaining fairly even.  Laps 3,4,5 were all set within the a few seconds of each other.  Near the end of Lap 4 Carr had caught me and passed making a few meters on me.  It had seemed It was another place lost but he didn't seem to be making any ground on me.

Lap 4
DODDS, J           +  :21
CARR, J              +  :57
ME                      +1:00

During the penultimate lap I hung onto Carrs wheel, neither making any attempt to over take or loose him.  He became my focal point to keep going.  To be honest I had nothing to give that time to get ahead of him and was worried going in front I'd over cook it and fade.  The guy was similar to me technically and in the climbs so he was easy to stay with.  By the end of lap five we had pulled in a tiring Dodds.

Lap 5
DODDS, J          + 1:06
CARR, J            + 1:07
ME                     +1:09

With the bell ringing for a last lap I felt I could stick with this pace and perhaps take it to the line, but on the field decent before the single track, Carr slowed a bit and I made not just a pass but an attack.  I've never done this before.  I went hard with the aim of dropping him but also catching and passing Dodds.  I succeeded in dropping Carr but Dodds fought back and pulled back in front just before the single track.  Damn it.  I was now breathing out of my arse and a silly mistake on one of the climbs meant Dodds was pulling away.  I was burying myself to stay with him but the gap wouldn't shift.  The last climb I'd gained a little and as we dismounted to climb the top Dodds got off and walked while I ran.  I got passed him and pedalled for all I had to hold him off.

Finally I finished my lap time proving only a bit slower than my first lap and it took a while for me to catch my breath back.  I'd finished mid pack.  22 out of 44 proving my best result to date.  On the final lap the times were

Lap 6
SCHEREZER , F   59:28
ME                        +  :19
DODDS, J             + :28
CARR, J               + 1:06

So that's my first race in the bag, and a very enjoyable one.  My new bike was brilliant and well suited to the course, now I'm looking forward to racing on home turf and seeing if I can better myself on trails I know well.  I might even put some training in........

Friday, 12 April 2013

Looking Back at the UCI MTB XCO World Cup 2012

Come May 8th 2013 the World XC action will be back with us again.  Its a race race series that I've found hard in the past to watch but the Internet has become better for me to view it and now I can see it through Extreme channel.  It was a good year with the Swiss rider Nino Schurter being a formidable force to contend with.  It is of course the last year in which we got to see Burry Stander race and even win one of the world cup rounds before his untimely and sad death.  I was going to write a report on each of the races but never got around to it.  Instead I thought I'd let you see for yourself. 

So for your pleasure I've compiled as many of the Mens races from last year as I could find into one area to save you the search. All the races are in full length. Sadly, I cant get access to the Olympic race or the final seventh round at Val d' Isere yet.  Enjoy!

Elite Men - Pietermaritzburg, South Africa - 17.03.2012

Elite Men - Houffalize, Belgium - 15.04.2012

Elite Men - Nov Mesto, Czech Republic - 13.05.2012

Elite Men - La Bresse, France - 20.05.2012

Elite Men - Mont Sainte Anne, Canada - 23.06.2012

Elite Men - Windham, U.S.A - 30.06.2012

Elite Men - World Championships -  Saalfelden Leogang, Austria - 08.09.2012

Overall Winner of World Cup
  1. SCHURTER Nino
  2. STANDER Burry
  3. KULHAVY Jaroslav
  4. FONTANA Marco Aurelio
  5. HERMIDA RAMOS Jose Antonio
  6. VOGEL Florian
  7. FUMIC Manuel
  9. GIGER Fabien
  10. FLUCKIGER Lukas

Monday, 1 April 2013

Where are they now? Missy Giove

As a new piece to my blog I'd thought about delving into our past and finding out what has happened to bike stars from yester-year.  The years when Mountain Biking started coming of age and the good old Grundig World Cups. There have been many champions to the sport of both downhill and XC but there have been some that stood out more than others and so I'll be delving as deep as I dare and finding out what really happened to them after racing.

Missy Giove

Melissa "Missy" Giove (born 1972) is a former professional downhill mountain biker. Also know as the Missile , Giove was one of mountain-bike racing's first mainstream female superstars with an impressive reseme of achievements as well as her in your face, full on attitude that lit up the womens downhill scene.


