Friday, October 29

Injury Free?

It's been a while since ive been injured. Quite a while and it's been great to be honest. Getting told i'd managed to incur a stress fracture and a trapped nerve was a pain in the nuts to put it mildly. Coming at the same time as rolling 2 tubs at one race, crashing 4 times hard in a week, and then puncturing a tub in the next race...well i was in a bad place.

The last week has been recovery, mental and physical.

Went to the physio last night and got the all clear to run again. Not for long, 15mins, and not fast or hard. Somehow i've managed to keep my weight in check with no running. Sitting below 81kg at the moment and i can be happy with 3 months until nationals.

Tonight i will run for the first time in 6 weeks. It will be slow. I may even put some music on. It will be slow, and my feet will get soaked in the grass. But i cannot explain how much i am looking forward to it.

6min/km here i come.

Tuesday, October 26

Weekend away, roads and more roads

Long weekend was on the cards. I've somehow managed to miss the other Bankholidays this summer by forgetting they were about to happen. Not this time, a plan needed to be hatched.

Was working on Friday night at the St Pats vs Bray Wanderers game (it was terrible) so couldn't get away super early. Plan was to head off to Cavan early on Saturday morning, but i didn't get home until 12:30pm as someone did not want to do the business, and i got to bed sometime after 1am as i'd not eaten dinner. Slept through and woke up at I was supposed to be on the road at 10am. OOps. 1pm rolling out of the house with 100km to head to get to Virginia. Must get to Pumpkin Festival!

Mostly the ride was flat with some small kickers along the way. Section out of Kells nearly bored me to death, thankfully music kept me alive. Nearly died twice within 10m of entering Virginia, but 3hrs 45mins later and a good ride was in the bank. Changed, coffee'd, and then dinner with Paulines folks.

Plan for the rest of the weekend was vague. Hotel booked in Achill Island for the Sunday night, get there at some point, get home. Sin e. Drove to Enniskillen that evening and I managed not to kill anyone and watched a good film. I'd no clothes with me so dressed in Mikes clothing for the weekend. Baggy and woollen mostly!

Woke up the next morning to some awesome frost and ice. Inversion on the lake and perfect skys. Drive to Achill was going to be great! Coffee stops and a few other stops on the way and we got to the island in time to enjoy the great weather in a picnic at the Sound. Met a few friends then went for a drive on the island for a few hours to see bits we'd never seen. No surf so not much else to do. Dinner and a few beers that evening before bed, then another long drive back to Dublin. Popped into cinema to see The Social Network (its rather good) then bed.

In total i think i've doubled or tripled the entire amount of time i have ever driven a car in this one weekend. Simple as TBH...

Tuesday, October 19

Supercross Rnd 2: Tymon Park IMBRC

Tymon Park was where i popped my cyclocross cherry all those years ago. I'd done a race or two on a mountain bike but had never raced proper on a CX bike. I managed to scrounge together a beater of a bike in the form of an old Flanders CX frame. It was heavy, i was heavy, and the course was a nationals that went down in history for being over within 20m when a crash occurred into the first section of singletrack. Suffice to say i got my ass handed to me and finished +3 laps. It was a birth by fire for me.

4 years on and allot has changed. Gone are the singletrack sections, gone is the crazy start, and gone is the mud and tears of being a fat bloke carting a 12kg bike about the course. 3 years later and this is a course i love returning to and this year it was perfection. 3m wide the whole way round, UCI standard for 99%, and fast as you could make it.

Race was going to be stacked from the start, all the big names were out and looked like a great race with was in store. Personally i was feeling ok. Had just recovered from a chest cold, but after being struck with a case of the 'stop training Greg' in the form of a trapped ulnar nerve and a stress fracture in my leg i pretty much should have just hung up the wheels. However being gridded always has a bit more behind it and its great to get called up to a race. Makes you feel like you've achieved something...or such.

Either way i opted to race, for good or bad i don't know. First few laps were ok, then it all went wrong. The course was a top end course, you needed raw V02 power and mine was still covered in phlegm and it made its way up on more than one occasion. 4 laps in and i started to realise i was going to be lucky to get through this in the top 20 let alone 30. Recovery mode and just ride to maintain places. 3 laps later and it wasn't getting better. Keith from Sundrive passed me noting that i looked like shit and should pull over. In a nice way. But Karma had other ideas and i punctured my front tub. Right before the techy off camber bits. Cock.

Ran a bit, realised this was bad for my leg, then just finished the lap and pulled in. Pissed off, but then i found out that 15 people suffered the same. Me thinks that people in the UK will be getting muchos money from Irish riders looking for new tubs!

Friday, October 15

Supercross Rnd 1: Swords CC

The Stevens Supercross Cup. Alwyas good racing. Always a deep field at the front end. Always hard. Always fast. Always excellent. This year we are back in Leinster for the 4 round series. Back and bigger than ever. With 34-40 people turning up at training and this the first race in the South all year it was going to be a big one. 50 people presigned. 15 more signed on at the startline. This was going to be epic.

The course designed by Dave O'Neil was a definite Dave course. Fast corners, fast straights, no uber tech, but forced running that paid well for cross riders, and corners that you could only just maintain grip at high speed on. A crew from Team-WORC arrived to help set the course and clean as much of the grass and cans off as we could.

Starting grid was stacked in the front two rows. Robin, Giller, Dave O, Evan, Gormo, Aiden, Peter, Myles, Niall...i knew everyone on the front two rows by name and new this was going to be a very fast start. Some random roadies tried to slot in at the front and were promptly run through when the whitle went. 10 laps flat out. Bring it on.

