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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Monday, October 26, 2009

First races on the >X< (first cross races EVER in fact)

From: "Kate Potter"
Date: October 26, 2009 11:32:22 AM GMT

The Cotic >X< won on the weekend and I hung on and occasionally jumped off, jumped on, tripped and scrambled my way to not one, but two wins. Not too sure how it happened, but loved every moment of it and am quite addicted to riding the Cotic >X< fact I'm actually choosing it over mountain biking these last few days....because I can beat Mr Potter on it :) Which is always a plus! It doesn't feel like I'm riding a road bike at all, in fact it feels like a super fast Cotic Soul because it's so comfortable and really confidence inspiring around the corners and light....especially since I have to carry it from time to time to run up steep banks and over little obstacles. Cyclo Cross is such a blast and already looking forward to the next >X< outing with Mr P. soon, but I have to be nicer now or I will end up a Potter EX if I keep outsprinting him :) Report to follow very soon....

Cheerios for now

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2010 Cotic Soda World Cup titanium hardtail in photos

A few Words to Kind of Sum up the 2009 Season...and to start the next chapter...2010.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Woopee, Wo Wow! I'm a bit gobsmacked and not really sure where to begin really. This week has been a huge turning point for me as I feel like one biking year has suddenly ended and now it's time to start concentrating on 2010, and Xmas 2009 is still 2 months away. Already the Cotic Bontrager Race Team, consisting of me, myself and I as the one who pedals and breathes out of her an amazing support crew who love nothing more then observing the racing XC action and drinking a few beers are on track for 2010. My 2010 Cotic Soda race bike has arrived with extra pop and has even attracted the attention of the cops....oh it is bling! So much so that I almost lost it after the Cycle Show on Sunday evening when some wanna be crims decided to break into Mini Blue (AQR mini bus) and go for a little joy ride....with Cotic's Paul and Kelvin standing a little way off in the distance, it was Kelvin who jumped into action and saved my Soda. Thankyou are my hero....big hugs when I see you next :)
Although I'm full of enthusiasm for the 2010 racing year ahead, October is the time I am FORCED to hang the wheels up.....and this is the time that the Potter Monster is revealed at her sulking worst. I have been told to take a break from mountain biking, cycling of any kind, running, gym work, swimming....I'm allowed little walks ONLY, and even yoga can only be done in small doses. To make matters worse I had been feeling nautious a few days before the London Cycle Show after picking up some tummy bug Ian passed on to me (I'm now drinking bottled water only)....and I just wanted to sleep all the time...and I hate sleeping. I'm trying really hard to be the perfect athlete, but I hate resting, it's not part of my genetic make up. I have always been the type of person who if I feel ill or tired, then the more exercise I do the merrier. Even when I had glandular fever the only time I felt good was when I dragged myself out of bed to run along the beach. I really am a pain in the knee cap sometimes and my own worst enemy...and yes totally addicted to exercise endorphines. Fortunately for me I have an amazing husband who accepts me for my chaotic and confusing ways and doesn't mind too much that his hair has been falling out since he made his wedding vows 5 years ago.
So I lasted a day and a half at the London Cycle Show before Ian sent me back to Nottingham for some chill out time...and the fact that I was doing his head in. Ian thinks he is my boss (as if....we all know who wears the trousers or should I say who shaves their legs in this relationship :) He is going to kill me, so let's just keep that one to ourselves) But as my so called 'boss', his instructions were to do nothing, no AQR work, no writing (oops), and no work of any kind. But I had other ideas. For me this weekend was all about letting go and saying goodbye to 2009, before peddaling forward and turning my attention to the 2010 biking season. I was disappointed that I missed the entire show, but at least I got to catch up with some of you who made it down on Thursday...sorry I missed those of you who were there on the weekend.....blame Ian :)
I and we (meaning Mr Potter and I) have alot of exciting adventures coming up, both on the racing front and in Luchon with our 2010 AQR adventures that we plan to reveal next week, but for prove to Ian that I haven't been doing too much writing, I thought it best to sum up KP Biking Blog Adventures with a little picture gallery of moments that I will always remember in 2009. So hopefully you should see 12 blogs below with photos that sum up my 2009 Mountain Biking Year...and of course a few words...I always try and keep it short :)
ps - thankyou Joolze Dymond (, James Dymond (no relation to Joolze) Mel Spath, Katherine O'Shea, Andy Blaire and Mr Potter for the piccies...very much appreciated.
Cheerios for now

