A two man race and 648 mobile spectators… Keith Murray on #3pcx.

Collegues, CX riders, and rivals… SCOTT sports Keith Murray takes time to talk about his battle with Scot Easter on #3pcx

Keith Murray

The 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross has always been something that had grabbed my attention, as a kid and a cycling fan I’d heard and read about the crazy race that was a mountain bike parcours that you had to ride on a CX bike. Continue reading

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Humbled By My Friends

You may be aware that a lot in my life has not gone to plan recently. From numerous visits to the dentist, to broken bikes and frustration with my fitness.

Needless to say, I don’t mean to be whinging and moaning. I’m too matter of fact for that – although I’m not sure anyone knows me well enough these days to corroborate with that.

I completed cx at Herne Hill on Thursday 11th August. A hot, arid, dusty evening in southern London. Glad to get there early, mosey around a warm up lap, sign on and get a feel of the course with Phil Booth who had earlier in the week helped me out to fix the Kinesis (thanks for indexing it Hans Stiles!). I was quite looking forward to the mostly flat course, a nice bit of solid single track, and a couple of interesting features.

Nice to be joined by fellow colleagues for this very well organised, uncategorised race. It’s a shame there is just the four in the whole of the London CX scene, but I understand how hard it must be to organise. Kudos to both the 5th Floor and Kinesis for their hard work and sponsorship.

I started fast, but the grass and my lack of fitness soon pulled me back. Within a couple of hundred meters to be precise, and from there I paced myself around at the back of the field, getting caught and passed by Alec Briggs  (5th Floor) fairly quickly.

I loved the singletrack, and ft more than home on a course like this. That bloody steep hill hidden around the back of the sun splashed track was hell. Taught me I need to start jogging again! The lovely Hazel Barnes was not too far in front of me and we did a few laps sort of together, her egging me on and me glad to have someone my pace (ish). Really welcomed the shouts from Ian Cleverly too, it helped a lot! Considering how rusty I was – and how hard I found it, I really enjoyed it a lot. I know the skills I need to work on, along with my fitness.

Friday evening, sadly, saw me reduced to tears. Being classed as ‘unapproachable’ and the context of how it was delivered, whilst feeling rather uptight and worried about the two races I had at the weekend, combined to one of the most heartfelt posts I’ve written on Facebook. Needless to say, the support I received from friends both close and acquaintances helped bolster my courage for doing the Brighton Big Dog on Saturday. 

Something that to a lot of my fit friends that have been racing years, probably doesn’t mean much, but was worrying me considerably.

Thank you friends for helping pull me back together. Especially those from Medway Velo – Alex, Phil, Sal and Rob deserve a special mention. Because without these guys I wouldn’t be brave enough to face doing a lot of things.

#crossiscoming #keepsmiling 

The *Real McCoy*

I’ll put my hands up. I never finished the Paris Roubaix photo post. And due to data limitations, I doubt I will!

Most, if not all, photos are on Imgur.com under my username of elzrocks.

Right, so, the *Real McCoy* well I’m obviously not AP McCoy  (the world famous NH (National Hunt) jockey who lived next to the parents for a while.

I mean me. After being politely questioned by a twitter friend (James Ward I’m looking at you!!) something actually made me wonder. Who do you see me as? What do I do? What do you think I do?

My *day* job is looking after/ working with racehorses. You might see a little bit about it on fb/twitter – but not a lot. I start work at 5.45 and finish at 12.30ish. This includes the delightful aspect of ‘mucking out’ – and the more normal aspect of riding out. We usually ride 3 or 4 different horses a morning. Back at work at 15.15 and finish roughly at 17.20.

Sometimes I get to go racing – usually with the horses I look after. That’s also why I tend to know the roads quite well! 

I work 12.5 days out of 14 – the half a day off being a Saturday, and the whole day being the Sunday directly after. We don’t have Bank Holidays off either. And you thought you worked hard?!! 😉

Anyway.
This year I’ve kinda started everything again. Gave up smoking last year, put on a bit of weight (obviously not ideal in my job where every other person weighs 9 stone max wet through!!) and have been trying to do something about it.
I took up spinning 3 times a week to start with. With the intention of leaving when the evenings got light enough. I dropped the Thursday class in favour of Konga (part of the jungle body routine – Google it before you laugh too much).

Now it’s light enough, I’ve been getting out as much as possible. I’ve dragged myself out of half the mess I was in last year kicking and screaming. Ironically despite changing most of my lifestyle – including healtier eating – I haven’t lost much weight.
Having put the seat post up 3 inches on my bike – I’m a lot more comfortable. And finally for the 3rd time got myself back on Strava.

It’s hard to change everything, and I’m pretty impatient sometimes. But I’m feeling a lot fitter and proved a point to myself when I ran from Nottingham centre to the Station Car Park (most of the way) and back (most of the way!) Without winding myself or giving myself sore shins! Pat on the back and all that.

Also, you’ve probably seen me at a cycle race somewhere. Tour Series is great fun, and haring off to the Isle of Wight at the last second was brilliant. I love watching it – I mean who am I kidding, you think I’d ever race a bike?! – and it’s great to be asked to be involved.
GP Wiltshire was great – awesome to run into Lili McClean and Mitch Webber again.
Then a jaunt to Redditch for the Tour Series round 2. Where I got involved again. Lovely to meet Claire Rutherford at last!
Really should give a shout out to the behind-the-scenes lot – Paul Baillie  #legend and Andy Hawes who I never ever run into!
The weekend just gone was equally as busy. Shot off straight to Chesterfield as soon as I’d finished work. Had a bloody hard ride with Louise Wainwright  (I loved every second of it!) and a few drinks after.
Sunday was the Milk Race. Great race to watch though I better say nothing about Showsec!! A lovely day out with lovely people!

I enjoy watching the cycling – although I’m not usually the most vocal. And I like getting involved. I’m more than happy to help out.

The last few years haven’t been easy. So I’m hugely grateful to the people who put up with my still daft questions (Stuart Clapp!) and those who’ve been there along the way.

#keepsmiling
Elz

It’s all gravy!

Hi guys, again it’s been a while. Not going to apologise as I’ve been doing too much of that recently. Usually apologising for being me. I’ve got to the point that (love me or hate me as you do) I’m just not going to do that anymore. Sorry!

Once again this year I’ve had some wonderful times with my friends – both tweeps and face bookers – and had some equally bad times finding myself in dark places that I don’t want to revisit.

I haven’t done much on the bike this year but having finally stopped smoking, I hope to start going spinning soon to kick start my fitness and lose a bit of weight!

But I just want to say massive thanks to the people that have helped me out so much this year –

Ceri Adams and Nerys Lloyd both wonderful cousins.

Jenny Hine  (@Jenlovescycling) for being a wonderful friend

All the ToB lot – from Raleigh (Michelle you’re a legend) NFTO (El who bought us ice lollies in Brighton), BMC and Madison Genesis to Paul, Chris and Liz.

Kara Thomas and Verity Banks for putting up with my harebrained ideas again!

And those ones of you who have said or done kind things that have really stuck with me; Darren Moore, Matt Carr, Anthony McCrossan, Stevo Minns and Holly Blades you rock!

Big hugs and here’s to a better 2015 and more general awesomeness!!

The lonely road

Hopefully in a weeks time I will have at least some of my stuff packed. In reality I probably won’t.
Moving is a hassle. No doubt about it. Previously it’s been a few minutes down the road. Then half an hour or so. This time it’s a few hours (depending on traffic).

Don’t worry! I hear you say. Yeah. We’ll keep in contact! Highly unlikely. Come for a visit! Er, with the hours I’ll be working? Not likely.

Still I have my friends, the ones who helped me get through that shitty ordeal in France. The ones who say actually you did well riding that (mere) seven miles on your bike. The ones who told me to get out of where I am because it’s bringing me down.

Those friends have existed through social media. Without some of you I would not have had the strength to do this. I would not have had a place to bounce ideas around. I wouldn’t have met some great people.

I worry too much. I know that. I know some of you think me a fool! Lol, more fool you.

Some of you will read this from a Facebook link. Most likely you think you know me. Most likely you don’t. If you mattered to me I would contact you. If I mattered to you, oh yeah I don’t.

To those who read this from Twitter, thank you for your support. It has been invaluable.

