Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Beer, Mince pies and plenty of ice

Still doing my best to single-handily clear the house out of the Christmas goodies which were bought. Only a couple of mince pies left and a bottle of wine (or two) left. On Monday myself, Gene and Mark decided to do the Taylors to Powerscourt spin. The weather has been very cold over the past few weeks, so by the time we hit the boneshaker at Ticknock we here struggling to overcome the solid ice / frozen snow.

We did think about just bombing around 3 rock for a bit, but we all wanted a good, long spin, so despite the under-wheel conditions we decided to press on. When we got up onto the Wicklow Way the fun started - the trail was solid ice for 20 to 30 meters at a time, so it was fun trying to stay upright, even moreso when we were on inclines - yeah, cycling on ice going downhill :) . To be fair, I don't think the Maxxis Ignitors were not designed for ice, but they did a great job keeping me upright.

When we got around the far side of Fairy Caste (easterly facing) things improved slightly with the right side of the trail less icy than the left. we made it to the Wocca's without too many problems and onto the short road section.

When we got to the base of the Prince Willies climb, the icy conditions returned, and I had my first fall of the day. Cycling up hill I hit a spot of ice and fell like a ton of bricks. As I'm sliding uphill I hear a clatter behind me - its Mark, who after seeing me fall, braked and came off too. No damage - in fact Gene had a great laugh watching it all unfold. The further we climbed up Prince Willies the more ice/snow we had to deal with - it was easier to cycle just off the fireroad. But we made it to the top and had a quick break for some food and off again, dropping down the other side and away from the wintry conditions. It actually started raining at this stage, but only for about 10 minutes and we were lucky to have some shelter.

After that we headed across to Crone in the ice and onto Djouce. We were running out of light at this stage, but managed to get in the Best Descent (properly). When we were leaving the main gate at Powerscourt I went down again, getting some nice road/ice rash on all knees and elbows and bringing down Gene into the bargain. After dusting ourselves down we gingerly made our way back to Taylors on the road.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas report

Well, I survived it - plenty of food over the past 2 days, and a lot more today I expect. With time very tight due to lots of family visits I could only manage Turbo Trainer sessions. Yeah, you read it right - I was on the TT on Christmas day and today :) . Tomorrow though I'll be out on the mountain bike - not sure where yet, might be a long steady spin (Taylors --> Djouce) or Short n' fast in Glending.

I've also got to spend some chain reaction cycles vouchers - yay!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2010 Training starts........


Bit of a false start last week - went out on a spin around Djouce last Saturday and clattered the inside of my knee of a rock which put me out of action for a week. However, I got my Christmas holidays from work this week, so going to get everything back on track.

Monday morning I went up to Glending. Mainly to check out the knee, but also to reacquaint myself with biking (never mind off road stuff). It was a good spin - mastered the wall ride and finished off with a couple of sprints which almost had me throwing up. Definitely a sign of how unfit I've gotten. That evening I dusted down the Turbo Trainer and put in a 40 min stint (10 min warm up, 3 X 5 min full efforts with 1 min rest between. It was good to get the first TT session out of the way. It looks like I won't have my circuit / spinning class this year, so a fair bit of Jan will be on the TT.

Tuesday I went out with Gene for a night spin in Glending. It was minus something or other, but after 5 minutes of cycling it did not matter. We got a few good laps in, blasting the usual trails.

Today I hit 3 rock for a couple of hours. Again it was more just getting back into the off road thing really (not that I've been doing much on road recently either - the Giant TCR has been sitting in the shed for months). It was treacherously icy in places, but good fun. Rock and Roll was class (as usual), so did that a couple of times.

Tomorrow is Christmas eve, so lots of family stuff going on. But the plan is an hour on the TT. No plans for Christmas day, but I'll be either in Glending or on the TT on St. Stephens day for an hour or so before more family stuff. Next week is pretty open, will start to put more effort into the sessions and feel that burn :)

On another note, I'm lovin' my Maxxis Ignitor LUST tyres which I got a few weeks ago. They are perfect for the winter conditions over here - you know, ice, mud, snow, water, etc.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Awesome customer support!

Over the past couple of week's I've had to return a couple of lights as I was having problems with them. I was not expecting much joy in getting the problems fixed, yet alone getting a reply before Christmas!

First off my Blackburn Mars 4.0, which I've been using a hell of a lot on road and off road for the past year. In the past couple of weeks, the on/off switch started to act up (not switching on, not switching off etc.) After checking out their website I discovered they offered a lifetime warranty for all products. The Mar's rear light is the best one I've ever had so I decided to chuck the broken light in an envelope and post it to their offices in Illinois, USA. To be honest I was not expecting anything back, but a week later, I get a box delivered first class with a brand new Mars light! OK, the Blackburn light is not cheap, but in terms of performance and customer support, its well worth the money.

Next problem I had was with my Hope Vision 4 battery. I think it got a knock or I dropped it, but the battery inside the battery casing was loose and a couple of times the light did not switch on. I was inside the warranty period, so I emailed Hope support explaining the problem. Within 5 minutes I had an email reply saying to send in and they would check it out. So again, battery in envelope and off to the UK. Again, within the week I got a package in the post which contained a new battery, and the newer version too (which is that bit slimmer).

Anyway, moral of this post is if you need a rear light go get a Blackburn and a Hope if you need a front light!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2010 Bike

It's arrived! In parts mind you, so the Christmas holidays will be spent putting it together. So here's the deal.

Back in June I came across Pronghorn racing on the web - a relatively new Danish bike manufacturer who specialise in top end race bikes. The full suss bikes had a distinctive rear shock configuration, with the can sitting on top of the top tube, while the hard tail frame was coming in at a tiny 1.03 kg and the kit options were pretty class. I had been thinking about getting a new bike for 2010 at that stage, and after a couple of weeks of research I knew that the PHM1000 hardtail was what I wanted.
It was also at this stage that I noticed that PH were looking for riders to sponsor, so I got a mail together and sent onto the marketing manager Jez Crook. A week later Jez rang and after a good chat we worked out a deal for me (and subsequently Oisin) to ride in the Pronghorn colors for 2010. Yes, sponsorship!

After a bit of humming and hawing I finally figured out the bike kit I wanted and here it is:
  • PHM1000 hardtail frame (18")
  • Pronghorn 1490 wheels
  • Shimano XTR Drive train
  • Shimano XTR Pedals
  • Shimano XTR Brakes
  • Pronghorn handle bar, stem and seatpost (all carbon)
  • Pronghorn foam grips
  • Magura Durin Race 80mm
  • Selle Italia SLR saddle
  • Ashima AirRotors
  • Schwalbe Nobby Nic's
  • Cane Creek IS-3 headset
The Christmas will be spent putting the bike together. I'll be sticking up photos as things progress (right now its all still sitting in boxes in the spare room). Our racing kit will arrive in March.

