Sunday, 24 February 2008

Afan day...

Raining it might be but a days riding in Afan can't be dampened by a bit of precipitation :) Especially when you're lucky enough to be riding with your talented and attractive wife :), Benny Boy and Stu. Especially for Stu's 3rd ever mtb ride, perhaps 2 laps of Whites Level was a little much.

The new piece of trail there ('Energy Loop' or something?) is a pleasure... even in the pissing rain.

Of course, the highlight is the (cold) shower, and the hot food. Happy days :)

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Testing & Gardening...

Today was testing day... and, during one of the recovery periods, I decided that training is not all that different from gardening (which gives you and insight into how much of my total blood volume was in my legs, and not in my brain!).You spend ages working on something, not really being able to see what's going on under the surface. You worry that pests and diseases will rob you of your final reward, your crop of gold, but you can't peek too soon... dig up those carrots early and they might not be ready. So you sow your seeds, tend them for ages, removing the weeds whatever the weather and even when your motivation wains.

Today was one of my monthly peeks at my crop. It's funny, I'm almost as nervous on testing mornings as I am before races. What isn't funny is the suffering, without competition to take your mind off it, it's much worse than in a race. If you fancy a go the protocol is:

20 min warm up
2 x 15 sec max effort
2 min rest
1 min max effort
5 min rest
5 min max effort
10 min rest
20 min max effort
warm down (& optional puke)

It always seems like a good idea before and after... and never a good idea during any of the efforts.

And the outcome today? Fitter... but not fit enough :) Another month of tending needed...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The return of the mokes... the UK has not been a very happy one. For starters, the day we flew out of Spain the sun came out and baked us in the car to the airport... which is just not cricket. And now I'm back I'm wishing I was still away where there are no worries, no stresses, just rides.

Fortunately, although the Spanish weather was trying to pull a fast one, we were made of sterner stuff and bashed on through the rain. While mere mortals might have stayed on the flats where it was dry, we were there to ride in the mountains... so we did.

However, that's not to say that the claws of rain induced insanity didn't take their hold at times...

Of course, retail therapy is a well known cure for 'rain-in-spain-itis'. I purchased a Euro-Pro string vest type thing... and modelled it in every cafe (under the paper thin excuse of drying off, really I just wanted to look like a local!). Paula isn't looking at the camera because she's looking at the bar full of Spanish men having their morning beer and looking at my tan!

One of the best parts of the camp/holiday was seeing how much Bobby-J has come on in his riding. All too often I had to put on my 1000 yard stare and try and follow his wheel.

Even worse, he's got his own limited edition Pro-kit... Gillette as your main sponsor anyone?!?

Not sure about his pain face though... that needs work..

Finally, 5 weeks till Majorca... just looking for accommodation at the moment. Priorities (in order of importance) 1) Quiet 2) Close to Puerto Pollensa 3) Clean Then, in no particular order, Lots of good food, price, bike friendly. Anyhow, any suggestions??? Until then... here's dreaming :)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Not part of the plan...

to rain. No... it wasn´t.

But we are made of sterner stuff than that and bashed out 5 hours.

Bobby suffered an unfortunate front wheel flat. In the rain. On his carbon front wheel. On a downhill. In a tubular. And his spare had no glue. Or a valve extender. But we triumphed, and Bobby carried on regardless (expect on the corners, where he was a little ginger (in approach, not hair colour)).

Message ends.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The training in spain falls mainly on the plain

It is a pleasure to be away from the stresses of home (at least most of them) and be able to ride-sleep-eat-giggle as much as you want. We´re staying in Denia, on the Coasta Blanca. The mountains are close enough to ride to within 30 mins and the first couple of days riding have been great.

Especially to just chill out with P and spend some time away from the worries of jobs and family.

Of course, it´s not just P and me... Bobby J has made a guest appearance and is doing his best to pop me in the pain cave... while smiling all the time. Bobby is not just pushing me on the hills, he´s also got a cheeky little sprint. More than enough to make the legs sting a little :)

The hotel is 99% full of Saga holidaymakers (60+), so the vibe is peaceful... unless you get in the way in the line up for the buffet... there is no mercy at the salad bar. Surprisingly they also party pretty hard, after the first night we were in bed first and had to ask to be moved after the disco kept us away till midnight. Too much for me.

Of course, the vitals are being looked after, there´s something about about coffee in a mediterrainian country that makes it taste that little bit better.

Being away is just right... it´s nice while you´re away.... and then you enjoy being home again even more.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Viva Espana!

The time has come my friends... pack your bikes and race to the sun :0)

A week's training in the sunny (and overly developed) Costa Blanca. Just what's needed for a recharge.

Of course, if it rains... or even looks like raining... then I will be writing to the Spanish government to ask for a refund, no one goes to Spain to ride in the rain. I can do that at home for free!

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Thanks to...

... Mud and Cowbells for flagging this up. Nice little docu-film from the recent World Cross Champs in Italy. The music fits perfectly :)

Frosty mornings...

... are the best time to ride muddy trails.

I was lucky enough to have a guide to the Forest. Even though it's only 50 min drive from mine we don't often ride there. When you're time limited you tend to gravitate to trails where you are guaranteed a good time, whatever. Anyhow, that wasn't a problem this time. Tony showed me all the good bits, and some cool bits in between.

Coffee after a ride with either of the Morris' is always a treat, there's nothing like a proper cup in an Aga warmed kitchen :O). A bean-to-cup is on my wishlist!