Wow where do I start after taking a fellow racer round the block for a warm up we arrived back just as they were lining up maybe not the best prep, then got in the channels and had to wait 25min till the start in the heat , I was in the 2nd line , I could not get through when the gun went off , the ones who I thought would spint off had a slow start, everone came round sides blocking us. Finally we were clear, I was Top ten first lap, it was a fast course with the previous races were touching 18 min laps, we came in about 19min After my coach advise to lower my tyre pressure to 18/16 I hit a root and burped all air out maybe should have stuck to my us all 20/18 always a good rule not to change things before a race ,my gas canister in pocket was empty had not tested it recently? so ran half lap to the pits , after the pits I was off again thanks to my coaches Dad on the third lap got knocked off bike by master rider , and ended up finishing 27th but I finish 5 laps very fast dry hot work
My proud moment being involved it the 2012 Olympic games, only one week to go till the road race start, hopefully will be on the Mall for the start.
Coedy brenin was going to be a warm up going fo the long dragons back with a few sprints on the hills, but there was one after another diversions that started to take the fun out of a trail I loved so , I shortcutted and went for the best bits as loads of it crosses over then a blast down the river ridge back .
The Penmachno Trail about 18miles was challenging trail from the start with a steep fire road that turns right and climbs again and again, I climbed hard as I always do planning on a good strada time at the end, it's great for looking back n analizing your ride.
With some steady climbs after this taking in some more spectacular scenery that you can catch in the corner of your eye, this is a tight trail that demands your full attention if you are planning to hit it at speed, . The trail uses plenty of forest roads but also includes some decent singletrack incorporating bridge crossings, elevated wooden sections and stream crossings, the whole ride water waterlogged with clean puddles , I think most people only venture on the part 1 trail the chaps I passed on the part 1-4 I cought up again after the part 2 -9 and back on the 1 at junction 1-7 I think anyway , again I was pushing it s bit. Part 2 was a lot more technical with slabs after slabs to negotiate and like Coedy brenin is best to do at speed.
Unfortunatly the British Nationals course is waterlogged so the council have called it off , Heath n safety bet should have seen mayhem.
So I think a trip to Wales will be in order Llandegla or Coedy brenin .
Being busy with family in the afternoon I entered the Cannock Chase Summer Classic for training as the National Champs is in a few weeks my coach wants me to do it for training focusing on 85% race pace. Got 1st place in another great event this time by Go Run & Ride using the last midlands xc course they designed, with a few improvements making it even more challenging not just for experienced racer but for first times too. Its great to see local events brought to the chase.
Riding for Cycle Shack and using my trusted Accelerade Hydro and Schwalbe's Racing Ralph 29er 2.1 rear and Rocket Ron 29er 2.25 on my cannondale ultimate I set off after the pre countdown whistle went catching us all of guard,
Following another Cycle Shack team mate initially until I passed him clipping a tree on the way with my bar ends.
Having experienced this part of the course, i was able to Pull ahead rolling the 29er tyres over the ruts after my previous days test laps I had blasted on the 26er, it was certainly more flowing with the 29er wheels through these sections all the way down to the bottom end to the course managing to stretch a few min lead.
I found using the Schwalbe Ron 29er 2.25 on the front it helped my cornering at speed better in the mud and the 2.1 Ralph cut through the mud nicely at the back, but still giving me a smooth ride at 22psi rear and 20psi front,
At the bottom end of the course I managed the first sharp climb in big ring first gear on my set up every time it is great to build your bike from scratch so you know what works at what does not.
I shaved a minute and a half off my lap times the night before after the heavy rain prob not best though to hammer the course the night before but I was only aloud out for an hour and I was having fun.
I must add looking at the conditions of the course the night before and when I arrived I made the decision not to use the Stans race gold 1300g wheels and trashing the Sram xx cassette n gold KCMC10SL chain like I did at mayhem and the Scottish National the weight saving in the mud is compromised, and Its great having 2 setups on one frame that gets rotated and works well.
After my third lap I slowed it down after being told the lead I had and cruised the last lap but not making mistakes, I have not pulled out of a race this year and after 24hrs MountainMayhem severe conditions I pride myself that I finish what I start.
I finished not out of breath and relaxed, and welcomed a massage on the tired legs from John Buchan wife at Vivifi which was great.
1 31 Nick Popham Cycle Shack / Forme Coaching 4 1.16.35 17.35
Happy with lap times but glad not overdone it for next weekend and have made some strada sections which allows you to see where one need to improve.