Straight line it from the gun into the first corner, 3 wide with Stu on the right and Niall on the left, pull away from Niall but he's all over me on the next corner. Avoid the corner we all assumed would cause a crash and hit the speed dip to bypass the river. Up onto the dirt corner like a supermoto course and Niall is trying to undertake, quick flick into his line and he's forced to go high, i go low and make the run up before him.

Massive attack out of the run up and try to gap him Latch onto Stu and Noel from WORC and we work like hounds to gap the group. Hit the ride up fast and have got 5-10m's on the Rocky Mtn boys. Down the straight, first time over the boards (385mm of UCI goodness). Down the grassy edge of the GAA pitch and into the funnel to the 'drop'.

Ride the drop and realise this is a great spot to attack. Pull ahead of Stu and Noel as they are suffering a bit and spot Myles in his Bikepure kit ahead. Target sighted. Attack. Cross the finish line and 200m later I'm on the back of the group with Myles, Colm and Sean. Sit in for half a lap until I decide to make my presence known. Track riding taught me to control from the front like a good kirin rider so i move past them on the boards and get to the front. Also allows for blocking if its needed.

3rd lap and I'm getting pissed off with the guy from Tiernans on my wheel. I made an attempt to bridge to the next group and you are wheel sucking. Shouted 'Either work, or i will drop your sorry ass'. He didn't so i went harder. Myles was smarter than that and half a lap later he is all over me again. Ease off. This guy can ride and we still have 6 laps to go.

And so it went until lap 8. I'd attack, drop Myles, he'd work his balls off to get back onto me and drag the Tiernans rider up to us. Colm had punctured somewhere around lap 7 so was gone, and Sean was off the back and suffering....i hoped. Start of lap 9 and i had to go. As i was winding up to go the lad from Tiernans goes. Let him go, hop on his wheel and get ready to spring board after the run up. This has to be hard as i can no sticking around to see if they chase.

Big right hander. Fast. To fast for my confort. Tub goes off the rim. Rim catches. I highside and end up on the ground, the same place i rolled in warmup. Curse as Myles and co ride past. Throw a massive Millar time and then cop on. Roll the tub back on. Get running kid. Run the section to the corners as Stu comes back to me. Tell him to ride on as i cant corner. Eventually get to the pit, change the front wheel and start again. This is going to be hard. I'd gone from 10th to 21st in a matter of seconds. Chase as hard as i can, corner way to ragged, hold it, get a place. Get another one at the boards and bridge to Asa and another lad.

Holding on as Asa leads into the drop. I know he is going to attack, and he does, just manage to get to his wheel again. 100m to go and a series of 90' corners and a big 180' corner. Skills need to work. Think of it as a match sprint. Hold my line behind Asa sitting on his wheel. Final corner, he jumps the Newry rider, 50m to go and I'm already in the drops while Asa is still on the tops. Leverage will win. Drafting till 30m and i have to go. Out of the saddle. Full gas, head down, death or glory.

17th place. Two rolled tubs. Less points than i needed, but a good performance let down by a mechanical. Myles finished 10th. In my position. Tomorrow will be different.

Thanks to Waggers for the photos.

Tuesday, October 5

Lurgan Race File

Bit late i know but may as well stick up race file from the weekend in Lurgan last week.

Looking through the file I was probably a little too hyped at the start line. HR was very very high and that probbably didn't help with trying to chase back onto the bunch after I crashed.

Lap times (bar first one) were pretty consistant, but you can see my HR dropping the whole way through. Just wasn't pushing near the end as i had nothing to chase for. Need to sort out the head for the race tomorrow. No matter where i am, treat it as a race, treat every place as if it was first place.

Last lap was a bit off due to 2 chain drops, hopefully new chain retainer arrives today. CRC be kind to me!

Monday, October 4

Ulster Cyclocross League Round 1: Lurgan Park

Edited since posted:

First race of the year. Always nervous, always apprehensive, always a big start to a long season. THe course was big, the course was long, the course was more akin to a mountain bike race than a cyclocross course.

I was not impressed at first.

Lurgan has held some fantastic races in the past. This year its to be the national championships so they are aiming to step up to a race that needs to be run well or they will receive abuse. The location is excellent, huge area of land with a tennis pavillion at the start, food, playgrounds and a massive amount of mixed parkland to work with. But suffice to say the water jump raised its head again....arrghghg. I don't mind it, it just takes one twat to cream him/her self on it and they are screwed.

The warm up was odd. With a 12-13 minute lap (told you it was long) only 3 laps were done in warm up. very little time to learn the course and by the 3rd racing lap i had maybe got it sorted in my head. Not a good sign!

The MTB support race ripped up the ground less than expected and to top it off Pauline got 3rd place. Well done that to get her a cross bike. Lining up on the start line you could tell that it was going to be a hard start. All the fast boys up the front and not very much space.

Race kicked off and 50m in Matt Aider bumps me on the left and then he's on the ground. 3 other riders went down on the fast tarmac start, but this happens every now and again. Fair dues to the guy he chased back on and won the race! But...100m down the road a bunch of 7 of us had got away. At the first turn a rider went down taking myself and another rider with him. Straight to ground in a heap. Picked up bike and ran to notice chain was off. 6th -last in a split second. Myself and Rob from WORC started to chase back, but at that point it was race over.

First lap saw me get back up to 16th position but i'd spent any energy i'd have used for later in the race. Havent had to go so hard for so long in a while, good to know i can do it, but not the time to use it. A stupid mistake on the last lap saw me drop from 12th - 16th as i missed a gear change and hopped my chain again. Suffice to say i was angry crossing the line. Course ran better in racing than warmup, bike and rider are ok if a little bruised, but not the best start.

But hey, thats racing.

*I am thinking of changing my name to Theo Bos....

Photos to come later: