Wednesday, July 29, 2009

THANKYOU MAGURA & TROY.....My Bike Fairies came to the rescue :)

Well I'm one happy mountain biker. In my last little blog entry I was a stress mess and didn't sleep a wink on Sunday night following the race. I had no front brake lever and the local bike shops in Mont St Anne were unable to help. I knew Magura would be in Bromont on Thursday for the next round of the World Cup Series, but I had some very improtant training sessions to get through before then. What was one to do? Well I prayed for some bike fairies to leave a brake on my door step the next morning and to my surprise this was almost what happened.
I contacted Cy from Cotic, Tony from Magura UK, plus Jude and Jeff from Magura USA.....and by 9am that morning I was just about sorted. I don't think Troy the Cannondale Team mechanic would appreciate if I called him my Fairy Godmother, so let's just say he was my mechanic in shining armour or rather shining overalls who came to the rescue. Jude put me in contact with Troy who on the phone casually said come down to the course anytime he would be there all day. He sounded very casual, so I wasn't too sure if he realised the extent of damage I had done to my brake. I'm also yet to pass AQR mechanical training school, it's hard when your husband is the teacher and tries to teach you something, but in my case the information goes in one ear and out the other.....I'm been told it is a husband/wife thing:) So I was a bit concerned he may have the part I needed and a bleeding kit....but I wouldn't know quite what to do with all the fancy bits.
I was a bit nervous when I met Troy as the Cannondale Tent was huge and very professional. I didn't want to be a nuisance, but when I met Troy he went out of his way to put me right at ease. There were endless offers of food, coke, coffee, tea....a seat, while he looked over the brake. I reminded Troy that he was doing me the favour and if he needed a drink or any food then I would look after him not the other way round. Troy was star and out of his own spares he gave me a new front brake. Troy then bled the brake, and I also had a mechanical lesson so next time I will be able to bleed my own brakes. He then gave me some new grips and fit them for me. He made little adjustements here and there and before I knew it my bike was ready to roll or rather ready to stop.
I can't thank Magura enough for going to so much trouble to help me. even before this little mechanical disaster during the race Jude from Magura USA spent so much time ensuring both the brakes and forks were working perfectly. I also had a couple of mechanical lessons off Jude, and even know a fancy thing or two to teach Ian now when I return to Luchon. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me last week and on Sunday night/Monday morning.
Also a huge thankyou to Troy the Team Cannondale mechanic and Magura fan also, who went to so much trouble to help me out and gave up his spares so that I had a bike to ride this week. Thankyou so much....I have always believed in what comes around goes around and I hope I can help you out in the future.
Cheerios for now

A Quick Release Holidays
Tel: 0845 1304824

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

World Cup 5....a mechanical nightmare.

Well I reckon all my mechanical bad luck should be over after todays performance. Worst weather I have raced in for a long time on one of the more technical world cup courses I have raced. Every section was rideable in practice, but rain, roots and rocks don't mix especially when the mud made everything greasy slick. I was on good form, in fact better than I expected as I was feeling a bit dopey tired on the start line. But managed to make some pleasing passing manouvres to be behind some well known names on the circuit. But 500m after thinking that this was going to be a good day I heard a 'bang', followed by a bang on the head as my tyre burped big time and I went over the handle bars. I then experienced my worst nightmare as bodies and bikes ran over me. Then I had the company of the motor bike man, who if you hear behind you then you know it's time to get a move on or risk being pulled out early. I remained in control with only a few stressful breaths as I was struggling to open the saddle bag to get my air canister. I decided to risk adding air to the tyre rather than chaning it completely as I was certain it was only a burp and not an actual puncture. I was back on the bike and pretty fired up to catch a rider or two. It was a tad lonely and a bit scary with just the motor bike revving his engine behind me, but finally I spotted riders and started to overtake them. I was riidng well, much better than the day before when I was riding like a spanner. But then gears started playing up and I was not able to put down as much power as I wanted to. I just had to put up with it and continued on. The course became slipperier and slipperier and I was riding cautiously as I knew I could finish without being lapped now and that was my priority. But it was not my lucky day and the mud Gods ensured I would be challenged on what was already a very challenging course. I broke my front brake lever....AGHHHHHH!!!!!! So it was ride, run and slip on my butt for the most part down the descents, which were tricker enough with two brakes, let alone only one. I kept catching riders, only to then see them fly down the descents while I ran. I kept saying to myself that this was good training for cyclocross this winter....but in truth I had good legs, better balance than yesterday and now that it has sunk in I'm truly gutted. I was pleased when I crossed the finish line in 44th or was it 45th, I can't remember now, so at least some points to add to the UCI bank balance. But now my next challenge begins as I search for a brake. Would you believe not one local bike shop has a brake I can buy. Magura USA had left already, but hopefully I can get in contact with them soon......but I want to ride my bike by Tuesday as I'm determined to race hard and have a better race next weekend. Right rant over as I need food, bed and a brake if anyone can miraculously make one appear on my doorstep tomorrow morning.....right lever if any bike fairies are out there :)
Cheerios for now

A Quick Release Holidays
Tel: 0845 1304824

Posted via email

Friday, July 24, 2009

World Cup 5, Mont St Anne, Canada Update.

