Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Outing on the >X< and other blogging news...

I hoped that my next blog read would take off from where I left off after saying goodbye to 2009...yes I know I'm two months you will have to read my last longish blog to know what I'm going on about. But every time I find the time to sit down and let you all know what's happening in the Potter's bike about world, something else biking related happens so I end up with this back log of biking related thoughts, ideas and nonsence brain babble waiting to be blogged about. So a quick one sentence summary of what has gone off in the last few weeks.....before I reveal some >X< rated news -
October 3-4 AQR End of Season Weekend - Literally flew around the Peak District on the Cotic Hemlock riding in 70 mile winds. I was so fast....until I turned around :)
October 8-11 2009 London Bike Show - Cotic Soda 2010 WOAH!!! looks extra fizzy. Cotic >X<, WOW! It's bright!!!! Great to catch up with so many of you who could make it, although I'm sent home early due to fatigue (sorry), Ian stays put and hopefully caught up with many of you....Afternoon drama Post Cycle Show when we almost lose the 2010 Soda when thiefs strike on Sunday night. Thanks to those who stuck around to help Cy, Paul and Ian out. Plus special thanks to Kelvin for saving the Soda.
October 17-18 AQR Potter Skills Session with MTB Club 'Beyond 9 to 5' part 1 - IP and KP head down to Afan where we coached 8 lovely bikers who were A plus students if I do say so myself :)
October 17-18 AQR Potter Skills Session with MTB Club 'Beyond 9 to 5' part 2 - KP learns that perhaps she shouldn't call out 'IAAAAAAN' when IP is demonstrating how to fly through the air...
October 17-18 AQR Potter Skills Session with MTB Club 'Beyond 9 to 5' part 3 - IP needs to practice what he preaches, 'where you look, is where you go', whilst flying through the air...
October 17-18 AQR Potter Skills Session with MTB Club 'Beyond 9 to 5' part 4 - KP, completely innocent & cannot be blamed for IP imprinting himself on a tree...IP should have been looking where he was going....we can laugh about it now though hey love :)
AND THEN THE >X< ARRIVED AT AQR HEADQUARTERS....oh my golly gosh! I was hoping the Cotic >X< prototype I will be testing for Cotic might be slightly subtle in colour considering I have never raced cyclo cross before. I'm always concerned that I'm going to embarrass the cool Cotic brand name when trying something completely new....especially when it involves using my feet in more ways than one, as I'm known for my clumbsiness. BUT it looks so sweet! It definitely stands out in a crowd and brightens up the greyest of winter days. But there is a problem when a bike looks this good and you want to do it proud...I was feeling the pressure from my perfectionist brain who always like to do a good job at anything I turn my hand or legs to. I had 6 days to learn a thing or two about cyclo cross before entering my first race. So who do I turn to for some much needed tuition and good friend Nick Craig who recently won the Three Peaks Challenge and who knows alot more than a thing or two about cyclo cross, mountain biking, cycling, fell running....and who we all know is just such a top bloke.
Monday 19th October - Cyclo Cross Coaching Session with Nick Craig
Nick very kindly invited Ian and I to his home and base in the Peak District where we took the Cotic >X< for it's maiden voyage. I might just add that we hadn't quite finished building the >X< because we were waiting delivery of a new head set, wheels and at this point in time the bike didn't quite steer properly because we were using the wrong head set and my brakes....well I know cantalever brakes aren't as strong as my Magura disc I settled for a very cheap pair on the bike that might as well not have been on the I was bursting with confidence :)
Before we got stuck into the skills session Nick checked the bike over and gave us loads of tips to help us BOTH prepare for racing cyclo cross....Ian doesn't know this yet bet he will be racing a Cotic >X< in 2010/11. Nick gave us advice on tyres, wheels, brakes (lots of advice here :) ), race rules and regulations that I had no idea about and together Ian and I jotted down the info in our heads...two Potter brains are better than one methinks.
Then it was time to focus on some cyclo cross skills, and the rest of the afternoon was spent focusing on jumping on and off the bike, leg behind, leg in front, cruising, jumping over obstacles, carrying the bike on my back....I feel privilidged that Nick taught me his special technique as to lifting the bike on to my back. I won't forget this technique as every time I got it wrong I ended up with some extra purpleness to the ever expanding bruises on my arm and shoulder as it took me a while to get the coordination right, but once I had it nailed I wasn't going to forget it because Nick and Ian would know, in fact alot of people would know. I made a great yelping sound everytime I got it wrong you see.
My biggest weakness was jumping off the bike and running over the obstacle that Nick had made. My timing was pretty pathetic because I was thinking way too much for my own good....I was either 'three days late' as Nick jokingly said to Ian or almost destroying the obstacle as I tried to rush all the little moves that made up the one big move Nick had demontrated so gracefully, as he bounded over the obstacle in lightning speed. But for me it was a starting point and as I always say to people I coach who are new to mountain biking, you need to learn the moves, practice the moves, understand the moves, and you know you have it dialled when you no longer have to think about it a dance routine methinks.
Anyway I am so grateful to Nick Craig for giving up his afternoon to coach me through some important cyclo cross techniques. THANKYOU SO MUCH!!!!!
