Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Xterra Austria

This weekend saw the 3rd round of the European tour, Xterra Austria. It was a new venue from last year, so no one really knew what to expect. A small but very happening town greeted us warmly, Xterra posters were positioned everywhere and scantily clad girls in low cut xterra tops handed out flyers at every bar. Surrounded by mountains but with crystal clear lake (warm enough to swim with no wetsuit), it was a postcard perfect location for a race.
The swim went reasonably well for me coming out of the water 33rd losing a couple of minutes less than I did last year. The bike was very hilly, with plenty of technical sections wiht roots and rocks thrown in to cause problems. I managed the fastest bike split yet again (every race this year so far!) catching all but 2 of my rivals. Unforunately my water bottle bounced out of its cage on one of the bumpy descents on the first lap, leaving me without fuel for an hour and a half.
As i started the run, I knew I had pushed it hard on the bike and was dehydrated and tired, luckily so was one of the competitors ahead and to my suprise I finished the first 5km loop in second place, looking for my best ever European tour finish and a posible podium. Unfortunately lap 2 of the run saw me struggle home, losing 3 places to finish an eventual 5th.
Although not my best European result it was my most satisfying, against a very strong pro field.
This result moves me up to 7th in the series standings, with the German course likely to suit me and the home advantage at the final UK round, things are looking good for a top 5 overall. As well as these up coming races, I am also now looking to race the US champs at lake Tahoe in Nevada, on the way out to Hawaii for the world champs, it's going to be a very busy couple of months!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Xterra training weekend and Xterra Denmark

The Xterra training camp went really well. Not a huge turn out, but it was really well recieved. All the feedback was good and we all learned a lot as coaches. Next year it will NOT be on the same weekend as Nottingham relays and it will be anounced earlier in the year. We are currently writing a report for Xterraplanet.com website and news letter. News of our venture reached the head people at Xterra and they heard it was a success too.

Xterra Denmark was on Saturday. Last year I placed 11th on a course that doesn't suit strong bikers at all. This year i was looking for a higher place, preferably a top 5 position. I felt i swum better, losing less time than last year, but still too much to make up. Even getting the quickest bike split of the day by 2 minutes only put me into 6th place. On the run i knew i'd struggle only having been injury free and back training for 3 weeks. I was actually pleased with only losing one position, finishing 7th in the end. Fellow GB elites Jim McConnell and Nicola Duggan finished 13th and 5th respectively. The party of nearly 20 GB athletes had a great weekend with several age group medals including 3 golds.

Tomorrow i am off to Xterra Austria for round 3 of the European series. This should suit my strengths a lot more. Having a great training day today so far and looking forward to a top 5 this time hopefully!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

London to Paris ride

Last weekend I had a change from training and racing and helped out guiding a charity ride from London to Paris. The ride was to raise money for The Big Issue. Over the 3 days we managed to get 50 recreational cyclists over a lumpy 250 miles in all weathers to Paris, including a final 100 mile day. We didn't manage to lose anyone either (well not permanently!) . Seeing the sense of accomplishment on the riders face when thewy finished was great, they all felt very proud of themselves and rightly so. It was a great weekend, I met some lovely people and no one talked racing or techy gear ratio talk at the dinner table.
In order to get a greater training effect I rode a mountain bike with knobbly tyres, but despite my best intentions I only ran and swum once each. I think the change of routine has helped though and a good night out on the town on Saturday night! This week I have knuckled down to some hard days training with Xterra Denmark looming up very soon. I'm not expecting to be on top running form, but hopefully by the UK round I'll be getting close.
There are still a few spaces left on our Xterra UK training camp in 10 days time, get those cheques in to reserve a place, or check out www.driventotri.com .