Monday, April 27, 2009

WORLD CUP 2 - Offenburg, Germany - photos

Soda World Cup

Begin forwarded message:

From: Kate Potter <>
Date: 24 April 2009 17:57:49 BDT
To: Cy Turner - Cotic <>
Cc: Kelvin Owers <>
Subject: photos of soda

Hi Guys,
Photos of new bike.......Let's call it AWESOME!!!!!!!
Neil has also changed my position big time, and there is more gap between seat height and bars, so I feel like I'm in more of a racier position.
There have been plenty of 'oohs and ahhhhs' as it looks very nice.
I have had loads of people already come up and take photos of it and look closely at it.
It is much quicker through the single track, and around the bends, and I lost control a few times, as I'm not used to how agile it is. I was tired yesterday and kept going off line because it was taking me by surprise. I rode it again today and had to do two laps at race pace.....I love it!!!!
Anyway will get more pics to you soon.

A Quick Release Holidays
Tel: 0845 1304824

See and download the full gallery on posterous

On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 4:10 PM, Cy Turner <> wrote:

* Custom Cotic Soda World Cup titanium hardtail
* Bontrager XXX-Lite carbon rimmed wheels and carbon cranks
* Bontrager XXX-Lite Seatpost, FIT saddle
* Race X-Lite stem, XXX-Lite flat handlebars
* Bontrager XXX-Lite Cranks
* Bontrager Tubeless Ready tyres appropriate for the conditions
with Superjuice tubeless system.
* Bontrager Race X-Lite Shoes
* Magura Durin 100SL fork
* Magura Marta SL Magnesium
* KMC Chains
* KCNC Bottom Bracket, Cassette and detail kit
* Crank Bros Eggbeater 4Ti pedals, Cobalt SL Directset and multi-tool
* Purple Extreme chain lube


Sunday, April 12, 2009

RACE REPORT - WORLD CUP 1 Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. 11 April, 2009.

Preparing for the trip to South Africa was, as all Potter adventures usually are, a frantic one. I raced the British XC round 1 on the Sunday two days before flying out to SA. Unfortunately I enjoyed myself so much that I had post race buzz and could not sleep a wink on Sunday night. I woke early, a bit too early for my own good, then spent Monday washing, drying, race packing, race re-packing, AQR Holidays working, AQR packing, AQR re-packing, Potter moving house packing, and then again re-packing, squeezing in 2hrs of training and hoping for an early dinner and 7pm bed time as we had a very early start. Basically Ian and I were trying to do too much as always in the little time we had, but then again I don't help myself either as I kept unpacking everything to double check all necessities were in their right bags. We also had friends and elite racers Mel Spath and Ryan Sherlock staying as they were accompanying me to South Africa.

Tuesday morning at the glorious hour of 2am we were all packed and ready to roll. Mel, Ryan and I were off to Heathrow Airport, and once we were dropped off at the airport by Ian, he was then driving back to Luchon all on his lonesome to meet the national Aussie junior squad who he would be working for over the next month. Our flight wasn't until 8pm, so we had booked ourselves into a 'YOTEL'. For 12hrs we had a place to rest, use the internet, shower and keep our belongings safe. These very small cubicles only just fit one bike bag and luggage, so movement was restrictive, but it was great to be able to rest on a bed and try and make up some hours sleep. Well it would have been great if my head wasn't so close to my neighbours toilet, as you could hear every little noise...need I say more.

12hrs later we were boarding our plane to Johannesburg, before a connecting flight to Durban on Wednesday morning. In total it was about 13 hours of flying. Once we hit Durban we had an hour to wait before collecting our hire car and then another hour before we finally squeezed three bike bags, luggage, food bags and three bodies into a smaller car than we had expected...luckily I have been practising yoga alot more this year and was able to bend my body to suit the little space left on the back seat. The three of us then took off for the hills of Pietermaritzburg, or should I say mountains as I just found out today that the altitude is 800m. The first thing we all noticed was the heat, it was intense and the humidity high, yet everything was so green. The scenery was stunning and I fell in love with the area straight away. I was looking out for monkeys as I was told that monkeys are like squirrels in the UK, possums in Oz, and deer in the Pyrenees.

