Saturday, February 28, 2009

An uplift video for the Sunshine Cup

On Thursday Mel and I did the preride of the XC and timetrail for the course this weekend. To give Mel and extra run down the descent without the 40 minute road climb I drove her up to the top. This is just us talking about it all.

Yesterday, I did the time trial but wrapped myself around a tree in very very wet steep conditions - and rode around the rest of the course pretty slowly. I bashed up my knee pretty badly and almost needed stitches. This morning (as we get ready to go to the point to point race) my knee is sore and tired. We will see how today goes.

Another video of us driving up the hill:

And we are still driving up the hill....

Just before Mel leaves for the descent:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yes I did play basketball in my past...

You wouldn't expect it from this blog, or from talking to me in general, but I was completely immersed in basketball for many years when I was younger - I even contemplated taking a scholarship to play in the US. I didn't, and here I am today. I keep an eye on what is happening in the basketball world from time to time and seen this video. Very very impressive...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Sunshine Cup - UCI C1 XCP Tochi to Kalavasos

I have a few posts to write about actually getting to the race in Cyprus with all our equipment (and my new equipment :) THANK YOU Cycleways and Alan for picking everything up), but first I'll jump into a race.

Today's race was a UCI C1 class point to point race from Tochi to Kalavasos Village in Cyprus – in fact, the finish line in Kalavasos was around 400 meters from our front door! It was the first round of the four round Sunshine Cup. The course itself was pretty fast (although the day of raining on Friday may it pretty tacky/muddy in places) – 47 kilometres with around 1500 meters of climb. Almost the complete course was off road on rocky (lots of them pointy) fireroads and not puncturing was going to be an issue - I ripped a massive hole in a new tire when I prerode part of the course the previous day. The descents were very fast but I wouldn't call the course technical at all.

Mel preps race bottles... (thanks Anglus and Theodorus for the feed support!)

...while I prep the wheels

Race morning arrived and neither Mel or I felt in race mode. It's the first of the season and the nervers were at us and we were wishing to just staying in bed a little longer and going for a nice leisurly ride later in the day. That's not why we are here so we grab all our preprepared things and took the short drive over to the start in Tochi.

After a 25 minute warmup we headed over to the call ups – fortunately, I got a second row gridding, which was useful as there was 50 riders in the Elite Men's category. Looking around, the race was stacked – basically everyone had flown in for these races and the people meant business – it was like a mini World Cup!

The course profile - the climbs were steep!

The gun went off and the group accelerated up the first long climb. The first climb was around 20 minutes with some very steep pitches and my legs were not liking it. The head of the group stayed together for around the first 10 minutes and then started to break up on the steeper pitches. Usually, I love climbing but today my legs were not running – my heart rate was pegged but I didn't feel great – not bad, just not great. I guess my body was asking, “what the hell are you doing to me!” - Ryan to body, this is what you're here for!

With very steep and fast descents off the climbs there was never really much time to recover, climb for 20 minutes, descend for 4, repeat – it was physically very tough. I rode constantly among other riders (which beats most races in Ireland) and that was fun (or was it pain, I can't remember – I'm trying to forget).

One interesting thing was a river crossing at the back side of the course. Here I am, riding a descent, about 40kph and I see then UCI water crossing sign, I ride around a blind corner and hit a river – it must have been 2 feet deep and about 12 feet wide. Riding through it was like jumping into a pool – I was 100% completely soaked. I had never seen anything like it! (the important bit was I hit it at 40kph - it was nuts)

The little villages we passed through were cool too, zipping through tiny alleys hoping there is no stray cat or old woman washing her door step around the next corner - a big rush.

Anyway, a group of 5 of us rode mostly together for the second half of the race with an Italian, Francesco Panza and I breaking off with about 10km to go. Francesco got a bit of distance on me and I rolled in behind him into Kalavasos 2:04 after I left Tochi. I finished up in 25th (50 started) and am reasonably happy considering I didn't do any race prep for it – there were lots of highly ranked riders behind me (and in front) so I wont complain too much. For me, I'm here for the training and the experience of riding with these great riders and I got a lot of both in today.

Make sure you head over to Mel's blog see how Mel rode today :) (She is buying dinner)

Cycling News has a bit up about it too here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

MTB Videos from Ireland

There has been a massive increase in the number of high quality well made MTB movies coming out of Ireland. This one is from a pump track in St. Annes Park.

Chuckies Trails from Victor Lucas on Vimeo.

I'm really looking forward to see what the Break the Cycle video will look like.

Here is the trailer:

Break the Cycle Trailer from Andy Yoong on Vimeo.

Another from Andy Yoong that I seen at the Wee Adventure Film Festival.

Colin Ross rides Cave hill (short version) from Andy Yoong on Vimeo.

Making pretty charts

Two road rides this weekend as most of the trails are still too slushy (I wondered into the mountains on Friday but soon turned back due to the conditions).

On Saturday, I was doing a little prep for for next weekends racing and my legs felt great. I felt like I could keep pushing and pushing. Sunday, my legs felt pretty dead for the long ride except when I was pushing the pace a bit up the climbs.

Recovery today, and my legs need it!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

And again, snow

You would think I would get bored of putting up snowy pictures but it really is so unusual to have this much snow over here for such a length of time. A lot of people where out today, on sleds, snow boards, skis and expensive cameras. Everyone seemed to be happy except the people stuck in the cars in the traffic jams up top.
The bike has actually been pretty good to get around on and a lot of the main roads are starting to clear. The Military Road through the mountains is still a no go though.

I really should take up my nice camera rather than the iPhone to take picutres.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A few more winter pictures

Today, I was out on a recovery ride and took a few more photos at the start of the military road.



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Thursday, February 05, 2009

More snow complaints

The roads looked clear enough so after a warmup on the turbo trainer I ventured out. I didn't expect to be able to ride off road but I went up to Ticknock carpark anyway. The Tarmac road had a lot of snow but there was a dug in compacted track to the top of Three Rock (only 4-5 inches of snow there versus 12-18 all around it). It was tricky riding but beautiful. Not exactly training but I was working on my balance and smooth pedaling! As I turned, a big snow storm blew in (and is still here more than two hours later) so I guess everything is impassible again. I think it will be another week before off-roading will be possible again :(

The top of Three Rock

The top of one of the climbs I usually do on the road bike

When the storm rolled in, I had to revert to this - will probably be doing lots more of it in the next few days

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More Snow

This is the road I wanted to do some power tests tomorrow on the road bike - I don't think that will be happening. My internet was even brought down by the crazy weather conditions.



Seesh! I need it to go away!
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A change in the weather

I went riding from this:

To this, in a day:

It's actually pretty amazing - I have not seen this much snow around Dublin City before - in the mountains, yeah, but down where I live the snow sat all day. Ireland's weather is getting more like that of the continent... I hope we get the long hot summer.