Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MAD Club Championships

MAD where running their Club Championship race (photos) last Sunday so I decided to pop along. The race came in two parts. The first part was a hill climb from the M50 up Kimashogue Lane and on up a fireroad to the top. The second part was a 1 and a half lap race around the MAD race circuit.

The morning saw 17 (I think) of us lined up to start. A few guys where in fancy dress and the atmosphere was jovial. At around 11am the first part of the race started. Immediately a sprint started (to which I though, OMG are these guys gonna keep this speed up!) Luckily, they didn't and I was able to pick them off one by one as we headed to the fireroad. As we continued on up the fireroad I looked back to see Sean attack me from time to time. Each time I thought he got close I moved up a gear and worked a little harder. I ended up winning the hill climb with a time of 17:07 with Sean and then Mark shortly after.

Head down, climbing away to the top of Kimashogue

Sean, who finished second in the hill climb

The second part of the race was a fun race circuit. We started with a LeMans style start (in order to thin us out a bit before we climb a short hill that descended into single track). The start of the race went well for me apart from a few sections where I completely blew my lines. When I go biking myself I'm not used to following someone ahead of me and trying to get by, I guess that threw me off a little. At the end of the single track we emerged onto a fireroad that was to take us back up the hill to the start for another lap. Luckily I was in the lead at that point so I just put my head down and tried to create a little distance between the trailing group because I was afraid of them catching me on the following descent. (there was about 5 of us close together). The climb out was nice and the first part of the descent was cool – I took the rocky section very fast and entered the forest single track very positive. Midway through the first part of the single track in the forest section I jumped a drop off incorrectly and bent my rear derailleur in through the spokes and out the other side. I was pissed! It ended my race. The lesson I learned today is that when you are in the lead and you come to a sketchy section that your not used to, YOU TAKE IT EASY! Ahh well, another lesson learned!

I was bumed after breaking the derailleur

Bjorn in fancy dress (notice the knee/shin guards!)

The race was great and very well orgainised by the MAD crew. Hopefully there will be more things like this in the new year :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Santa Cruz

Sunset in Santa Cruz, CA.

I was flicking through some photos from last year and I found this one. I thought it was pretty cool.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My new bike and racing

A couple of weeks back I bought a new full suspension bike. It's got a a pretty funky name, Fetish Cycles Seduction but is an amazing bike. It's a big step up in terms of controllability and comfort (in rough sections) over my old Stumjumper Comp hard tail. (Which Mel is now putting to great use!)

The bike had an interesting past getting to me – it's brand new but for the first 2 weeks I had nothing but trouble. Firstly, Paypal sucks so bad! I can't wait to Google come along and kill them. I wasted about 6 hours trying to deal with them. (Everytime you buy something of a certain value, alarms seem to go off!). Then when it arrived I had a few parts to upgrade/replace including the chain, the seatpost and the rear disc brake rotor. After all that was done though it's being riding like a dream.

This is the spec (similar to Ultra Seduction):

2006 Manitou R Seven Super 80mm travel fork
Manitou Radium RL rear shock with lockout
Crank FSA Carbon Cranks
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Rear Derailleur Shimano XTR
Shift Lever Shimano XT 9-spd Dual Control
Cog Set Shimano XT 11-34T 9spd
Chain Shimano HG93 XT
Hubset Shimano XT Center Lock 32H
Rims WTB Speed Disc Pro XC double wall 32H w/ eyelets
Tires WTB Exiwolf Team XC 26 X 2.1 w/Folding Dual DNA
Brakes Shimano XT hydraulic disc
Brake Levers Shimano XT Dual Control
Handlebar Truvativ Team CarbonTeam
Stem Fetish Cycles Carbon
Seatpost Use1 Alien Carbon
Saddle Specialized Alias 143

And of course, I have to have a picture :)

Having spent all that money I decided that I'm going to have to start racing a bit :) Last weekend, M.A.D. where running a fun race close to where I lived, so I popped along. The track itself was great and it was an excellent racing down the single track at race speed. Basically we where speeding along a single track through a thick forest with almost zero visibility. In the end, I was lucky enough to win it with Nigel (it was a team event). Hopefully it will be the first of lots of races that I'll enter!

Monday, December 05, 2005

External Photos Gone :(

The server that used to hold my photo albums is now unavailable - so links to my online photo albums no longer work. I'm going to figure out a different solution soon...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Wicklow Way

On Sunday morning Mark and Emma dropped by my house to pick Mel and I up for a fine hobbity day. Earlier Mark had called telling me that he was going up to Glendalough and wondering if Mel and I wanted to go too. We were thinking about walking home from Glendalough to Dundrum for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the days are a little short (and it's a bit cold) for such a feat so we decided to cut the walk by about 12km and walk from Roundwood instead.

As Mark dropped us off, it looked COLD outside – there was even snow on the ground. The view was absolutely amazing though and both of us where dressed quite well for walking so it wasn't too bad. At around 10:40am we started off. We knew that we would have to keep a quick pace in order to make it home before dark. The walk itself was amazing – there where so many hikers out! It was sub zero (taking wind chill into account) and the mountains where full of people hiking.

Mark and Emma as they dropped us off

Mel about 15 minutes into the walk

Me shortly after

A really pretty tree about 3 hours from the end

The view with about 1.5 hours to go

We eventually got back to the house in about 6 hours 20 minutes. It wasn't bad for a 34km walk which crossed 5 mountains :) The walk was about one quarter of the Wicklow Way – the next day we will try to get another quarter done.