Monthly Archives: March 2013

Race Report: Portuguese Cup – Gouveia

So last week saw me enter my first race of the season, The Portuguese cup in Gouveia.
In pursuit of a bit of sunny riding and those all important UCI points, there is a reason Brits head over to Spain and Portugal this time of year.. mainly because our weather is so shit to ride in! and to get up to speed for the year ahead on a fast flowing track.

Weather for the week

Weather for the week

On arrival I was struggling a bit with a virus, which gradually got worse over the week! Gastroenteritis, not nice! low on energy and suffering from De-hydration, things weren’t looking good for the week ahead. To make matters even worse, the weather wasn’t looking to be what it had originally promised. Grey skis with menacing clouds hung around all week, the odd bit of sunshine warmed things up but mixed with the amount of rain and riders meant the track to and unusually quick battering, which for a fresh track, just turned it into a mess as the week progressed!
In terms of food, all I could try to stomach all week was water, and dry ham sandwiches. Breakfast, Lunch and dinner, Dry ham sandwiches, all week. And some biscuits here and there!

This year saw the introduction of a new, fresh track dug into the Portuguese landscape. A lovely looking loamy track with high speed off camber section most of the way down.

Friday was sign on and track walk before an evening of practice. I signed on, then slept on the car for a couple of hours, then attempted a track walk. Half way through and energy levels were so low I had to return to the hotel and sleep. From 15:00 till 07:00 I was out like a light! Before returning to the hotel I did watch this cool train of caterpillars though! It was about all I could focus on.

Caterpillar train

Caterpillar train

Saturday and a full day of practice ahead. I was feeling slightly better after necking a handful of Imodium tablets and headed off for my first run of the weekend. A blind top section was probably not the best of ideas! although the track wasn’t incredibly technical it had the odd section to catch you out, especially the awkward turn to drop to flat to off camber corner which nearly caught me out severely!
I was feeling a little fresher however the lack of fluids and nutrients on my body meant I was unable to fully focus and my mind was way behind where my body actually was on track, which eventually caught me out and I had my first crash of the weekend, a simple error but one that wouldn’t normally happen.
4 runs in and I was done, out cold and back to the hotel for more dry ham sandwiches and sleep.

Sunday race day came around and the weather wasn’t playing ball. Rain mixed with periods of sun meant the track really was struggling, wet bog sections dried up slightly and turned to thick mud, then back to water with the rain, then mud with the sun, things were getting really tough! Not good with no energy!
1 practice run and then waiting for seeding.

As bad as I felt seeding went, I turned out a 19th position, 7 seconds off a top ten. With very little pedaling to conserve energy I was surprised to be in touching distance of a top ten.
Finals came around and big rain shower hit before more sun. This effectively ruined any chance I had of a result. The weather massively deteriorated the track and out of the gate i was done, 2 errors to which i stopped and was unable to move with bugger all leg power.
Everyone seemed to suffer, times were 20 seconds slower from quali to finals and I ended up 23rd.
Not the result I was looking for but given the circumstances there wasn’t a great deal I could do about it!

Fresh kit for the year

Fresh Royal Racing kit for the year

So the season is well under way now and time to focus on recovering fully before hitting the first BDS hard!

Sorry for the lack of photos! not much riding was done!

Cheers to everyone for the support for the season ahead, here’s to the next race!

 

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Winter Dual Round 8 – Fast Grass

This was a race which had to be seen to be believed. The move from our loamy home turf over to the close horse cropped grass of Farmer Jacks field was a real eye opener to all who raced. The Speed was unbelievable! So So fast. Scary fast. But the grass was gripper that you could believe, but those that believed cornered like nothing else. Truly amazing to watch.

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The push back up was all that kept us warm. Photo – Josh Lewis

The cold and foggy winters night added to the atmosphere and the steep push up was enough to keep everyone warm. The grip lasted only so long though. Soon enough it began to give way and not always in a predictable manner with some brilliant crashes as a result.

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One of my favourite ever dual photos, Me and chegs setting up. Photo – Duncan Philpott

Duncan’s edit goes a long way to explaining the evening. Shot by him and part time pro tog’ Josh Lewis you can start to get an idea of the speed and some of the crashes. Joe Bowman goes down hard in the semi final against Chay at 45 seconds after a lovely big tank slapper (those are loose dogs girly screams). Joe had been on fire all night and had the right hand lined totally wired (see 54 seconds). The final big right hander was just the fastest and driftiest corner. Loosedog also suffered the same fate after look hot in practice, however he went down in the first round.

Did John Lawlor cut the course at 23 seconds? He was certainly on it throughout the night but lost his back end in one run on the last corner and couldn’t quite run across this line in time. His #WontBackDown partner Clay porter made a mistake in his first run and Ruari punished him for it. Peaty showed him how it was done though and was just screaming through that last right hander and took the overall win on the night against Chay.

