so long, 2008. Howdo 2009.

Despite 2008 ending in snot and broken-lung farce, it was a good year, cycling-wise. Highlights were a decent, worth-building-on result at Mountain Mayhem, 10th place in the Huddersfield Sportive, 5th in the Prestwich Challenge (although that wasn’t cycling), 6th and a PB in the Mary Townley Challenge and a successful Hit The North (despite the weather). Plenty of stuff to build on in 2009, then. I’ve got some ambitions in 2009, some will happen, some won’t. Some I won’t do because I can’t afford it. The TransWales for example. Definitely my kind of event but hideously expensive. I need a sponsor 😉

a rare smile, Mountain Mayhem

a rare smile, Mountain Mayhem

The Gran Canaria Enduro was a brilliant event. I did ok, but the best things for me were the warm, dry conditions and the fun* that I had riding around the island looking for the registration venue and some details about the start of the race.

*wasn’t actually fun

it wasn't raining all the time

it wasn't raining all the time

Other highlights were Deb doing well with her running, Garry popping over from Canada for a ride and Simon’s knee finally getting back to normal.

...just most of the time.

...just most of the time.

What could have gone better? I would have liked better results at the Fred Whitton and the 3 Peaks Cyclocross. I allowed my training to drift a bit at times and that probably didn’t help, although I have been quite surprised at how well things went considering the chaotic nature of things in general in the last 12 months.

Sleepless In the Saddle was awful. Even months later I haven’t really got a good memory of that race and I’ll still never race a mountain bike at Catton Park again unless there were some radical changes to the course.

Bombhole Woods, before the deluge.

Bombhole Woods, before the deluge.

I sold 3 frames in 2008 too – needs must and all that but disappointing all the same.

it didn't rain there though!

it didn't rain there though!

2009 will hopefully be a year of “sticking to the plan”. I’m sure I can squeeze a bit more out and also do more in less time (and crucially have more FUN) if I show a bit more discipline. It’s mainly getting out of bed early that’s the killer. I’m after better results in the usual races, I’m looking forward to HTN1.5 and a local Merida event. I want to improve on my 2008 place at Mayhem. I’ll hopefully have some money spare to enter the Transwales and maybe find a use for all the ex-Patriot and PA spare bike parts in the cellar. I’m hoping to ride a bit more with other people, maybe a regular training partner if anyone out there is daft enough ;0)

Happy New Year and All the Best to everyone


I arranged to meet up with Phil, Jaq, Budge and Andy yesterday outside the Singletrack office in Todmorden. Phil had a good route planned and the weather was dry and wintery. Perfect.

I struggled valiantly up the first vicious climb and I wasn’t even put off when everyone else skipped up the climb whilst I puffed and panted at the back. Summat wasn’t right but I thought I’d wait to see if it cleared up. About an hour later and it hadn’t cleared up. I’d found a bit of pace on the climbs but I was still struggling more than I should have been.

It was time to go. I’m getting there though. Hopefully I’ll be right as rain soon as long as I can manage some disciplined “taking it easy” for a few days.

A lovely day for a ride

…shame I got as far as Middleton then before I almost suffocated. I felt ok for the first couple of miles, then when I started to put some power down (I’m using the word “power” very loosely here, I don’t think I’ve got much more than a hedgehog at the moment)  I immedialtely started to wheeze, then went dizzy, then felt like I was asphyxiating.

I turned around and went home. I’ll try again tomorrow.


All the bugs under the sun

For the last four or five weeks I’ve been ill, on and off. I’ve been violently sick. I’ve been extremely hot. I’ve been extremely cold. I’ve been snotty, coughing, water streaming from my eyes and generally feeling horrible. As you can probably guess, I’m very pissed off with it indeed. I’ve not ridden a  bike without feeling shite afterwards for weeks – my fitness must be taking a battering by now which will probably mean a mountain to climb next week when I WILL BE FEELING BETTER AND I WILL BE IN A RIDING AND RUNNING ROUTINE AGAIN.

My latest bout of illness started on Christmas morning, lasted all day, put me off my dinner, made playing with the kids a painful effort and has lasted all day today too. I was gutted this morning when I woke up to find that I felt just as bad as I did when I went to bed.

I’m blaming those walking germ-laden petri dishes, the kids 😉 It must be even less fun for them though.

it’s been hectic

Friday was the Singletrack awards/Christmas party. After we found the restaurant we were treated to some lovely food, albeit brought to our table from a far-off land. I assumed it was being carried from far away on horseback judging by the amount of elapsed time between courses anyway.
We didn’t win the award for best event of 2008, but we each received a runners-up Singletrack hipflask, which was very generous of Chipps and co.

5 am the morning after and me, Deb and the kids flew off to Paris for a weekend at Disneyland. Ace. Hideously expensive and rude chainsmoking French folk invading our space but good fun. Rachael’s just at the right age now where she’s quite literally gobsmacked by the antics of the “real” Tigger/Pluto/Mickey.

Whilst we were away, Hit the North 1.5 SOLD OUT. 5 days since we opened the entry we closed it again. Mental. Pleasingly, there seems to be a good mix of road club riders and mountain bikers on the start list, so the marketing we did via British Cycling and the North West Cyclocross Asscociation websites really paid off. Perhaps we’re building a bit of a reputation too…?