Xmas and Boxing Day and beyond

As always, a lovely family time for us guys. It was a bit of a catch-up time for me with Sally & Simon who I have hardly really seen in the last six months.

With such young children in the family those six months seem a very significant chunk of time, and inevitably there’s lots of the old ‘blimey you’ve grown’ stuff generally going on. (Not me though – I’ve shrunk about half a centimetre since September according to a semi-ritualistic measuring of people against pen-marks on the door – but I’ll chat to my physio about that) Continue reading “Xmas and Boxing Day and beyond”

The Autumn of my Life

Had a wonderful few reasons to reflect on this time of year in the last few days. Autumn’s a strange time of year in its gentle onset of cruelty, as we lose the evening daylight, and the warmth of each day dies out. But it also offers so much too. The first warm fires to make an hour by the TV seem like the best thing to do rather than a waste of time… the orange Alpenglow that makes otherwise drab scenes more paletable; and above all, the start of the proper cyclocross season. Continue reading “The Autumn of my Life”

Three Peaks Cyclocross 2010

Simon Fell, Ingleborough

Here’s a conundrum of sorts.  What do you do when you have to race a bike down hills like this as fast as you can and have a front brake that looks like this.  With a level head, you might be forgiven for making a decision along the lines of “you’ve got work tomorrow” etc. It did go through my mind, and for a second, I thought my race should really have ended there and then – half way down the first of three descents. But that wasn’t going to happen, was it?! Continue reading “Three Peaks Cyclocross 2010”

Golf Ball Fell Race 2010

That didn’t quite go according to plan.  Not that there was much of a plan… but I got a bit of a shock in a race. You usually get them in sport once or twice per year, but it was a hard lesson to me that you can’t just drop into a fell race for the first time in a few months and expect to perform. Add to that a nice relaxing holiday with only a few ‘get me by’ bike rides, and no running at all for 16 days, and looking back, I was heading for a kicking.

The Golf Ball race is a deceptively tough short race. The terrain gets steadily harder to run on under foot and the long, runnable climb that culminates five minutes from the finish isn’t kind to you if you’re on the rivet. Still, I’ve done it five times now and that was my worst result – a minute or so slower than the previous worst, and some four minutes slower than my fastest in 2005.

The graphs here show some clues as to where I faltered, but basically fresh legs at the start were pushed too fast too quickly and they hit me back hard about half way through the race. I was in 11th or 12th place and thought I could hang on and lose 2 or 3 places, but I’d forgotten how hard the last climb was, and I got savaged by plenty of people very quickly.

Anyway – with just over 5 weeks to the 3 peaks cyclocross now it’s just about enough time to turn a fairly good base fitness into the right sort of form and speed, but I’m leaving things tight, and don’t want any nasty hiccups now in the next few weeks.

Ile de Ré Summer Holidays 2010

Wine, France

In the early summers of my childhood, my Dad and Mum packed my brother Phil and I, still sleeping, into the back of our family car, with a caravan in tow, and drove us to the south of France each year.   The journeys and holidays were long and packed with some of the strongest memories I’ll keep.  Those of us lucky enough to have any Family Holiday as children will always keep those memories, and looking back on this particular branch of the Haygarth family’s trip to the Ile de Ré, I know that the beat goes on and on, and as many families do, we’ve done our own version of the full circle.

With a car packed with everything from bikes to buckets, we lifted the children from their beds at 2:30am and set off to Dover. Elsie proved that despite not knowing what the heck was going on, she could hold a pretty good conversation for a two year old in the dead of night, but we eventually got her settled by Stafford, an hour od so later.  Arriving at Dover a bit blearly eyed and checking onto the ferry was a bit of basic relief. Anything like that carries with it an irritating deadline and the need for a bit of buffer time, but at least we were there now, intact, in time, and in need of medium cappuccino with an extra shot. Continue reading “Ile de Ré Summer Holidays 2010”

Blackburn Grand Prix 2010 – a win brings relief

A year ago I went to ride my first Blackburn Grand Prix race, and as soon as I rode onto the course for a warm-up, immediately knew it was a course for me. Last year’s race was really enjoyable for me and I went off the front of the race from the second lap and stayed there, eventually finishing in fourth place. The race was won by my stronger team mate Lewis Craven, but his attack and domination of the race had left me with some unfinished business. I wasn’t free to chase Lewis in 2009 – I’d earmarked the 2010 race as mine to win. Continue reading “Blackburn Grand Prix 2010 – a win brings relief”