Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

May 27, 2010

Burn

Filed under: Racing,rubbish weather — dgpowell @ 10:12 am

me-signing-on

I clout a mound of earth at the side of the track with my front wheel, temporarily stalling the bike and pitching me forward across the saddle towards the bars. Sweat, flung from the pads of my helmet bounces off the front tyre, splashing onto the baked, white newly constructed singletrack before almost instantly vanishing as the sun burns it away.
My eyes are stinging as more sweat pours down into them. My face contorted into a roasted looking grimace as I try to force more power down through my legs. Even the deep, lush scent of pine from the trees around me seems to have been heated by the piercing white sunlight, turning my gasps for breath into just another way to drag my body temperature up to boiling point. I push down as hard as I can on the pedals to get going again and somewhere buried within the mass of tendons and muscles in my left leg, something twangs. Something devoid of salts, electrolytes, water even, spasms and contracts, leaving me flailing at the side of the course in a vain attempt to catch the cramp before it engulfs my entire body.
Patches of unhindered sunlight, blasting through the gaps in the foliage above, leave me sweltering as I try to stretch out the muscle, currently trying to curl up and die in my thigh. There is no respite from the heat, the breeze only just strong enough to gently push leaves glowing almost fluorescent green under the gaze of the sun above my head, the shade that survives beneath the firey canopy nothing more than warm, dry darkness, encircled by blistering white shafts of unhindered daylight.
The parched dirt under my feet seems to incinerate upon touch, bursting into plumes of dust and ash that settle in a fine layer on my legs, clogging pores, suffocating like a blanket as I scuffle while remounting the bike. The tyres roar across the gravel as I heave myself back into a state of movement. The friction fires sparks out as each and every moulding on the tyres tears at the tinderbox ground, setting light to withering plants, cowering at the side of the snaking trail. The whole forest catches instantly. A seething, shimmering mess of flame, scorching skin and boiling the blood scalding it’s way through my veins. More gasps for breath, more desperate tearing by my lungs for respite. My eyes feel welded shut with sweat, my throat is blistering and burning, the air itself seems too hot to touch, every movement scorches flesh.
I unclip, lean over to the side and throw up hot, sickly sweet energy drink and gel, before crawling off the bike into a heap in what little shade exists.

Minutes later, Jason rides past, stops and drags the smouldering carcass that once was me back to the pits.

Ragley - interesting forks

Results spreadsheet available on the race website.

(Now hoping that Mountain Mayhem is a bit cooler…though I do have some plans to help me cope, should it get hot again)

All credit for the piccies goes to epiccyclo – who didn’t catch fire and burn to death like I did.

May 19, 2010

A Counter, set to zero

Filed under: bikes,Racing — dgpowell @ 9:57 am

So, only a few days to go before the UK24 solo champs, up in Newcastleton. Should be good, I’ve no idea how fit I am for it (yes, I’m aware how odd that sounds) – I’ve had a few good, long rides over the past few weeks and not felt too knackered afterwards, I knocked a wonderful chunk of time of one of my “classic” road routes (no, before you ask, I’ve not been stupid enough to give the whole internet my address – the route actually starts just over a mile away from where it’s marked on the map :-p ) without feeling tired afterwards – but I know the bikes are in kick ass shape and it’s early enough in the season to not feel jaded with the whole ‘race’ thing.

98193403

In fact it’s so early in the season that, if we’re being honest, this race marks the start of it, rather than the pinnacle.
You’d think the National Championships would be the one race written in CAPS LOCK on the training diary (yes, I have a training diary…though it’s mostly full of “ride somewhere nice, for ages, really fast”…), but with it happening in May, before event like Mountain Mayhem, SITS (not actually entered that yet, mind), Relentless24, Kielder100 and other such awesome events, I’ll have no real idea of how I’m going to fare until somewhere halfway through it and I can’t throw the whole summer of planned daft/awesome/huge rides and events away going OTT first time out*. so I’ll be there, up for it and looking for early season indicators of performance in the wee small hours, but I can’t say that this is the ‘one race above all others’ for the whole year (this time…)
What a way to kick off a season though, eh?! Just look at the entry list and helpful who’s who – it really is A Big Thing. If you get in the top 10 at this race, you are, without a doubt, a double hard bastard…and if the course is as good as I know the trails at Newcastleton can be, then wow, it’ll be huge!

The Weatherwatch

BBC
Met Office
UK Weather

Currently looking lovely – warm, dry, a few nice days beforehand to dry out the ground…what’s going on?!

*Yes, I am aware that the Strathpuffer24 was this year, but that’s a totally different event, despite being a 24hr race.

May 10, 2010

Taking advantage

Filed under: bikes — dgpowell @ 11:15 am

…of the dry weather.
Not been out on the road bike for aaaages now, favouring mtb rides where you get home coated in a fine layer of dust.

After growing so utterly bored of the MTL (I can nip round it in about 4hrs now and feel fresh enough to play at Cragg Quarry for a bit afterwards and still ride the 25miles there/back without discomfort) that I had to find an alternative, I went out for a ride a couple of weeks ago with Rich and Wayne, setting off from Gisburn and riding out over to the Yorkshire Dales, around Malham, to reintroduce myself the big, wide open countryside.
The route seemed to work well, so I upped the ante a bit during the week and did it twice, riding from home and increasing the size of the off road loop to make a nice 110 mile ride, which took just over 9.5hrs each time (including gate stops etc).
Lovely though this was, I felt like I had to remove some of the road and replace it with more…off road (obviously) so I merged the loop I’d done with Rich and Wayne with the bigger loop I’d ridden during the week, started it at Gisburn and whizzed around it on Sunday.

map of the loop in the Dales

It ended up being 29miles and 2.5hrs shorter, but given that I had the beginnings of the sniffles, that was fine. I still rocked on the climbs, even with a slight lack in top-end power, still glided on the descents (more so on Sunday due to riding the TD-1 rather than the not-as-good-(but-still-ok) ‘AlScand’) and still got to the end of the ride covered in dust and not a thick layer of mud. Ace.

in the middle of nowhere

Only downsides to the ride were missing the coffee cart at Gisburn again (setting off before he opened and getting back just as he drove off, damn it!) and nearly choking on the insect-laden air. Gross.

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