Motorbikes, GCN, British Cycling…
In a brief moment between a training ride and an excursion to fix my mum’s puncture and take her for a ride on a tandem, I’ve finally managed to sit down and begin tackling some of the writing I’ve been intending to do. I’m up in the Peak District for a few days staying with my parents and somehow, five days have flown by without me even noticing.
It’s been a lovely relaxing break in beautiful Hathersage, our days filled with cycling, cake eating, tea drinking and sunny strolls around Ladybower and Monsal Dale, where the footpath skirts a languid river in a limestone gorge underneath the famous Monsal Trail traffic-free cycle path.
I’ve also been riding rollers in the garage (as I’m a nerd and like to stick to my training plan) and we’ve been to Manchester Velodrome for their SQT session.
The cycling here in Derbyshire is superb, so much so that Dave and I have discussed at great length the relative merits of both the Peak District and our home turf near Dartmoor, eventually deciding that the riding is even better here. Though there are hills a plenty, on the whole, the gradients tend to be more manageable and there are even some flat roads! What with nearby Sheffield’s numerous and varied mountain bike trails and climbing walls (and the mountain biking and climbing right here in the Hope Valley) and you can see why this place is so popular. My only gripe would be the lorries speeding along some of the roads up towards Ashford and around Bakewell, most of whom drive terrifyingly close at great speed.
The last few weeks have been as crazy as usual. I kicked things off by buying a motocross bike, a little Yamaha TTR 125, which due to its diminuative size is the perfect beginner’s machine. I immediately snapped the chain in what I hope is not a premonition of how much stuff I’m likely to break on this thing, though I’ve a sneaking suspicion it will end up being a bit of a money pit. Our first outing was to Cheddar MX track where I had THE BEST TIME EVER riding the smaller, newbies track with my pal Gemma and her family whilst Kye tore it up on the grown up’s track.
This summer is going to be so much fun as I get to grips with riding motocross. One thing I’m really looking forward to is meeting the ladies of VCC London at their Camp VC in Wales. If you’re a woman who ride motorbikes, get yourself down there!
Mountain Bike Leadership Conference
The next place I visited was Plas y Brenin, the National Mountain Sports Centre in North Wales, where I was invited to speak at the British Cycling’s Mountain Bike Leadership conference. I was to deliver a 45 minute talk on marketing and though I’ve done a little public speaking before, it was quite a long time ago so I was somewhat nervous. I prepared my talk meticulously, practicing in on Dave before I left but for some reason had this mad idea that I was going to run out of things to say ten minutes in. As it happened, I actually ran out of time as I had so much to tell people, and that’s even with my tendency to speak rather quickly.
Storm Doris is still lingering here in Wales making for some crazy weather. You can’t see it but apparently Snowdon is right behind me! After a lot of time in the classroom yesterday we are looking forward to getting out on the trails this morning, despite the weather. Happy to say my 45 minute talk on marketing yesterday went really well. Glad I managed to keep my nerves under control when I delivered it. Thanks for having me along @britishcycling #mtbleadership
It was great to get positive feedback from the 60 attendees, many of whom found me afterwards to thank me personally. And after doing my piece, I LOVED sitting back with a pint and listening to the brilliant Lee Craigie and her tales of the Highland Trail 550. I immediately snapped up her small but charming book.
Back down in Devon, there was just enough time for the first race of the year, a women’s stage race in Exeter comprised of a Points, Elimination and Scratch Race. Doing three races back to back after a winter of training gave my legs a bit of a wake up call, though actually they didn’t let me down.
My tactics were pretty poor in the Points and there was a decision I didn’t quite agree with in the Elimination but I really enjoyed myself and was happy enough with where I finished. I’m looking forward to a few more local road criterium ahead of the Matrix Tour this May. And of course there’s the opening event of the Red Hook Crit series in Brooklyn this April!
Global Cycling Network shoot
One of the most fun jobs I’ve done recently has to be shooting with GCN in Bristol. I’m a fan of the GCN show and have used their turbo training videos on numerous occasions in the past, so to be invited to be in some of their videos was pretty damn awesome. Though hopefully, I managed to keep my cool and not look like a weird fan girl, I was excited to meet the presenters and they all turned out to be super nice and really friendly.
The aim of the game was to film a bunch of new turbo training videos, so we’d been called in to ride four pretty much back-to-back interval sessions, two led by Matt Stephens and two by Simon Richardson. As there weren’t any fans (at least not at first – a TEENY one appeared at some point) we were absolutely drenched in sweat – it was pouring off us in rivers in the studio.
Sadly, I didn’t manage to get my hands on the new Assos GCN kit as it wasn’t yet available in my size, but I’ve been promised one when it comes out. Somehow, a red GCN water bottle made its way home with me, which I’ve handed over to Dave as a thank you for all those times he’s washed my bike!