National Cross Duathlon Champion 2014!

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After a frustrating summer of injuries I set myself a goal of doing my best at the Cross Duathlon Championships
at Sherwood Pines Nottingham. Sanctioned by British Triathlon this was a full on national title race and
would resurrect the season for me.

Training had gone well in the lead up and I was feeling strong, but with no racing since July it is near on impossible
to predict how things would go. I arrived early even though I was to go in the second of two wave starts.
There was a good turn out of some 300+ competitors and the conditions were getting worse by the minute.
The first wave struggled with muddy conditions from the torrential rain the day before and there were some
very muddy competitors coming through transition.

Time came for my start and the heavens had been open for some time now, it was going to be cold, wet, muddy,
filthy fun! Just how I like it. I had decided to just go from the gun and see how I felt.
Bang! we’re off! I took the lead and pretty much buried myself for the first couple of kms, I could hear some
feet behind me but I didn’t look round. By the time we hit 4km with the last 1km to transition, I allowed myself
a glance behind. whoop, whoop there was only Louise Fox (professional Xterra racer) and a massive gap to the
next runner.

Louise and I came into transition together but I struggled with cold hands to do my helmet up and she popped
out in front of me. I caught her within 500m and put the hammer down on the first of two 10km laps. By the
end of lap one I had a good lead, but I wasn’t going to get caught now. I pushed again and came into transition
for the final run on my own. The last 3.6km hurt, I mean hurt a lot! You never know if someone is going to
come from nowhere or if you will just blow up, but I wasn’t going to loose this one.
I crossed the line elated and won by some 3 minutes. I was cold, tired, black with mud and could hardly see for
grit in my eyes, but oh so happy.

National Champion, it has a nice ring to it.

Thanks to all my sponsors: Canyon, Compressport, Schwalbe, Inov-8, Dorset Cereals, Maloja, Z3R0D, OSMO
and Honey Stinger. Big thanks go to Rotor Components and the new REX 1.1 MTB cranks with QX1 single
ring, the difference these make is phenomenal and saves you legs for the run.

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European MTB Marathon Championships, Ballyhoura, Ireland

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6th place at European MTB Marathon Championships, Ballyhoura, Ireland

It was all a bit last minute, but I raced the European MTB Marathon Championships in Ballyhoura, Ireland last weekend. What an amazing experience! The trails in Ballyhoura are world class and some of the best single track i have ever ridden.

My decision to race was left to the last possible minute due to a recurring calf injury, but by the Wednesday before the race I felt it had recovered enough to book the trip. I decided to drive and get the ferry from holyhead to Dublin and then drive down to Ballyhoura. It was a long but rewarding journey, with the A5 section through Snowdonia a highlight on a beautiful morning.

I arrived late afternoon on Thursday and booked in to my B&B. ZZZZZZZZ……. then up early on Friday for practice before the race on Saturday. The course was made up of a clover leaf design with a short start loop of about 6km, a long middle loop of approx 50km and a final swooping single track fest of approx 20km to finish. I didn’t want to tackle the whole 75km and 2000m of climbing the day before so opted to ride the first and last loops. WOW they were awesome fun and can’t really be described apart from a grin inducing roller coaster ride with some painful climbs thrown in.

The Elite race took place a day later on the Sunday with some big names in attendance. World Champions Christoph Sauser and Alban Lakata, Olympic MTB Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy and Brit superstar Sally Bigham. I headed out on practice just behind Mr Kulhavy, but I think he must have left something on the stove at home as he seemed in quite a hurry grin

So it was early to bed before the big day. Morning broke and the weather had held, the sunshine was very welcome as the rain has been somewhat biblical in proportions recently according to the locals. I set of early after a light breakfast, I find it hard to eat on race day but I needed to eat as it was going to be a long day. A couple of hours of faffing about and there I was on the start line. front row…. BANG and we’re off! I hit the first climb in second place but faded a little at the top, so entered the single track in 4th. I held this to the end of the start loop, back through the arena and out onto the long middle loop. There was a massive rocky climb to the high point on the course, but no time for sight seeing at the top as we blasted downhill on a long rocky decent the other side. I had chosen to take my full suspension Canyon Lux CF, this was perfect as this long middle loop was very rough and rocky, but the Lux just soaked it all up. By the time I came back through the arena for the last 20km loop I had dropped a couple of places to 6th. I wasn’t too disappointed as this race was far longer than I am used to and so keeping the power going later in the race was always going to hurt. I really enjoyed the final loop as I had a good gap on the riders behind and really let the bike flow.

I held my position to the end finishing exhausted in 6th place, but overjoyed with a great experience. The people and the organisation were flawless and I am really glad I made the decision to race.

Sally Bigham of Topeak Ergon race team finished 2nd in the elite female race - well done Sal! Christoph Sauser won the mens race with Kulhavy close on his tail

A great weekend of racing with my heroes and having fun on my Canyon.

Thanks to Canyon UK, Schwalbe, OSMO, Honey Stinger, Compressport, Z3r0d, Dorset Cereals, Maloja, Inov-8, Mavic and Countryside.

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OSMO Sports Nutrition


OSMO Nutrition
Complete Hydration and Recovery

Osmo’s revolutionary hydration and recovery products are based on peer-reviewed science, athlete input and the pioneering work of exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist Dr. Stacy Sims, An athlete herself, Dr. Sims first tested the products on herself and her teammates. After more than a decade of lab research and beta testing with professional cyclists, triathletes and racecar drivers, Osmo was created.

The science is simple. Hydration, which refers to the maintenance of water in your blood, is critical to maximizing power, endurance and reduce fatigue. When you’re thirsty, you’ve already lost two percent of your body water—and 11 percent of your power.

There are no artificial ingredients or added fillers in Osmo’s products. Just like the science of hydration, they’ve kept it simple, using only what the body needs. I thought this science needed to be tested.

With the help of the UK distributors NinePointNine I have been using OSMO products for the last two months. It felt a little strange at first to be concentrating on hydration rather than fueling myself with the normal sweet tasting energy drinks, but you soon get used to the natural slightly salty taste. It actually becomes obvious that you are replacing what the body needs as opposed to introducing products that can in reality dehydrate you and have a negative effect your performance.

Not only did I find myself drinking more offten during exercise, but I feel more recovered and ready to train again when the next session comes around. A bonus is the amazing taste of the Vanilla flavoured Active Recovery, when mixed with almond or coconut milk its a real treat after a hard workout.

I race abroad every season and the high temeratures and humidity are a real challenge to an athlete from the UK. I am looking forward to testing the products later in the year where these conditions will highlight the effectiveness of the science. The pre-load hydration product should be a real advantage as it helps maximise sustained power output and boost anaerobic performance whilst reducing muscle fatigue, sounds good to me lets give it a go!!

The following link has some very simple and effective videos that explain the science much better than I ever could. OSMO is also the only nutrition product on the market that is specifically formulated to meet the unique needs of both men and women with a dedicated range for each.

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