Friday, 21 November 2008

guilty pleasures

guilty pleasures

i just realised that this week has been bookended by two 'guilty pleasures' rides. monday morning and friday afternoon.
both involved driving to get there.
both short and sweet.
both in stolen time when i should have been working.
both complete with a dose of gleeful smugness because the trails were deserted.

if you look closely at that poor beleaguered 69er you will see that it is also patiently bearing the mud of not only these two rides but a handful of others as well. only the rotors, the heel-rubs and the inside face of the chain are shining. the rest is a uniform coating of filth.



Wednesday, 19 November 2008

time off in lieu

sunday, stanmer cross. this race and i are developing a history. it is traditional that i start it feeling like hell because it's on or around my birthday and that makes me feel old. this year it was a couple of days early but i still felt like hell thanks to a day of riding north downs badly in good company on saturday (which always makes it worse) and then a rare migraine thanks to skipping too many lunches lately. wobbles and squiffy vision not the best preparation for hooning hard for an hour.

still, sun out, bike cleaned, breakfast forced, jersey on and many friends gathered to play and spectate. not a bad way to spend a sunday. nearly missed the start thanks to an apathetic bimble of a warm-up, begin at the back and "go!" we're rolling, elbows out, legs up, fast fast fast.

1 x twenty minutes: wheel watching, trying not to get in anybody's way, trying to pass as many people as possible, "you can vomit in my shoes if you like".
2 x twenty minutes: pass in a jiffy, beer hand ups, loving the trails, bacon aeroplane noises, someone tells me off for giggling as i undertake them "it's not funny" "no, it's hilarious!".
3 x twenty minutes: clock watching, counting down, ding-dong-avon-calling, are we nearly there yet, private battles, sprint for the line, dead dead dead.

happy legs, beer buzz, chatting, laughing and once the results appear shortly before the rain a sneaking suspicion is confirmed that i managed, somehow and despite all expectation, to be first lady home. day made, princess. pie, mash, peas, gravy from pokeno pies who treated us well and didn't grumble about the muddy boots, home to a warm bed and a cup of tea.


monday, tuesday, a brace of rides with good friends adding layers to the feel-good smiles. north downs, cheeky monday off, trails to ourselves, exploring, restoring, bakewell tart and tea, peaslake robin, golden trees through the mist, pin eyelids & drive home to the welcome warmth of the post-bath nap.

south downs, old-school tuesday night ride, filthy trails, minor mishaps, 'a while' sitting in the woods passing bottles and flasks and baking around, socks and nettle beer, final grins on donuts, new lines, reconvening, the same familiar ridiculous singlespeed drag race down lewes road to end, can't remember the last time i finished a 'fun' ride with this hacking racer's cough.


balance regained.


Sunday, 9 November 2008

Where's my Mojo? :(

I've been really unmotivated to ride for the last few weeks. I think it's got a lot to do with having spent a week in Italy with Rivierabike on top class, full-on mountain trails, then coming home and doing my first ever solo 24 race at the No Fuss Events, Relentless 24 at Fort William. The quality, technicality and downhilleriness of the riding in Italy has made all my local rides seem flat and lacklustre. At the race, I disappointed myself by not coping well with the psychology of 24 hour riding. I then came down with the flu and since recovering, have been feeling flat and wimping out on riding in the increasingly dank and dark evenings. What a wuss!!! *kicks self in shins*

I'm about to try and get Jojo's Mojo back by committing to ride with other people in the next few days and just get the legs turning again. It's that bit harder to wimp out if you've arranged to ride with a mate. There's a bit of a pressing need to get my head sorted and get back on form again as through the delirium of my influenza, I happened to be online at 12.00 noon on the 5th of November and managed to secure a solo spot in the Strathpuffer.... Wonder what climatic challenge it will throw at us this year? The inaugral year was ice cold with a short stretch of mud; 2007 was soaking wet, ice cold with miles of pad-eating-slurry and Jan 08 was sheet ice on the course and hurricane force wind that flattened the campsite. Surely we're due a dry warm one in January 09?....
Jojo x
(Inspiring Italy pic on 'Cop Killer' taken by Leon Topps)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

good times

Anyone else permit themselves a small smile of excitement after listening to the news this morning? :o)

Last night under this roof before packing life up again and heading east for a couple of weeks. Great day today riding bikes in the woods, a touch of sunshine and a few new friends, a spot of mizzle, buffed trails, a few too many uphill "one more times", larches spilling golden needles all over the buffed trails. Topped off with a fine cuppa and and stalking the chiller aisles in search of pies to fuel the companionably silent drive home. Now rehydrating with Brakspear Triple. Okay, the off season is over...

Life is good.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Yay Susan!

Congratulations to Susan who finished the NYC Marathon in 4h 41m! We are SO proud of you!

On another note, I managed to find the information just hours after the race ended from the incredible database on the official website. You can put in any athletes name and get a little chart showing their race and split times at key checkpoints. Did I mention there were 38,000 runners? Oh- and if you want to be really scared, put winner Paula Radcliffe's name into the tracker and see her average mile pace....


Saturday, 1 November 2008

random acts of kindness

Thank you to Martin who sent through a guide to Scottish country dancing this week (he also sent some Sport Beans but they didn't make it into the picture because I ate them for breakfast of course....) Now I did a lot of country dancing as a child so I'm slightly concerned that he somehow divined that I would love it, and know that I would abandon the ever present and over flowing to-do list in favour of practicing the Strathspey Travel Step.

Also, one of those 'how lovely are some people?' moments..... I had an email from a customer this morning telling me not to credit some money she was owed but to add it to Susan's running fund. I am incredibly touched by this- so thank you Shona. 

Right, I'm off to scour the schedules to see if I can find NY Marathon coverage so that I can spend tomorrow afternoon on the sofa drinking hot chocolate and trying to catch a glimpse of that Greenwood girl.