Crosstober at Abergavenny 

Fairly sure I don’t need an excuse to go to Aber, but having seen there was two days of cx down there, with the National Trophy Round 2 on the Sunday, and Keith Murray// SCOTT Racing requiring an extra pair of hands a decision was made.

I can honestly swear I do end up taking every bit of kit I own with the team logo on it. Even having looked at the weather – I still spent two hours pondering what I needed to pack. 

I’d had to get the bearings done on the Kinesis too, and was looking forward to being back on it. Although I took the Colnago too. Just in case. And an extra jacket. And shoes. And another jacket. 

With Bastille and the Chili Peppers to keep me company, I let myself get a tad carried away singing until I saw the look on the persons face in the car next to me at the services. Talk about STFU Elz!

Having arrived stupid early, at least I was able to get an idea of the course and how slick it was going to be. Angharad, Gareth, Griff Lewis and family were there, both manning the Continental tent and some of them racing. Lovely to see such a turnout from Ystwyth CC!

I managed to crash twice on my last warm up lap. 1st time I had too much air in my tyres and the back end skidded out, hurting my shoulder again in the process and leaving me seeing stars for half a lal. 2nd time I dithered too long over running or riding a corner and faceplanted through the crash netting right in front of everyone I knew there.

Thankfully Louise checked my tyres again just before we raced and let more air out – or I probably would’ve been on the deck again!

Watched the Vet 40s go off with no problem picking out Keith Murray and his day glo yellow bike going rather fast along the bottom of the field.

 A crash on the first main corner from the Vet 50s held me back a fair way and I hesitated longer than I should’ve done, allowing a few too many in front of me. Worrying a bit too much, I was a little over cautious in places on the first circuit. 

The Vet 40s caught me on my second lap. And Murray flew past me just before the hurdles – with me swearing to myself he was not going to get two laps on me.

Again, hesitation and crap remounting held me back on the last circuit, until I saw that day glo yellow bike approaching 

as I went past the pits for the second time. Even as I went downhill onto the finish circuit- I put everything into going up through the gears and sprinting for the line. Trying desperately not to let Murray past me 

I failed. Just. 0.10 seconds. And astonishingly quite pleased with myself!

And absolutely loved it!

Only later did Murray inform me I was 6th Senior. I honestly didn’t have a clue.

Pitting on Sunday was easy. And rather chilly. A 50%ish course change and dry overnight. No bike changes, and the biggest most visible bike in the pits. With a few helpful pointers from the other guys around me, I spent most of my time judging how well Nick Craig and Murray were going. Nick won.

I also lent a hand to Chris Macleod for his lads. And briefly later to the Mellors in the Senior race, before retiring to take pictures and shout for various people. 

‘Two Ts’ is definitely the most fun to shout for. Expect a wheelie or face pulling of some description! Lee Shunburne always appreciates it, as does Nick Craig.

Sadly #posterboy ‘One T’ wasn’t at this round, so I was unable to provide the heckling he should have had. No doubt I can make up for it soon.

#keepsmiling #cyclocross 

My Tour of Britain

I booked the whole week and a day off for the ToB this year. I’d planned ish to volunteer for the finish in Brighton and to do the whole day in London.

What hit me on the Sunday it started (I was at work at the time) was that I had the whole week to do basically nothing. Yeah I could go out and twaddle about on my good ol Trek… or… hmm. I really had nothing concrete to do. I will admit that during Sunday afternoon (before I started back at work at 15.10) I rolled the idea of camping around and around in my brain. Problem was my tent is a 3 person tent and requires 2 people to assemble. I could probably just about do it, though it was unlikely. A quick look at revealed one single room in Abergavenny. Hmm.

I rushed work as quickly as I could, then came back home to see if Verity wanted to go camping, but she’d arranged other things to do. I felt a bit deflated – but had an “oh, sod it” moment and booked a room at The Swan Hotel in Abergavenny. That was Monday night sorted, but I couldn’t find anything in affordability range for Tuesday.
A quick phonecall/text? to Rhys and I’d half decided to take my bike. He was marshalling the finish up the Tumble and was vaguely in the vicinity. Then a phone call to Ron, who was already planning to bring his bike down on the train and see the ToB somewhere.
Funnily enough I was getting a bit (excited is the wrong word!) buzzy. I love the ToB – and it was possible to do more than 1 stage for once!!

I ummed and ahhhed about taking the bike, but decided to take it on Monday morning, along with the tent and a sleeping bag and far too many clothes. Thought I’d need my bib tights, only chucked my shorts in at the last minute, along with enough food to sink the Titanic!
So geared up and ready to go I set off at 11.40 – which means I missed Mondays stage as well – arriving at the hotel at 13.30ish.
Good timing though, as Rhys rang me to say he was outside on his bike! I quickly checked in (also notifying them the ToB was on as they had no idea), got changed and went to get my ass kicked along the side of the valley. This is bearing in mind I’ve done so little on the bike, and Rhys has done a lot! Off up to the info center, then a quick coffee stop, then off up into the valleys on a gorgeously hot day (thankfully I bought my bib shorts and lightweight jersey!). It’s nice to ride along having a chat, even if it’s ever so slightly up and up and up and up.
We stopped at the bottom of the Tumble


but didn’t head up there, instead sticking roughly to Route 46 (Rhys had come over the Tumble earlier).

