Archive for Races

Not A Bad Season

I returned from the bike club ride this morning to an email from my running club asking me to attend an awards evening next week. Apparently there is a nice shiny trophy with my name engraved on it awaiting my return for winning the 35+ Vet Category Time Trial Club Championships this summer!  It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I’d done so well so this was a very pleasant surprise. Needless to say I won’t be there to collect it in person but I might record a message they can play on the big screen.. you know, sorry I can’t be there.. I’m in LA recording right now..

I’m kidding.

Thinking about it,  considering I really didn’t put my full efforts into training for anything this year I had a great year picking up a couple of 2nd and 3rd places in my Mountain Bike series, 1st place in cat for the duathlon and 1st place in cat for the time trials.

I’m very proud of those unexpected achievements and I can’t wait to see what I’m capable of when I really put my mind to it next year.

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MTB Race – Hylands Park, Chelmsford

Yesterday I competed in the final Mountain bike race of the summer series.  Even though the course was flat it threw many challenges against every pedal stroke. Sticky mud, slippery tree roots which tried to throw you off at awkward angles, leaning trees that would thump your shoulders as you ducked and swerved around them, off camber trails, thick muddy patches ready to snatch your wheels and leg energy zapping dense bumpy grass fields into head winds.  Parts of the course that needed to be taken quickly to ensure prompt passage were plagued by incapable riders who dismounted and pushed their bike up to an easier situation. To top it all off I’d been down with a cold and chest infection the entire week beforehand and I felt weak and shakey on the start line.

Then the icing on the cake, one of the very fast women who normally competes in the category above mine had to drop down to our category meaning 1st place was pretty much untouchable unless she fell off and injured herself. Therefore myself and the other women – a few of which I’d never seen before, were out for the 2nd and 3rd takings. If I’m honest all I was out for was to finish, without killing myself.

The course was tough and it wasn’t until my final lap when I looked around and saw no one behind me that I realised I’d made good headway and was in for a chance on the podium. Up ahead my closest competition in her red shirt was dropping me and I got stuck behind a fat guy who seemed more up for a gentle roll down the shops than an hour enduro race. Waiting for a safe passing place on the tree lined path I called his right and zipped round him, snapping into a faster gear I stood and sprinted until finally I could count less than 15 seconds between me and her in front.

As I turned onto the final straight I was counting about 10 seconds between myself and the girl I was trying to catch. My legs were on fire and my breathing loud as I involuntarily shouted with every breath exhaled. The head wind and slight incline fought every movement as I tried to catch up and the gap was closing. With 100 or so metres to go to the finish line, me sprinting as hard as I could and the girl ahead seemingly riding like she had it in the bag, she suddenly turned around and clocked me catching up. Instantly she put some effort in, widened the gap and left me to cross the finish line in 2nd place. I took 3rd place – an great and unexpected result.

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Alton Water Duathlon 2010

Just sticking this here for my future reference really…

Completed the Alton Water Duathlon this morning and won 1st place in my category and came 10th out of 23 ladies. The difference in the timings from the last time I completed this event in 2008 are the bit I’m most pleased about..

2008 – 25.58 / 57.20 / 28.43 – 1.52
2010 – 24.13 / 48.07 / 26.10 – 1.38

It’s a good feeling to put in the work and see the benefits.


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A Crappy Start To A Good End

No format to this one…. not so much in the mood for writing as I am getting thoughts out of my head.

Went to work at our head office today which is in the nearest town – Ipswich. I had a meeting scheduled with one of my team for 10am.

As I sat chatting through some work with another colleague I received a phone call from Wil sounding panicked that he’d just had a car accident. After the initial shocking hit that sent my heart racing the fact that he was on the phone calmed me because if he’s panicking into my ear then he must be ok. Turns out he managed to stuff his car into a kerb after giving it a bootfull out of a roundabout. That is not the story he told me, it is the one I know happened, because just recently I told him his driving makes my ass nip up and that he was going to loose the back end of his car if he kept accelerating out of roundabouts like he does.

Fortunately no one else was involved. The damage to his car is quite nasty but potentially repairable – There goes another wadge of £££’s for nothing. I know I sound unsympathetic but I saw this coming, and given that I have bitten my lip all day so as not to give him the big ‘I TOLD YOU SO’ that I felt like doing, I’m ranting it here. So shoot me.

Several minutes late I entered the meeting with my staff member and about 15 minutes into discussion the fire alarm began sounding. Of course I had to be on the 5th floor of the 5 storey building and of course it had to be pissing a monsoon outside. The entire building spewed out of every ground floor exit and stood on the practice pitch of the football club next door, several hundred people all stood crowded 3 and 4 under an umbrella, and me, stood there thinking about the one I had in my bag on the 5th floor as another droplet of rain beaded up off my hair and ran down my cheek.

The hand dryer in the ladies toilet has an awkward sensor on it which seems to turn on any time you:

1. Walk in the room.

2. Wash your hands.

3. Throw something in the bin.

But not when you:

1. Offer it your wet hands.

2. Stand with your wet hair pressed against it.

3. Wiggle your hands in front of your forehead whilst semi-squatting with your arse at a 45 degree angle to the floor.

Although number 3 does get the best look of abject absurdity from one of the directorate managers who enters the ladies toilet to find you doing a lonely version of the funky chicken in the corner of the room next to the bin.

Returned to my desk to receive another phone call from a highly stressed Wil who was still waiting for the pick up truck to tow his vehicle away. Seems nothing I said was right so cut the conversation short and returned to my meeting, catching sight of my frizzy hair in the glass meeting room door.

