Wednesday, 24 August 2011

My Dirty Habit

Hello, my name's Sara and I'm an addict. It dawned on me the other day that I have a problem, my dirty little habit as I sometimes call it. It takes up all of my spare time, I can't go a day without thinking about it, it makes me do silly things and it costs a lot of money. So what am I referring to? Mountain bike events.

The signs have been there for a long time and now other people are starting to notice. Earlier this year I took a weekend off inbetween a two week job on a mountain bike event to go to help out at another mountain bike event 5 hours away and whilst there I mostly talked about other mountain bike events watching the last day of the Tour de France. A friend pointed out to me the previously un-noticed Busman's Holiday I was on.

Just this weekend gone I worked a full night shift at my proper job, finished at 7am and drove from London to Brighton to help out some friends on the Brighton Big Dog 6 hour mountain bike race. As soon as it finished I jumped in my car and drove back to London for another night shift! Many told me it isn't healthy, or normal, to go for 36 hours without sleep just to work on a mountain bike race. But it's not the first time and I doubt it will be the last.

I go to sleep thinking about mountain bike events, I wake up and my first thought is about an event and in between that almost every waking minute is spent thinking, talking or writing emails about events. Hell, I even dream about events!

Weird, I know. Obsessed? Probably. Addicted? Undoubtedly. But what can I do about it? Cycling is my passion, and evidently my life. I have been consumed by it, heart and soul and there's nothing really wrong with that. There is just one problem I've come across that seems to be getting bigger though - I don't actually get to ride that much any more!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Same old

Work today. Home-work that is. Work, work and more work. Though I have the added diamension of a third computer to sit in front of as I tried to get my new laptop up to speed. I was trying to put it off until after the Montane Kielder 100 but the current one took over half an hour to get itself together this morning and I lost my patience again so action had to be taken. Now it's just a case of installing all the relevant software and transferring all the important files over whilst doing a bit of house-keeping. Not great timing but I'm sure it will pay off by the end of the month.

The dullness was interrupted by a surprise phone call from the National Trust Ranger at Ashridge Estate asking if I'd like to go along and discuss mountain biking on the estate with him - future potential and event ideas and how to help mountain biking in the local area. It was a very exciting conversation and hopefully I'll get to meet up with him early next week. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Fostering a Prince

A Pinarello Prince that is, and a very pretty little thing he is too. He's been spending the summer at my house and whilst he settled in has been restricted to the turbo trainer in the spare room. He had his first proper outing today - the usual 25 mile Ivinghoe Beacon loop that I do. Nothing too strenuous, just bike and rider getting familiar with each other's habits.

It's been a good few years since I rode an actual road bike, probably all the way back during the Tour of Ireland, and do most of my road miles on a Surly cross bike or my shonky old Marin that I use for commuting. So to take a spin out on this nifty little carbon number was something of a treat. Though a little short for me (a 48cm and I normally ride a 50cm) this just added to the zingy feel and the general feeling of wanting to 'go'. Out of the saddle every pedal stroke made him lurch forward despite my current lack of fitness and slight, er, 'excess baggage' at the moment.

I'm sure if I had anything like my usual form at the moment I would have smashed my record for this ride, but as it was I returned home in around the usual 1h40m. Though I must say spinning along the flat with the gps reading 42kph did give me hope for the future and increased motivation to get out and ride some more whilst the weather is still half decent. Thank you Prince!

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Quickie

Morning full of emails and catching up on the post. I've found that to really stay on top of events you have to start work on the next one as soon as the previous one has finished. So despite the fact that the Montane Kielder 100 is less than a month away, a number of my phone calls and emails today revolved around 24 Hours of Exposure 2012 and other events in the pipeline.

Crunch time came around 3 o'clock: bury my head in the computer for the rest of the evening, or get up off my arse and go for a ride? The break in the clouds was the deciding factor and I popped out for a short loop around Ashridge Estate. Just an hour, 15 miles, but it was enough to get the legs spinning and heart rate up. Felt good.

Back for a cup of tea and a dark chocolate and ginger biscuit, then buried my head in the computers again.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Quiet Year?

In terms of the blog it has been admittedly, but that's only because it's been far from a quiet year in real life. I think I've managed to squeeze in more riding this year than the previous two, but the number of events I've been involved in have also increased so I'm still not riding as much as I'd like - does anybody though?

Since my last post I've skipped through four rounds of the BMBS series almost without a hitch (well, if you discount the two air ambulances we've had to call); finished off The Demo Series; battled through a hectic May that started with another very successful 24 Hours of Exposure at Rock UK that included the European 24 hour and 12 hour Championships this year over one extremely wet and tense weekend, threw in a few days of trail building in Kielder and then nipped over to work on the MTB World Cup at Dalby for 10 days. This was possibly the hardest event I've ever had the misfortune to work on and resulted in an exhaustion related illness - oh the glamorous life of travelling round the country to mountain bike events!

Finally I made it into July and the opportunity to work on the Olympic mountain bike test event at Hadleigh Farm. Maybe it's because I've worked on so many events over the years, or even too many this year, or the fact that I'm rather jaded by the whole 'cross-country mtb race scene' at the moment but for some reason I wasn't as excited about this as I probably should have been and I actually feel slightly guilty about it. Don't get me wrong, it was a great weekend and a fantastic race day, it just didn't feel as special as I imagine an Olympic Test Event should do - that's no reflection on the event by the way, everybody else was positively shaking with excitement, it was just me - so maybe things will be different for the actual Olympics next year. I do hope so! It's been a while since I had that massive event buzz I used to get and I miss it.

Still, having three years of the national series, two World Cups and the Olympics on my resume is still pretty cool. Where do I go from there though?