Sunday, 11 October 2015

Race cancelled

On race day you want to roll to the start line with fresh legs and a stash of firewood ready to burn. Tapering your training during the week leading up to the event prevents fatigue kicking in before the charge to the finishing line. With the Gorrick Autumn Classic scheduled for Sunday, I skipped my usual Tuesday evening ride. I also only commuted twice, choosing routes with minimal hills, sticking to tempo spinning where possible.

When Friday night came I was feeling relaxed and rested. Out in the shed prepping the Stumpjumper, my phone buzzed. The text simply said "Gorrick cancelled". Surprised and puzzled I checked the internet for details. Due to military maneouvers the land near Deepcut, which is owned by the UK MOD, was not going to be available. In all my years of racing Gorrick events I can never remember one being cancelled and it is rare for any event to be called off at such short notice. The guys and girls at Gorrick must have already put a lot of time into preparing the course.

I went back to the house and ate something sweet and sugary followed by a bowl of cereal. It was a bit of a blowout after eating carefully all week in an attempt to minimise the weight gain since the serious races and training of July and August.

So an unexpected social Sunday ride began with a leg busting, lung burning blast up to Whiteways. Almost straight away I was relieved the race had been cancelled. As a cyclist, the moment you swing your leg over the crossbar you know if it is going to be a good or a bad day. This Sunday it just wasn't happening.

Despite conventional wisdom I have often felt I am stronger at the weekend after a tough ride on Friday. You have good or bad days on the bike and it is hard to explain why, but this week further backs up my theory that I should push it a few days before racing.
Unexpected Sunday social!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

After the summer....

There are 3 months of 2015 left and the nights are definitely drawing in. The spring and summer races are just distant memories, so what challenges remain before we sit down for Turkey and pud?

Gorrick return next week for the first of the Autumn Classic cross country races at Frith Hill. These two events are the last change for some elbows out, maximum heart rate racing. Last year I enjoyed a trip to the podium in the Open category.

When you think winter mountain biking in the southern UK, the Merida Brass Monkey series will be at the forefront of your mind. The 4 hour enduro format, raced in British winter conditions is a challenge for rider and machine. With the final round shortly after Christmas it provides the incentive to stay healthy and maintain fitness right through the dark winter months. I've prioritised the Brass Monkeys the past few years to the extent where they have almost become my specialist subject! Consistency has resulted in 5th and 7th positions overall. The reason for this end of year focus has been injuries earlier in the year which have cut short my summer racing. I am definitely feeling more fatigued this year and with results already in the bag, is the ambition to grind out one more lap quite as strong? We'll find out!

Racing in the cold, the wet and the mud! Thats something to look forward too.

There is also a personal challenge to try and complete over the next 3 months. Staying injury free has meant I am on target for my highest annual mileage. Can I stretch that out to 8000 miles for the year? It'll take 700 miles a month, which should provide the motivation to get out in the dark and the rain!