Eventually I made my way back to my own office where I had a very late lunch. For the record a 14:00 bowl of porridge is just the ticket to prevent munching through the afternoon. I had a small snack of crackers and cottage cheese to fuel up for running club and then left to pick the boy up from after school photography club.

As dead as my legs felt when I walked out on the field they managed to come into their own as they sprinted into action for the 1 mile time trial. Achieved a new PB of 7:14 over last time which was 7:24, a pleasing result.

Arrived home to enjoy mackeral fillets on toast for dinner.

Must make sure I don’t overdo it this week, I’ve got a mountain bike race at the weekend. With the crappy weather forecast, it looks set to be another mudfest.

In other news I have begun reading The Catcher In The Rye. If you’ve read it, let me know what you think.

That is all.

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First Place Loser

Wil peered round the bathroom door on Monday morning. “You didn’t come third in that race yesterday” he said.

I paused brushing my teeth using the silence in my head to conclude my estimate of 4th must have been spot on.

“You came SECOND!!!”

“SECOND?? SECOND PLACE?? Are you SURE? NO WAY!

For having turned up with a cracking headache, no desire to get on a bike and a pet hate for hills, clearly the biking gods had been with me and a persistant steady effort paid off both at the race and the little training I did before hand.

My actual finish time was 1:15 and I’d beaten 3 other girls to take second place. Two of them I’d hastily passed on my last lap it seems were only on their second circuit of the 4.5mile route anyway. Only myself and the girl who came first did 3 laps within the hour and she’d finished 10 minutes ahead of me.

The interesting news about the girl who won is that she’s a triathlete and has participated in a number of national events recently so one could draw the assumption that she’s fairly up on her training. Where as I, as a friend put it did ‘suck it and see’ training, could have hidden super powers if I put the consistent effort in.

I’m fired up now…

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1 Hour Enduro Race – Langdon Hills Country Park

Wil and I took part in a 1 hour Mountain Bike Endurance Race in Essex today.

For a change we were on time, organised, well trained and fighting fit. Everything went smoothly including the trip down to Southend.

The course was 6.5k (just under 4miles) through woodland and fields consisting of narrow very rooty trails with a mixture of gravel and sand under tyre. The hills were plentiful, vertical, long and winding and ripped into sections by large tyre eating cracks that were difficult to avoid in places. The descents were also very rooty and closely hugged by trees and overhanging branches but also offered beautiful smooth fast twisty singletrack which, according to my heart rate monitor I managed to max 25mph down!

On the first lap I was frustratingly held back by all the junior and non-serious competitors who promptly all failed and clambered off their bikes to push up the first hill. Despite many of these idiots blocking the path somehow I managed to keep pedalling eventually dropping a load of them behind. Much of the first half of the first lap was plagued with people who clearly hadn’t trained or were on inappropriate bikes and they became moving obstacles who would either block the route past or go so slowly you were stuck behind until an appropriate passing place. For once I felt smug for all the training effort I’d put in – it was really paying off.

Then about 3/4 of the way around the first lap there appeared a familiar orange and white jersey in front of me pushing his bike along the side of the trail. Ruling out any serious injury given the fact he was walking ok I noticed Wil’s back tyre was flat. I jumped off my bike and offered it to him but he declined, instead urging me to get on with my race. So I went.

The second lap was better – now knowing where all the technical tricky parts of the course were and missing most of the kids who’d bailed out after the first lap I was able to really hammer around. That said the first lap of hellish hills had taken a toll on my legs which were burning like mad on every incline. My heart rate monitor frequently beeped as I reached 99% of my max heart rate!

The second lap felt strong but the third felt quicker as I passed another girl in my category on an incline and then left her behind to cross the finish line in 1:16 by my watch.

Unfortunately there was a glitch with the timings which meant no one got to find out their times and positions and there was no podium today. Hopefully timings should be put on their website tomorrow night – so fingers crossed, I’m really hoping for a good result this time. Ranking bottom third is not worthy of eating one’s own exploded lungs 3 times over.

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Super Sunday


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Originally uploaded by davefranciosy.co.uk

Sunday was great. Freshly minus one small blonde who’s buggered off to ‘summer’ in the States with his Pa, Wil and I did a 2 hour Moutain Bike Endurance race at Brandon County Park which was number 2 in a series of 3. I didn’t do the first one but Wil did and had a goal of where he wanted to place. I looked at the ladies category and worked out what I thought my timing should be for the 6.2 mile laps and pitted myself against one of the female entrants in the list.

The weather was great, my bike was excellent, our pre-race planning was a little shoddy and I ambled up onto the start line tucking the freshly purchased energy bar I’d bought at one of the vendor stands into my jersey pocket with less than 30 seconds to the starting gun.

I put everything I had into the race and was really pleased with my performance considering I hadn’t really been training seriously and considering that about a third or more of the ladies in my category were sponsored team riders. I’d expected to place worse than 9th out of 13 which has given me a great benchmark for my next race.

Wil had a bit of a shakey start to his race which left 2 minutes after mine. We’d had a bit of a muck up with water bottles in that I’d fitted 2 cages to my bike but hadn’t checked to see if my 2nd bottle would actually fit in the small space in the frame, which it didn’t. Wil then kindly gave me his Camelbak and borrowed a water pack from a friend at the start line, leaving him rolling into the start as the gun went. However this didn’t seem to ruin his performance, he had a blinding run and although he didn’t place where he had wanted to (within the top 100) his speed showed an improvement of 2 minutes per mile over his last race which is fantastic. Especially considering his other technical hitch was having blindly bought isotonic rehydration products instead of energy food! This is what happens when we start medalling in eachothers specialties. Bike stuff = Wil, planning and food = Ren!

Next race is in August.

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