Posted by: Mike
Wow, I really think this was the toughest race I’ve ever done! Not only was the course hilly and hard work, the almost continual rain meant it was close to impossible to stay upright too!



I had high hopes for this race going into it – I’ve done very well in Wales before at Nationals and the course sounded pretty good so I felt pretty psyched. I just really wanted the weather man to be wrong as he had forecasted heavy rain. I don’t mind racing in the rain, I’d just read on SingletrackWorld that this course was close to being unrideable when it was wet.

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Posted by: Mike
As the FNSS was unfortunately cancelled due to recalcitrant landowners, I decided to do a Mallory road race instead this week. However I’ve been feeling a little flat this week, so I wasn’t expecting miracles. My end goal was the same as the last Mallory race, just to finish in the pack.

I rocked up at the circuit feeling OK - my main effort this week has been to get myself back onto a full Paleo diet. So I had lunch a decent amount of time before and sorted myself out with a tuna salad about 2 hours pre-race. I had already decided to use this race as a bit of a trial run with a new race day regime, so this part seemed to go well. After walking down and signing on, I started warming up. I did 15 minutes just easing the legs out, followed by 10 minutes sweet spot and then 3 x 1min efforts at FTP. The circuit we were using is the clockwise flat circuit with the chicanes – one of my favourites (I’ve won a previous race here on the same circuit).

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Posted by: Mike
Only a short one for this, but in concise words – I’m the Midlands Regional Singlespeed Champion for the second year running!

The course at Eckington was definitely deserving of the Regional Championships, it was very up and down. There seem to be a series of DH trails dug into the side of a big hill and the course was very much ‘ride up a fire road and then dive down the descents’. The only real bugbear for me on an SS was the fact that all of the climbs seemed to be after a descent, followed by a hairpin! This meant getting loads of speed, braking hard, and then turning a 180 to climb something steep. Not ideal terrain for riding a bike with just one gear. I don’t mind admitting here that I did push up several climbs throughout the race – my lowest gearing of a 34/18 just was far too hard. In fairness I did manage to clean several of the climbs to the sounds of “I don’t know how the hell you got up there on THAT!”
Subtle boast here – I even managed to bag a KOM on one of the climbs! If I’m honest, it’s cos I was too bloody stubborn and I was trying not to let my lungs escape through my mouth when I crested the top!
Four laps later I crossed the line and near collapsed. Soon as I got home I was online to buy myself a 20T cog for the back…
Nathan and I took the top two steps on the podium before heading back home with a decent trophy and bag of swag to match!

Course video is available to watch on YouTube - I turn up a couple of times!
Posted by: Mike
Interesting race, only my second 2/3/4 road race I’ve ever done and rather disconcertingly, I got dropped from the first one. This race used the whole circuit, including the hill to the finish line. My whole game plan was simply to not get dropped, and to try and finish in the pack. I wasn't too interested in competing for the sprint - this was more of an intense training session for me instead. Attacks came and went, but none of them really managed to stick. A few times I felt like I was going to struggle to hang on, but I managed to stay in the bunch. I decided not to try and do any work on the front, but just to hide in the bunch and try to finish well. Coming into the very last corner I found myself on second wheel, and at the base of the climb everyone suddenly went for it! I had a go at competing for the sprint and managed to come in a rather respectable 17th – I was happy with that!
Posted by: Mike
This was quite frankly one of the best events I think I’ve ever done! Definitely a Type 1 fun kind of day – the kind of event that makes you realise just how much fun really hard events can really be.
If you’ve never heard of Tough Mudder – they organise mud run events throughout the country. Think of a 12 mile cross country run with lots of really fun obstacles and you’re about halfway from the truth. Add in thousands of people who are all in together, a huge sense of camaraderie, an enormous sense of teamwork and several hundred tons of mud and you’re about bang on!

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Posted by: Mike
Yesterday was the third round of the British Cycling National XC Series at Dalby Forest. Whilst still being really quite tired from the weekend, I'd first like to say that was just the best race course I've raced on in a long time! However, I am paying for it somewhat today in terms of lethargy and aches.
As a good friend Nathan might say, that was definitely Type 2 fun.


In brief, the preparation and the race went well, the only downer was not having a low enough gear to really push it on the climbs! I think the slogan for the weekend would have to be looking fast, slowly....

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