We ended up getting the map out a couple of times, but I really enjoyed getting out and having a natter on lovely paths/roads. Even if I was dying the whole of the way up there!

I did want to go around and ride up the back of the Tumble, but eventually we decided it wasn’t a great idea LOL.


Rhys on the bridge

So I rode back to Abergavenny –


Ever downward on those lovely bike paths! Felt pretty much high as a kite going back, until I realised I couldn’t see the highlights of the days race!

Didn’t sleep great, but woke up early as usual. Impatiently waited for breakfast to open – and finally did get toast and coffee! And lots and lots of orange juice. Had a wander around the town – and the market, seeing the history of the coal mines always saddens me, and I couldn’t remember which mine my Dad’s family had worked in. Bought a Welsh tie ;-). Then it was time to get ready to ride up to the station and meet Ron off the train. My mad plan was to watch the race in Abergavenny then rush up the Tumble. So so glad we didn’t do both!
We went straight from the station up to the Tumble (Ron in a tshirt and jeans). Saw a bloke on a new Penny Farthing at Llanfoist. Then the Tumble.

I told/shouted Ron to go ahead as I made my very slow painful way up there. Puff pant gargle etc. So so so happy I had trainers on or I wouldn’t have gone a yard being clipped in!
I stopped. I started. I went 50 yards. I stopped. I started. I did another 50 yards. (I may have stopped at the porta loos too). I tried again. My legs didn’t hurt. I just am nowhere near fit enough.
Btw. I got to 4.5k to go before I stopped the first time.
I carried on. I tried again. I started thinking the peloton might catch me up and I’d be kicked off (wild bollocksy tired fantasy?!?!)
I went again. Oh hello cattle grid! I stopped. I breathed (and sweated. A lot).
Oh hi Ron!
Lol, thanks for coming back!!
I walked a little and took a picture or two. Then I got back on and very slowly made my way up (with Ron laughing at me and me trying not to laugh because I *might* just fall off if I laughed!).
Great to have encouragement tho – from Ron and the other guys who passed me. You all made me keep going. Well until we got told to stop. By Rhys.

I did it. I’m bloody proud of myself. I don’t care what anyone else thought. It was hard. My legs never did hurt – just got tired and sullen. I had a cracking day up there in beautiful sunny weather. And I even wore my tie around my head.

Right, I’ll leave it at that. I must sleep, so I’ll regale you all with the rest of my week tomorrow.

Most of my pic’s are on Facebook.

BTW I kept smiling – make sure you all do too!!

Day 2 of Bedford 3 Day

As you can probably guess I only attended Day 2 (I am one of those lucky, lucky few that has to work both Saturday mornings and Bank Holidays!).

However I didn’t sleep for more than two hours and hung around the house Sunday morning feeling rather annoyed and rather tired! It was only when my next door neighbour (who i work with) literally gave me a kick up the ass…
“Oh go on, you’ve been talking about this for ages, just get yourself out and go and enjoy it!”

5 mins later without much thought I got my stuff together and headed out, reasoning that if I felt crap by the time I got to Dorking, I could turn round and head home.

But with the lovely warm weather, some Ultrabeat for music and the feeling that actually I might be ok – I carried on up the m25 and m1.

Having to use sat nav, it took me straight to race HQ and I parked up behind the Wyndymilla team van.


On first sight there was only a couple of people about waiting by the traffic lights for the riders to come through. None seemed eager for a conversation, apart from to say that the girls had already gone through once.

Then the first car appeared and I stood squinting down the road for a fair few minutes before I saw any sign of rider activity.
Suddenly they were there, spinning up the hill a lot quicker than I can do!
I tried to make out my friends from Shutt Velo Rapide, but couldn’t tell who was who!




And then I spotted a girl on her own, and someone shouted ‘Go on Jen!’
Luckily I got a photo!


Then it was a case of waiting for them to come around again. Quick trip to the car for Haribo and a drink, a phonecall to mum to let her know I had got there, and suddenly through the gate walks Lou! (who didnt recognise me for a second as I had text to say I wasn’t going).

Brilliant to see her, and great to watch the race with someone I knew!

As I was stood at race HQ I didn’t get to see the finish, but I did see the lovely Stefan Wyman drive past waving (ha wonder if he recognised me!?).
As I was stood by race HQ I had no idea who had won the race, and with no internet signal to find out, i was a bit miffed. I was too shy to ask anyone riding back up the hill, and as I’m rubbish at recognising anyone for the first time, I didn’t get to find out until later on.

I moved my car somewhere in the meantime only to find myself blocked in by the Abergavenny team car later on, but it was soon shifted so I could get out!

Thanks to Jen, Lou, Tracey, Cecillia, Sian and Saskia for letting me join them for Nandos afterwards (and the ice cream).

I had a great day and was so happy I made the decision in the morning to go up there!

In other news I had a go at hill reps tonight as I had to cycle back to work to put rugs on. That certainly woke me up and as it is on a private road i dont have to worry about much!

Oh and yes I did fall off the same horse twice the other day… Nevermind!!

Keep smiling 😛