Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I know I have been keeping a low profile on the blogging front. I had planned a weekly update on our annual March UK visit, but with so much going on in the Potter world that was not to be. Although I haven't typed a word on my blog for almost a month, that doesn't mean I have been slacking on the talking and typing front. As a result this blog will be divided into chapters. Ian and I have experienced so many adventures these past three weeks, with AQR and Cotic Bontrager events left, right and centre, that I just can't decide what NOT to write sit back and enjoy another essay, or should I say Potter long story with chapters incase you need a break :) .
Ian and I return to the UK every March for three weeks to visit family, friends and to try and have a little bit of a holiday ourselves before the spring and summer mountain bike season explodes into action. Unfortunately Ian and I only know how to give other people a holiday experience, as we have only managed one proper day off in the last 4 weeks and even before we had landed in Dover our diaries were filling up.
We Potters were not very happy to leave our little Luchon mountain home. The morning of our departure I finished my 6am training session and sat by the lac watching the sun rise over the mountains. It is such a wonderful feeling being surrounded by nature. The pace of life in Luchon is so chilled and relaxed, that I'm surprised we Potters have been allowed to stay this long as we are always running around liking headless chickens. Living in Luchon has certainly taught us to appreciate every little moment in life and to take time to stop and smell the roses.
I had to drag myself back to the house to prepare for our voyage back to the UK, what is always a tiring journey for me, yes me the one who sleeps all the way back to Nottingham. Don't ask me how sleeping for over 14hrs can be such an exhausting experience, but it is. I told Ian I wanted to drive home this year, yes Mrs P behind the mini bus wheel, but I was only allowed to drive on straight roads, as Ian doesn't trust me on the corners. I have developed a biking habit that allows me to out corner Ian on certain switchbacks. I'm able to take them super tight because of my size, but unfortunately this technique doesn't suit long wheel base mini buses on tarmac roads. So at this stage I'm banned from driving as I have finally worked out what scares Ian....ME behind the mini bus wheel cornering! Anyway before I knew it we were back in Nottingham, but unfortunately I slept so soundly that I missed my turn, or should I say 'straight road' behind the time Mr P.
The first week was manic as all my racing kit for 2009 was being sent to Cotic Headquarters and we had alot to build and sort out for the 2009 race and AQR guiding season. So whilst Ian was sorting the bike fleet out up north I was playing secretary and booking flights, trains, buses, plus friends to help the Potters get from A to B this year. AQR bookings are rolling through, and already weeks are starting to fill up, plus as you can imagine the paper work from the last few months was looking like a mountain so Amanda and I had alot to go through and by the end of our first week in the UK my eyes had turned square.
Ian has also been very busy working on the AQR bike fleet, which includes our race bikes for this summer...yes Mr Potter is racing a few events too this year. I'm very excited about getting back on my little Soda with all the 2009 sponsors kit on board. I will be using two very different Cotic Sodas and apparently a new full suss for world cup XC racing this year. All prototype developments, that may or may not be produced in the future. The Soda's are as always looking sweet with a bit of a red and white theme going on in 2009. Bontrager have brought out some really nice looking kit this year, just wait until you see the new wheels, my golly gosh they are light, but they also look the part too. I'm starting to think the Cotic Soda will look better without me on board. You can check one of them out at the first national round at Sherwood Pines this Sunday, as the other one will be packed ready for a trip to South Africa a day later.
At the same time I was organsising the 2009 'Cotic Big Day Out' and 'AQR's Ladies Day', both being held at Sherwood Pines. This also meant racing around Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire (in a car) as I was asked to do some radio interviews which were alot of fun, even more so when you know the radio interviewer, but you only realise who it is at the last minute. It was very hard to pretend that I didn't know you Fran and husband Gerry :)I had to choose some songs, so I apologise to all of Nottinghamshire for choosing the most soppiest songs I could think of...I can't help it I love a soppy song or two. I also had to choose a song that describes me, very difficult decision, but I chose the dance song from the
90's 'I like to move it, move it'. but sadly the radio station didn't know what song I was going on about, even when I tried to sing it, with dance moves and everything....Ian walked away and disowned me for those few minutes.
Anyway the Cotic Big Day Out was a huge success. Cy has never seen so many people testing Cotic bikes before. Plus there were plenty of Cotic owners coming along for some AQR guided single track action. We even had some Aussies (that be you Claire & Paul) who made it for the day. The new red route at Sherwood Pines has been sponsored by Cotic. The single track is superb, and there were high grins all round on the day. If you want super flowing single track where you can pick up plenty of speed then you must head to Sherwood Pines. I promise you won't be disapointed, it's so much fun!
The next day was Mother's Day and it was great to see the ladies outnumbering the men on the trails. Lady riders of all fitness and skill level took part in AQR biking skills, trail side maintenance, and a guided ride at the end of the day. I'm definitely organising another AQR Ladies Day in June because it was so nice to meet all those who could attend the day, and even better when Ian, Paul and I saw significant progress and improved confidence from all of you. By 6pm I was knackered from talking so much, I actually lost my voice.
31 riders joined AQR for the annual AQR Spring weekend in Church Stretton. As always I had promised sunshine all weekend, but unfortunately everybody thought I knew the weatherman personally and they all had high expectations. Friday night at the welcome meal everybody told me we were in for showers and possibly snow storms as well...I was in trouble for not keeping my promise. So I prayered and begged the weather Gods to be kind....AND THEY LISTENED!!! I'm not kidding the sun followed the AQR troopers all around Church Stretton. In the distance there were black clouds all around, but not where our tyres ventured. I was very relieved, as I didn't feel too confident the weatherman was listening to me this year, perhaps it was a weatherwoman who listened to me instead :) The weekend was alot of fun for AQR, and as always it was great to have the added entertainment from 'Yeti' sponsored Dibley and 'Smart Car, banana boy' sponsored Rich in fine silly form as always. Ian, Jon, and Paul did a great job guiding as always, and thankyou to the AQR Crew for your help as well.