I'm here!!!!!!!! I actually feel like I'm still in Luchon. The trails are very similar and scenery is stunning. Everybody I have encountered speaks french, so I have been practising alot and have already met some awesome people who have made my trip stress free. Although as all Potter adventures go there is always a little hiccup along the way. Before I had even landed in Montreal and hit the track I managed to stumble over my big toe at Heathrow Airport and twist my knee out of place....AGHHHHHH!!!!! I have been so ridiculously careful with every aspect of training, recovery and my lifestyle so that I would be in good form for this race that I was in no laughing mood as I stumbled to my gate.
My knee problem is an old dislocation injury I suffered about 6 years ago when I decided to stop myself with my leg as I attempted riding off the trail and down a rather steep, almost sheer drop. I was told no walking or riding a bike for 8 weeks, but I knew best and walked on crutches from the top of Chamonix Valley in the Alps to the main town to use the pool....what was a 2-3hr walk for most people took me about 5-6hrs. I was so determined to move and not sit still that I was back on the bike 2 weeks later guiding.....well actually I had to guide as Ian broke his wrist.....yes we inspired confidence in all our guests when they stepped off the plane and found one guide with a plastered arm and the other with a leg brace :) . Anyway a mtb guide's wages does not pay for fancy physio or extra care, so I just put up with the pain and over time it healed.....BUT it took time to return to full strength. I had alot of set backs as every now and then it popped out of place and I would be back to square one.
I have worked really hard for two years to get my knee back to full strength and with the help of Jenny Herron my physio and Neil Ross my coach I haven't had any knee issues for ages. So I was gutted when it happened. I kept my knee moving though as I find the worst thing I can do is stop moving. When I arrived for my first training session it had loosened up, but it still felt out of place, so wasn't too sure if I would get through the hard intervals Coach Ross had planned for us all on our first day on course. Luckily I'm the clumbsiest person I know and stacked it big time on a rocky corner, landing on my leg and to my joy my knee clicked back into place....YAYAYAYAY!!!! So I'm all smiles again now, only a tad brusied as I have tasted dirt a few times and slipped off plenty of roots....It's all really good fun though and I will have more details tomorrow and if you are lucky a picture or two.
Cheerios for now

A Quick Release Holidays
Tel: 0845 1304824

Posted via email

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kate Starts her Can/Am Adventure

Today Kate flies out to Canada on the start of real World Cup adventure; she's racing for 6 weeks over there and in the US to keep up her World Cup competition and also to work to towards qualifying to represent Australia at the World Championships. Every here at Cotic is really excited for her and want to wish her all the best.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

British Mountain Bike Series Round 4, Crow Hill, 27th June, 2009.

The week leading up to the fourth round of the British Mountain Bike Series was spent in the UK. AQR Holidays~Luchon were taking a much needed holiday. Ian needed time to refresh his guiding legs for a busy summer ahead, Russ, Bene and 3yr old Atika who run the hotel were off camping, and I needed a few days off the computer. Most people would head to an exotic location at this time of year for a holiday, perhaps a few days lying on the beach or relaxing in the mountains....but not us Potters we prefer to do something different....RACE!  This time both Potters would be racing and Ian had 6 days to find some speed in his legs. So I decided it was time to hit the gym. Ian hates gyms. Unfortunately in the past my ambition in life, after an intense 5 years at University studying to be a teacher and an honours degree in theatre and film studies I was not to follow the path my education took I discovered I was a gym junkie. The perfect job for me would be one of the following....gym instructor, aerobics teacher, personal trainer....I had visions of leading a spinning class and screaming at my clients (in the nicest way possible of course) to give me 100 pushups now! But then I discovered mountain biking, and I was fortunate enough to find work that still enabled me to exercise, teach, plus work in some beautiful areas of the world.


But every now and then I crave returning to the gym and exercising to music. On what was meant to be a day off the bike, with romantic plans to lunch in style and go see a movie, I decided I needed something more. You see it was Ian’s turn to choose the movie and I just couldn’t get excited about seeing ‘Transformers’. He promised there would be some comedy and a bit of romance, but I needed an adventure to enable me to sit down for over 2hrs in a room watching robots or else I would be a ‘royal pain in the backside’. I’m first to admit I’m not the easiest wife in the world to live with. Anyway I got my wicked way and convinced Ian we should spend half the day at the would be a great way to find some much needed race speed I lied.