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The Potters and Russ played and dinner partied in October. After working hard all summer, it was our turn to enjoy the trails, explore and pose for Joolze Dymond who really knows how to make a mountain biker look good....check out for piccies on our very own AQR adventure. It was also my turn to play host and actually create a three course meal for Russ and family....we all survived thankfully :)

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November...time to chill...NOT! This was the month I became Mr Potter's and I do not always get on. Ian thinks I'm too much of an academic to ever be good at using tools....they just seem to fall into my hand as though I'm writing my daily 'to do list'...I'm very good at making lists, in fact I quite like list making....I'm so sad. Inbetween sawing, spannering, painting, glossing, hammering and suffocating from the dust as we built our little mountain home, we played mtbikes in the Autumn leaves which is far more exciting stuff...hence why the Potter house hold has not been finished....yet. 

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Training hard and preparing for the upcoming 2009 race season...I even motivate Ian who loves nothing more than being told off by his Mrs if he doesn't do 100 chin ups. I had to keep explaining to the locals (in my best aussie sounding french, with a slight british tone to it) that we weren't having a domestic we were on Potter boot camp....ooh la la!

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SNOW favourite sport after mountain biking. I spent most of January deciding whether to ride my bike or venture into the high mountains to check out the stunning views and to build snowmen. I can't wait to play in the snow again this winter or ride my's hard when the best of both worlds are on your door step...turn left and head to the snow fields....turn right and head down the valley where you can leave your winter layers behind.

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The first very memorable race of the 2009 mountain bike race season....and a quick reminder of what mud tastes like....but in Spain? A great day for both body and bike to take a battering as it forced the Cotic Bontrager Race Team to get tougher for the season of muddy adventures ahead.

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MARCH 2009

March Madness....My birthday and final few days in Luchon before summer and all I wanted to do was play in the snow...thankfully I was on baby sitting duties so I could pretend I was a kid again. Then it was back to work and running AQR Skills sessions, Cotic Big Day Out and AQR guided weekends in the UK, where I met a wonderful crew of ladies who are already champs in my mind. We women took Sherwood Pines single track by storm!

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APRIL 2009

Meeting, Making and Re-acquainting with favourite part of mountain biking! Even when your mates make you bust a gut and still beat you by a mere second...yes Mel that be you :) It's all good though and part of the fun. Since starting racing and guiding I have had such a laugh and been truly inspired by those gals and guys who I have met through mountain biking both on and off the race course.

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MAY 2009

MAY was a busy month flying, driving, and of course riding from race course to race course. It was also the first time I felt a little bit old as I joined a group of Aussie juniors on their racing tour....oh to be 18 again! At least my 2009 'oh so very shiny' Cotic Soda with all the blingness of an ultra hip dudette keeps half the Cotic Bontrager Racing Team young and spritely :)

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JUNE 2009

On form and riding try and knock myself out at every possible opportunity. I had a couple of very memorable head banging moments this month, so not much springs to mind as to what I actually got up's all rather blurry June :)

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JULY 2009

A breath of fresh air for both Potters. Whilst Ian was busy guiding AQR guests in our beautiful home in Luchon, I was checking out the mountains in Canada....and yet still missing my favourite trails in the Pyrenees. They do say home is where the heart is...well in my case home is where I can catch the lift to the top of the Superbagneres, admire the 360 degree panoramic views, ride down endless single track switchbacks, then chill out at Billy's (an actual Aussie bar in Luchon), head to the lac where I can dine with the ducks who also enjoy a fresh baguette crumb or two ...with Mr Potter of course if he can keep up :)

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A month where I was physically, mentally and emotionally tested to the max and shivered my way through recovery at the Australian Institute of Sport. That was the highlight of my month as I learnt more about ME and where ME wants to BE....I should be a poet :)

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WHAT A MONTH...a month I will always look back on with the fondest of memories....ahhhhhh.
My first world championships, my first time wearing the green and gold of an Aussie athlete, the first time to win the British Mountain Bike Elite Series....and the first, but LAST time I will ever climb higher than my head :)

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