Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The other side of the peak

Time for an update on my post national champs recovery. Lots of people thought I’d be doing the worlds cup rounds in Italy this weekend and Switzerland last weekend, unfortunately other race commitments and finances meant it wasn’t possible. It’s a shame as now my UCI points have leaped sky high I would be gridded around 120th instead of 220th. However these points I’ve collected will still be in place for next year’s world cup series when hopefully I’ll compete in a few more rounds.

After national champs I was ready for a break, however I was pretty excited because on Tuesday the O’Boyle brothers and myself were booked in for a day of fitness testing, technical training, and bike setup up at TORQ HQ. The day started with a lactate test, my levels were pretty much the same as when tested in December, it would have been good to have seen an improvement but because I’ve been doing all these taper weeks for races my aerobic (base training) level would have dropped off loads and my aerobic (interval training) level would have topped it back up again. Much more pleasing was my results on the power test, my levels had increased by nearly 60 watts and I smashed the best result ever recorded by TORQ up the climb  The technical training was excellent fun, we rode some quality trails in Eastridge forest practising climbing and downhill skills. After smashing myself up the mountain in the power test just 2 days after nat champs my body was fried; to recover for Twentyfour12 I took a couple days off from training.

Twentyfour12 (now in its 5th year) takes place at Plymouth’s Newnham Park Shooting Ground. The large estate reserves some world class trails within its ground for races such as this and the national cross country series. This event offers the opportunity for riders to participate in either a 24 hour event or a 12 hour event riding solo or with up to 8 friends. This type of race is fantastic for socialising and the atmosphere is always amazing with everyone camping for the weekend and a large arena area set up as the race hub. Last year’s race was my first race with team TORQ and my experience that weekend was a massive factor in persuading me to join the team in 2010.

TORQ Performance had originally planned more participants but with riders out injured options were limited to just Lydia racing 12hr solo, and a 4 man team consisting of James Lister, Anthony O’Boyle, Nick Collins, and myself. The pressure was high for the 4 man team after the disappointing result at Bristol Bikefest. I arrived early Friday to get setup and to spend a few hours on the course practising. The course was tough with some hard climbs and lots of flat fireroad sections, the fun singletrack made up though for the suffering.

I was sent off first to make use of the good form my body was in, Simon Ernest from AW cycles stayed with me all the way round the first lap and into transition where I handed over to Ant. From here the gap to our rivals started to open lap by lap. The opposition were strong though and we never were able to pull out a comfortable gap despite putting out some really good lap times. However when the weather changed to pouring rain the race situation changed. Sunset followed shortly after and darkness descended on the track, our USE Exposure lights however gave us the advantage and we continued to gradually open up a gap.

A few of my relatives dropped by the venue to say hello earlier on in the race, it was good to have a distraction from the racing for a short while, and was nice for them to come and see what this mountain biking is all about.

Team TORQ Performance successfully took the top step on the podium, followed by Moda UK and AW Cycles. Lydia rode superbly to take 2nd place in the 12hr solo female category. Promptly after the racing had finish the team fired the barbeques into action and we sat down for some post race grub and entertainment kindly provided by team management! The banter and comedy resumed for several hours finishing off an excellent weekend.

Since then ive been resting lots in preperation for a huge block of training leading into another 2 huge targets in September.

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