Tuesday 20th October - Revision and more bruises in the Park
I didn't want to forget what I learnt yesterday so after speaking to Coach Ross in Oz who also knows alot about cyclo cross Ian and I headed down to the local park. 2hrs later I was bruised and bleeding, but bubbling with joy. I was loving riding the >X<, I just had to stop missing my darn saddle when I practised jumping on the bike. I was also learning to carry speed because my brakes didn't work so I either kept the bike rolling or crashed when I needed to stop. Highly effective methinks and of course very entertaining for Ian who was in stitches most of the time.
Wednesday 21st October - >X< Rated and Dirty :)
Right today I was not going to crash, miss my saddle or add anymore purpleness to my bruised arm and shoulder. I watched some Utube cyclo cross footage to psyche me up. It was raining but I didn't care, it was time to ride my >X< in the mud and get down and dirty!
Thursday 22nd October - Recovery...MORE OUCH!
Rest day!.....bored..... so I went to the gym and did a spinning class, followed by a boxing class because knowing my bikes were in reaching distance was way too tempting. I'm not the best athlete when it comes to recovery days, and so I thought a boxing class would help me to relax...Well I had fun, but now have alot more bruises to add to my collection. I also realised that laughing and boxing don't mix because my boxing partner and I were giggling so much from our uncoordinated ways, that every so often we missed the pad and one of us ended up with a hit to the head. But I can now throw a meanish punch, so beware :)
Friday 23rd October - Pre Race >X< Revison.
Ian and I went for a chilled out spin on my Cotic >X< and Ian's Cotic Bfe. We explored trails in and around Nottingham that I didn't know existed and practised some more skills beside the river. It was great to be able to ride a bike that was enjoyable on and off road, because we could link up loads of dirt trails with some nice sections of quiet tarmac road. It was a lovely afternoon ride where Ian and I could just chill and leave our competitive selves at home...that was until we reached the home straight. With one hill to go Ian became all competitive and pushed me backwards, then went for the sprint to the top of the climb....silly boy.....I simply cranked it up, the >X< flew off the mark and I left him effortlessly....Thankyou Cy it is so much easier now out climbing my husband :)
Saturday 24th October RACE 1 - Notts & Derby League Round 6
So with a week of intense cyclo cross training it was time to face a proper race. I have to admit driving to a race less than 30 minutes away was a nice change, as I'm so over travelling; Also knowing that the race was no longer than 50 minutes and we would be back in our UK home early in the evening was also a big plus. It meant less preparation...although I still seemed to over pack for the occasion. I blame the weather Gods who were looking rather confused, they didn't quite know whether they wanted it to rain or shine.
I had to face 130 men and women as we lined up on the grid. I placed myself at the back of the pack, because I had no idea what I was doing and didn't want to end up causing a crash. It was a fast but comfortable start as I focused on finding gaps, but I could tell my legs and lungs have been on holiday lately and took a while to wake up. There were steep banks to run up and some really fun sections of single track, as well as fast flowing corners and wooden obstacles to hop over. My hopping over definitely needs work or perhaps my legs need to grow longer :)
I don't quite know how many laps I did but the race was over before I knew it, and I was buzzing all over because it was tough, but in a really fun challenging way that I rather liked. I was told I won the senior ladies, but I was 50th overall so I need to try a bit harder to get myself into the 40's which is my goal next time round. But I'm afraid after one race I'm hooked on cyclo cross as it is such a fun work out. I can see myself doing alot more cyclo cross racing in the future....
Sunday 25th October RACE 2 - West Midlands League Round 6
The future happened pretty quickly and we Potters decided on Sunday morning to head to another cyclo cross race at the last minute. It was either a race or a Cotic >X< all day adventure ride in and around the off road trails of Nottingham...Ian thought he was safer taking me to a race.
I lined up again at the back of a massive field of riders, 140 in total I think of women, juniors and veterans. I was told the ladies who were favourites to win were at the front, but I couldn't quite see them with over 100 riders in front. There were so many people racing and I had to be on the gas the whole time because I had alot of catching up to do. The single track was really good fun, there was plenty of it, and some really tight corners. No obstacles to jump over, but plenty of bends to keep it interesting. My lap times got quicker and quicker, and I finally made the winning move on the final lap when I took over the lead from the series leader. I was rather pleased with this race, more so than yesterday, and although have no form right now, can feel my legs waking up and coming back to racing life, which is always a nice feeling. I always like a racing good battle and to be pushed all the way is the best work out one can get.
So I think I'm close to being up to date now with my blog...well that was until I had a ride, and mechanical lesson with Tony Barton from Magura on Tuesday at Sherwood Pines and then a day out at Dalby Forest with Professional photographer Joolze Dymond on more news to come soon, and some really ace piccies.
Cheerios for now

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1 comment:

graham bird said...

I see you did National Trophy Round 4, well done keep it up. Hope your gonna do Peel Park next month.