Massive thanks for Farmer Jack for the use of his field, it really is perfect for Dual. Thanks also to our inimitable timing lady Steph Anderson and her assistants for the night, Dave Camus and Joe Spivey.

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So Timmy Dared to miss a round, its this because he has it sewn up already?

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Nick in Aprils MBR

Nick in Aprils MBR

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The features in Aprils MBR

Aprils MBR has a feature on ‘People who are changing mountain biking’. I got a call in work one day from the editor Simon who asked me if I they could include me. To say I was shocked was an understatement but I was also completely humbling. I had an hours chat on the phone with Simon a few days later and he put together the interview which features in the Mag. I find it interesting what he picked out from what we talked about but that’s an editors job I suppose.

It was all about mates racing; how and why sticking your head up and making an effort it so rewarding. I’ve harped on about this many times before but its always worth saying again. According to MBR someone like me, following through on daft ideas thought up over a pint with mates is changing mountain biking for the better. I just do it because I love it and have so much fun with my mates. To see that others see the value of that too is amazing.

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Winter Dual racing: Photo – Duncan Philpott

Cotic Factory Racing

Cotic Factory Racing

Serendipity is random; Providence is Divine; Cotic Factory Racing is pure destiny. This is what happens in Sheffield, when you get a enterprising bike manufacturer racing bikes alongside pinned riders in the hot house of mate’s races.

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The new Cotic Factory racing team is made up of two local pinners, Chay ‘That Crash’ Granby and Josh ‘Loose Dog’ Lewis. Identified through ThisiSheffield’s ‘Blue Steel Racing’ talent ID and race development program, these two talented riders have been picked purely for their race speed and skills. They will be at every UK Gravity Enduro race this season smashing out the stages aboard a pimped out Cotic Rocket. And we all know what those bikes are capable of don’t we?

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19 year old Josh Lewis has honed his downhill race craft with the Steve Peat Syndicate for the past few seasons. His successes at mate’s races and dedication to fitness made him an obvious choice for the team. Applying these skills to the most fashionable bike racing around, Enduro, will suit his self cut hipster locks and skin tight jeans. We’re sure that his maturing years has brought a tempering to the riding style which christened him loose.

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Josh Lewis ‘training’ hard

Master Chay Granby is well known on the pages of this website not only due to his regular and successful attendance at mate’s races but mainly due to his international recognition following ‘that crash’ in one of our tees. Chay successfully came back from ‘that crash’ and was quickly back on a bike and up to race pace. He was then straight back in to hospital after coming off his bike again and breaking his hip. Since that incident he has been dedicating himself to training hard and fitting doors, he’s in the shape of his life and ready to represent Cotic and Sheffield at its finest.

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Chay Granby’s famous face (plant)

Cy ‘Cotic’ Turner is the man with the foresight and ability to bring this all together. The catalyst for the formation of the team was Cy’s attendance at the TiS winter dual’s and witnessing the wealth of talent being developed through the Blue Steel Racing program. After one particularly fast dual race Cy announced “After Tuesdays seriously fast and loose efforts it’s clear we have plenty of local pinners. It’d be ace to support someone local who’s committed to doing some racing”. What better way to spot talent than race against them week in, week out.

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Cy Turner is also a keen Caravanner

The team are being Co-sponsored by Steel City Media, Royal, and Lezyne Tools. They are being supplied by Mavic, BOS, Shimano, Maxxis Tyres, Hope, Renthal, TORQ Energy and KCNC. This will mean a couple of severely pimp bikes flying around the Enduro’s, watch out for them.

The Cotic Rocket

The first race is this coming weekend at Afan and we wish Chay and Josh the very  best of luck. Just remember lads, however well you do, there will be rum waiting for you when you get back.

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Our Own James ‘Rocket Man’ Swinden

 

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

There is definitely a scent of spring in the air, on our ride last night my mate Chop declared that it was the dawn of Metrological Spring today. This can only be a good thing and makes me think of the goodness to come and the riding to be had.

Having a gander at Grant Robinson’s Shiny new website this morning reminded me of one of the treats we’ll have in store soon. Cycle Speedway. Grant came along with his camera to record a spring series race we had at the Sheffield Stars Speedway track in Hillsborough a couple of years ago. As I’ve harped on about before, speedway is one of the undiscovered gems of racing bikes, it really is so much fun, so hard and so bloody dangerous.

Grant has collected together his shots in to a project page on his new website and its well worth 2 minutes of your time for a scan through. Brilliant photos of an amazing sport, conducted by chimps on wheels.

www.grantrobinson.com/projects/speedway/

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