I'm really excited to have gotten sponsorship - especially since I'm an old fella :) . Seriously though, it'll give me that extra motivation in training which hopefully will pay off in the races. Once the bike is built up I'll be sticking up a few posts on my initial thoughts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Been buying some bits and pieces over the past week, and a batch arrived today!

First off, my goodies (minus the main light which is on its way). I went for a 900 lumen torch type light that I'll be strapping to the helmet. It'll mostly be used for commuting but will be good for night rights too when used with the Hope Vision 4. Its got about 90 mins on full power so its plenty for the spin into work. And if it turns out to be as good as everyone says, I might go get myself a second. I also got a couple of rear lights. They were about 2 Euro each and take 2 AAA batteries. Not quite as bright as the Blackburn I have now, but about 20 Euro cheaper!

Next are the Ashima AirRotors for the 2010 bike. These got a good review recently, and in general I don't hear too many complaints. I had Gusset superlights last year, which were light, but bugger all stopping power. These look that bit better (ie, more metal for the pads to rub off of!), so looking forward to trying them out with the XTR brakes.

Next, XTR pedals. Yes, probably feck off performance difference between these and XT, but I like them. I had them on last years race bike and never had a problem.

Got some XT rotors on the cheap as the Cube's are on their last legs (almost 2 years of continuous usage, can't blame them)

Another 2010 bike bit, Selle Italia SLR saddle. I had this on the Giant XTC also and thought it was the dogs - thats why I got the same model again. And they are about 30 Euro cheaper than last year too!

Finally, got a new set of Seal Skinz - only 24 Euro from Merlin - can't beat that! (tho I'm sure someone will)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whats going on?

November has been a quite month really. A few mtb spins - not many, and cycling into work a couple of times a week. The off road spins have be just for fun which is nice. And this was the first weekend where I did not get on any bike at all.

However, I am starting to plan a few things for next year. I'm figuring out a training schedule for a start. I did one of these last year too, and didn't follow it at all, but I think it helps you get thinking about the types of training sessions you need to do and how much time it'll all take up. So I'm going to include the spins into work as training, and maybe once a week have an extended spin home. I'll also be going to be Pure Class fitness for the spinning classes and also the circuit training. There will be one or 2 anaerobic sessions and a long (4 hour) weekend spin which will be on road or off road. Thats roughly the plan, but the devil is in the details so I'll need to be putting dates and times to all this stuff. I also pulled out the turbo trainer today. I found it pretty useful during the really bad days and evenings when I should have been out.

The plan is to start training proper in December, but to kick it off at an easy pace - it'll be almost 4 months to the first race so plenty of time to get into shape.

I'm also working on the bike for next year. I've already got XTR brakes (the best brakes bar NONE!) and a Magura Durin fork. It'll be my first time using Magura and I'm a little nervous about that as I do love my Fox forks, but I hear super things about the Durin's so looking forward to attaching them to a bike!

Finally I've been figuring out the races for next year. On top of all the Irish NPS's, K-cap (if its on), XC and marathon national champs, I'll also be heading to the UK for Sleepless in the Saddle and the Bontrager 24/12. Myself and Oisin will be racing as a team and I'm really looking forward to those races. What's also on the cards is the ROC in October. I'm interested in the marathon race and the ROC itself, so need to get my ass in gear and sign up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

End of year

With all racing done for 2009, its probably a good time to take a look back over the year.

All the training effort seemed to have paid off at Round 1 of the NPS, came just short of a podium that day. I was delighted with 4th as my goal was top 10 - which I suppose was a little conservative in hind site.

Things went downhill the next week in the Des Hanlon Memorial race where I damaged some tendons. That put me out for about 2 months.

I mad it back for my own clubs race, and after zippy start, finished about 10th. And that was about the average finishing result for me for the rest of the NPS season.

Things improved in the K-cap series - some late season training resulted in 7th, 11th and 4th in masters cat.

I also won the master cat in the Cooley Thriller - my first race win. However I think the 4th place finish in the last round of the k-cap was more satisfying as all the big guns were out and I was less than a minute from 2nd place.

And thats 2009 in a nutshell! So 2010 plans are coming together. They'll involve a new bike (the Giant is gone, sniff!), a new training plan and oversea's races. And all to be done with even less spare time now I'm a dad. Still, I'm pretty confident I can push on from this years results - a few more podiums and maybe a couple of NPS wins maybe?

So keep an eye out for some important posts in the coming weeks!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When's a banned drug a bad drug?

With the last race done, its time to get off the race bike and just relax. Well, with a 2 month old baby, relaxing is not high up on the todo list. Plus work is getting busy again, cycling of any type is on the back burner. To top it all off, I've got a sinus infection (again).

Normally it would not bother me too much, but this one is bad enough to effect my sleeping, as its contracting the bronchial tubes a bit. Actually, it was a bit freaky as I was drifting off to sleep I could feel my breathing getting shallower and shallower until it just about stopped! Then I'd wake up with a jolt. This was enough to meet up my my doc who prescribed by xyzal (yeah!) for the Sinus problems and also Prendnisolone, a corticosteroid which is normally given to asthmatics. A quick check on wikipedia, it turns out its on the WADA banned list of drugs.

After some research, it turns out WADA have banned it because "When administered systemically (into the blood), glucocorticosteroids can produce a feeling of euphoria, potentially giving athletes an unfair advantage,'' their Web site says. There's a long list of possible side effects such as a loss of blood supply to the hip bone, which might necessitate a hip replacement, diabetes, obesity and a risk of infection.

It also turns out Barry Bonds was a big fan of its cousin prednisone, which it happens is not banned my major league baseball (nor is Prendnisolone). He claimed it was used to reduce swelling in his legs and in most professional US sports it used for recovery. So instead of it being used as a performance enhancer, they (people who use it a lot) claim its a performance enabler.

So, when does a drug become a performance enhancer? To be honest its a moot debate as its on the WADA list, and thats it, but at what point is it ok to take drugs to ease pain inflicted by the sport (as opposed to some ailment)?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

K-capital Challenge round 2 and 3

OK, going to lump the both of these in together...

