Monday, July 30, 2007

A week of long spins

After tapering for the nationals last weekend it was time for a bit of a long week. Lots of long distance endurance stuff with no drills or intervals. Just some time on the bike riding and trying to enjoy any nice weather we get.

Saturdays road ride was the most interesting – Mel was off racing in the Clec (and winning the all ladies category!) so it was just me at home and I decided that as the weather was going to be nice for most of the day that I should get a long spin in ahead of the Annacurra Challenge which Mel and I are taking part in, in a couple of weeks. 172Km and 3000 meters of climb I completed one of my longest spins of the year. At 6 hours, it was pretty long but felt like how a 3.5 to 4 hour ride felt last year. I was a bit tired around the 3 hour mark but felt great towards the end (maybe the thought of diner pulled me along). I actually really enjoyed the two climbs towards the end – Slieve Mann and the Shay Elliot. I hope I get to do those climbs in a race at some point soon.

The Profile for Saturdays ride

The route around the Wicklow Mountains

Did I miss some nice climbs? Let me know :)

2006 S-Works Enduro for sale

Due to spending almost all my time on XC wippet bikes and road bikes over the last year I'm selling my prized Specialized S-Works Enduro. I've not used it in about 6 months due to all the racing and I really have to clear some space in my house. The Enduro is an unreal bike fit for long Sunday spins or downhill races. I took it with me on my biking holiday in New Zealand and did DH runs with a former world champion (Vanessa Quin) one day and a 100km XC spin the next...

Picture taken this morning

The bike is little over a year old. The spec is the same as the 2007 Specialized S-Works Enduro. Here are the updates for it:

Drive Train: Replaced 1000km ago
Cables: all new
Tires: Comes with 2 * Maxxis Swampthings 2.35 ST (about 200km on them - practically new €50)
1 * Maxxis High Roller 2.35 ST (€30)
2 * Maxxis Wet Scream 2.2 (Brand new €70)
1 * Syncros BHT Factory 2.35 Front Tire (New)
2 * Specialized Enduro 2.35 (One almost new, one a little worn)
Front and rear shock had a complete service with new seals two spins ago.
Also comes with EnduroForkSeals bearing kit (€55) for rear suspension (not yet needed)

The bike is a large but would probably fit anyone from about 5 foot 8 inches up... (I'm about 6 foot 2 and it was just about big enough)

The price for the bike, all the tires and bearing kit is €2400 - a LOT less the the $5,900 list price! Email me at biking ( at ) ryansherlock (dot) com if you have any questions or want to have a look at it.

There are lots more photos available here.

EDIT - Sold
The bike is sold and gone to it's new home. I've no plans for picking up another bike yet - 3 is enough for now but I am on the lookout for a hardtail frame for use as a training/crummy conditions bike.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2007 Irish National Cross Country Championships

This past weekend seen me take part in my biggest race of the year so far. It was the Irish National XC Championships weekend! The race was being held in Tollymore Forest Park which is at the foot of the Mourne Mountains close to Newcastle in Northern Ireland. Even though it had been raining constantly for the last 8 weeks when Mel and I arrived at the course for the preride we were amazed to find a mostly dry track! The course was pretty interesting – a short fireroad climb followed by some flowy single track (with slick corners) followed by a 1.9km fireroad climb. It wasn't particularly steep but seemed to suit me pretty well (I usually like steep climbs :)). From then, the rest of the 5km course was all single track. The first half was a very tough off chamber single track section with a few kickers followed by a long swoopy section back to the start. Lots of roots, rocks, slick corners and a double bomb hole kept everyone on their toes...

The morning of the race arrived and I had some of the big race nerves (have not felt that since the K-Capital races – it's a good sign for me) and started to wonder why I was about to put myself through two and a half hours of suffering... After a decent warmup on the roads surrounding the forest we all lined up for our 1:30pm start. It was funny, my resting heart rate is in the 30s yet I was sitting on the line 'relaxed' with a heart rate of 100 – guess it was the nerves again. The first seven or eight minutes of the race was reasonably uneventful. We all simply went through the motions and got to the top of the climb to enter the single track – not particularly quickly. Once on the single track, I made a silly mistake (and fell off) and got stuck behind another rider. This meant that I lost touch with the leading group. I was a little annoyed about that at the time but I knew it was a long race and my legs felt good so I got over it. Lewis Ferguson, James Mc Cluskey and I rode the first lap mostly together. Half way up the climb on the second lap I dropped Lewis but James was still there about 20 seconds back. For the following few laps James and I stayed around the same distance apart, I would add a few seconds while we climbed and he would close up to me by the end of the single track. On the fourth lap, I left James (who was having some mechanical issues as far as I know) for the rest of the race. Also, on the fourth (or maybe third...) lap I passed Conor McConvey who was just finishing fixing a puncture, knowing that he was hot on my heals was real motivation to hammer up the climbs. I rode the top section of single track terribly on my 6th and 7th lap but recovered well for my final lap to post my second fastest lap of the race... Overall my laptimes where very consistent. 17:15, 18:17, 18:17, 18:18, 18:16, 18:59, 19:04, 18:10. Lap 6 and 7 hurt me!

