Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Update

Well it’s Boxing Day and it’s raining outside as it has been for what seems likes weeks. Luckily I’m on a recovery week so training hours are a little less than half the number I’d normally be doing. The gym is also closed because of Christmas so the extra available time is being used wisely. Now that sponsor negotiations are over, the team has been announced, product orders have been placed, and race schedules have been decided we can start to think about the logistics for our calendar. With this comes a long list of things to organise: airport parking or transfers, flights, car hire, hotels, race entries, support staff…. The list goes on.

Thankfully I enjoy this kind of thing and am thriving off the extra motivation the new team has given me. The training quality has improved immensely and the number of hours I’m spending on the bike has increased. Hopefully this will mean better results once the season begins.

Over the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed some fantastic training rides, sometimes alone in the countryside with just my thoughts and my iPod, and other times with my teammate Tim and other friends. It’s been incredible how quickly the weather has changed from one extreme to the other - we’ve had torrential rain one week, then freezing temperatures and icy roads, and now back to rain and floods. Despite the testing weather I've managed to stay healthy thanks to the products from our new nutrition sponsor USN.

Last week Tim and I ventured out during a particularly wet Sunday for a 5 hour training ride. Many of the roads had turned into rivers and many trails were under water. At one point the route was completely blocked by flooding, we could have found a different route but Tim was eager to get home for tea so it was decided he would be the first person to attempt to the water crossing. The water was over the wheel axels and still rising by the mid way point. Tim made it through just about proving it was safe for me to follow, that’s what teammates are for, right?

Here's a few photos from some of my recent training rides.

The sun rises over flooded fields. Waterproof trousers and jackets have become this years winter essentials along with my Exposure lights.

Another sunrise this time over frozen hills.

George showing off his nutritional strategy.

Thanks for reading! Happy Christmas!

Without the support of our team’s sponsors none of this would be possible.

Monday, 3 December 2012

2013 Team Launch!

Here's the official team press release...

It’s been months of hard work but now the Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team can be revealed!

Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team is a new fresh exciting mountain bike team specialising in endurance racing. The riders Ben Thomas and Tim Dunford have risen to the top of the sport in the UK and in 2013 they look to cement that position whilst also aiming for big results at some of the world’s toughest endurance events.

The team is pleased to announce its new sponsorship agreements with Mountain Trax, Vauxhall Motors, Little Knocks, Champion Systems Clothing, Exposure Lights, Syncros, Minoura, Fenwicks, Schwalbe, Lezyne, Hope Technology, USN, Fox Suspension, Vermont Images, Sapim, and Bont. The support from these fantastic sponsors will provide the team with the perfect base to launch a successful race campaign.

Ben has had a long term connection with Mountain Trax with the shop helping him out with sponsorship even when it wasn’t their brand on the jerseys. The Wokingham based store which first opened in 1995 now attracts people from all around the UK and has become known for its expertise in building custom built bikes. John Newport from Mountain Trax and Vermont Images takes up the role of Logistics Manager running technical and feed assistance for the team. John had this to say about the team, “Last season we managed to secure the services of Ben Thomas with his own brand identity and personal sponsors to run along side our existing team, this was a major step to achieving some of the bigger goals we’ve set our race team. The year has turned into a pivotal year with some major success, notably a Mountain Trax sponsored rider not only in the British Team but racing at the World Championships with the Mountain Trax support crew in close attendance. In 2013 I have the honour of helping, assisting, driving, listening and generally looking after a great team which will this year include not only Ben Thomas but the new to the team Tim Dunford. Ben and Tim together will make a formidable force on the mountain bike race circuit.”

Vauxhall supports an array of activities and events, we are very proud to have them on board as the second title sponsor for 2013. “We’re delighted to sponsor this new mountain bike team,” said Sandy MacRitchie, Vauxhall’s Commercial Vehicle Marketing Manager. “The fuel-efficient Vauxhall Vivaro, which squeezes out up to 42.7 miles per gallon on a combined cycle, is the perfect van for endurance athletes like Ben and Tim. The Luton-built Vivaro is no stranger to elite competition after winning the Fleet World Miles Per Gallon Marathon and hopefully this new mountain bike team can continue this winning run.”

Over the last few years Ben has become a regular visitor to the top step of the podium at elite category events in different parts of the world. Ben has ridden World Cups, the London Olympic MTB Test Event, the world’s largest stage race the Absa Cape Epic, and the 2012 World Championships. Ben has been silver medallist in the Under 23 National MTB Championships, won the UK’s biggest marathon race the Kielder 100 in 2011, and in 2012 was fourth in the Senior National MTB Championships and finished 31st in his first European Championships. Scott Bikes will sponsor Ben with their fantastic Spark 29er full suspension, and Scale 29er hardtail frames; the brand will also provide the team with helmets and additional training equipment.

Ben had this to say about the team, “2012 was a great year for me with some fantastic results but with the support we have for next year I know Tim and I can ride to even greater success. Pulling all the sponsors, equipment and calendar together has been hard work which started way back in the summer months but it’s been super rewarding to see the positivity from all the sponsors who want to be involved. It’s great to have Tim on board, we’ve known each other for years and train together regularly. We also have similar racing ambitions and I think we’ll work very well together at multi-day pairs stage races. Mountain Trax have exceeded all my expectations in terms of support this year so it’s fantastic to have them on board as title sponsors of this team. With Vauxhall’s support we can travel in comfort and style to races all around Europe.”

Tim’s results have shown huge progression in 2012 with highlights including winning the Kielder 100, TORQ 12 hour, and the UK Endurance Series. Like Ben this year Tim has moved his focus towards marathon distance events. Following his successful year British Cycling rewarded Tim with a place on the GB Team for the World Marathon Championships. Tim has ridden Cannondale Bikes for several years and this continues in 2013 with Tim riding the new Scalpel 29er full suspension and Flash 29er hardtail.

Tim is equally excited about the year ahead, “Ben and I have been racing each other since we were in the Expert category back in 2008. More recently we have both focussed more on the longer marathon events and have had some great battles over the last few seasons. Next year we will be teammates but I’m sure there will still be some healthy team rivalry! Our plans for 2013 are now coming together and it’s going to be an amazing year. We are very fortunate to be receiving fantastic support from Mountain Trax, Vauxhall and all our other team sponsors -without their backing all this wouldn’t be possible. I’m super motivated to get the new season underway and currently putting in lots of rather damp winter miles to be in the best condition possible for next year.”

The team’s goals for 2013 are to medal at the UK National Marathon Championships and to win the champions jersey, retain Tim’s UK Endurance Series title including winning the UK’s toughest marathon the Kielder 100, finish top 20 at the European Marathon Championships, and top 30 at the World Marathon Championships. The team’s full event schedule will be published shortly.

British Cycling realised Ben and Tim’s potential in 2012 by sending them both to represent the Great Britain Team at the World Marathon Championship. With the support of the team’s sponsors the riders have the extra motivation needed to make a big impression in 2013 and both riders are looking forward to successfully showing off the Mountain Trax/ Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team kit around the world.

Look out for our red, black and orange Champion Systems designed kit out on the trails and be sure to say hello. You can keep up to date with all the Mountain Trax – Vauxhall Motors Cycling Team’s news by following and clicking the Like button on our Facebook page –