A day of posing and trying to look good on a bike in the Peak District. This can be a bit difficult when you are posing alongside Cotic's Robbie who is simply awesome. Robbie is super smooth and a super talented rider. He makes the Cotic Bfe ride like a full suss, and takes ridiculous lines that just leave you gobsmacked. Then when you put him on the Cotic Hemlock, the power, finesse and speed he gets out of the Hemlock is just mind blowing. He is certainly one to look out for in the future. We also met up with Single Track's Benji, and spent the afternoon playing on the rocky trails in the Peaks. Unfortunately I was having a few clumbsy moments and found myself face down in a stream. Perhaps being a pisces I'm naturally attracted to water, as I'm always the only one to finish a ride drenched right through. But it was a top day and great to catch up with the Cotic crew.

The last two weeks I have been training in the morning, before AQR duties take over. Training has been going well, and my legs are getting stronger, power has increased this year and I have finally mastered the American bunny hop, well little American bunny hops at this stage.....AQR's Paul still holds the record. I have been trying to bunny hop properly for years and it suddenly clicked a little while ago. Still need to improve the manual lift, but it has made such a difference to my riding and my confidence. It will be a long year to keep up good form, so I'm not too worried about early season races just yet. I'm very excited about riding new courses and catching up with all the people I met last year. I'm itching to get back into racing though as I just love the buzz you get from trying to go as hard as you can and knowing that you have given the race your best shot. So it all starts this Sunday. The first race before 8 hard weeks of racing across Europe, with big trips to South Africa and Canada planned. It's all about earning points this year and as always learning from every new experience that comes my way, whether that be good or bad.So it's time to sign off and wish you all biking fun and adventures. Will be back again soon with a race report or two, or three.....cheerios for now KPxo


Dave Irvine - MTB said...

I think the song that you mention is by Reel 2 Real...

Kate Potter said...

You know it! I couldn't remember the name of the group. The radio station didn't know it, but perhaps it was more the fact that I can't sing to save me :)