Round 2 - Carrick Mountain, Wicklow

Carrick is a well known downhill spot (think it held a round of the nps this year). Its located in east Wicklow, a fair jaunt away from home, but with a t-shirt on offer for finishers of all 3 rounds of the K-capital, I was soooo going to be there :)

We found the spot easily enough, and parked up in a dryish field. It had been raining on and off for a few days prior, and when we arrived a mist/drizzle started to fall, nothing too bad, but the under wheel conditions could have been better. There was a good turn out again despite the less than ideal weather. After a quick warmup we headed for the start and after a pre race brief by Robin we were off. The first section was a narrower than normal fireroad which, once it started to head skywards it started to sort out the riders positions. I started in the middle of the group (I need to push myself up to the front at the start of these races!!) and by the first section of single track I was in the top 20. The single track was good fun, even if it wa
s a little schlompy. We climbed out and back onto more fireroad and then switched to rougher stuff, all the time climbing, which was taking its toll on me. We got to the first summit and then it was a steep descent and it was there where I had my first over the handlebar moment of the day. Probably my own fault, I was that 1% beyond being in full control of the bike and when I hit a deep, I was launched from the bike. After picking myself up an
d giving me and the bike a quick once over, I was off again. We dropped onto another fireroad, and hit an early water stop which I did not stop for.

After a lot more climbing I got caught by Sean and a few others. Up to that point I was out on my own with no sign of anyone in front or behind. I definitely drop my pace in those situations. So once I they passed me I tried hanging onto their wheels, which only lasted for a few km's offroad, before I lost contact on a newly created descent. When I got to the fireroad there was a headwind blowing and the guys where way up the road, so that was my chances of sticking with them blown.

We went off road again and began climbing the longest singletrack climb I think I've ever done. It was a good 10 minutes of rocky climbing - t'was great! Following that there were a few more over the bar moments also but it was a pretty lonely spin to the finish, which turned up about 10km's earlier than I thought (the race was shorted due to safety reasons). In the end I finished 11th in Masters and 21st over all. A bit of a disappointment really and I should have done better. Before you get seriously into racing you think its all about fitness - thats what gets you race wins, but its as much about having the right frame of mind (that is, you want to compete and win). It's something I need to work on for next year, as I'm a bit too nice in races I think :)

Round 3 - Kippure, Wicklow
The 3rd and final round of the k-cap was based in Kippure house and used some of the Marathon champs trails as well as some new stuff. Thankfully this was the driest of the 3 rounds. Another big turnout meant I needed to be keeping an eye on the start line to ensure I was somewhere up the front for the start. But I didn't so that meant I was at the back of a 100+ field. I was a bunch of guys turning up late and sneaking into the front - maybe I should have done the same...
But with a few km's of tarmac and fireroad climbing I felt pretty happy that I'd get up the front quick enough. And by the time we reached the first techie single track I was up in the top 10. At this stage the field had spread out and I was wheel-to-wheel with Alfie and Oisin. We were alternating going to the front, but that was mainly down to whether one of us missed a turn in the route. I was comfortable enough keeping in with them, but a series of 3 mistakes in quick succession had put me a good 30/40 seconds behind the guys, so then I was chasing. We started to climb off road before hitting some tarmac and a long 3ish km's climb. It was a straight section of road so in the distance I could see Oisin and ahead of him Alfie, who was pushed away. So I got my head down, upped the tempo and did my best roadie impression.

Within 3ish minutes I had caught Oisin, just was we were close to the top. I kept the pace up hoping to get Alfie, but we then hit some more single track. I lost track of him. To make matters worse, some horrendous line choices meant Oisin had caught up and passed me. I kept him in sight and as we crossed through a gate we passed Alfie who punctured. I kept chasing Oisin and caught his wheel on the tarmac section.

At this stage we were fairly certain that we were in podium positions, and with no one behind, felt we could ease off just a little - in my mind I was dreading the thought of having to go head to head with Oisin in a sprint! We worked around way along the final sections of single track and then onto the fireroad climb, when all of a sudden Paddy Daly powers up to us! The guy must have pulled out all the stops as every time I took a look behind the road was clear! So this made things interesting. What I should have done at this stage was make a break for it - we were on a steep climb, something I like, Oisin doesn't, and Paddy was trying to get his breath back. But I hung back - DOH!

I did do a quick sprint to the second last singletrack section - a techie descent. To be honest, I don't know how I kept the bike upright for the first 50 meters or so, but I had pulled out a gap on the guys. At this stage I was thinking to myself I could actually beat them! Unfortunately, while I was thinking this I totally messed up a kicker which had me running with the bike and the lads passing me. And that was that. The guys were always 15 to 20 seconds ahead of me in the last kilometre or 2 and there was nothing I could do (I had also mentally thrown in the towel at this stage). So I wheeled over the line, less than 30 seconds behind Paddy, and less than a minute behind Oisin, who finished in 2nd in Masters! I was ragin for a couple of days with the result - I had come close to a really good result there only to mess it up at the finish. Again, lessons for next year - work in techie skills and killer instinct :)

But coming in 4th in Masters and 7th overall was a good result for the last race of the year. A year that started pretty damn good, went pair-shaped in the middle, and came back good again at the end.

And BIG thanks to Mel for lending me Ryan's, then her Garmin :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Cooley Thriller XC Marathon

There were no marathon champs this year, so we had to make do with The Cooley Thriller, and it more than made up!

The race was organised by Cuchulainn Cycling club, and the start/finish was based in the scenic Carlingford village. Over 150 entrants showed up and as usual the masters category was probably the largest, despite my usual rivals not making an appearance.
The weather was, again, misty and damp, despite leaving Naas in Sunshine. We got to the yacht club for sign-on and spent the hour or so sorting out our bikes and chatting about what would be in store for us.

At midday we were escorted out of the village up to the Slieve Foy Forest where the racing kicked off. Again, I was down the back when we left the village so by the time the race started proper I was chasing people. First person I caught was Oisin just as we reached the section used in the NPS. Knowing he'd catch me eventually I passed by him - and within a hundred meters of single track that happened. However a few hundred meters up the trail I passed him as he slowed up to repair a puncture which pretty much ruled him out of the rest of the race.

After the single track we hit the tarmac - which was flat initially, but quickly became a serious climb, all the way up to the top of Black mountain and into the mist. At this stage I met up with some with another rider (who picked up my water bottle on a descent - cheers!), and between us, managed to get a little lost. Thankfully, local rider Johnny McCabe passed by and for the rest of the race we were pretty much wheel to wheel.

Once the main climb was completed, we worked our way across various peaks, hitting some seriously fun descents along the way. I wish I could say the view was amazing, but with the mist hanging so low, I could just about make out 50 meters up the trails. Sean caught up with us about half was through (had a pedal malfunction earlier in the race - that is, one of them fell off!) and we kept pretty much together until the last 5 km's where he pulled away (with Johnny).