Ian has always played a huge part in my development as a mountain biker, guide and of course he has always helped me improve my mountain bike skills. But now I was taking charge as we were entering my domain...the gym. My voice suddenly changed and it was time to make Ian sweat (Joolze/Matt/Anth and anyone else who thinks that is an innuendo you are mistaken). Ian needed guidance if we were going to get his muscles in fine form for this upcoming national race. First we warmed up on the treadmill, slow to start with before I increased the speed rapidly....Ian was running for his life as I didn’t show him how to stop the machine. There were plenty of excuses as to why we should only run for 5 minutes, but I soon squashed his whining there was no time for weakness. 2hrs later we had run, climbed, cycled, cross trained and then it was time to row. I think my competitive nature is getting worse, because Ian and I could not just row and enjoy the work out for what it we were locked in battle. We were both breathing hard and my arms were killing, but I would not be beaten by my husband...doh! He caught me unaware and finished 2000m a few seconds before me. We then chilled out on the floor with some pilates and yoga., before my next moment of wisdom....’let’s see what aerobics classes are on’. Without asking I booked Ian and I on to a water aerobics class. I casually mentioned that swimming will be good for the legs and help them repair for the race. Poor Ian was forced to wear speedos which he hates, but then took one look at the pool filled with ladies of all shapes and sizes splashing about in the water, and instead of jumping for joy, departed as quickly as possible....wimp!


The next few days were spent on the bike and I was convinced that the Potters excursion to the gym would go in our favour.....mmmmm.


The fourth round of the British Cross Country Series was being held at Crow Hill, a beautiful part of the UK that I had never ventured to. I love racing new courses and I had heard great reports from locals and those Brits who raced the national championships at this venue in 2008. Ian and I arrived with plenty of time to pitch our new Potter Palace. We had finally treated ourselves to a new tent since Ian’s 20 year old tent was ripped and unlikely to protect us from the rain which we expected this weekend. It’s huge!!!! I felt like I had just bought a new home.


Anyway it was time to hit the course for two laps. Wow, what a course. Loads of fun single track, plenty of challenging roots and some crazy bomb holes that were a laugh, especially when I kept slowing down right at the top so that Ian who was right on my tail had nowhere to go and had to work a little bit’s good for him J We stopped a couple of times to adjust tyre pressures as there were some slippery sections and I didn’t fancy slipping off any roots. I was happier with my second lap and went to bed looking forward to another race day.


Race morning is always a nervous affair, especially when you decide to change tubeless tyres minutes before you should be warming up. Ian had ripped his tyre the day before on a root and my front tyre that had done such a brilliant job lately looked a little worse for wear, so after much umming and umming on my part and Ian refusing to make the decision for me, I decided a new front tyre was the go.


Ian prides himself on being able to pump tubeless tyres up effortlessly. I have to admit he aint bad at it, but four air canisters later and there was sealant leaking everywhere and no tyre ready to roll on. Ian blamed his sore arms on my rowing work out a few days before hand and that was why he was struggling to pump the tyre up. Luckily I brought two Soda’s to the race, I thought it best to warm up and so went for a ride on a few sections of the course.


When I returned the 2009 Cotic Soda was ready to roll and Ian was looking rather pleased with himself. I headed to the start line and prepared for battle. I wanted a good start so I could find my rhythm on the single track. As the gun went off for a second time I dug deep and sprinted for the first narrow piece of single track. Legs felt a tad heavy, but the front end of the bike was bobbing too much. When I looked down I thought my front tyre didn't have enough air in it. Jenny Copnall (Look RT) surged forward and looked very aggressive as I followed her into the woods. I tried to take an off camber line on the outside which I was riding in practice as I thought Jenny was going on the inside, but next minute we were tangled and running. I calmed myself down and just focused on riding smoothly as the single track had so many roots that criss crossed in different directions that you had to really concentrate to keep the bike moving forward. I had no idea who was behind or if the two of us had made any gap. I didn’t look behind as it wasn’t a course you could risk making a mistake on so eyes were kept forward all the time.