She is the American all-time leader in NORBA downhill wins with 14, and is second on the World Cup list with 11. Giove's other accomplishments include three overall NORBA downhill crowns, two World Cup overalls, and the 1994 world championship title. Prior to cycling, Missy was also a nationally ranked downhill skier.

Early in her career, Missy raced for the highly respected boutique Yeti Racing team along with other top downhill racing stars such as Myles Rockwell, Jimmy Deaton, John Tomac, and Johnny O under the management of industry veteran and former owner of Yeti Cycles, John Parker. After establishing herself as the top US women's downhill talent, Missy moved to the larger corporate financed team of Volvo-Cannondale USA cycling team. Together Missy Giove and Myles Rockwell dominated many of the US downhill races under the Cannondale badge in the early 90's. Missy was always known for being colorful and fast talking, and noted for wearing the desiccated body of her deceased pet piranha Gonzo on a necklace when racing, and her dead dogs ashes in her bra.

During her career she raced hard and full on taking on the ethos of riding: "I went fast for maybe 50 yards and then crashed. Then I went 100 yards and crashed. Finally one day I made it across the finish line without crashing. I never got faster, I just made it down farther." This riding was to lead to many hard crashes.  One shattered her Pelvis in six places.  An injury that Doctors had told her she would not fully recover from.  Later while racing she also broke both her legs as well as getting a brain haemorage.

*World Cup Results At Bottom of Page*

What Happened After Racing

She announced her retirement from full-time racing in August 2003, and in March 2004, she appeared in an episode of the cartoon Rocket Power titled "Missile Crisis" (the title referring to her nickname), giving one of the characters a compliment. After retirement she helped finance the travel and fees for several up and coming downhill cyclists.

She retired in 2003. That same year she landed on the cover of Girlfriends magazine for a story promoting the publication’s lesbian athlete hall of fame. On April 25th she will celebrate her 4th wedding anniversary to Kristen Hofheimer Giove.

In June 2009 Giove was arrested in upstate Wilton, New York on charges of conspiring to possess and distribute over 400 pounds of marijuana. Giove has pleaded guilty to the charges and was facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years, a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $2 million.

On November 23rd, 2011 she was sentenced to the time served, six months of home detention and five years of supervised release. She was reported saying:

"I am extremely sorry and remorseful," Giove said. "I realize I was a role model to certain people. I'm really sorry for making the wrong decisions. I just want to move forward." Giove's attorney, Tim Austin, said head injures both forced his client to retire and sapped her financially, contributing to her decision to traffic marijuana. "Missy's involvement in this does not define who she is," Austin said. "She does not need prison to be rehabilitated."

Back in 2004, Giove was interviewed by competitive cycling journal VeloNews. She was asked what she thought would be her legacy:

I just always wanted to inspire people not to live their life in fear,” Giove said. “You know what, you’re only here once and that’s it. You better live it up.”