The three of us were staying in a suburb called Athlone, only a 10 minute cycle to the race course. I had found a huge house to rent for the 5 days we were staying in South Africa. We were joined by fellow Aussie Torq sponsored riders Katherine O'Shea and Dan McConnel, plus Aussie national champ Chris Jongeward. It took the three of us longer than expected to find the house and move in, due again to my decision not to bother bringing a map or any directions, because it's more fun trying to guess which house one is staying in. Only problem is that all houses have huge electric gates that are impossible to climb over, and security is very tight in this area. After an hours search we found the house we wanted, and then waited again for somebody to let us in....45 minutes later we were in, bags dumped on a bed and bikes were built in lightening speed...Mr Potter would be proud of my mechanical prowess. It was past 4pm, and we only had about 2hrs day light left, and we didn't want to miss another day off the bike.

It was still humid, so we were out in shorts and jersey which was a wonderful change after 4 months of snow in the Pyrenees. The course was fun, but everybody knew it would be tough as the climbs were steep lung busting efforts, and even late in the afternoon it was hot. The descents were really fun, with fast swooping single track, and small jumps and drop offs thrown in along the way. There were plenty of switchbacks and steep sections, but nothing too technical. It was the type of course where the faster you ride the harder it is, as there were little stumps and rocks that could catch you out if you drifted off line.

I had two days before the race, but only one day on course as I was told I would need a rest day on the Friday....grrr I hate rest days, but coach knows best. So I planned to make the most of my 3hr training session on course....I lasted an hour. I was heavy legged, hot, shaky and had already run out of water. I found a cafe and some aussie mates, plus a very kind south african gentleman who took it upon himself to deliver me icy cold water as I thought I was going to pass out. 2 litres of water in the bladder later, and I was ready to hit the course again, but this time with my mate Andy who warned me to take it easy on course as I was looking a little tomato headed and was still feeling a tad shaky.

I lasted one more hour and then headed for some shade. I still had this little devilish voice inside my head that was encouraging me to ride one more lap, but I resisted and luckily Andy dragged me off course and out of the sun.

That night I lay awake wanting to sleep, but burning up so much that I felt like I was lying down in a sauna. I hate it when you know you need sleep, but your body feels too tired to sleep....strange, but it happens to me often. The next day I was not allowed on course...oh the temptation was there as the single track was so much fun, but the thought of climbing up those hills was not tempting in the slightest. I spent the day resting and bathing legs in the pool which was surprisingly quite cold.

Morning of race day, and the fatigue was still hanging over me like a black cloud, and I couldn't focus very well. I knew I was going to struggle today, but I had my race objectives and I was not feeling under any pressure. I just needed to finish in the top no pressure when lining up against alot of the top riders in the world :) . I was gridded at the back, and knew I had to race conservatively if I was going to finish. There were no high expectations, but at the same time I didn't want to be dropped on the first climb, so I had to dig deep in places to try not to be left behind. On the first lap there were bottlenecks and every girl was fighting for their position. Instead of fighting though I was falling as my back tyre failed to grip and I went sliding. There had been rain last night, and there were sections on course that had no grip in places.

Once back on the bike I focused on each girl ahead of me and tried to chase them down. At the same time I was trying not to be passed by too many girls behind me, or use up what little energy I had. Mel Spath was close by and she shouted at me to 'DRINK' (thanks Mel). But we both knew that we must keep drinking.

