The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Climbing, biking & I need a 2nd bike

Well it’s been super busy over the past couple of weeks since the 3 Peaks Race.
A work trip down to North Wales with plenty of cycling & climbing here in the Lakes. I don’t think I’ve missed a day when I haven’t been out on the bike, running or out in the Lakes climbing which has been great.
Out climbing in Langdale & Borrowdale last week & was surprised how grimey the crags were this early in the year. We’ve had constant wet weather, the ground at the moment is just sodden & the crags haven’t had much of a chance to dry out with streaks of wet all over them. Great news if it goes cold, but not too inspiring at the moment.
Off road at the moment is just wet & really muddy, I’ve been doing more washing this past couple of weeks than I have done all year! Although I have been getting out a lot training, as I had another Cyclocross event at the weekend, I’m cycling the Coast to Coast next week & then climbing in Kalymnos the week after!
A cycling mud fest sums up the going on the ground at the weekend, but the Cyclocross event itself was fantastic, well run & again a great location on the shores of Lake Windermere.
The start of the Rapha Cyclocross Race at Brockhole, Windermere. 2011

The sun shone on the event as it did last year, but as you may remember from last year we had minus temperatures & 6 inches of snow on the ground!

Last year's Cyclocross race at Brockhole, Windermere

Not so on Saturday, warm & sunny, perfect weather for biking but instead of deep snow to contend with we had treacle like mud!.
This year the event took on another level, as Rapha sponsored the event bringing with it more focus & attracting Elite semi-professional sponsored rides for a head to head on the same course later that same afternoon.
Nick Craig the winner of the 2011 '3 Peaks Race' designed & set the course which was tight, technical & very demanding in the mud.
It was a great, very exciting event with around 150 riders scrambling for the first tight narrow bend with a clashing of handle bars, off’s, elbows & crashes. The mud got worse & the off’s more frequent with the ground getting more and more cut up. At places in the course it was only one rider wide but you still somehow managed to push your way through. The wet tree roots & tree stumps were some of the worst offenders for instantly putting you off course either into another rider or just face down in the mud!

Me working hard, carrying up a steep muddy bank from the shores of Lake Windermere

But what I hadn’t thought through was the problems the mud would give you apart from the obvious. My wheels were constantly clogging up to the point where the wheels wouldn’t turn around. Even getting off & pushing was no use as the wheels just wouldn’t turn. I had to keep stopping or just had to carry the bike while I pulled great clumps of a mud bound together with thick grass, out from in-between my tyres & forks to release the wheels again. The problem got worse as the course became more & more cut up with 150 riders thrashing round it. I had to stop more & more frequently and even then the resistance when I was pedalling was never less than hard work.
The noise from the tyres rubbing on the thick mud in-between the forks became more & more annoying especially when you were overtaken by another rider on a totally clean bike! It only then occurred to me that over half the field were getting clean bikes every lap of the course. Their mates or partners would have a second bike ready for them, the rider would swap bikes & then they'd clean down the muddy bike for another pit stop on the next lap!
I'd missed a trick & felt on the back foot because of it. Not that it mattered (much) we had a fantastic day & some great weather but Sal, I need 2 bikes!  
Barnoldswichk Cyclocross this weekend & the C2C next week, fingers crossed for some more of those sunny days.

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