To be honest, the course was so demanding I was not thinking about where I was positioned - I had Sean and Johnny ahead of me and thats all I needed to keep the pace up. The last 2 kms were an amazing descent down from the mountain. I wished I had a bigger, full suss bike to really enjoy it, but for now it was 100mm hardtail. Also at this stage the clouds lifted and sun had come out. We had amazing views across Carlingford Lough and into Rostrevor - another mtb mecca.

But before I knew it, we were at the finish line. And to find out I came 8th over all - which I was happy with, as 6th place was probably only a minute ahead. But the best news was that I won the masters category - my first win! I was delighted to win the race, but the fact that the main players in the masters cat were not there did dampen this a little, but you can only race who turns up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kildare 100 (Martin Earley Tour of Kildare)

Myself and Arek decided to give the Kildare 100 a blast again this year. Its a sportive in aid of the Marie Keating foundation with Martin Earley (an ex Irish pro) helping out. We did the tour last year for the first time, it was also the first time I cycled in a large group. We also found out that once the cop car left the pace jumped up immediately. We got left behind before we even knew the pace car was gone last year, so this time around we wanted to at least keep up with fast guys.
From the looks of things at the start line I'd say there was in the region of 400 to 500 riders at the start, which is quite a handful to manage considering they are all departing at the same time, but like last year, there were plenty of marshals that held up traffic when required. So we headed off around 10am and for the first 20km's we just tapping along enjoying the leisurely aspect of the cycle. We stopped at the North Kildare sports club for tea and food, and after about 15 minutes we headed up the road a couple of kilometers to Kilcock, hanging a left over the canal bridge and on toward Clane.

Another 5km's passed before the police car sped up and kept going straight while the tour hung a right. This time around myself and Arek were up front - Arek in the first 5 or so and me in the from 20 (I think I'm still a little to nice in the peloton - should have been pushing my way yup!)

The pace did not seem to pick up by much this year (or maybe it was the same as last year and I was a lot less fit). So, the first thing I did was head up to Arek and see what the plan was. I still thought the pace was slower - even slower than my usual commuting speed, so after a quick chat with Arek, we decided to head up the front to get the speed up and see what would fall out of it. Not much was the answer - a couple of guys came up to help out but not enough to do the up and through working properly. Arek suggested we just drop off and let someone else set the pace. Wise words, which I did not heed, and up to Robertstown I did my best to keep everyone up the front honest :)

When we got to Robertstown a couple of guys jumped on the first climb (well, lets call it a kicker - it was pretty mild), but we had them back in after a couple of hundred meters. Again, the pace slowed down and I decided it really was time to hang back. The next major climb was coming into Kilmeague which shook things up a bit I got a little caught and was chasing up the hill and down the other side before I got back with the lead group.

I was there or there abouts when we reached the big climb of the day - The Wall. Funnily enough it did not seem as hard as last year. My biggest problem was with getting blocked in by slower riders on the climb. I finally managed to catch back up with Arek near the top. From there it was a sprint down the other side and through Kildare town. At this stage a lead group of about 20ish had formed and the pace had really picked up. As we hit the Curragh I got to the front and put a big stint in, and as soon as I did I realised I was blown. Guys started coming through and kept the pace high. I started to go backwards, but as we crossed the motorway had managed to hold the gap to about 50 meters. However, try as I might, I could not bridge the gap back up. Even a motorcycle marshall tried pacing me back, and he even let me draft him, but to no avail. I watched the group of about 10 slowly pull away - with Arek in it!

As we left Newbridge I dropped the pace and let a rider catchup. 2 riders working together had a better chance than one. And at one point we did catch a glimpse of the back of the lead group, but again they vanished around a bend and that was it. So we kept the pace up and pushed on to the finish back in Naas, and in the end we were only a couple of minutes behind the lead group. We even got a round of applause which was nice!

I know, I'm talking about this charity cycle like it was a race, and to all intents and purposes, the second half was, and great fun too! The marshals were great, and the food after was class too. I'd highly recommend the tour of Kildare to anyone who fancies a bit of bit to their sportive!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

3 Rock Hill Climb

Ok, still have to write up about Kildare 100 and round 2 of k-cap, I know, I know....

Anyway, Ryan Sherlock decided to organise a hill climb
TT from the M50 bridge just past Taylors 3 Rock pub to the top of the 3 rock (well the end of the tarmac anyway).
Point to point is just a touch under 4km's, an average Grade
of 8.1% (with 2 flat sections - feels more like 10% average) and 318 metres of climbing.

I'd decided to give it a lash as had never done any type of TT
before, never mind one that had you spending most of your time pointing skywards!

I arrived early and did a quick spin up to Ticknock to wake up a bit (baby awake a lot of the previous night meant I was a little worse for wear). I've also been doing a lot of cycling in and out of work these days for money saving and training, so the legs were a little sore too. We had about 9 at the start line, with myself,Sean, Cait and Ryan from MAD and the rest from Mel was time keeper for the event.

With everyone leaving in 1 minute intervals, I was the 8th person off (or there abouts). After the warm up I decided the big ring was going to be off limits for most of the run, and instead would try to keep it in a big gear at the back. To be honest the run itself was boring - not like an mtb race where you have climbs, drops, singletrack to keep your mind occupied. What made it interesting is the mental focus and trying to keep the pace up and not giving in to the negative thoughts that float around your mind like hoping for a puncture/spoke to break etc.

I passed Cait first (who was on her mountain bike in fairness!), then a couple of the boardies, and made it to the top in 15 minutes and 16 seconds, which was the 2nd fastest of the night, with Ryan first at 12.34 and Sean just behind me at 15.21. I did slow up at the end so I may have given up a few seconds there but that was as good as I could do on the night.

Despite the pain, I really enjoyed it. Its just a different way to push yourself up a hill fast. Sure you could do it by yourself, but knowing there is a person 1 minute behind and ahead of you is very motivating. Ryan is talking about running another one in a couple of weeks, but this time maybe up Cruagh, so I'll be out for that too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Ok, I've a few posts to write up - one on the Tour of Kildare and one on round 2 of the K-cap series... they will be done I promise!

But in the mean time I've been busy building this...
I just need a cable hanger for the front brakes and its road worthy (not sure about off road tho). I thought I might have cut the steerer to short, but I think it'll work. The Kinesis pro5 frame came off of ebay, along with the Scott carbon fork and Kore canti brakes. Everything else (apart from the saddle) came off the Beone.

