Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
- 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
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
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!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thanks to Arek for the photos!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
We had to park halfway down the course as the car park was full from early, so that meant lugging bottles, bikes up the hill. But it was our own fault for not getting there till 10.45.
The lap was a figure of 8 (kind of). As I was late I only manged to pre-ride the first section, but the lads were buzzing about the singletrack on the second section, so it sounded like it could be a fun day. The race was going to be a long one though - close to 30 km's, rather than the 20-25km race. That had me a bit nervous due to little training over the past four weeks and a dodgy leg. I also had a problem with the bike. The Specialized Control tyres are not good in the mud, or even remotely damp ground, but I did not fancy having to change tubless tyres. So I dropped the pressure right now to under 20psi, to make up for the lack of knobbly's.
I lined up on the second row, I was happy enough there as there would be plenty of tarmac road to get into a good position before we got to the singletrack. Meself and Oisin were discussing big or middle ring for the start. It was a very steep ascent and I had doubts whether I could keep it going to the single track, but if Oisin was going to give it a lash, I might as well too. The whistle blew and we were off, and straight away there were problems - well, not for me but the fella in front who managed 3 pedal strokes before his chain snapped - bad luck there. Experts, vets and juniors all took off before us (a change from last year when you had Elites, Experts, Masters and Vets), this meant that the slower vets where only a few hundred metres up the climb when we kicked off. The leading group formed quickly, and as we rounded a bend we could see the vets working their way up the hill. At this point I was 8th or 9th, but when I saw the slower riders ahead, it struck me that if I could get a few of those fellas between me and the rest of the masters I could make a gap. So I took off to the front and pushed on for a bit, getting by a few riders, but unfortunately, there was one vet I could not pass before we entered the single track. He was gingerly working his way down the wet trail, stopping at one point - which stopped me also. Then Alfie and Oisin went by. After that I just hung on to Oisin's wheel for the second climb up the tarmac climb and to the entrance of the second singletrack section. As expected, things slowed down here. We were already up with Experts, Elite women and juniors so it was a case of just being patient and overtaking when the opportunity arose.
The second singletrack brought us south, behind Carlingford village. Fergal passed me but stopped further up the trail with a mechanical. A little further I passed Alfie with a mechanical too. I think this put me in second place (but I'm not entirely sure). But I drove on, heading back to the start/finsh.
On the second lap tarmac climb I started to get familiar pains at the top of my calf and behind my knee. I should have given up then and there, but I was really enjoying the course and was feeling really fresh. So I pushed on and had a better singletrack section.
At the start of the 3rd lap I knew I would not finish, the pain was more pronounced (and I could have sworn I felt a pop), but once I got the tarmac climb out of the way I thought I'd just get one more timed lap and leave it at that. So I tootled along enjoying the singletrack However my decision to run low pressure came back to haunt me. I rolled the tyre wall twice which burped out most of the air. I think I only lost a couple of minutes getting the cannister out and re-inflating. However, only a couple of hundred metres up the trail the chain got caught behind the big sprocket, so another couple of minutes lost there trying to yank it back out.
After that it was a case of spinning up the fireroad to finish out on lap 3. The first aid jeep kindly lent me an ice pack and I spent the next 10 minutes icing, stretching, icing etc.
Oisin won the masters race comfortably, with Alfie coming in 3rd. It was a tad frustrating in some ways as I definetly felt I could have made the podium (even with the mechanicals), but not half as frustrating as not being able to straighten my leg out fully this morning. So off to a (different) physio tomorrow to see what can be done.
So that's about it. I'm delighted that fitness-wise I'm in a good place (maybe the lay off from training has helped out there), but the leg is still a problem - not quite back to square one though