Monday, 31 March 2008

Spring...

Is a time to reflect on new life. Blossom appears, chicks hatch and... new team kit arrives!

I am loving this time of year :) Loads of enthusiasm for the upcoming season mixed with a little slice of apprehension about form (or lack thereof).

Nothing, however, better signals the time of year than a new bike...



After much humming and hahhring I plumped for the Anthem Zero and am well chuffed. Took it out for a spin last night just to get the position dialled and it's basically the same as last years + better finishing kit. Which means it is the fastest bike I've ridden. All I need now is a few rides to get used to riding full-sus again and I'll be motoring (hopefully!).

Paula went for the XTC C Zero and is equally pleased. The new XTR is pimp-tastic and it fits her like a glove.



We also got our new shoes which I could almost describe as glove-like, were it not for the fact they go on my feet. They are the black equivalent of white-sex. However I was disappointed not to find either a tan or Phil Mason size calf muscles in the box :(



Helmets (mmmmmmmm)...



And of course, the new team kit.

Feeling fast? Hopefully. 2 weeks till the first race of the year with a tune up weekend at Coed-y-Brennin all that's left between us and the start gun. Nervous? Moi?

To Ride in Spain...


Has been great :)

I’m not a religious man, but whatever Gods I upset in February are still pretty grumpy. However, they relented for most of the week and so we had had a mixed bag of shorts and beanies.


The snow was a surprise though… and P’s glad she packed her new badass Assos tights (thanks Ben D!).



We fell on our feet with the hotel and the guys here. A really welcoming group (thanks Stuart, if you're thinking of going give me a shout and I'll put you onto him. Cheap, welcoming and good rides. No frills, but in a good way) which worked at the perfect pace, a nice and quiet room on the top floor (no clippie cloppy people above us ;) and enough good food to fuel us through the day. Carpy has been showing us the way, and put us onto a local crit that was going on one evening. Always good to watch other people suffering!

We had a great 100 mile ride, first half with Stu and his group then second half just me and P. Headwinds vicious, tailwinds amazing. A couple of cheeky refuels in the dying hours of the ride were vital. Thanks to Spanish sarnies, coffees and garages (2 litres of Coke administered at the appropriate time makes a huge difference!).


On a different note, we’ve been to Majorca before, so we knew what to expect…

But what has blown me away is (and I say this with the utmost respect) the level of the older guys here. I must be naïve not to have known this (but I guess I didn’t grow up in a road club environment) but the fitness of these guys is awesome. Seventy year old men making me dig deep and laughing about it… and they are riding day in day out. I can only say I hope I’m half the rider they are when I’m 50-60-70.

To be honest the biggest reality check is seeing such amazing athletes eating in the same dining hall as the other British tourists here. It’s no surprise we have an obesity epidemic when you look at the size of some of the families out here…

Keep eating the salad J


Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hotel internet...

Is a bit crap. So no photos and not much text.

But... all is good here. The weather has been good (enough) and the riding has been great. We´ve met up with some nice guys who have turned us inside out and I feeling fitter (and more tired).

I was struggling this morning from the moment the alarm went off, so it was a blessing when my mech cble snapped in the first 500m. It meant a lonely trip to the bike shop to fix it and a ride in the mountains at my own pace (which wast very fast). All good though as I would have struggled to keep up with the group.

1 dayś riding left :(

I like holidays :)

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Man Down...

Bobby J + appendicitis = off training :(

Send all positive healing energy (if you believe in that type of new-age nonsense) to Bobby. A fiver says he'll recover enough to kick my ass and smile at the same time within 8 weeks...

I vowed never to post this photo. It makes me look both not-big and not-clever. However, his need is greater than mine...


TT's...

Are rarely fun. This was one that was. Despite a minging day, a flooded course, some general stropping, and of course the pain and suffering associated with a TT it turned out good.

To be honest, everyone who rocked up (all 15 of them) should be chuffed... and the faces after the race...



Looked happier than the faces before!



Luke performed better in the TT than he did in the real competition, the post ride cake scoff... (cheers Clive). I reckon he forked out because he felt guilty about suggesting we all do it.



John Tetley was the deserved winner. I got a short seminar in sustained power today, short as that's all the time it took him to catch and pass me for 3 min.

ps Thanks to all contributors to my present. I'm really enjoying my new toy :)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Not much happening...

The plan said train, we didn't.

Instead... enjoy a bit of retro Lance appreciation... tainted by drugs be may be (or not, depends on your viewpoint) he's still a legend.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

4 seasons, and a lesson...

I'm lucky, just like I said last weekend. Another weekend, another great couple of days :)

Suffered like a dog on Saturday. Planned to do 4 hours, went out as Billy no Mates, managed 3:45 into the howling wind. Not. Having. Fun.

Sunday was the antidote ride. The ying to Saturdays yang. Afan, sun, rain & hail all in one ride.





See what I mean?

After 3 hours, with the quads beginning to grumble - snakie... and, being a hero, I told everyone to ride on... with 2 tubes and 3 CO2 cannisters, what could go wrong? Only the canister attachment thingy. With 10 psi in the rear tyre riding is quite hard work... and not a lot of fun. I engaged full "Look on the bright side" power to see through the grumbles and enjoyed the slow cruise down. It could have been worse...



and I'm buying a pump tomorrow :)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Lucky...

to have so many great friends and such a wonderful family. This week was a week of note, well at least everyone kept telling me it was... I was 30 on Thursday and have been a little overwhelmed (if that's possible!) by the effort my family and friends went put in to help me celebrate.



Lots of people made the trek to Pantygelli in Wales for a weekend of gentle walking and consumption (of food and drink).



Well done to all concerned for braving the bunkhouse accommodation - non-snorers included. If you're looking to organise some group accommodation you could do a lot worse. The food at the pub next door was fantastic too.



Lucky? Yes, very.