Thursday, 11 September 2008

One final effort...

Well, as the end of the racing season is looming, i'm putting in one final big effort for my last couple of races. I have to admit, all the racing and training is starting to catch up with me and my body is starting to scream for a rest period. It was a bit of a struggle getting back on the bike this week after taking time out for my cousins wedding, but I now have some fresh motivation after some steady miles to get the legs turning. Cycling is strange like that. After rest, I always need a nice steady, low intensity run to bring the "legs back" if you like.

Anyhow, i'm not going to let the body into hybernation mode just yet :-D I have two planned races up ahead - the last round of the Scottish XC MTB series at Glentress, and the week after, a 130mile road sportif to wind down for the season - this starts and finishes in Ullapool, just across the pond for me! After this, i'll likely take a few weeks off, park the bikes up and just relax. I'll only ride if I feel like it. Nice to get training routines out of your head for one point in the year. I also like to do a bit of running/gym in the off-season so that will definately be on the cards. Keep posted for updates on my closing races.

Over and out.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

First Elite Win!!

Evening Readers.

Not had a chance to post for a while as i've been busy with racing/training and also best man duties at my cousins wedding (glad that's over, I nearly hit VO2 max HR doing the speech!!). Anyhow, i'm happy to say that last weekend I took my first ever elite win at Drumlanrig Castle for round 6 of the Scottish XC MTB series. Delighted!!

With such bad luck at Fort William having crashed out and damaged my thumb I was really fired up to get a good result at Drumlanrig. Having stayed at my mate Dave Henderson's (Pedal Power Race Team) again in Edinburgh on the weekend of the race (cheers as always dude), we both travelled down and were in high spirits. For some reason, I felt so relaxed about this one, even more so when I saw the competition was going to be high with both the Creber brothers, James Fraser Moodie and Andrew Barlow on the start sheet.

When race day arrived the weather turned sour. Constant heavy rain turned the course into a complete mudfest. This didn't seem to phase me at all though, in fact, I was kind of looking forward to it. Having the right tyres for the job definately improves your confidence in these kind of conditions. Pulling up on the start grid, I was suprised to see that there was no sign of James. Instead, I had Ross Creber, Andy Barlow and Iain Nimmo to contend with. Iain always seems to come on strong at the end of the season so I was prepared for a suprise, especially after his recent 3rd place at Fort William. Off the start, the pace was suprisingly calm. Myself, Ross and Andy got a bit of a gap and settled into a nice pace. I kind of expected Ross to attack pretty early but he seemed to be staying put. About half way round the first lap, I felt well within the comfort zone. I'm a pretty tactical rider usually, and like to stick to wheels and "follow to the death" if you like, but today for some reason I felt really confident, and decided go things alone and lead from the front. Needless to say, the plan worked. I just rode away on a climb from Ross and Andy and didn't look back. The gap continued to extend until the end of the race, with me even managing to put a faster lap in on lap 4. On the last lap, I had such a lead I decided to back off and nurse things home as the conditions were so bad. I really didn't want a mechanical. Within the last km or so, I started grinning to myself. I could feel that winning glory already. I crossed the line 3 minutes up on Andy Barlow. Turned out Ross appeared to be having a bad day and pulled out of the race on lap 2. Amazing feeling, that's what I call extreme euphoria. Let's hope there will be more to come :-)

I've been chilling out a bit this week, although still putting some miles in. I have to say, my recovery was really good from this race. Instead of dead legs for most of the week, the snap was back in 2 days. I've found out recently that i'm slightly lactose intolerant so have cut the dairy from my diet. Hard thing to do, especially as I love milk, but the soy replacement tastes great. Perhaps this has something to do with my great form too? It certainly didn't hold me back, that's for sure. I've taken the day off training today as yesterday was committed to being best man at my cousins wedding. Ok, almost - I snuck in a swift interval session in early morning before getting changed into my kilt (don't tell the groom!!). A great day though, which topped off my week nicely.

Just one major race left on the calander due to the British NPS Round 5 cancellation farce (Annoyed at this - I could have done with the points for my National Ranking). Anyhow, Sept 21st sees the last round of the Scottish XC MTB series which is also a world UCI E2 class event. I'll be expecting some major competition as plenty Elite boys will be chasing the UCI points so i'll be digging deep for my last big effort of the season. Let's hope I can hold this form! The week after, I have a 130mile Road Sportif which starts from Ullapool, i'll be doing that with some of the local Hebridean CC riders. Looking forward to it.

That's all for now. Slainte Math people!