138psi to 38psi – Two weeks, two races and two very different bikes.

It’s been something of a frenzy of bikes in our house over the last few weeks. The EVO5 is built, I’ve done my last race of the year on the GF-Ti and taken delivery of my new winter bike the TK3. Even my partner Ali has joined in with the Kinesis UK loving with her very own EVO4.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been going along to cyclocross skills sessions for women with Mark ‘Sparkie’ Turner and Alan ‘Crossjunkie’ Dorrington. The idea of the sessions is to help us build towards doing our first ‘cross race at Waddow Hall on the 15th. We’ve covered mounts and dismounts, jumps, steps, descending, where to ride hard, where to go easy (never) and lots and lots of mud.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

The last session before the race took us to the trail centre at Hurstwood to learn flow. It was a freezing cold morning. Still loads of us were out again. It’s great to see such enthusiasm with women coming from miles away. We were taught how to use the bikes to get the most speed out of them round the bends. Gradually lap after lap I could feel confidence growing. A huge thank you to Mark and Alan for running these sessions.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk – Beardy man available for hire www.greatrock.co.uk )

Sunday saw the annual running of the Todmorden Harriers Team Duathlon. Teams of three, one cyclist, one fell runner and one road runner. The cyclist and the fell runner are let off at the same time. The fell runner then tags the road runner with the idea being that everyone will come across the finish at arround the same time. Teams are selected by the organisers to make things fair.

The cycle route is ‘Cragg Loop’ as it’s known by the locals. It’s a 20 mile loop including Cragg Vale, Englands longest continuous incline. I was set off second to last. The chap behind me had managed to catch me on his tri bars by half way, but as soon as we came onto the climb he was struggling to hang onto my wheel.

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The wind had been playing games all the way round. At the top of the climb it was brutal. Normally I’d hit the top of the descent at 20mph and cruise down up to 45mph. However pedalling hard into the wind at 12mph wasn’t such fun. With deep section wheel getting bashed about I eased off a little and the chap caught me again at the bottom. The chase was on to the finish and He didnt manage to pass me. Overall I was 2nd on the bike and 1st lady. Whilst we were out on the bikes the rest of my team put in some stonking runs to put the team in 1st postition with over a minutes lead. Three cheers for Chrispy and Wayne.

And bye bye till spring to the GF-Ti, I’ll miss it but it’s too nice for winter in Yorkshire.

As the week went on Ali was getting a bit worried about what she was going to ride for the race. Up until now she had done all of the training sessions on borrowed bikes. The bike she had been promised didn’t look like it was going to happen. I rang the lovely boys at Kinesis UK, with a wave of their wands her fairy godmothers Dom and Paddy came to the rescue (Aw come on, it’s Christmas we need a panto gag) with the very last EVO4. “where’s your bike Ali?” “it’s behind you!”

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk – pure joy supplied by everyone who had a hand in this bike)

We managed to get together a Campag Veloce groupset and a rear wheel from old bits of bike, Jeff kindly gave Ali some brakes, Dan at Windwave sorted FSA compact wing bars and BBB cables and FSA green spacers, Garage bikes for fixing up one of my old front wheels, a seat post she’s pinched from me and some Maxxis Mud Wrestler tyres. I couldn’t resist getting her some green HUDZ to go with the Arundel Gecko bar tape that was in her goody bag from Saddleback for raising the most money for this years Fred Whitton. I built it up then took it to Blazing Saddles to make sure it was all safe.

A huge thank you to everyone involved. Ali is delighted with it.

So race day was upon us. We packed all the bikes into Snail the van and we were off to Waddow Hall. We arrived to beaming smiles mixed with nerves. A special mention here has to go to Chipps and Beate who’d arrvied with matching snot monster colds but still wanting to support this event.

Bikes unloaded and we were off to do our practice laps.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

With 21 of us lined up at the start. All a bit nervous. I hid at the back. I’m not entirely sure why, I knew in myself that I was likely to overtake half the field on the first climb. Still I was happier hiding.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

We were off, I began to pass people, Ali was holding onto me as we hit the first climb. I knew her handling skills and balance were far better than mine. I passed her, as I glanced back I could see that she was loving it. It’s made such a difference for her having a bike that fits her and is really hers. 

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

It was such fun to be riding the EVO5, it really comes into it’s own when it’s raced. I was getting better at carrying and running up the climbs, remembering what Alan and Mark had said about keeping it out of the mud so no extra mud stick to it when it didn’t have to. Though I think I could hear my boney shoulder grinding against the metal! Thank God the tube is so well shaped and it’s light!

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

As the race went on I found that my confidence was growing lap by lap. I was riding things that I wouldn’t have done when I first got the bike. I know you may laugh but it’s been a lot of learning.

Then all too soon the bell rang and we were into the last lap. I could see Amy ahead of me on the climb, I jumped back on earlier than on pervious laps and powered past her. Amy is a fairly well skilled MTB rider so I knew as soon as it came to the zig zags that she’d have the advantage. She tried to pass me on the inside of a bend but slid off in the mud, there was another climb and I was able to power away, Now this was getting FUN! The wiggly bit was coming and I knew Amy would corner far better than me so I had to power into each straight and finally we were into the final squelch for the finish. I hammered down with Amy coming in a short way behind. What fun. I came in 5th out of 21.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

Now idiot here decides that it’s a great idea to sign up for the second race of the day too.

I figured that whilst on a buzz from the morning that I couldn’t get scared. Good logic eh!

Bike washed, fresh layer of Morvelo skin, Clif bar and a cup of tea and I find myself at the back of what can only be described as a two wheeled army about to go into battle. The course is longer, they’ve added steps, sticky leaves, a longer singletrack climb and a strip of tarmac.

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(photo – www.sportsunday.co.uk)

Oh gosh was the course different now, much stickier, great colds of grass mud and leaves glooped everything up. Places I’d ridden hard into now just wheel span. I remembered Alan and Mark telling us to use these carry moments to de-gloop the bike. It was getting quicker to run. I began to understand why non runners got grumpy when it got like this and was glad of my fell running background. 

It seemed like my brain had turned to mush in the gap between the races and I’d forgotten the confidence that I had at the end of the first race. Still I was only going round for the experience, knowing I’d used up all the GO in me that morning. It made me want to have another go with fresh legs!

I came in 5th out of 7. I can’t wait for next weeks race.

I bet our washing machine can though!

 

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2 thoughts on “138psi to 38psi – Two weeks, two races and two very different bikes.

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