The second half of the race I started overtaking riders who had mechanicals or who looked like they had blown. The heat was a huge factor in this race, and I'm pleased to say that I paced myself as well as I could, and managed to finish 32nd. My best result last year was 33rd, but this result was not one to get carried away with as I felt awful from the word go, but I'm not disappointed either. I'm trying to think more about how to race this year, rather than just ride hard with blinkers on. I don't expect to feel good at every race, as I'm racing alot this year, more XC than I have ever done in the past. Some races will be part of my training too, as what better way to learn how to race, then to race. I'm proud as punch that I achieved my race objectives at the first round of the World Cup Series, which is hopefully a step forward in the right direction. I was too tired to be racing hard, but I did what I could do achieve my goals. Now that I have finished in the top 40 at this race, it will mean a grid position on the fourth row, rather than the last row at the second world cup in Offenburg, Germany....which is a huge YAY on my part.

As always a huge thankyou to the Cotic Bontrager Race Team, who are supporting me and helping me work towards achieving my racing ambitions again this year. Plus a huge thankyou to Mel Spath and Ryan Sherlock for being awesome race mates, Neil Ross for coaching me and teaching me about racing XC, and I can't thank the Pietermaritzburg locals who made us all feel very welcome in their beautiful home.

Now I have over 30hrs of travel to look forward to before I return to Luchon for one day, then a 14hr drive to Lugano, Switzerland for a Swiss Power Cup or now known and the Racer's Cup. More news about that race soon...promise. KPxo

QUICK UPDATE ON WORLD CUP 1 Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

I'm just sending a quick update on my performance at the first world cup of the 2009 mountain bike season. I finished 32nd! Which means I will be gridded 32nd at the next round in Germany. So it makes a change from being gridded last and having to force my way through the crowds in front of me. This is a huge relief because last year at the Offenburg world cup course there were over 120 ladies on the starting grid and I was gridded as number 101.

However I'm not over the moon with my performace. I don't really know how to describe this result because on the one hand it is my best finish at world cup level, in fact one position better than my best result last year when I finished
33rd at Fort William. I missed Olympic shadow squad and world champs selection by 54 seconds, but I was still ecstatic because I knew I had improved at every race and I never thought I would be good enough to finish in the 30's at my first year of world cup racing. So I finish one place better this year at the start of the season, and I'm quite disapointed with myself.

The truth is I was absolutely exhausted from the word go, in fact I have been tired since arriving here late Wednesday afternoon. I feel sleep deprived and have struggled with the heat and humidity. In hind sight I should have arrived here much earlier to acclimatize to the conditions, but I wanted to race the first round of the UK National Series and I could only get a flight on the Tuesday night. So part of my brain is really annoyed that I felt flat as a tack, but then another part of my Potter brain keeps reminding me that I have achieved some of my race goals. I didn't get lapped, I beat my numer plate of 66, I'm one place higher than 2008's best result, and all Neil asked of me was to aim for a top 40 finish....I'm still annoyed though because I hate feeling tired when I ride my bike, it takes the fun out of it and makes me feel really dopey....yes more dopey than normal. When I'm tired I can't push myself as hard as I want to which takes the fun out of racing. It has wound me up big time though for the second world cup, where I will have a week to train and rest properly without any long flights or travelling of any kind.
I plan to add my race report early next week, with photos too you will be pleased to know. In fact if I get myself all packed and ready today for out departure tomorrow, I may just get the report up tomorrow....better crack to it.
Cheerios for now

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009 British Mountain Bike Series R1 - Sherwood Pines

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Sherwood Pines. I love the flowing single track trails that until recently only locals knew about. When I lived in Nottingham these were the trails I learnt to ride a mountain bike on. Now with the new Cotic sponsored red route, there is alot more single track for bikers of all levels to enjoy....but when it comes to using Sherwood Pines as a race course, I always know I'm going to suffer.