On top of Cross races, I'll be using it for the commute to work as the TCR is taking a battering on the back roads.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Changing times

And what I mean by that is that I'm taking less time to do my road spins...

Last week I did the Laragh, Shay Elliot, Slieve Mann run. It took 4 hours 12 minutes. Last time I did that loop in early January, it took 4 hours 45 minutes.

It also did this to my legs - apologies for the hairyness :)

And today I did my fastest time around Blessington lake - 1:30 for the 49km's (200 meters of climbing in there too I might add!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009


New posts coming soon, but something funny I found on the club site...

Friday, July 31, 2009

K-capital Challenge round 1 and other pains

Right, start at the start...which would be about 3 weeks ago...

It had been a quite enough week, bikewise. I'd done a couple of spins on the mountain bike and a spin into work. However, on Wednesday I came down with a nasty migraine, however I did not realise what it was until I went to the doctor. It totally knocked me out for about 2 days. I was exhausted and had to get into a dark room and sleep. I went back into work on Friday even though I was not 100% as I wanted to take part in the Meteor/Barnardo's cycle challenge. Even as I was getting ready to do it I could feel another migraine coming on!

The Challenge was simple, travel as far as possible on an exercise bike in 15 minutes. As a carrot, Meteor had organised a prize of a €600 voucher for a 5 star hotel and spa. Needless to say I was motivated! My team were meant to be first up, but some last minute changes had us going at the very end instead. Probably worked out best as it meant I knew (or at least I thought) what to aim for. The 15 minutes flew by and relative to a 2 hour mountain bike race, was not particularly gruelling. I started to drop the pace off in the last minute when I took the lead, and ended up with 5.76 miles or averaging about 37km's an hour for the 15 minutes. It was enough to win the price though! But I did get a scare at the very end. We were short a man on our team and a guy at the event said he would join. He got on after me and came within .10 of a mile of my distance! Needless to say I was relieved to see the clock tick down there! So I was really chuffed - the first thing I've ever won for pedalling (can't really call it cycling).

Meteor kindly sponsored our club this year so it was great to help out at this event and hopefully we can do some more events in the coming year.

Another big plus of doing the event was my migraine finally cleared! So there you go, if you're getting a migraine, get on your bike!

The first round on the K-Capital Challenge was happening on Sunday, but I wanted to change a few of the pre-race rituals, just to see if things would improve. So on Saturday, instead of lazing around for the whole day I went out on a road spin with Paul. We took the lake route in sunny weather. It was really nice to just stretch out the legs for a couple of hours.

The next thing I wanted to change was what I was eating. Taking a leaf out of Joe Friel's book, I decided to eat as much 'real' food as possible the morning of the event, and do my best to steer clear of any of the energy bars/gels/drinks until right before the race. So, I had some of Saturday nights dinner leftover for breakkie (Chicken/rice deal), and surprisingly it was not that bad to eat at 8.30 in the morning!

When we arrived, there were plenty of people milling around already, and masters being the biggest category with 77 riders! There were plenty of seniors, juniors and ladies also, so with a mass start it was going to be tricky.

The course was about 14km long (2 laps), with big climbs, kickers and tricky descents. A lot of the 2008 National champs course was used. The conditions varied from dry (on the climbs) to schlomp-city (everywhere else), so 100% focus was needed at all times in order to keep the bike upright.

After a basic warm up, we headed down to the start line. As there was no gridding, it was first come first served, and I ended up on a second row of sorts. As we were getting the count down to start, I noticed the guy in front of me for the first time. He was a big fella, with a Camelbak - nothing wrong there, but then I saw he was in the granny ring! The first 100 metres of the race was flat before heading downhill slightly, so I knew this was going to be a problem. But not as big a problem as the Belmont House section. Its can old ruined house which you pass through in single file. And because I was held up at the start, I joined a significant queue to get to the through. I think we were standing around (and joking) for about 90 seconds or so. Once out the other side the racing started.

The remainder of first lap went well, apart from some sketchy descending. I kept up with 2 club mates on the climbs and hung onto dear life on the descents. Towards the end of the first lap I passed both and got the head down for another tough 14kms. But it turned out to be not as tricky as lap one. I had managed to get a handle on the descents and the schlomp - despite being almost totally unridable in places. Coming into the last quarter of the lap, I caught up with Stuart Galloway (WORC) and Luke Manning (IMBRC). I think me arriving made them up their pace a little but I hung on as best I could. Once the final climb was done I think we all realised that it would be a tight finish. An Epic rider also joined the group with about 400 metres to go. He was the first to make a move with 200 metres. It was a steady incline to the finish - on grass. I really was not sure how much I had left in the tank, so decided to just keep the steady pace up the climb. Sure enough the Epic rider began slowing and we picked him off with about 100 metres to go. At this stage Stuart was so close behind me his from wheel was rubbing my rear wheel. Luke had dropped off about 10 metres at this stage so it looked like a 2 horse race. With about 40 metres to go there was a small bank to navigate, then a left turn and finish line. To be honest the rational, thinking part of my brain gave up at this stage, and I was just running on instinct. I could not see what Stuart was doing, but I knew I was a bike length ahead, and he would have to get by me. Someone in the crowd began cheering on Stuart, and that was my queue to sprint (or as good as an impression of sprinting as was possible). It was only 20ish metres but felt like a mile. I could hear Stuart behind me giving it everything but he never made the bike length up and I crossed the line ahead to my relief. I then collapsed on the ground with both quads cramping AND my forearm (for some reason). It took a couple of minutes for the cramp to dissipate but it was worth it - 7th place, and a sprint finish against some top mountain bikers where I came out on top! Happy days.

One of the big things I learned is to get bigger bottles. I only have 500ml bottles and I felt that I would need about 2 per lap. Because I could not fit a bottle holder to the seat tube (well, I could but needed spacers) I had one the holder and one in my back pocket, which was OK, but a bit messy. So for the next race I'll be using Cannondale liquigas 750ml bottles. Should help solve the problems from the race.

For me, the sprint finish made this race my most enjoyable so far and had me buzzing for days afterwards. I'm really looking forward to round 2 on the 22nd, and despite the limited training I've been doing, I will be giving it socks!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

National Champs review

Sorry, I'm a week late on this post, but I've great excuses!

Last Saturday the Irish National Mountain bike Championship took place at Dunmore Mountain just outside Spa in County Down, Northern Ireland (hosted by Dromara CC). After all the messing about this year with the injury, it was nice to know I was going to make this one! Myself and Gene left about 9.30am and about 2 hours later (30 minutes of which was wondering about the back roads of Co. Down, we found the event.

