Sunday, 25 November 2012

Just another muddy day at Hamsterley...

....and Steve got his team tops for the winter!  Next season's racing tops will be debuted at the start of 2013.

Steve and Nick looking rather chuffed after a mud-fest of a morning....
(How Steve managed to keep that top clean still remains a mystery!)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

All Aboard the Whinlatter Duathlon, 11th November 2012

How goes it you guys?  Got another blog for y'all.....

A few months ago Steve talked me into the idea of competing in the High Terrain Events Duathlon Series which consists of four off-road bike and run races stretching out over the winter months. The first one being at Whinlatter in the North Lake District.  The race can be done as a team relay or as a solo event so I decided to team up with my close friend Jenni Campbell and Steve was with his pal Chris Dunn.  Both of our friends did the 13k run whilst we rode the 18k.

The day before Jenni and I had been caving and after walking through tunnels for 3 hours hunched over like Gollum from the 'Lord of the Rings', it might not have been our best idea but hey-ho, nothing a bag of Jelly Babies couldn’t put right!

Jenni & Angie somewhere in the caves deep underneath the North Yorkshire fells...

None of us had ever done a Duathlon event before and so we were all unaware of what to expect and how really best to approach it, nice to do something new though!

Racing began at 10am on the Sunday, there were about 180 entries and it did feel a bit weird looking around and not knowing anyone. We were used to being at DH/Enduro events where we know everyone and could look around and know who is fast and who isn’t, who’s been training and who hasn’t, but here we were totally oblivious!  The runners went off first, Jenni and Chris had been doing some good training leading up to it.  Jenni is in a running club and I knew I could count on her to set a good time, similarly with Chris he’s got the world’s longest legs so one stride and he was round the course… 

Steve was 29'er mounted, wagon wheels ahoy.... 

The first run was 7.5k and we were expecting to see the runners at around the 40min mark, in they came and passed us the dibbers, there was only 1 minute between them both. We grabbed our bikes and ran to the start line, jumped on and set away up the first hill.  Steve was overtaking people left, right and centre, cutting into berms.  I got stuck behind some dude on the first section and had to brake hard over some sharp rocks giving me an instant flat!!!  My god I was so angry!  I began changing my tube but had no tyre levers…arrggghhhh!  Trying to prise the tyre off the rim with my freezing cold finger tips was awful, eventually I did it as people were passing me shouting things like “ bad luck mate” aye, you're telling me, grrrrrr!  I pumped it back up to 50PSI to make sure it didn’t happen again as I had no  inner tubes left!

Don’t think I sat down in my seat for the rest of the ride as was adamant to try and make up some time.  I soon began passing people and have to give my apologies to guy who fell off his bike and then down the hillside after allowing me to overtake, sorry stinky!  A few minutes later a sharp climb appeared so I shoved my gears down but ended off snapping the lever, oh balls!  I was now stuck in a hard gear for the rest of the ride, good job I wasn’t wanting to sit down much cos I had no choice now!  The route took us around the blue route and then the south red loop.  Towards the end came a stinker of a hill climb, having no gears I just couldn’t push any harder without snapping my chain, or my legs for that matter, so I got off and pushed my bike up as quick as I could, my calves felt like they were going to snap trying to cramp up.

Taking no prisoners......

Last descent into the finish where Jenni was waiting, I handed her the dibber and she ran off like a bullet, I think she knew there must have been a problem.  Steve was already back and changed, waiting for Chris to get back.  He had a great ride admitting he could have gone harder, but was scared to push it as he was not used to racing that kind of distance.  When Chris came in after a great second run we got the results, they had finished 4th in the men’s teams. Woop!  For their first ever duathlon event I think it's fair to say they should be pretty happy!

Next in came Jenni with a very close time to Chris, about 36mins for the 5.5k which apparently went straight up the hillside and then, steeply, straight back down. We got our overall results and were 2nd in the womens teams not too far of the winners.  Very happy with that considering the troubles, I wasn't expecting to place so highly.

Next Duathlon is at Kielder Forest in a few weeks and we are both super excited to get stuck in…Steve is on ebay now buying the lycra!  Now back to that bag of Jelly Babies....

Angie & Steve

Up hill and down dale, the Kilburn Kanter Fell Race....

As the rain falls incessantly outside, summer seems such a long time ago....

Here's Angie's blog update from the Kilburn Kanter Fell Race.

Having not ran out on the fells since April last year I thought it would be a good idea to enter a 24-mile fell race, just for the craic!

With just two weeks to train you could find me in the evenings out there on the moors with some three to ten mile runs, oh and the odd eight mile walk!  Managed to pull my groin muscle as well so had a semi-limp going on for the week leading up to it, no smutty jokes from you lot thank you!

 Angie in training, well, posing on the fells....

My dad fell races all year round and it’s something I like to do over the winter, on one side it keeps me fit in the off-season and on the other I get to share something with my father.  This time I decided to do the race with Steve’s mum, Mary, she does quite a bit of running as well but mainly road and trail over shorter distances.  As you can probably tell this was going to be a challenge for both of us!

