Saturday, 13 September 2014

Debut: Cyclocross.... Megan takes on the CXNE opener at Hetton Park....

Photo copyright of CWhat Photography

It was a little while ago when I introduced the team’s new kick ass cyclocross and criterium racer to you all, Megan Hopper.  Last weekend she debuted for the team on the CXNE’s Hetton Lyon Park cyclocross event, sadly the Frank The Welder frame had not arrived in time, and on the eve of the second round we’re still waiting for it, yes, I’m looking at you Parcel Force!  But anyway, let’s cut to the chase, here’s Megan with her run down of the day……

I wasn’t nervous that morning, I didn’t know who or what I was up against and my off-season training had gone really well, fitted it all in perfectly with my recent exams and work so I was feeling fresh and raring to go.  We arrived at the venue noting there were more female entrants to the previous season, this is good because it meant I had more competition but bad for the very same reason and this is when my pre-race nerves kicked in!

Photo copyright of Ed Rollason

With no time to waste I jumped on my bike and rode a few practice laps of the course, I was feeling pretty good.  It had a few hill climbs, tight right corners and some tough terrain but of course these are the markings of a well thought out cyclocross course.

Photo copyright of Vicky Hopper

My expectations for the race were to just do what I could and stick with who ever I could as this was the first race of the season and I didn't know where I stood in my category.

The race kicked off, my adrenaline kicked in and I aimed to sprint forward until I was the first woman. With hindsight this was a bad idea, as I soon needed to even out my pace.  It wasn’t long before I caught up with another woman rider though and I stuck with her until the second lap where a second woman joined the ranks.  As I tried to make my move past her I skidded off around a corner and came off the bike, damn!  Back on it within a flash though however I reckon some mud had found its way into my bike’s cassette as the gears were really messing up and making it harder for me to pedal smoothly thankfully they soon corrected themselves and so the race went on!

Photo copyright of Vicky Hopper

I stuck with the two other ladies through to the end of the race where I came third. I was really, really happy with my result because the woman who came second, Michelle Caisley, is a rider who I was nowhere near to last year and there was never a race where I was able to keep up with her. This was reassuring that my training had gone well and that I was improving.

Photo copyright of Vicky Hopper

Everyone that is part of CXNE, all members and spectators, are really supportive no matter what the result, you really do feel like you are part of something.  Because of this my motivation is to train even more over the coming week so I am prepared for the next race.

Photo copyright of Dean Reeve

I'm really excited for what is to come and hopefully I will creep up to first place woman as well as first place junior.

See you all in mud!

Megan
x


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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Lost on the High Road........ the photo journal


Angie: The Lake District is the perfect training ground for the forthcoming Orange Bikes Tour de Ben, having got a group of great friends together we came up with the plan of riding along the High Street.  Well that was the theory anyway as despite our maps we still managed to get lost.  On returning some seven hours later our bodies were utterly spent however, let's face it, the epic Cumbrian scenery speaks for itself.

We started from Staveley in the South Lakes with the aim to ride the High Street to Pooley Bridge in the North, through Haweswater, past the Mosedale cottage bothy and then back to Staveley.  Well that was the plan anyway.  Somewhere along the trail we ended up in Patterdale over the eastern side and were forced to take a longer route back.  It was epic.......









































Here's a roll call to my fellow biking heroes of the day:

Helen Gaskell
Sarah Newman
Lucy Bell
Gordon Foster and
Matt Robinson

You guys rule!

Bring on the next epic ride out!