The weather was holding up nicely when we arrived, but the forecast in the week leading up was not good at all, and knowing that a lot of the lap would be on grass with serious climbs I invested in a Hutchinson Python for the front and a Toro on the back, thinking I'd be up to my eyeballs in muck. And while it did rain during the week, the course was - apart from the odd section - bone dry. Luckily I messed up the order a bit though - the Python is more for dryer trails, and the Toro, while being a knobbly mud tyre, has very little rolling resistence.

So, once all the tyre choice faffing around was done, we got signed up and snuck out just ahead of the sports race to get a quick pre-ride in. The lap started in an open field and worked its way downhill into a rough singletrack section. After that it's a blur of kicker's, technical singletrack, swoopy descents and monster climbs! But I liked it - in a sadistic way!

So the race kicked off and it was a blast down the field. It was not one of my better starts, but I did what I could. As we began climbing I started to pick of positions, and found myself (again) behind Paddy Daly. I stuck with him for the first lap and into the second before he pulled away. I then had a tussle on the 3rd lap with another fella before he dropped off slightly - only to come back in a big way on lap 4 and pass me easily. While I did not feel totally drained, I was not doing the lap times I thought I should have been. To make it worse I totally had in my head it was a 4 lap race (well I wanted to believe that I guess) even though I was told it would be 5! So it was a shock to the system to do one more. At this stage I knew I was in the top 10 somewhere and just decided to bring it home :)

However, coming towards the end of the lap, I got passed by Epic's Rory Walsh, who was sitting on the back wheel of Ryan Sherlock! They passed me at speed and there was no way I could muster up the power to chase, so I had to let that position go. So, I crossed the line in 9th place and I'm happy enough with that. I don't think I could have done any better on the day, and a top 10 finish in the Nationals is nice to have given the year its been.

So next up are the K-Capital Challenges, starting on Sunday! Woh hoo!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Post race update

Better mention the past week also. Its been busy in work again this week, but not as bad as previous weeks thankfully. Unfortunately my previous weeks exertions were still causing me problems, along with not getting 1 decent nights sleep all week. And to top it all off, my sinuses starting acting up. I'd been taking and OTC drug call Zirtek, but to be honest it only masks the symptoms and not getting to the root of the problem (to solve that I need Xyzal which is prescription only - grrrr). However the Zirtek was doing enough to let me out on the bike a couple of times during the week. We did a couple of spins in Glending - and one on Wednesday was particularly hard, and I also did the spin to work on Friday.

I had a totally crap sleep on Friday - and spent Saturday wondering around zombie-like for most of the day until I gave in and got a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon. I got another 10 when I hit the hay-proper that night, so it was nice to wake up this morning feeling rested!
However, I had zero motivation for this race - not sure why (maybe too much sleep :) ), just did not feel like doing it, plus my legs felt totally dead. I would probably have preferred watching the TdF and the guys hitting the Tourmalet. But meself and Gene headed over and hit the trails for a pre-ride. The course had been modified in order to remove some exceptionally schlompy bits. It became longer though and had lots more off-camber singletrack which was going to be tough with my Specialized Fastrak Control - which I think were designed by some lad in California who never saw sticky mud (or any mud for that matter).

After the pre-ride the legs were feeling better, but the mind was still not 100% on the race. So, we just hung about for an hour and took in some of the sport races before getting into the warm up.
The warm up was not so good - I just found it hard to get the heart pumping, so just wondered down to the start line and placed myself as far back as possible as I felt I was going to get in the way of faster racers.

Then the gridding started and it turns out it was gridded in the top 10 - feck it! The whistle went and I proceeded to have the worst start in an XC race - ever. I lost count of the number of riders who passed me before we even made it to the single track. And when I arrived into that I might as well have just ran the lot - nothing to do with the conditions - I just totally lost all understanding of how to ride roots. Once we got out into the open climb to XTC I was thinking of just heading down to Powerscourt waterfall and getting 99 from the kiosk. As usual though, once I was on the XTC berms I perked up a bit and started racing. An expert passed me and I just tucked in behind him for the first half of the first lap. I then had a bit of a tussle with Paddy Daly for the second half, but he pulled away at the start of the second (mostly down to me screwing up single track again, but he also put the hammer down in fairness). The course was not too bad - there were schlompy sections but drier lines were found and used. However it did not prevent the pedals getting gunked up with mud. This made clipping in and out a problem - which was more of a problem in this race as it was a very common occurrence for me. There was a fair old bit of running done and I was glad of the studs at the front of my shoes. The gears started acting up again, and there I was thinking I had them spot on, but they spent most of the 2nd lap climbs jumping about like crazy.
On the last lap I started to get even more sloppy, an over the handle bars moment, and a pretty awesome loss of control on one of the fastest bits of single track which left my handlebar pointing one way and the wheel the opposite way. I think I can put both down to the tyres though as both began with the front wheel washing out on pretty ok terrain. So with the national champs coming up next week and a crappy weather forecast until them, I've bought a pair of Hutchinson Python's, which should solve a couple of the handling problems.

I'm not sure where I finished in the race - it was top 10, possibly 7th, will know later on and will update. Happy enough with that - don't think I would have done any better even if everything went perfectly.

I also dropped the bike into OCtuning for a pre-Nation Champs service. Hopefully he'll undo the mess I've made of it!

Going to take it easy enough this week - might do an mtb spin mid-week and maybe a couple of spins into work, but that'll be it.

Thanks to Arek for the photos!
UPDATE - came 8th.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Still alive

Ok, tearing myself away from the PS3 to write this post :)

I have to say that the old mountain biking has gotten de-prioritised over the past couple of weeks in favour of work, house extension and the arrival of the baby. It's getting quite tricky to have time for all these various things, but one can only do one's best :)

I have been managing to cycle to work a bit. 3 times last week and twice this week. I really don't think I could manage 5 days in a row though - maybe it’s just the very warm, humid weather we're having at the moment, but after the 3rd day, I'm spent. I've also managed to lose more weight than I'm comfortable with loosing - down to 74kg's now. I had a 34ish waist at the start of the year, I'm heading to 30 right now! Defo not good, and will be working hard to get that weight back on - no matter how many pizza's and deserts it takes.

Another factor in the cycling is I'm not bringing all my clothes with me on the cycle. Before I was stocking everything up in work and just bringing me and a few bits in my pockets. But I've bought a North Face Borealis which is my new favourite thing at the moment and was only €40 in the North Face outlet shop in Kildare Village! So that's another few kg's I'm lumping around with me too. I'm taking the Giant a lot to work these days - really liking the acceleration and lightness (relative to the BeOne), but there is an annoying squeak coming from the rear wheel that has stumped the Cycle Superstore, but I'm dropping it back in today for them to take another look. It’s probably no effect on the bike, but its seriously effecting and annoying me.