I can’t wait to get out on my bike down there. Dorking Cycle Club, in their emails, has been most helpful and welcoming. Still I expect I will be riding alone for a while!

And I must not forget Ma. I know mum reads my blog on occasion (slightly embarrassing and filed under please dont say anything!!) so again I want to say how supportive and loving they have both been.

Suppose I should say I’ll be living near my brother, but to him I’m just a silly little sister…

That’s all for now…

Off to Le Tour!

First of all a massive apology for not posting anything for ages! I haven’t done much on the bike recently, as you know how shit the weather has been here in the UK!

I was going to post a bit about watching Le Tour, but kept getting sidetracked by stuff that needed doing in preparation for going to France! And the fact that I was probably too busy tweeting!

So I think we have everything sorted out. I pick Melissa up from Heathrow tomorrow morning, we drive to Folkestone and go via the Eurotunnel to Calais. Then the long drive starts! And we are only going for the last week of it, for those who don’t know, it started 2 weeks ago in Liege…

I really can’t wait. This will be the first time I’ve been away for ages, even if it includes massive amounts of driving! I’m going to see a sport I love watching and meet people I only know via Twitter or Facebook!

I’ve had a go at the cycling fantasy teams for Le Tour, and as per usual I’m about mid div – although I’ve had Peter Sagan from the start, as well as Chris Froome!

I’ve got to say going to France wouldn’t be possible without massive help from friends and especially my parents (thanks ma and dad!). Some of you have been so helpful with loads of different stuff, from borrowing a sat nav (thanks Conor you legend!) to a stranger giving me 50 euros for no reason whatsoever!

I’ve had the past week off work, and although I haven’t done much, it’s been great for getting final bits sorted – having a cigarette lighter put back in my car so I can charge the sat nav and my phone. Sorting out a new mobile – sorry for those of you received loads of random calls. And most of all watching some majorly  impressive riding on the Tour! (Yeah I had Pierre Rolland from the start as well! Ha!!).

Not sure I’ll be able to blog much, if at all, as I only have mmy phone, but will be tweeting/fbooking when I can. Hopefully I’ll get some epic pictures!

For the first time in my life I have bought a British flag. Although I did buy a Welsh one first! Those who know me, will know how unpatriotic I am! But sod it!

When we finally get to Paris, Verity – my best friend for the last 24 years – is meeting me in Paris. I. Can’t. Wait. Yeah, if you are there and see us behaving like lunatics (in a good way), just cope with it! A’ite?!

This might be my last post for a few days, so anyone who wants to join me next year better join the list – about 10 people on it! One thing, I ain’t driving next year!

So tweet or fb me!

Thanks for all the messages so far anyways…

#ALLEZROLLAND
#BRITSBEHINDSKY

Ciao
Keep Smiling!!! 🙂

 

how my #TdF plans have changed

There was originally 2 of us going for just over 2 weeks, me and my best mate, sharing driving fuel etc. It’s a good thing we had a bit of a chat on Sunday.

I then got the feeling she wouldn’t be coming, although it’s taken until this morning to get the answer she wasn’t.

Thanks to a bit of foresight and lack of funds, I haven’t booked any hotels etc, and was already in discussion with @melissagerman (my TwitterFriend) to meet up down in Pau.

Due to this new arrangement, I might spend a couple of days at my Uncles and then pick Melissa up and drive onto Pau, where hopefully (fingers crossed) we will have been able to book a hotel just outside of Pau (Lons).

Hopefully me and Melissa can fine tune this over the next couple of weeks, and it looks like it will be awesome, especially the Team Sky Fan Party Part 1 and Part 2!

So thanks to Melissa, it’ll be great to share this with someone who can have a laugh and in all honesty knows a fair bit more than me about procycling.

Thanks also to @wheel_suckers (http://www.wheelsuckers.co.uk/) and http://road.cc/, which have both provided me with some insight into going to watch Le Tour.

Thanks also to @BevSmerklo, @CatwomanFran, Sarah Orr, Sammi Christopher and Jo Wells, all who listened to me rant after what occured on sunday.

So yeah, I’m going, meeting some of my Twitterarti friends, and it’s going to be a blast

Even if I do get home broke 😉

Now I’m smiling!!!!