Thursday, 30 June 2011

New Mule Saleta Castro at the meta triatlon Zarautz

Love the Lemon Zinger storage....

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Continental Team Radenska - Slovenia

MuleBar sponsored team in Slovenia.

Team for 2011: Jan Polanc, Klemen Štimulak, Robert Jenko, David Zupančič Valant, Jure Berk, Jaka Bostner, Klemen Mihelizza, Blaž Klemenčič, Urban Ferenčak and Andrej Rajšp. Staff: Andrej Hauptman - manager, Marko Polanc-trainer, Boštjan Kavčnik - mechanic, Jože Regina-trainer assistant.

Mule G ripping down Llangollen...

Check out the Strudel cast goon watching...

Monday, 27 June 2011

MuleBar DH Team, Slovenia

Xterra Italy 2011 Race Report

Xterra Italy 2011:
Xterra Italy - my first international off-road triathlon! A few things stand out! Not easy to get to Bronzed Italian men Unbelievably good coffee An amazingly well organised and friendly race - even if I did utter a few curses at the sun, the sand, and the hills
Italy - doesn't sound like it's too far or hard to get to. Mmm...
Lesson 1 - read the information correctly next time and look to see where it is ACTUALLY being held.
The race was actually held at Cala Ginepro (translation - Bay of Juniper) on the east coast of the island of Sardinia. A beautiful bay fringed with white sand and lapped by turquoise blue water. However, reality! Once the parking was paid for, the flights booked, the camping booked, the hire car paid for (the bus takes near on 10hours to travel approximately 300Km) the fuel and the shopping needed, the 'cheap' entry fee was no longer so cheap!
Once there, the coffee and the incredible number of bronzed Italian men certainly made up for all the travelling - it was now four o'clock and we'd left home at one that morning. Nick had to occasionally remind me that he was indeed still there and that I was married! This was nothing on the bikes. I digress - the race.
Having been ensconced in our little hut for a couple of days before the race I'd had time to swim in the flat calm sea, recce the bike course, and do a lap of the run. Whether this was a good idea or not I'm not sure. I'd headed out on the bike thinking it would only be an hour or so taking it at a leisurely pace (an hour and a half later I arrived back white as a sheet and saying 'I'm going home - it's impossible'), while the run left me wondering whether I'd be able to walk the next day let alone run the race. It was all on sand dunes and over rocks - again, I was going home.

Lesson 2 - investigate the terrain you'll be riding over a little more closely!
However, come race day I'd calmed down and the beautiful sunshine, crystal clear blue water (I could see the tiny fish below), a slight breeze all day, the temperature about 28C, was just too good to miss. It was so perfect that all the athletes were on the line early and the race started at 9:55 a.m. rather than 10:00!
The day started with the water temp just at the yes or no wetsuit level and fortunately the organisers made the decision early to go with wetsuits. A full field made up of 350 men to about 50 women made for an interesting mass start with the only thing I could see being the backs of some very tall Italians! The swim was a two lap swim, which was no longer flat and calm but choppy and with quite a swell. A short run out onto the beach and back into the water was marked out with two huge arches. These were perfect markers for sighting and being different colours made direction even easier. I found myself in the melee to start with and quickly realised this was not where I wanted to be. I'd been dunked, swum over and hit in the head countless times, so headed out to the edge, which although saw me do more than my 1500m, I at least continued to have a trouble free swim. Out of the water right on my required time and into transition. Suncream had to be applied so it took me a little longer than I would have liked, but I was out and onto my trusty steed. It was really nice to hear at the end that the mighty Olivier Marceau did his usual quick transition, but that oops! he'd run towards Bike Out and realized he didn't have his shoes on. Unbelievable as it seems, Marceau had not clipped his shoes to his pedals and totally forgot about them. This resulted in a T1 of almost a minute where his usual is about 40 seconds. So, to all us age groupers, have hope – even World Champions make mistakes.
The bike saw us do a two lap affair with a fast, flat start down a short sharp bank and onto a bridge. Not so nice! This then headed out into the reserve where the event was being held. I'll give you just an overview of the rest of the course. More sand than you'd find on a beach, more rocks than you could build a mountain with and some seriously tough climbs that saw everyone getting off and carrying their bikes on their shoulders. Gradients of 25% up ravines and over boulders was interesting to say the least. Although I've made this sound as though I'm complaining - it was fantastic. This is why I do Xterra! Nonetheless, there were quite a few accidents with one guy I passed being stretchered into an ambulance - he'd hit the deck with his neck down first.
Half way round my first lap I was doing ok, but then I got to a corner which I knew from my recce I had to look up and round as it was a sharp and sandy turn. Unfortunately, I looked at the marshal and promptly went head overheels. My left shoulder went down first and although I got up with nothing broken my left arm and shoulder were scraped raw. Despite blood dripping off the tip of my elbow and a few choice words (thank god the marshal didn't speak English!) I went to get back on my bike only to find my handlebars were pointing in the same direction as my front wheel! Grand! This is where knowing how to fix your bike is so important. I quickly undid the headset, gave the bars a yank, did it up - shoved my allen key into my saddlebag and headed off down the hill.
Unfortunately, this time out cost me a good five mins and saw a couple of ladies pass me. I managed to catch up with one, but the other left me just before the start of the second lap. Into T2 and onto the run. A beautiful run through the Juniper forest and towards the hanging bridge over the creek. The bridges (two of them) were fine when you were able to cross on your own, but when you had several pounds of man running up behind you it was hard to keep from flying into the air - as you can imagine this proved a popular spectator spot. The rest of the run was on deep loose white sand and was a killer on the calves and really hard work on the feet. I certainly lost time here with a couple of stops because my shoes were killing me, filled with sand and tight with heat. The heat by mid-day was over 30C and I cursed it sliently, but I kept my fluids going in and I was pleased by the end to know that my nutrition plan was pretty spot on. As I was heading to the medical tent one guy collapsed in front of me and in the tent there were several on fluids. Not a good way to end a race. Something I've only just got into is having a mantra. I chose Macca's "get comfortable with being uncomfortable" and Lance's "pain is only temporary, quitting lasts forever". I kept saying them the whole way round and although it didn't diminish the pain it did keep me going to the end. More than anything the support was fantastic; from the marshal who doused me in water everytime I went past to Nick who organises everything for me, but the overriding image I have in my mind is the whole course ringed with over 1,000 spectators running back and forth, cheering the great Italian “VAI VAI VAI”. It made you want to finish for all of those who'd been out since early that morning. The finish chute was as good as any you'd find at an M-dot event and it was so good to have all the elites/pros still there till the very last person came in. Quite different from some other events I've been to. This was a great race and although I just missed qualifying for the second place slot at Maui - I've come away with lots of things to improve on - bring on the next one;))

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mule Dan in the hot seat

Message on the hoof

Father and son (still in the hotseat)

Message on the hoof

Here comes big G

Message on the hoof

Judies on the course

Message on the hoof

Message on the hoof


Message on the hoof

Sunny BDS Llangollen

Message on the hoof