Bike riding is fun, isn’t it? Unless we’re the world champion or ever likely to be one this is why we do it. This blog is dedicated to the fun I have had on my bike in the last month, sometimes racing but always smiling (well grimacing sometimes)
Red Bull Hill Chasers;
Some of you might have heard of Red Bull Hill chasers, last year this took place on Victoria Street up the lovely cobbles. This year it moved to the more grandiose location of the mound which afforded spectators a much better view of the whole event. It started with qualification in the morning and the finals in the evening. I managed to haul myself up the mound and onto the cobbles on Mound Place in a rather reasonable time of 43seconds. This I thought whilst reasonable would probably put me safely out of the range of making it into the finals in the evening. However I was mistaken, this thought had also crossed the minds of my good friends Katie and Sarah who had done the quali’s in the morning, so we headed back into town for the final. Fortunately Sandy had also made it through so we had 4 Hervelo’s in a field of 9, not bad odds!!! Having said that it should be pointed out that also in the final was Shaneze Read, multiple world champion and world cup BMX racer, she’s pretty quick and horsed of the start line before any of us could blink! I got what I thought was reasonable start and ploughed my way up the mound. Now I’ve not done much road riding in a race before but I’ve watched a bit on telly so when I got caught up with another competitor in between the barrier and her bike I did the only thing sensible and leaned into her with my shoulder and barged my way past!! In the end I finished 6th with Katie 5th and Sarah 4th, Sandy brought up 7th after having issues out of the start gate. The poor girl I barged out the way was last but that’s racing.
Watch the video here..
Redbull Hill Chasers
The next challenge on the horizon was my first ever attempt at the Edinburgh Road Club Road crits. Now to say I had no real idea what to expect would not be an understatement, all I knew was that it was going to hurt!! So up I rolled to Ingliston with my road bike, mountain bike shoes (I had cleaned them) and a nice pair of Troy Lee Designs gloves, don’t want to be too road!!! Everyone was dead friendly and I bumped into some friends I know from other clubs. It was a touch chilly and warming up would have been a good idea but it seemed more sensible to shelter from the wind behind the race commissaries car. The race started with the elite cat 1 and 2 riders setting off, we that’s the cat 3 and 4 races joined in after 5 mins. Now the idea I believe is to work as a group and blast round for 35-40mins plus 5 laps. Unfortunately there was a considerable theory and practice gap on my part and I soon found myself in a time trial situation, so that’s what I did, burst myself for 42 mins and finished 3rd last. Initially after the finish I had absolutely no idea who had won, how many times I’d be lapped or indeed if I’d finished last. It was good fun sort of, basically a really good training session but something tells me I’m not going to set the crit racing scene alight anytime soon.
The last event was just this weekend and was the Selkirk MTB Sportive, I went for the 50km option as there were a lot of the club girls and boys attempting this distance so it seemed the sensible thing to do. So having watched the forecast all week I awoke on Saturday morning expecting a day in the driving rain so on went the mud guards and the waterproof shorts. I met up with my friends who were also doing the 50km and off we rolled from the centre of Selkirk. It was bit wet and chilly on the start line but soon the weather cleared up and it was actually really warm and sunny which was quite a contrast to the forecast. We had a great time and got to enjoy some brilliant single track round Bowhill and up onto the Southern Upland Way. The feed stop was a welcome interval with delicious cake to pick us up before our climb up to the Three Bretheren. The final loop involves riding down from the Three Bretheren and into Yair Forest before looping back up over the top to the 3 bretheren again and down to Selkirk. The Yair section from memory is very good fun and I was looking forward to it, however a severe technical issue with a pedal meant I didn’t get to enjoy this section. So I left my friends to carry on without me and walked up to the Mountain rescue point and got a lift back to Selkirk with the brilliant team from Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue.
Had a great day out and thoroughly enjoyed slipping and sliding around in some very muddy conditions but ultimately it was super fun.
In between these events I’ve had some really memorable rides out with friends and had some proper adventures on all sorts of trails. Sharing adventures and rides with your friends and family is the main reason most of us ride our bike and not racing. It’s great to be fit and healthy enough to get out there and explore our world on two wheels.
So as you can see the last month has been quite a mixed bag of riding and do you know what it’s been great fun. Many years ago I realised that any ambition of being a World Champion at any sport was probably a pipe dream but do you know what, that’s cool because I just love riding my bike.
Get out there and ride your bike as Eddy Merckx said;
“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”
Next up is the Scottish Downhill Round 3 at Ae – wish Sandy and I good luck this weekend (17-18th May)