We are off!

Somewhere in the single track...

Mel riding away

Mel and Morgan riding together

I eventually came in in 5th position behind Robin (14th National Championship in a row), Niall Davis, Roger Aiken and Peter Bugle. I was very happy with how the race went overall – I had a few crashes (the singletrack was so tough) but no real problems and my legs felt good the whole way around. I didn't even suffer that much! The next big race for me is probably the National Marathon Championships in September – a long way away so I'll look around for some other races and possibly do a road race or two again.

Another thing was that the my Epic seemed to be tailor made for the course, the suspension really helped me out on all the roots. I was using Bontrager 2.2 Tubeless Ready Jones XR tires for the race which are now my favorite tires.

Some of the MAD winners from the NPS series

There are reports of the race here and here as well as photos here, here and here. I'll be adding more photos as I get them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A weekend of racing

The National Champs were on this weekend - a report and some photos to follow...

A fine weekend of racing :)
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Second Life

There has been a whole lot of buzz about second life recently. Basically, ICQ with a graphics engine... I heard lots about it being the next big thing so I spent a few hours messing around in it. I got bored quickly.

Alan showed me this video of people in real life pretending to be in second life - I thought it was funny.

While I am writing about online things I'll mention a few other bits and bobs I use.
Joost - the future of TV? Application is still pretty buggy
4oD - Channel 4 online (windows only but pretty good)
Google Reader - Collecting all my RSS feeds

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A week of sickness and some racing - NPS 7

This last week has been a little funny – since the 6th NPS in Djouce I have been pretty sick. After the race, in which I almost got sick, I had stomach cramps all evening (attending a wedding the day before and changing race drink, where can I get Cytomax?, probably causing most of it), Monday, I did an Active Recovery ride for about an hour and felt fine, then on Monday night, I woke up feeling as if I had drank 20 pints and was about to get sick. The next day was horrible feeling as if I had a terrible hang over – I was bloated as if I was 6 months pregnant. Wednesday, I felt okay and tried to do a little technique training on the mountain bike but was just totally unmotivated. Thursday I was on the road bike and couldn't eat or drink. (This lead to be bonking while trying to eat dinner later that night) Friday, I didn't/couldn't do anything... Not exactly the best way to prep for the final round of the national series :(

IMBRC were hold the final round in one of Dublin's parks called Tymon Park. It was the first time that an XC race was being held in a city park in many years and it was going to be a dramatic change from the mudfest the previous week. The course was a flat 4km, hyper fast raceway that didn't really suit me – give me some big climbs any day :) On Saturday, Mel, Sean and I took part in a team relay race what was being held as a 'fun' preride event. Our club had a huge turnout with nine teams. Our team, gobuckMAD, finished up in 9th position.

Mel during her leg of the relay

Some beautiful singletrack

Team gobuckMAD (my stomach is still bloated in the picture!)

Most of the MAD contingent from the relay race

Sundays elite race was going to be a 10 lapper and started out quickly with the initial lap being faster then the laps all of us did the previous day. From the start I felt dead and my heart rate barely went above my lactate threshold (basically, the max heart rate I hit in the whole race was less then the average of the first 30 minutes of almost every other race I did this year). My mind wanted to go but my body wouldn't have any of it. It wasn't that I was suffering as I went around, I just couldn't go any faster then a fast Sunday spin type pace. It was really frustrating but I have to remember the week I had leading up to it. The funny thing is that I've actually won the NPS Elite Men title – crazy... I wish they gave jerseys out for that – like the national champions one...

The weekend of racing was fun overall, especially from a social point of view as the course really lends itself well to watching the other racers race. The weather, for the first time in ages, behaved and I think I may have even got a very slight tan - wow - just when I thought my mountain biker tan lines were gone forever. This type of race course isn't really for me but everyone I chatted to loved the event as a whole and I hope that there will be another of these type races in Ireland in next years calender...

There is a report available here and some more photos here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

NPS 6 - Djouce

A report and some photos to follow - boy was that a mudfest! Great fun though.

Photo from here

Another picture from here

My bike after the race (I scraped off most of the muck before I left the carpark)