Sunday 18 March 2012

Start with a win, end with a win. Mud and Mayhem, Thetford, 1st Place.

              Back in the Autumn sun of September I started my cross Duathlon season with a win and new course record at the Boneshaker in Wantage, in between I had a winter of ups and downs and have some how managed to tie it all back together by wining the final cross du of the winter season, the Mud and Mayhem at St. Helens in Thetford forest. 

           I must admit, after my battle with Tim McDowell last year and seeing he wasn't back for more I though I'd be able to enjoy it a bit more but Iain Robertson of Anglia Tri had other ideas and really pushed it on the first run.He was really strong on the bike as well and I could see that it was going to be a very close race in the thick of the forest. For once, it was me who was able to draw away from him in the technical singletrack which makes Thetford so much fun to ride in. He did then claw some time back on the final run but pushed hard all the way I hung in there to take a win, determined to dedicate it to my Lovely Mum Anne on mothers day.  On a further note - Big respect to my mate Fay Cripps for smashing it up today, winning the women's race by miles and finishing 6th overall. 
The start of it all up on the Ridgeway of the Boneshaker
            I've got a little bit of a break now as I'm on GB team manager's duties next week up at Oulton Park (hope to see lots of old and new faces (in pain) there. After that, I'm off to Lanzarote for two weeks of training the first week and coaching on a training camp the second. If you're at Oulton next week do come and say hi (I'll be the plonker stood around in a GB tracksuit) and if you're out in Lanza over Easter do let me know if you want to hook up for a ride or run and we'll see what we can do.....

Monday 12 March 2012

Trailman Asics Final. 5th place

             I have the pleasure of writing for and from time to time and the moment you can read my race report from Sunday's Asics Finale, the Trailman.  
Here's a preview of it but do skip over to for all the latest reports, interviews and news but if you are not yet converted go have a peek.

 The Trailman, the  5th and final round of this winter’s Asics Off-road series was widely acclaimed by many as being the hardest even though on paper, with its rolling undulations and grassy slopes that was unexpected.  The course and venue were entirely new and as is so often the case in the off-road scene we got to race over trails that we would never be allowed on at any other time in the year. The wide open expanses of Eridge Deer park in Kent provided a stern test made infinitely harder by the deep mud sections which littered both the run and bike courses. This is a ‘Humanrace’ event after all and throughout the whole series they pride themselves on creating those ‘are we seriously going through/over/under/up/down that!?’ moments for the unsuspecting competitors who round the corner of some deep dark wood only to be presented with the aforementioned ‘treats’.  For the Trailman it was deep clay lined mud pits which sucked off trainers and made carrying the bike through it the quickest way. It goes without saying that race times were the slowest for the whole series taking the distances into account but that didn't make the racing any less intense.
On the first run with fellow Maxifuel athlete Sam Gardner and Oli Mahoney

Nearing the end of the Trailman Bike leg
Speaking personally I have had a pretty poor winter off-road season and was determined to try to salvage a good result from the final round. As I suspected, the race went off at lightening pace with around a kilometre entirely downhill to start with and from the off it was Colin Dixon and series winner Richard Stannard pushing the pace with Phil Westoby, Paul Davies and myself giving chase. As always, ladies series winner Kate Robson was not far behind and dominating the ladies race. For Kate however, the final race was to be wrestled from her by off-road specialist Fay Cripps who had excitedly shown me her brand new Carbon ‘29er’ race bike just before the off. She was very unsure as to how the new bike would feel, admitting to me that she had only done one ride on it since getting it and that was a race which she only won by some 20 minutes so not a conclusive performance, I’m sure you’d agree.....  Joking aside, she took command of the lead of the bike leg and was then able to win on the final run. Fay finished 9th overall and Kate was 14th so despite most of the men being ‘Chicked’ it also made the lead men sit up and take notice of two seriously good athletes. 

Back with the men, Richard Stannard used his strength on the bike (also riding a ‘29er’ by the way) to put the race beyond doubt before finishing with around a minute in hand over a hard chasing and effervescently evergreen Colin Dixon. Paul Davies completed another strong off-road winter series by taking 3rd and I did everything I could to catch Oli Mahony as we approached the finish but couldn’t quite get there.  The racing has definitely been a lot tougher in the series this year. Last year, I started the series by winning the opening round by over 3 minutes and this year, coupled with the fact that I have been going like a bag of spanners on the bike the competition has been much tougher.  The series’ success not only demonstrated Humanrace’s commitment to Duathlon and their ability to unlock special venues but also the growing number of multi-sporters in the UK who only race off road.  With a number of winter series now and the Scott national X-Tri series spanning the traditional tri season,  the UK race scene seems to be harnessing the potential for traffic free adventure and a sense of having ‘got through it’ above just ‘completing it’. 

Thursday 1 March 2012

QX Wasing Cross Duathlon 2nd

The start of the QX Wasing Duathlon 2012

As the Cross Duathlon season draws to a close I was on the look out for a race to use to keep sharp as we approach the Asics series final, the Trailman, next Saturday.

Quest Xtreme's events ( ) were something I had seen advertised for a couple of years now and so I decided to try their 6k/20k/6k Cross Du on the Wasing estate  near Reading.
It's a great place to visit and like a lot of these off road races you would never get the chance to ride or run over those hardly used trails  were it not for events like these.       I'm running quite well at the moment but (and as a coach I am quite happy to admit this) my bike form is simply awful.  I think it's just one of those rough patches that you go through and I'm not particularly worried about it but it is annoying when it stops you being able to enjoy just good trails because you feel like the brakes are on the whole time.  Anyway - Stop complaining Cox! - Jay Horton came bombing past me on his 29er after I'd headed out onto the bike with a good lead and there was no way I could catch him after that. It was a good win and he's starting to run really well now so I have to wonder - is he going to step up to the Humanrace Asics series next winter? I hope so.  Speaking of which, the final round, next week is still open for entries for the next two days I believe so if you're keep then get over to  I hope to see lots of you there.
MTB leg at the wasing QX Duathlon