In the past Sherwood Pines has had a reputation for suiting roadies as there are no long climbs, but plenty of fast swooping single track, with fire road sections in between. It always encourages riders to stick together and work together, before some exciting attacks towards the end of the race. There is nothing wrong with this type of off-road racing, it's just another type of course that racers have to learn to be good at if they want to be strong all round racers and good bike handlers. Personally I have never been good at it, as I have never had the opportunity to race crits or race on the road, but I had a blast...even as I type this report I'm still buzzing from the experience on Sunday. I also think it encourages racers to use their brains a little more rather than just their fitness....something I'm first to admit isn't a Potter strength :)

Coach Ross gave me clear objectives for my first race in the UK, and I was determined to meet them. This race was a training exercise in preparation for the first three world cups. It wasn't merely for getting my legs back up to race speed, but the focus was on my race head. During practice 2 hrs before my race I focused on what my goals would be that day and how I would achieve them. I had to have words with this little voice inside my head that kept saying...'but what if this happens or that happens...shhh!'. I had to keep my thoughts and irritating mind conversations calm. There would be none of that today. I'm working on breaking old habits this year, if I'm ever going to improve and be competitive at world class level over the next 4 years then I need to start thinking about my racing, and sometimes that means taking a step back. It's impossible to be at your best every race, as we all go through peaks and troughs. For alot of racers it will still be many months away before they hit their best form, but all racers naturally want to win so it can be difficult sometimes to be told to use a race as part of training or to start a race with heavy trained legs that are not feeling what I call the 'buzz' factor. But as I have discovered over the years racing can improve other areas of your riding, as you need more than a strong pair of legs to race well. Plus sometimes a good kick up the backside can make racers hungrier than ever to achieve that top podium result.

On race morning I gave myself a long warm up, and purposely kept away from my pals Joolze and porridge lips Anthony (the Torq monkey) who always sends me into a fit of giggles. No I had to be in the 'zone', 'focused' and not be a nervous wreck.

The course had alot of single track, some of it was fast and swoopy, while other sections were tight and narrow. There were a couple of jumps and a log to ride over, plus lots of roots that could catch riders out at speed. There were very few over taking spots except on the 1st and last km of the 7.5km race course. This course was going to be tough at speed, but I was excited and ready for the challenge.

I was gridded on the front row. I kept reminding myself to focus on my race plan, and not to get too excited early on. Suddenly we ladies were away, charging down the fire road, and trying not to choke on the dust. I found myself riding comfortably behind world class kiwi racer Rosara Joseph, but as we hit a short piece of single track I was lucky to stay on the bike. I took a bad line and found myself drifting a bit too much for my liking, then with a bit of a front tyre wobble was almost a stack, in fact it could have been a pile up as there were other racers right on my tail. Luckily I relaxed, looked ahead and the bike got back on track. I was back on Rosara's wheel and waiting for an attack. Nobody came flying by until just before the first bend where there was another quick right hander into a narrow piece of single track. Everybody was fighting for a position, elbows out with plenty of aggression and a few growls along the way.

The first lap was hard and I focused on chasing down the sprints and remaining calm. It was too early to panic, and I reminded myself to think about what was going on out in front. Rosara and German Cycleways racer Mel Spath had a small gap, but it wasn't long before there were 6 of us behind Rosara. I was in 5th or 6th position, and continued to watch and learn from what was going on out in front. There were small attacks often, but nobody could break away. I found my rhythm pretty quickly on the single track and loved riding the jumps. The speed was exhilerating and I was feeling super confident today, which is always nice when you are pelting down the single track and your elbows are almost scraping the trees.

On the second and third laps the pace started to slow in places, and I moved up to second position, with a train of girls right on my tail. There were still attempts by all riders to move up and break away. But nobody was ready to take on Rosara, who I could tell was controlling the pace and looking comfortable. On the third lap Rosara and I broke away, but only held a small gap. We took it in turns to lead, and I was really enjoying the excitement of trying to make a break. There were still two laps to go and I was out in front. At times I tried to look behind to see who was still on our tails, I knew Rosara was still there as she was talking to me and made some comment on my very 'graceful' attempted manual through a dip that almost sent me flying over the handlebars and totally off course....oops! A few giggles later and I was back racing again and focused.

