Codeine brings relief

I’ve written a bit before here about how mountain biking is a lovely antidote to the routine of training for road and cyclocross racing.  It’s a busy life and with a lot to pack in (read:compromise), a direct consequence is that bike time is training or racing time.  I tend to ride criteriums in the summer but have had the nice distraction of a few summer ‘cross races this season.  Still, in many ways, it’s much the same deal. You have an hour or so to train, so it’s outside, 3-4 seconds of warm-up, then go “gggrrrrrrraaaaaaaaarrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhh” (or something similar) for an hour, back home, in the shower, back to work / children / those other things.

So it is mountain biking that brings me my distraction and the highest pleasure-per-effort levels. No average speeds to chase, not much worry about headwinds, traffic, etc. There’s a great simplicity to it, and if you’re not in a rush, it brings some lovely warm rewards.

on one codeine 2So… when a good morning is put in the diary for a good ride and catch-up with close friend Matthew, I intend to make the most of it. If I’m going for leisure, relaxation and fun on the bike, then let’s do this properly. Step into the light, On One Codeine.

This leisure-centre of a bicycle is still in its prototype stage but built with “big stuff” in mind, it was always going to be a very fun ride at the rather mature but still fun Gisburn Forest bike trails. Many of the formerly great bits at Gisburn are a bit fatigued these days, and with trail centres’ tendencies to attract funding for new stuff (rather than unattractive maintenance of old stuff), the bumpy bits are a bit bumpier and rockier than you might like them.

With 29″ wheels and the gigantic, Smorgasbord tyres thicker than a circular Yorkie, 128mm of rear travel and about that up front, the Codeine was not going to struggle with any amount of gnarl that you wanted to throw at it. And if it did, you just drop the seatpost. I’m not an expert with full suspension bikes and have only ridden a couple, but it was obvious that this is a tank of a bike. Crashing it would be tricky, in a way. Its rather Brantish 31.8mm stem means that it flicks about much better than a 67° head angle bike should. All this fun / soft / bouncy stuff comes at a cost, of course, and climbing is for the patient. You stay in one position and the bike just goes uphill. It’s a bit like a ski lift. With all that traction going on, you don’t have to pick your line, but you’ll need to not be in any sort of rush. You can spend the time still going ‘wow’ from the previous descent.

No Production date is currently planned‘, so the one I was kindly lent by On One is going to illude you, for now, if you want one. But in the middle of a busy, racing, training life, Codeine brought me a remedy from an ailment I didn’t realise I had.

Cyclocross: All of the faff

It’s the National Championships at the weekend, and time to reflect as the season approaches its finale.

Cyclocross is a strange sport. It breeds and harbours obsessives. For a discipline that involves belting around muddy fields, there is an inordinate amount of fine-tuning, preparation and finesse… from the meticulously exact tyre pressures for the conditions in the correct tubulars with the correct tread, to the perfecting of the right line on the course recce at 8am in -2°C. The right clothes, the right food, just enough sleep, the right warm-up… the training, the bike fettling, and even the Dirt Bags to make sure we clean off properly after a play in the mud.

This short road movie is about all of the faff of cyclocross for team mate Alan Dorrington and I as we covered the northern half of England in the final three rounds of British Cycling’s National Trophy series.

Yeah, we raced, too. But that was just for a few minutes every fortnight.

Four sleeps

I know I go on a bit about the Three Peaks Cyclocross. It’s nice for me at this time of September to put down a marker as to how I’m feeling.  It’s my event and I am going to enjoy myself on Sunday. There are a million things that could go wrong and doubtless scores of things that will go wrong, but I’m a bit above all that now.

I’ve ridden every race since 1995 and learnt that bit more each year.  There have been some big lows (including an abandonment with a snapped seat post very early in the 1999 race, and a delayed finish because of a broken collarbone last year) – but I’m above all that. I know things can go wrong and when it all comes together it’s great.

There has been oodles of dedicated training, some fun film making when that all got too hard, and the now customary month on the wagon (recommended!). The bikes are the finest I have ever prepared for the race – ‘cousins’ of traditional cyclocross bikes to the connoisseur – pretty dedicated 3 Peaks bikes in almost every respect.

There’s the usual minor wobbles in preparation too – the things that make it that bit more on the edge – it wouldn’t be the same without those.  This year it’s been a cold.  The type of thing that wouldn’t normally bother you too much but hit me bad in a race on Sunday.  That’s made it hard to finesse any training (something I personally think is under-rated.  A lot can be done to form in a final few days). There’s also the weather but that’s affecting everyone. It’s exciting.  There will be some adventures had on those hills.

Looking at how I manage to train these days I know I’m not in for a mega result, but really hope a top 30 is on the cards.

Bikes here for the geeks:

They are:

2012 3 Peaks Cyclocross Bikes1. Planet X Ti Prototype
My “First Bike” and the one I intend to race throughout on. With SRAM Red, BB7, 42-27 rings, 11-26 cassette on Hope Pro 2 Evo with Mavic Reflex Rims, Schwalbe Racing Ralph HT Tubulars. Bar top levers fitted.

2012 3 Peaks Cyclocross Bikes2. On One Dirty Disco
A spare bike I don’t intend to use unless there are any mechanicals or punctures on the other bike.  Equipped with SRAM Red / BB7 46-34 rings with 12-34,  Hope Hubs with Velocity Major Tom Rims, Challenge Grifo tubulars.

Tod ‘Cross: Good old Yorkshire Chipps and Gravy

Rode the Todmorden Cyclocross yesterday – it’s the fourth running since the event’s revival, and it has earnt its place on the legendary races calendar (it’s currently an imaginary calendar but you get the picture). I’m trying to blog a bit less about every single race I do – I know it gets a bit repetitive and loses any story value if I write the same old but it’s just one of those events I get such a buzz from each year without fail.

Continue reading “Tod ‘Cross: Good old Yorkshire Chipps and Gravy”

Once more unto the bogs

A quick moment to gather my thoughts before the big off in the 3 peaks cyclocross on Sunday.  It’s an annual pattern of familiar routine always peppered with new things each year to distract me.  The basic sectors of the 3 peaks preparation are complex in themselves – training & fitness, equipment, food & nutrition, planning for support crew, co-ordination of family around the weekend (it’s not just about me, apparently)… etc etc.  Hectic times, but ones to be relished.  Continue reading “Once more unto the bogs”