So, 3 spins into work last week, and on Sunday I did a couple of hours blast in Glending, which was tough. Monday, Tuesday of this week was work commute, and last night was up in Glending but was more just to tap around. But I'm been off the bike for 4 days and my legs feel pretty dead. In general I feel pretty run down. Sleeping is tough with the weather we're having at the moment, but I think its also to do with poor eating habits over the past couple of weeks. With work so busy I've been skipping lunch a lot - just going for a sambo usually. I hope work eased off this week and I can get back to normal patterns. But it may be too late as I'm getting a sore throath right now, so a cold may be on the way.

Went out to Djouce today in the lashing rain to try out the nps course. It's pretty tough - lots of tough, technical single-track with very little let up, or even places to get a drink apart from the main fireroad, but you've only maybe 200 metres there. Some of the new sections were getting badly cut up today as there were a lot of people out pre-riding, so things could be tough come race time. The forecast is for the weather to improve later on the in the week so it might dry out some bit. I hope to get out again later in the week (providing I'm not in bed sick), to give it another lash.

Might try cycling into work on Tuesday and then a few sessions in Glending/Djouce up to the weekend - depending on how I feel.

Still no sign of my replacement Garmin – will hold off giving out until Monday though. Mind you, it’s nice to have one less thing to find before going for a cycle!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back into the swing of things

After Sundays race, I took a break on Monday and cycled into work on Tuesday. It was nice to get back into the regular cycle's again. Wednesday myself and Gene did a bit in Glending, and again on Friday, but only for an hour.

Today I was out again for a hard hour up there and tomorrow will be more in the region of 2 hours. This is full on race pace, non-stop. The fact that most of the loop is single track makes it even tougher as there is no let up - you're constantly in and out of the saddle, power on, off and on again. Perfect!

The road biking is pretty much not happening at the moment. No real advantage to doing it now from a training point of view - unless there is not much on spin-wise and I fancy a change. That said there is a road race in on Tuesday in the Phoenix Park, which I might pop along to if work allows. The Giant is in the shop as the squeak from the rear wheel is getting louder. And between one thing and another I won't be able to pick it up until Tuesday.

3 weeks to the final NPS, so lots of time to get the fitness back, and some hopefully :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holidays and NPS 7

OK, so I headed off on holidays a couple of weeks ago with a road and mountain bike on the back of the car. I still had knee problems so the plan was to get on the road bike for the first week and then switch to the mountain bike for the second in order to be in some condition for NPS round 6 hosted by MAD (my club).

I was out everyday for the first week in super weather. The only problem I had was the road quality - which was crap to be honest. Towards the end of the first week my rear wheel developed a squeak which I put down to spokes getting loose (the exact same thing happened to me last year on the same roads). A local bike shop sorted me out, but 30 minutes into the next spin the squeaks were back. I decided I put the road bike through enough torture and switched over to the Cube. I only put in about 300kms' at an easy pace, but I felt it helped a little.

The weather deteriorated in the second week, but I still got out 3 or 4 times. There is a walking trail near the rented house which was super steep for about 200 metres, so most days I did an hour or so going up and down. Again, I was not killing myself, just getting the lungs and heart working again.

Despite all the cycling I still managed to put some weight on - there was plenty of good food and alcohol - it was a holiday after all! I also managed to break the Garmin. I had it on the road bike leaning against a wall when a gust blew it over. Normally the Garmin would be safe sitting on the stem, and the handlebar or crank taking the impact of the fall, but there happened to be a flower box right in the path of the Garmin and it took the full force. Its pretty much unrepairable but Garmin are going to replace it with a new one for €119 (its only £65 to replace it in the UK - rip off republic?!?!).

So that was it - got back on Saturday, just in time for the MAD hosted NPS race held up in 3 rock. It was a really challenging course, mixing some old and new singletrack with some fire road. After leaving the Start/finish area there was a short doubletrack climb up to the fireroad, which brought you up to the ariel's, into t-connector and a new and improved Rock and Roll. From there it was a challenging climb back up to the fire road on forest single track and rocky, sandy trails. I really enjoyed that bit. It was a scary sprint back down the fireroad before entering the new singletrack (Quack) which was good fun before hitting the start/finish line.
My main goal for the race was just to finish it in one piece and the bike to not let me down (which it did a bit in Killarney and Carlingford). I did lots of stretching in the morning and once we got to the race I kept stretching and moving. I did my usual pre-race stuff and warm-up - during which I did feel a bit of discomfort around the knee. I gridded in roughly the 3rd row back (there was about 30 starters). I was happy enough with that as I had no plans on racing any of the big boys. the start line was not on the lap itself but a couple of hundred metres down a fireroad, which meant the riders should be spaced out a bit by the time we hit the doubletrack. So Richie Byrne sent us on our way and just like Carlingford I felt everyone was going too slow for my liking so I blasted up to the fireroad taking 7 or 8 places.

Things settled down quickly once we got onto the fireroad climb and I eased off a little after remembering that this was my first race in 2 months and a serious injury! So I tapped along to t-connector and for the rest of the first lap just kept the bike and me moving. The second lap I got in with a WORC rider and Luke Manning (IMBRC). The WORCie was ahead of me and was handy enough on the fireroads, but had serious problemskeeping the bike upright on greasy single track - to the extent he was really starting to get on my nerves. Finally he managed to crash off the course which allow me and Luke to pass. Luke was ahead but had blown, but I was happy to keep in with his pace for most of the second and 3rd lap. The WORCie had returned so it was time to pick up the pace for the last lap. As we descend down the fireroad to the final singletrack, we both eased up - knowing that (in theory) the first person into the single track would leave it in front and just a hundred metres of fireroad to the finish line. Based on this fellas track record I was happy to let him in first, so off he went. I did begin to get worried halfway through the single track as he only unclipped once - definitely improved over the race. But he came off in a big was in the last third, and allowed me through - I think he had given up at that stage. I plugged away to the end of the single track, but ran the last 20 metres of it just in case and then sprinted to the finish line and 11th place.

I had a couple of tumbles - I cycled into a traffic cone when I was drafting up the fireroad - I split myself laughing, and came off in a big way in Rock and Roll which left a nasty gash in my knee.

The bike also took a hit on the chainstay - a nasty one too probably caused by a rock getting thrown up onto it on the fireroad. It think the carbon is ok, but can't be sure. Will get someone to take a look at it before the next race.