Angie and Mary

The route was down in the North Yorkshire Moors starting from Kilburn, a wee village near Thirsk (and not to be confused with the place in London!), the scenery in North Yorkshire is absolutely amazing all year round.  Both of us wanted a good night's sleep before the event so we booked into a friendly B&B aiming to be as fresh as possible for an 8am start the next day.  We awoke to a frosty morning and it looked set to be a beautiful day.  Our breakfast of porridge was soon down the hatch, got our numbers sorted out, kit check done and off we went.  There were about 150 people doing it with a mix of runners and fast walkers.  Following the route with our map and description across the Hambleton Hills hoping we wouldn’t get lost, I have to say that it’s bloody hard to navigate and run at the same time!

It had been raining hard all week leading up to the race, it was heavy going in some places with mud and clag all up your legs weighing your feet down. Great slippy fun but I love being up to the eyes in mud!  It makes it more exciting! 

We came across the first checkpoint, got our tally card stamped, grabbed a quick drink and carried on.  It’s best not to stop at all if you can help it as you lose time, annoyingly people might overtake and you end up stiffening up.  Once past the six mile mark we knew we were a quarter of the way around.  Passing some more check points further on we struggled with our navigation losing track of where we were.  After some dithering around it was best to back-track and head back on to the Cleveland Way, phew!  We lost about ten minutes and ran an extra mile, god dammit!!

The halfway mark loomed, 12 miles in and still feeling relatively fresh, we both grabbed a Mars bar which gave us a bit of a second wind.  Mary was struggling with food as she’s not used to running and eating.  I like to think of it as an excuse to eat a bit more so down the cake hole it went!  Mmmmm, chocolate!

Even though the second half had more hills it psychologically felt as though it was all be going to be downhill, errr..... nope!  There was 3,500ft of ascent and most of it was all in the second half.  

The beautiful Lake Gormire, Photo by Alan AKA The Tall Guy 

We passed some amazing scenery by Lake Gormire and then ascended a steep, and by that I mean a totally lung-busting steep-ass single-track climb up onto Sutton Bank Top.  My dad likes to call this the 'Cardiac Attack Hill' and the last checkpoint was at the top.  

Sutton Bank Top, scenery doesn't get much better than this.  Photo reproduced with the very kind permission of Adrian Ashworth, 

Took a quick swig of juice and then just three miles left along the cliff top past the famous White Horse at Kilburn – we felt like jumping on its back and hitching a ride back by that point!  A young couple were on our tail and pushed it on a bit faster!  Our legs at this point were getting a bit sore and we couldn’t wait to finish!

The White Horse of Kilburn

Finally we were running back along the road into Kilburn, handed in our tally cards and got our finish time of 5hrs and 52 mins.  I reckon that’s not bad considering we got lost and hadn’t really done any practice, a nice jump in at the deep end I’d say and I can’t wait to do another one!!  Bring on the winter running….

At the end of the event, Mary's poor feet....

Hope all is well out there with you guys,



Thursday, 22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends and supporters, hope the birds and the pumpkin pies went down well over there! :)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

New Rider Launch Countdown Commences..... 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... We Have Lift Off.....

I have been looking into expanding the team for a while now, it has been incredibly difficult due to the international financial meltdowns as of late, the knock-on effect being that the team's sponsors all cut back as a direct result.  I will openly admit that 2012 has been a struggle, but we've got through it, we've done bloody well for ourselves considering.  Sorry to bang my own drum here but both Angie and Nick have been amazing this past season.  As well as plenty of podiums along the way, Angie kicked arse on her first Megavalanche event and Nick pulled off the Northern Champs title, this all deserves some raised glasses in my books!  Coming into the off-season, each rider's training is already well underway and we're lumbering up for 2013 to kick off good and, do I make the jump with a new rider?

Oh hell yes!  I've bitten the bullet and taken on a new enduro rider and despite his still young years he's actually an old hand on the race scene having raced downhill competitively since the early 90's.  Shall I just get straight on with it and put you all out of your misery?!

OK, well here's the main clue:

Photo copyright of Disney/Pixar

Have you guessed yet?


OK, OK, OK, I'll get on with it, I would like to introduce you all to Stephen 'Seagull' Foster.

Photo courtesy and copyright of Ian Linton

Seagull's going to be flying The Development's colours on both the UK's and European Enduro racing series, he'll also be dabbling with the odd downhill race too.  He placed 6th overall on the British 2012 Full Gravity Enduro series after only three rounds and a respectful 85th at the Alpes d'Huez Megavalanche, considering it was his first Mega, that's damned good.  He's pushing for the top 40 next year mind you!

Taking in the scenery whilst practising the Megavalanche course

What's that you say?  You want to see him in action?  Hmmmmm?  Oh, OK then, here's a wee video put together by Mr Tiplady:

Stephen has always lead a very active outdoor adventure sports lead life, it is quite literally in his blood, having spent several years as a snowboard instructor around the globe he can also be found surfing the waves and climbing up cliff faces.

I'm very excited about next season, I know for a fact that Stephen's going to settle into the team perfectly what with already riding regularly with both Angie and Nick.  

Photo courtesy and copyright of Ian Linton

A very big "WELCOME ABOARD!" Stephen, now let's all get back out there and kick some ass!

Photo courtesy and copyright of Ian Linton