Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So long since I blogged

It's been so friggin long since I last update! Lots has happened since. I did a few races, traveled a good bit and had a great Christmas! So, I'll skip back to what was the highlights for me anyway...

Marathon Championships

Back at the end of September I took part in the Irish National Marathon Championships. It was the last major XC race in Ireland for 2006. It was by far the longest race I'd ever ridden and I was not so sure how to start out. The race itself was 52km of almost all soggy single track which I completed in 3 hours 54 minutes. My time put me in 6th position overall and 2nd Expert. I was really happy with the result as it placed me ahead of some Elite riders and I could have even been faster if I had not gotten a little bit lost a couple of times (I had to stop and wait for other people - there was one or two sections of the track that was poorly marked) and I also lost most of the use of my front brake for the second half of the race! The guy who won the Expert category was actually some Brazilan national champ or something... at least that's what people told me.... Robin Seymour won the race with Nial Davis coming in second 15 minutes up on me. I took the start way to easy (and got stuck behind people pushing their bikes up the hill), so hopefully I will be able to improve more on the race next year!

Mel finished 3rd lady (elite) in the race. She had a tough crash on a very technical descent that caught a lot of people – several people had race ending crashes on the descent. Her time of 5:21 was very impressive for a relative newbie!

The last climb of the race

Freeriding in Spain

A couple of weeks later I went with some of the Epic lads to Spain again for a bit of freeriding. I took my big bike again and had an amazing trip with a great bunch of lads. It was nice to be riding in t-shirt and shorts in 22C heat :)

Close to where we stayed in Spain

Road Hill Climbing in California

A while after that I was off to the USA for work. The work went grand and Kieran and I got to go on a few nice spins... One Saturday we climbed Mount Hamilton – one of the bigger road climbs in the Bay Area. The following weekend Low Key were running a hill climb on one of the more famous climbs in the area... Old La Honda. Everyone in the area knew their best time (was 18 minutes 20 seconds set in June) up it – classification for riders is even created from it as well as power calculators! There was about 55 people at the start (and one unicycle!). We went off in groups of 10 and when they asked for the faster people for the first group my brother stepped forward, so that meant I stepped forward. The skinny roadies looked around, almost in disgust as they saw a 'fat', hairy legged, MTB jersey wearing guy come forward :)

The race was cool. The group started fast so I hung in the back for the first 4-5 minutes (there was actually a bit of a draft, and this was going up a 7.4% hill). After a while I decided that it was a bit too easy on my legs so I went to the front and started to attack. Basically I strung out the group. After about 9 minutes the eventual winner attacked on a steep switchback. I decided to let him go (now, obviously I wish I didn't let him go). I had a couple more tussels with a guy who rides XC for the Santa Cruz Syndicate and another guy but dropped them with with about 1.5km to go. I finished strong and got a new PB. 16:59. (Kieran still has the Sherlock record by a few seconds)

future posts...

After I returned I went on my big trip of the year. A month long mountain biking trip to New Zealand. I've typed enough for this entry and I want to write a proper thing about the trip, so I'll leave those stories to another time. Some photos are here though.