Friday, 25 February 2011

God Damn Right It's A Beautiful Day

European Solo Championships launched as part of 24 Hours of Exposure, press releases done, sponsors secured - it's all falling into place. Having completed a To Do list I rewarded myself with a 2 hour road ride. There aren't many people that would consider a 30 mile ride a reward, but that's what makes us cyclists and everybody else, not.

As an extra reward, I decided to test the recovery properties of tea and Jaffa cakes. Test results were inconclusive, so I'll have to try it again I guess.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Changing the Rules

Another day spent riding around Sherwood Pines trying to find any tracks even vaguely interesting enough to make up a mountain bike course of a suitable standard for elite riders and a couple of Olympians. It hasn't been easy. The selection of trails at Sherwood is limited at the best of times and the parts of the Kitcheners trail I have actually ridden have been so uninspiring I've never bothered to do the whole thing.

The task was made harder by new UCI rules stating cross-country mountain bike courses should now be 4-6km long. Sorry, that's not a mountain bike course, it's a cyclo-cross course through a few more trees. Apparently, it's to make mountain biking more exciting and television friendly, but as the British National XC Series hasn't been televised for over a decade, I can hardly see BBC sport suddenly turning up because we've knocked a couple of kilometres off the course.

And as for more exciting, they've obviously never been to a BMBS venue. Let's face it England is hardly blessed with rugged, mountainous terrain so we always make the best of what we have in difficult circumstances. You can probably make a fantastically hard, testing, technical 5km course in the Alps - just send the riders around the alpine meadow, up the side of the mountain and back down the near-vertical, rocky descent. Job done. Not quite the case in Sherwood Forest, or Berkshire, or Plymouth. Even the hugely expensive Dalby World Cup course is 500m too long now!

So with shorter courses (though all of the BMBS courses will probably be pushing the 6km limit, a 4km course would barely get us out of the car park at most venues) and shorter race durations, this could be an interesting year for British Cross-Country Mountain Biking. Watch this space!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Time Out

It's very easy to get bogged down with paperwork as an event organiser, so every now and again it's good to get out into the fresh air and get your hands dirty. Last week presented just the opportunity with a trip to Rock UK to do some trail building and maintenance on the 24 Hours of Exposure solo champs race course.

With a handful of willing helpers from Rock UK staff and a couple of huge piles of stone from FC Scotland, the week was spent shovelling, digging, raking, brashing, strimming and compacting on various sections of the route around Priest Hill in Newcastleton.

Despite the typical Scottish winter weather switching from hard frosts to torrential rain, a very productive week was had and good headway made into the task ahead. And, of course, there was lots of splashing in puddles and making mud pies...