Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Bath haven

Matt Willis

Sent from my mobile saddle

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Scott reports from the Lake Garda Marathon..

Driving along the lake to Riva del Garda has to be one of the most stunning drives I have ever done. Not that I was actually driving otherwise I think I would have crashed admiring the view. Bumped into the MD of Royal Racing at the airport who gave me a lift instead of enduring a 4 hour train journey. I was here to race the Marathon on the Saturday and have a peek around the 3 day Sympatex Bike Festival. Stunning backdrop for it. Many of the major manufacturers were here showing their wares and the big product was 29ers. The Europeans have been so resistant to the idea of big wheels, but now every manufacturer was keen to show their big wheeled goods, much of it pre-production.

Saturday's race figures were pretty daunting, 3500m of climbing squeezed into 100km, but I like a good climb. With Mule gels stuffed into back pockets, it was a fast start along the first 5km leading out of town. Being in the final grid really wasn’t good planning and I got caught in a bottleneck at the bottom of the first climb. Further bottle necks then ensued on many of the techy descents (!), but at least there was room to pass on the climbs.The views of the lake as you gained height were awesome, but there was little time to admire as I concentrated on making up places whilst trying to keep the HR in check. With little zest in my legs, the going was tough, but I dug in. With a good number of feed stations along the route, you didn’t have to carry much, but I’m not one for stopping and carried much of what I needed in my Osprey Raptor 6. Unlike most races, you could choose which of the 3 lengths to do en route by peeling off at the split points. The choice between heading back for the middle distance or upwards for the full 100km came at 72km. Despite feeling worse for wear, I downed a Lemon Zinger gel and headed upwards, only a 10km climb this time. Besides, I wanted to ride the 15km descent the other side. Head and legs fuzzy from that final climb, I had to focus one last time on the loose gravel descent to avoid binning into the trees (and over the edge) on each corner. Joining a chain gang of 4 other riders on the final 6km of road to the finish, the legs gave everything they had left (which really wasn’t alot) to finish in a time way off what I had wanted. Ah well, that’s racing, you are only as good as you are on the day. The Niner Air 9 Carbon on the other hand rode superbly well.

Accommodation wise I found a little gem, Aktiv Hotel in Torbole. It fully caters for and welcomes dirty mtbers with a secure bike lock up, a bike cleaning area with stand, hose and a compresser. The lock up has all the tools you could ever need and there are also secure outside lockers for all that dirty kit, which wouldn’t really appeal being in your room. There is also free energy drink made up fresh each morning. The breakfasts are top notch with everything you would and could possibly want to eat. I got into the habit of getting there early to let it all digest before heading out! The super friendly staff all speak excellent English and German if you fancy practicing, or of course Italian.

The trails here are superb with everything from super techy all mountain to fast xc. Bring as much or as little suspension travel as you want and you’ll have fun here for days. Big climbs, big descents, mountain side singletrack and fast flowing forest trails. This is the mountains so come prepared for a change in weather as I woke to fresh snow on the 1800m peaks on Saturday. All in all a great few days by the lake, if a little (actually very) disappointed in my marathon result.

To cross or not to cross....

Mules paddling for the record....

'Team Expedition Paddler presently consists of Jeff Allen and Harry Whelan. In May this year, we are attempting to paddle around Ireland as fast as we can, but as any sea kayaker knows it's not just about us, it's also all about the weather... 'Weather we can or weather we can't''

A Mule's lunch

Matt Willis

Sent from my mobile saddle

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Javi Gomez Noya's new kit!


Bedford 2 day International Stage Race May 2011

Race report from Tanya Hunt of Team Endurance/MuleBar Girls:

"The first day was a team time trial of about 6 miles, having never done a time trial before let alone a team time trial I was rather nervous. We got together early to practise keeping really tight together and found out which order we should ride. It was sunny but really windy and the wind proved difficult on certain parts of the course.
We set off and worked really well as a team having already seen some of the teams completely falling apart which is how not to do it. We all pushed really hard and were pleased to finish in 8th place. The first road race followed and I think the nerves really kicked in because of the awful crash at Windsor. I started too far back and left myself far too much to do, the wind made it impossible to then get back to the front group. Our group didn’t really work well enough so I had to settle for the second pack placing. This taught me a real lesson and I realised that I have to stay up there and hope I will take that away for next time.

The second day was the individual time trial in the morning, again a new one to me but I wanted to give it a good go. It was ridden in the speed bowl, the start was hard as slightly uphill and again the wind made it feel like you were going nowhere, then the wind changed as I rounded the corner and it felt like you were flying, I almost needed another couple of gears. I finished in 24th place which I was amazed at as some of the girls are pro riders and to be that far up was great. I started the afternoon road race a bit more positive but still managed to get myself into a really bad position from the start.
The hills were tough but I like the hills, it was the speed bowl part of the course that got to me every time as it was so windy and my group really pushed hard trying to catch the front riders. I finished very tired but with such a lot to take away and feel I have learned so much. Our team finished a very credible 6th position."

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Our Mule World Champion....

.... Javier Gomez Noya - 2010 ITU Triathlon World Champion at a recent photo shoot - more pic's soon - check out

Drewitt Conquers the New Forest

Hannah Drewitt of Team Endurance and Salisbury Tri club ensured a convincing female win at the New Forest Olympic Distance Triathlon at the weekend with an incredible swim that saw all competitors in her wake.

She swam the 1100m with only 4 male competitors for company having dropped the other 300 entrants. Despite the other 4 competitors' best efforts to catch and pressure her she was first out of the hard swim. Hannah cycled across the exposed New Forest roads and ran the undulating 6 miles never losing her lead finishing well ahead of the strong female field finishing in a time of 2:03:36.
Young Lewis Andrews in his first Olympic distance race finished 2 minutes ahead of the unlucky Shaun Benfield who whilst in 10th place had to run the last 2 miles of the bike ride due to a puncture but still went on to finish a credible 28th . The best placed from Salisbury’s Team Endurance was the ever competitive and reliable Dave Woodgate who finished In a very impressive 4th place. The event saw many competitors from the Salisbury area including Louise Benfield, Nigel Peterson, Nicki Yevko, Stuart Bellinger and Andrew Daniel all members of the popular local Salisbury Tri club.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Going pro....

Message on the hoof