Monday, 17 October 2011


On Saturday, I headed down to Innerleithen with Katie and Gen to remind ourselves how to ride scary stuff after months of cross country and cyclocross (we're all doing the Innerleithen Night and Day Enduro in November). I also wanted to get out on my new bike and give it a proper test run (as I was packing it into the van, Chris reminded me that "it's not the Remedy, remember, that bike could get you into trouble"...yeah, yeah).

We hadn't realised it was an uplift day, so whilst all the big boys loaded their big bikes onto the uplift lorry, we pedaled and pushed our less big bikes up to the top (funnily enough, nobody on the uplift was actually going right up to the top, so we had that bit to ourselves).

It was quite late in the day when we started, so we did 2 runs of trails which were used for the DH Enduro earlier in the year, then we decided to have a last whizz down one of the less techy DH trails (the wee notice at the top promised swoopy, bermy, doubles and tabletops and none of the big drops mentioned on the other notices and it would take us to the top of Cadonbank for a final scoot back to the carpark).

I set off first, with Katie and Gen close behind whooping and hollering. I knew I was going quite fast when I had to stop to wait for them to catch up at one of the intersections, but it was all hanging together quite nicely and I was having great fun.

I popped over one of the wee jumps, cheerily saying hello to the group of boys standing by the side of the trail. Then things got really fast.

Still in control.

Faster still.

Round that berm...phew, that was close.

Over that wee jump.... woohoo

A bit faster...

Down the drop...


On the ground, bike on top of me, lots of blood pouring out of my mouth.

Katie appeared a few seconds later and Gen a few seconds after her and they quickly moved my bike from on top of me and helped me sit up.

Uh oh...the worried faces didn't look good.

Lots of tissues pulled out of bags and handed to me to try to stop the blood.

It was starting to get dark, so we needed to get off the hill. Gen took my bike, Katie took my Camelback and I stood up, then sat back down again.

Uh oh...I'm not going to be able to drive home....I feel really beat up and dizzy.

A quick phone call to Chris to ask him to drive down to pick us up and then a very slow walk back down the hill.

By the time we got back to the carpark, it was properly dusk, I was feeling sick, dizzy and very sore, my mouth was still bleeding and my teeth really hurt.

Chris arrived, helped Katie and Gen pack their bikes into our car and quickly explained how the car worked and then we headed off to A&E.

I must have looked pretty awful as I tried to tell the triage nurse what had happened (covered in mud and blood, shaking, hobbling and crying in that "I think this might be bad" sort of way).

An hour and a bit later, nothing broken, lots of massive bruising, slightly concussed, pretty woosy and a very busted up lip (I not only split my lip open, but I cleverly managed to bite it too) I'm packed off home with instructions for Chris not to leave me alone...just in case.

So now, I feel like I've been in a massive crash. Everything aches, it hurts to move, it hurts to breath and it hurts to cough. My lip is so swollen I can't eat unless it's chopped into very small pieces and I can only drink through a straw and my teeth feel like something's not quite right.

I know it'll all get better soon, but at the moment I feel very sorry for myself.

I have learned from all of this though....if I'm going to be pushing myself on DH trails, I really should wear a full face helmet rather than my xc helmet. It wouldn't have stopped me crashing and I'd probably still have bitten my lip, but I wouldn't have split my lip and probably wouldn't have got concussion.

I also learned that I have some very good friends who know what to do in a bad situation...thanks guys!

On the plus side, it proves I was pushing my limits apparently! Maybe I'll just do it a wee bit more carefully next time.

x (except I can't pull a kissing face at the moment)

Thursday, 13 October 2011


Well, it was quite a weekend....quite a wet weekend that is!

Chris and I arrived in Fort Bill on Saturday morning to the sound of rain pattering on the roof of the van. We set up camp alongside some friends, diverted the river that was flowing through the car park and our pit area, signed on, had a bite of food and then before we knew it it was 11.45 and I was lining up on the start line.

We had a vague race strategy to allow us both to get some riding in and get some rest too, but as they say, the best laid plans....

It rained and rained and then rained a wee bit heavier. Luckily it wasn't cold, but the rain and the gritty mud started to take their toll very quickly. Brake pads were wearing out in 2 laps; because we were doing double laps, kit was only wearable for a couple of laps (the wet and mud and grit meant that you had to change whenever you weren't riding) and the gazebo leaked, badly. A friend who was soloing had to pull out because he couldn't afford to go through any more brake pads!

Then it got dark and the rain got heavier.

After my second night-time lap, I went back to the van to tell Chris that I was mutinying only to find him curled up asleep! I took that as a sign, so I promptly went off to get some hot food and a hot chocolate before curling up for a few hours, fully intending to head back out before midnight.

Unfortunately the rain got heavier and the wind picked up, so there wasn't very much to entice me back out on my bike, so I curled up in my sleeping bag and listened to the weather raging outside.

Just before dawn, it calmed down a little bit but our pit was completely destroyed by the wind, so we had to pack everything up. What made matters worse, I had left both my waterproof jackets and my waterproof shorts hanging over the back of a chair in the gazebo...the chair had blown over and my things were lying in the stream which was running through our pit again. Great!

But it was daylight and there were still several hours to go before it was finished, so I decided I might as well put some soggy kit back on and get out on my bike again rather than just hanging around a wet car park waiting for friends to finish. Luckily, that made Chris feel guilty, so he was there at the transition area to take over when I got back in.

Just as the event was drawing to a close, the rain stopped and the cloud started to lift, so we were finally able to get a glimpse of Aonach Mor.

It was probably my least energetic 24 hour race. We actually did a 9 hour race on Saturday, hung about for 12 hours overnight, then did a 3 hour race on Sunday morning - quite a civilised way to do a 24 hour race if you ask me! Despite the terrible weather and bike destroying grit I think we ended up having a bit of fun and we managed to win our category too, which was an added bonus.

The clean up exercise is still going on though, but hopefully we'll get it all sorted out before I head out for what promises to be a very muddy ride at Innerleithen on Saturday!


Thursday, 6 October 2011

It could all end in tears

There aren't any Scottish cross races on this weekend, so Chris and I had a wee think about what else we could do to keep us out of trouble and somehow settled on riding at Relentless 24. Since neither of us could take Monday off work, we've decided to do it as a pair.

The only time Chris and I have raced together as a pair was in Portugal last year at the Geo-Raid. Although it didn't end in divorce, it wasn't our most successful race, so hopefully this weekend will be better.

We'll certainly not have the 30c heat we had in Portugal to contend was a balmy 10c here in Edinburgh today, so I suspect it'll be a bit nippier in the middle of the night up at Fort Bill.

The brioche and pasta's been bought, the bags are packed (with a few extra layers and waterproofs for good measure) and the lights are charged, so it looks like we're definitely doing it! In fact, I can hear tyres being pumped up downstairs as I type, so I think it's pretty definite.

I'm not quite sure how we'll get on, but as long as Chris doesn't eat all my brioche, I'm sure we'll be fine!