Overall though the race was a sucess for me. I woke up this morning with no extra pain in my knee and all other muscles just with the normal pain levels. Its 3 odd weeks to the last round hosted by Epic in Djouce, so I'll start to get back into proper training again this week. The nationals are a week later, which I think is what I'll be aiming to do my best in.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend update

Right, been a fairly busy week on the bike - probably a bit too much as my leg can sore/tender afterwards. My holidays start this weekend, so I'll just relax for the next few days off the bike.

On Monday I cycled in and out from work for the first time in ages. Its a nice 22km spin up to the office with a short, steepish climb in the middle. I found it hard enough, and the laptop on my back did not help matters either.

Tuesday was a spin around Kildare with Gene. This was a fast one and we even got in a sprint finish where we got up to 52+kph on the flat. This was a spin I could have done without as my calf tightened up a lot the following day, but you need to test yourself I guess.

Thursday we went out on a spin around the lake in glorious weather. We kept the pace a fair bit down on Tuesday's spin but on Friday morning the pain was there so skipped the planned cycle into work.

I'm hoping a quite weekend off the bike will get the tendons and muscles back to where they were last weekend, but we'll see. I'm not too worried about the fitness side of things as a good hard week's work will get me close to where I was earlier in the year.

So, as I said earlier, its holidays for me so there won't be many posts as its a broadband unfriendly place we're going to. But I should still be twittering, so keep an eye on that.

Enjoy the weather!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Recently purchased stuff...

OK, its been a couple of months, so I'll just give a quick update on how I'm liking them (or not maybe).

Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ (from CRC)
I got these at the height of my feeling-sorry-for-myself-cos-my-leg-hurts phase. Why else would someone in their right mind spend 120-odd euro for a pair of shades? Well, after a months use I can see why.

They come in a very nice case and cloth cover - I bet you could drive your car over the case and the shades would be in one piece (possibly). To be honest I was a little disappointed when I first hand them in my hands. They seemed... well not quite worth the money I paid - very light and the arms were quite flexy. But when I put them on, they actually fitted perfect, which is a first for me. The lens are perfect - none of that weird magnification you get on the lens corners, and the frame overall is very strong and wraps snugly around my head. I had only planned on using these for driving the car, or general hanging out, but I use them all the time on the road bike (zero chance of me using them on the mountain bike, unless Oakley fancy sponsoring me :) ). So BIG thumbs up.

Selle Italia SLR Saddle (from CRC)
I was not a big fan of the WTB saddle that came with the XTC. It was hard, and ridiculously smooth so you were sliding all over the place. After a bit of research, I chanced my arm buying the SLR Saddle (in white, obviously). Its marketed for on AND off road, but I was not sure how much of the rough stuff it could take. However, 3 laps of the Carlingford NSP I can confirm its sturdy on the single track also. Its very comfortable, and (while a personal thing) fits my ass well. I like it so much I wanted to get one for the TCR, but (shock) they have discontinued the white version!

So I've ordered the Selle Italia SLR Gel Flow Team Edition Saddle from CRC and hope that it will be as comfy.

Weekly update

Been a while since I've done one of these, and its good to be back!

So, as scary physio recommended I've been gradually getting back into training again. Sunday was a short road spin around Naas and Wednesday I did something similar.

Friday evening I thought I goofed up big time. I planned on doing another 1 hour spin but I'd only gone a few km's when I noticed lots of ominous clouds rolling in, so I decided to not risk getting wet, and swung around for home. But I sprinted back - trying to get as high a top speed as possible. Probably not such a good idea given I'm only coming back. And typically enough I started getting bad pains in my leg again. Queue a LOT of stretching. Saturday morning the pain was gone and all that was left was a tightness at the top of the calf. So I headed off to go on an easy club spin in Ballinastoe. It was the first time on the mountain bike in a few weeks and was good fun. Arek was there too and we managed to have our own little race which got the hear pumping.
Today the weather was glorious and it would have been very tempting to head out on a long spin (5+ hours), but somehow managed to rein my enthusiasm in and settled on a 2 hour fastish spin around Kildare and Blessington lakes. I also managed to get in the big climb behind Hollywood village which is a killer. OK, the leg is a little tender and still just does not feel 'right' but its improving and there's lots of time to improve before my next race on the 14th of June (and 2 weeks holiday - yay!).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Season restart

Went to my new physio today for a check-up on progress. He's happy with my knee, and put most of the recovery down to the stretches I've been doing rather than his (painful) physio. Still, he did work on the outside of my right calf which was very tight. I managed not to scream out in pain today, but a few of his moves did catch my breath. But the good news is I'm on the road bike for an easy spin on Sunday. All going well, I'll probably spin into work a couple of times next week, but will miss round 5 in Magheramorne as I don't think I'll be up to racing.

The following week I'll build up the distance and intensity, and get back on the mountain bike. The good thing is I have the first 2 weeks of June off, so will be bringing the bikes on holiday with me to West Cork. The roads are not the best down there, but I plan to be doing a lot more off road interval stuff for the holidays. Then, it'll be back up for Round 6 - MAD's race!

So feeling pretty good (dare I say stoked!) about things right now (even if my calf is sore), and will be updating more regularly once I get back in the saddle. But most of all I'm really looking forward to racing again, as I'm keen to make a podium if at all possible before the end of the season.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Latest news

If you measured how good a physical therapist by how much pain they inflict in a session, then my new one is a world champion. He's been doing it for donkey's years and has worked with Kildare GAA and other sports people. I switched from a physiotherapist to a physical therapist because I was just not sold on the ultrasounds, lasers, and (what I think) was a limited approach to just removing the symptoms rather than finding the root of the problem.

He gave me the once over and identified (among other things) a twisted pelvis which has caused my right leg to be a little shorter than my left. He did some manipulations which he feels has solved some of the problems, but I'm told to keep off the bike for a week and to go back next Friday. Again, I've been given a few new stretchs, but this time, I'll actually do them twice a day without fail - defo!

So, with no cycling for at least a week, I'm going to do my stretching and also upper body work - at least I'll make some good use of my spare time.

I'm also a little concerned over the health of my credit card as another week off will mean a few hours on CRC and Wiggle...

The next race is on the 24th of May in Magheramorne, but I'm thinking is will probably not be a runner. That will mean the next race I'll be around for is our own clubs NPS race on the 14th of June. So I'm thinking if that is my comeback race, that would give me roughly a month before the National Champs, which I think will be my target race I think. I'll also be taking part in the K-capital races leading up to the Champs also.