World Cup & World Championships Results

Date             Race                                Venue                   Cat  Sponser                Place  Entr %   Best    
13th Jul 20032003 Tissot World Cup #4Grouse MountainElite
8th Sep 20022002 Tissot World Cup #6Les GetsEliteGLOBAL RACING-400%
1st Sep 2002UCI - World Champs '02KaprunElite
14th Jul 20022002 Tissot World Cup #5Telluride, COEliteGLOBAL RACING4th2788%2:22.80
30th Jun '022002 Tissot World Cup #3Mont-Sainte-AnneEliteGLOBAL RACING12th2758%6:31.93
9th Jun 20022002 Tissot World Cup #2MariborEliteGLOBAL RACING26th3731%4:07.41
2nd Jun 20022002 Tissot World Cup #1Fort WilliamEliteGLOBAL RACING5th3588%6:00.17
16th Sep '01UCI - World Champs '01VailElite
26th Aug '012001 Tissot World Cup #8Mont-Sainte-AnneEliteGLOBAL RACING4th3491%5:47.85
12th Aug '012001 Tissot World Cup #7KaprunEliteGLOBAL RACING5th4591%7:20.20
5th Aug 20012001 Tissot World Cup #6LeysinEliteGLOBAL RACING6th3585%6:54.18
29th Jul 20012001 Tissot World Cup #5Arai MountainEliteGLOBAL RACING2nd1994%4:54.34
15th Jul 20012001 Tissot World Cup #4DurangoEliteGLOBAL RACING3rd2592%4:07.55
8th Jul 20012001 Tissot World Cup #3Grouse MountainEliteGLOBAL RACING2nd3797%2:09.75
17th Jun '012001 Tissot World Cup #2VarsEliteGLOBAL RACING3rd3895%3:51.95
10th Jun '012001 Tissot World Cup #1MariborEliteGLOBAL RACING3rd4295%3:23.55
27th Aug '002000 Tissot World Cup #8LeysinEliteAzonic / Foes4th3391%8:12.41
13th Aug '002000 Tissot World Cup #7KaprunEliteAzonic / Foes2nd3897%6:23.47
23rd Jul 20002000 Tissot World Cup #6Arai MountainEliteAzonic / Foes2nd1693%5:45.42
16th Jul 20002000 Tissot World Cup #5VailEliteAzonic / Foes2nd2696%5:00.48
2nd Jul 20002000 Tissot World Cup #4Mont-Sainte-AnneEliteAzonic / Foes1st30100%5:27.99
11th Jun '00UCI - World Champs '00Sierra NevadaElite
3rd Jun 20002000 Tissot World Cup #3MariborEliteAzonic / FOCUS3rd3694%4:34.62
28th May '002000 Tissot World Cup #2Cortina d'AmpezzoEliteAzonic / FOCUS2nd4298%3:41.57
21st May '002000 Tissot World Cup #1Les GetsEliteAzonic / FOCUS3rd3093%3:16.19
18th Sep '99UCI - World Champs '99ÅreElite
15th Aug '991999 Diesel World Cup #8KaprunEliteAzonic / Foes9th2971%7:55.10
8th Aug 19991999 Diesel World Cup #7BromontElite
1st Aug 19991999 Diesel World Cup #6Mont-Sainte-AnneElite
11th Jul 19991999 Diesel World Cup #5Squaw Valley, CAElite
27th Jun '991999 Diesel World Cup #4Big Bear Lake, CAElite
6th Jun 19991999 Diesel World Cup #3NevegalEliteAzonic / Foes2nd3097%5:00.35
30th May '991999 Diesel World Cup #2MariborEliteAzonic / Foes10th3069%5:22.09
23rd May '991999 Diesel World Cup #1Les GetsEliteAzonic / Foes2nd3097%8:17.97
20th Sep '98UCI - World Champs '98Mont-Sainte-AnneElite
30th Aug '981998 Grundig World Cup #8Arai MountainElite
16th Aug '981998 Grundig World Cup #7KaprunEliteCannondale / VOLVO3rd2592%5:26.70
9th Aug '981998 Grundig World Cup #6Sierra NevadaEliteCannondale / VOLVO16th2538%5:30.66
28th Jul 19981998 Grundig World Cup #5Snoqualmie PassElite
21st Jun 19981998 Grundig World Cup #4Big Bear LakeElite
31st May '981998 Grundig World Cup #3Les GetsEliteCannondale / VOLVO3rd2592%6:50.25
24th May '981998 Grundig World Cup #2NevegalEliteCannondale / VOLVO3rd2592%6:42.47
5th Apr 19981998 Grundig World Cup #1StellenboschElite
21st Sep 1997UCI - World Champs '97Château d'OexEliteCannondale/VOLVO43rd4913%9:38.87
15th Aug '971997 Grundig World Cup #6KaprunEliteCannondale / VOLVO1st25100%4:37.22
6th Jul 19971997 Grundig World Cup #5Massanutten, VAEliteCannondale / VOLVO3rd2592%5:07.20
29th Jun 19971997 Grundig World Cup #4Mont-Sainte-AnneEliteCannondale / VOLVO1st25100%6:09.20
1st Jun 19971997 Grundig World Cup #3Sierra NevadaEliteCannondale / VOLVO2nd2596%4:51.42
25th May 19971997 Grundig World Cup #2NevegalEliteCannondale / VOLVO3rd2592%6:29.52
18th May 19971997 Grundig World Cup #1Stellenbosch, RSAEliteCannondale / VOLVO2nd1894%5:30.37
22nd Sep 1996UCI - World Championships '96CairnsEliteVolvo-Cannondale3rd2089%5:31.37
23rd Sep 1995UCI - World Championships '95KirchzartenElite