I’m not too sure at what point I took over the lead, but Jenny was right on my tail the whole time. I finished the first lap with a small gap, but not enough to feel relaxed, and I certainly wasn't going to ease off the gas, especially with four laps to go. I was concerned about my front tyre that I felt needed some air in it as I didn’t want to puncture on the fire road sections that had sharp stones bedded into the dirt. I also felt like my legs needed a firmer tyre as they weren’t feeling too zippy today. However there wasn’t time to make a quick pit stop and so I just tried to ride smoothly hoping that I might increase my lead so that I could stop and use my air canister. I was out of the saddle and really trying to make every second count. Jenny is a very experienced and smart rider, and I knew she would be biding her time and ready to make her move. I wondered if I would be able to maintain the pace I set on the first two laps. By the third lap, I wasn’t convinced. It was a physically very demanding course and difficult to take regular sips of my Torq drink, plus the weather was warming up. I was starting to feel uncomfortable from the heat. I have a skin condition that makes me over heat, especially if I’m stressed, one reason why you occasionally see my zipper down as far as it will go J .


Ian was a fantastic team mate and he appeared at both feed stations on every lap so that I could drink or take a gel if I needed to. He also shouted encouraging words and reminded me to do ‘World cup laps’ that lifted my spirits, got me all excited as I love racing world cups and forced me to find some extra ‘oomph’.


There were two laps to go and I knew Jenny was still close. I pretended that it was in fact my final lap. I love that feeling when you know there is only one lap to go. My best lap has often been my final lap, so I tried to use my imagination to get the best out of my legs.....but I don’t think it worked this time J Suddenly Ian called out that Jenny was 15 seconds behind (gulp). Now it really was my final lap and I decided to focus on a 20min extra hard effort like what I have been doing in training. 20 minutes may not sound like a long time, but when your legs are screaming at you it feels like a few hours.


I was riding ragged I felt for the first half of the course, when I heard a noise like I had burped air out of my back tyre....nooooo! I pushed on because I knew there was no point stopping to check the tyres, if they go down they go down. They seemed to be fine, so I pushed on. Every short climb I was in big ring and forcing myself to go harder. I didn’t think I had the legs to out sprint Jenny, so I charged out of every corner and let the bike go on the faster sections of the course. There were other riders to pass from different categories who shouted encouraging words as well as cheers from spectators which is always nice to hear....thankyou.


When I saw the 1km to go sign I knew there was one more section of single track to go before the last few hundred metres of fire road, I rode my heart out. I still thought Jenny would pass me at any point and even when I saw the finish line ahead I dug deep to make sure I crossed the line in first place.


I crossed the line in 01:55min, only about 40 seconds in front of Jenny Copnall (Look RT) and Jenn O'Connor (Patterson Training) in third. I was pushed hard from the word go, and had to really hurt today to win. These are the races I enjoy the most. I know this effort should bring on some good form in the next couple of weeks as I prepare for the next two world cup rounds in Canada. This battle against the UK’s current national champion could have gone either way and I know Jenny is going to have some great form as she heads into the British National Championships in a couple of weeks time. I wish her all the best and hope the rest of the British girls are ready for a hard race. It will be an exciting race to watch that’s for sure.


This weekend I wasn’t the only Potter racing. Ian loves racing and was lining up against Britain’s top Vet racers. He was gridded on the last row with over 60 riders out in front. I was in charge of feeding Ian, but luckily for Mr Potter there is no tech support as speedy mechanics are not my speciality. Ian was racing his new Cotic prototype which consists of a Hemlock full suspension triangle and KP prototype back end. Cy didn’t know about this one until Ian had finished building it, so it has been a little bit of an experiment.


Ian had alot of riders out in front, so when he came through in the top 20 I was lucky somebody in the pit area pointed him out as I was sunbaking J He was looking strong, but I wasn’t too sure if he was enjoying the experience as he wasn’t smiling, but I guess who does smile when they race, in fact Ian’s not known for ever showing a cheesy grin J . Ian had to race four laps and by the second lap he was begging for a gel. I could tell he was hurting, but he had made up more places and was close to being in the top 10, in fact I think he was around 11th position. I was jumping or should I say hobbling for joy, as my legs had stiffened up. Ian ended up finishing in 14th place. He said he lost a few places in the end from a crash as his brain had fried and he decided to wake himself up by riding into a tree. Perhaps if I told him that his Mrs did faster lap times he would have tried a little bit harder at the end J

Don't worry Ian there will be a 'next time' to get back at your Mrs.

Anyway what a wonderful weekend it was to race in glorious sunshine and experience dry dusty trails, instead of the mud that we had expected. Now we Potters return to Luchon for some AQR guiding action before I check out the world cup scene that Canada has to offer in three weeks time.


Cotic –

Bontrager –

Magura Forks & Brakes –

Torq & Torq Australia –

A Quick Release Holidays –


Skins –

And co-sponsors Crank Brothers, Exposure Lights, Bigfoot bags, 661 gloves, Nokon cables, Sunwise eyewear and Purple Extreme Lubricants.


Plus lots of thanks to Joolze Dymond photography, Neil Ross (Cycling Oz) for coaching me, and Mr P. For all your endless support.                         



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