I had been at the front for quite a while as we headed around the first loop of the fourth lap, and I started to wonder how hard the remaining girls were working. This was my first big mistake, as I purposely slowed the pace to see if anyone would take the lead. I was concerned about doing too much work and not knowing what was happening behind me. What I didn't know was that Patterson training kiwi Jenn O'Connor was back on our tails after a disasterous start. As I lead out of the single track Jenn attacked, and I reacted too slowly. I found myself back in 5th position. I knew there was still time, but any mistake from the girls in front of me on the single track and it would be race over. Just as alarm bells started ringing in my brain UK's young promising mtb talent Annie Last (Halfords), who I thought looked super strong early in the race stumbled or caught a tree root. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but next minute British national champ Jenny Copnall (Look RT) and I were at a standstill and going nowhere. This allowed Jenn and Rosara the perfect opportunity to attack, and attack they did. There was a bit of confusion and bad gear selections on my part, with Jenny and I urging Annie to dig deep and get back up to speed. As soon as we reached the next fire road section Jenny and I sprinted past Annie and focused on catching the kiwi duo.

I knew Jenny and I were going to struggle to catch Rosara and Jenn who were now completely in control, but we tried and the pace was high. Half way round the last loop Jenny lead into some tight single track where light was dim, and it was hard to carry speed as the bends were tight. Suddenly she missed a bend and the two of us had ridden straight on and off course....double doses of frustration from both of us and all I could say once more was oops! It was an easy mistake to have made, but it cost us some precious time and we had alot of work to do now to get back up to full speed again. I took over the lead, and with 3km to go the race was on. I had to be careful here. As all good plans can be undone, so mine had. I could race my heart out and attempt to chase down Rosara and Jenn to try and make up some of the time deficit, or save energy and race for third with fresher legs. If I raced hard would Jenny stay on my back wheel and have more energy than me for a sprint finish at the end or would my legs cope....decisions, decisions. I wasn't confident that I had the power to outsprint anybody today over a short distance.

At the 2km mark I still thought that it was just Jenny and I, but little did I know Mel Spath had crept up behind us, she had also overcome some bad luck during the race and was right on our tails. At the 1km mark I was about to make my own attack, but got caught off guard as Mel sprinted by. I chased her down, and dug deep to remain on her back wheel for the final 500 metres. Jenny was also on my back wheel as we headed into the arena. It was full steam ahead. I tried to pass Mel on the outside with less than 20m to go but as hard as I tried Mel was not giving an inch and crossed the line just ahead of me to take third, with Jenny Copnall just behind me in 5th place. I discovered that Rosara and Jenn finished 45 seconds in front and Rosara just took the win, with what must have been a thrilling finish, and a great way to start the 2009 British Mountain Bike Series.

Surprisingly I wasn't disapointed with my race. It was the type of race where mistakes could happen very easily to anyone, and I knew exactly where I had gone wrong. I always knew it would be a tough course for me, and I'm very pleased with how I'm riding at the moment as I know there is better form to come as it is still early days. So there are no 'what ifs' or regrets, as I'm already focusing on the first world cup this weekend in South Africa which has been on my mind alot fingers crossed!

The rest of the day I was bottle feeder for AQR Holidays Team racers James Dymond and Mr Potter. Both AQR boys like their climbs, but are also super swift on the single track too. Unfortunately James hurt his ribs in practice, so was suffering a little bit on the day, and Mr Potter started well back on the grid and fought his way back to 26th place which I thought was a super effort for my hubby after his seat post kept slipping. I'm also pleased to announced that I had the fastest lap of the Potter duo this no washing up duties for me this month :)

Martyn Salt and the Inevent Crew once again hosted a brilliant event. James Hampshire designed the course and he deserves a huge pat on the back as I think it was a super course for both racers and spectators. Already looking forward to round 2at Dalby Forest in a few weeks time, and hope to see you there.

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