Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NPS 5 – Killaloe and a picnic

The weather this last week has been a bit annoying – I find it so much more difficult to go out for a long spin when it's raining and there are grey skies. I don't find it to bad to get out in the winter under the same conditions, but it's the summer! It should be nice... All the rain over the last few days meant that Saturdays race was going to be a muddy affair – indeed, it turned out to be probably the muddiest most technical race I've ridden with a few sections being bad enough that the only way to get over them was to get of the bike and run (not a thing that I like doing).

The course itself would have been amazing if it was not for the terrible monsoon conditions over the last week – possibly the best course of the year but as it was, it really suffered from the rain. The course was a 5 or 6 minute fireroad/trail type climb that got steeper as you progressed – about 110m of climb of a kilometre. Some flat singletrack (that was a lot of fun to power along) and a bit more climbing lead you to a long single track descent with a few kickers. Then a short fireroad linker section to a final bermed DH section that leads down to the start/finish area.

Unfortunately, with most of the other Elite racers hunting for UCI points for the Olympics (or not travelling down to the bottom of the country) I was going to be the only elite racer. With this in mind, we (the race organizers and me) decided that it would be more fun if I started with the Masters and Experts – it was a good move. At the start of the race Dave Barry flew off from the start line at a pace I wasn't prepared to go at (I didn't think it would last very long anyway with a 5 minute climb that gets steeper) so I sat in and hovered around 6th or 7th. As it started to get steeper I moved to the front and that was it (mostly) for the race. Joey, who is an excellent technical rider, caught me on the single track on the first lap and lead for a couple of minutes, but I passed him again on one of the kickers and that was it for the race. I found it hard to keep the intensity up for the race but in the end I enjoyed it – not much suffering was had and it was a bit of practice racing in muddy conditions :)

It was difficult to stay on the right line here

It was a bit mucky!

As it was Mel's birthday on Saturday (she did an Adventure Race up by Newry instead of the NPS) we were organizing a picnic/bbq in a remote (ish) valley that we like between Crone and Cloon. MAD were also going to drop by as part of their Sunday spin so it was going to be a pretty busy affair in the valley with lots of food to be eaten.

Some of the MAD folk

All of us (minus the MAD folk who just left)

In the end, the BBQ went really well and I think everyone enjoyed it – it was interesting to see the people who spend less time then us (or the MAD folks) in the countryside and I think everyone enjoyed escaping the city for a couple of hours. Food wise, the Apple Crumble that Mel and I made on Sunday morning was probably the highlight, but the burgers and salads went down great too. I cycled over the mountains to the BBQ (Mel drove my car) and then for another couple of hours afterwards. The first hour of the cycle afterwards was tough carrying all the extra food around! I didn't feel low in energy though :) I wasn't hungry for the rest of the day which is very unusual for me! There are a few more pictures here.

No comments: