Sketchy times at Okeford Hill Bike Park – Southern Enduro round 1

A better title for this weekend’s race, the first round of the Southern Enduro series on the 11th June, would have been Downduro. A name cleverly thought up by a guy (who I’m trying to track down to give credit too) we were chatting to on the push up. Okeford Hill, it would seem, is certainly more of a natural, steep and sketchy downhill kind of venue than you would normally expect from a bike park hosting an Enduro competition. Think of how many rocks there are at Bike Park Wales, Okeford has that many roots with a nice bit of slippy clay in between, then imagine this with a good bit of rain overnight. It’s safe to say staying upright was a tad challenging!

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Dyfi Welsh Open = Challenge Completed

The weekend of the 20-21st May saw my team mate Laura Griffiths and I trucking the 6 hours up to the village of Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for the Welsh Open run by Welsh Gravity enduro. This was to be a race unlike any other I had taken part in with 45km of pedalling and 1800 metres of climbing on both practice and race day. As an EWS qualifier we knew this race was going to be a big leap up from our usual local races. Excitement levels were high! (heightened by a healthy dose of fear!) Continue reading

The Season begins – Bike Park Wales mini Enduro

It is here already! My first attempt at a full season of Enduro racing began this Saturday 4th March with the Haibike Mini Enduro at Bike Park Wales. The day started with glorious sunshine and clear blue skies like I feel I haven’t seen in forever!  Then the weather Gods remembered this was Wales so it started raining…..

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South West Outdoor Festival – Half Marathon

The South West Outdoor Festival, organised by the National Trust, took place in the Heddon Valley of Exmoor from the 23rd to the 25th September. The aim of the event was to provide an action packed weekend of camping and outdoor activities for people of all ages. Through doing this it would promote the area and the fun to be had being active and enjoying the great outdoors. Continue reading

My first Marathon – The Dartmoor Highground

I’ve done it, total success! I can now proudly call myself a marathon runner! It still doesn’t seem real. It was less than a year ago I lined up for my first 10km race and the thought of me running a marathon seemed like such a distant dream, something only ‘real’ runners could do and an almost impossible distance for me to achieve. Now, with a little bit of determination and a lot of hard work training I have done it. Best of all I even enjoyed the experience!

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Beating race day nerves

Butterflies having a party in your stomach, feeling nauseous, an inability to eat or even sit still. Frustratingly can’t sleep, can’t think straight and that ever present frown on your face. Doesn’t sound like fun does it? Yet racing is meant to be fun, that’s the whole point isn’t it? That’s the focal point of your hobby!

Nerves can put a real dampener on race day. I know this from my own struggle with them, one I am still battling now. Whilst some people seem to be immune from this issue, most of us will at least feel a little nervous, especially as we come to line up at the start line. This is an inevitable result of all the hard work and preparation that’s gone into being ready for that moment, it’s also a sign of a desire to do well. It is only when these nerves get to such a level that they detract from your performance and enjoyment of the day that they become a problem.11583890763_5c8edabcf3_o

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‘The Great Escape’ – I nearly didn’t make!

On Saturday 23rd July I took part in my second Half Marathon ‘The Great Escape’ which was organised by Pure Trail. This was to be a linear route on Dartmoor starting from Princetown heading off across open moorland to South Brent on the edge of the National Park. This was one part of Pure Trails first ‘Big Day Out’ as they were also running an Ultramarathon of 34 miles called ‘The Crossing’ which had runners traversing the entire moor from north to south – Belstone to South Brent. The Half marathon was definitely a big enough challenge for me at this stage!

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Keep training simple, keep it fun!

Lately I have found myself spending increasing amounts of time trawling through endless fitness websites. With a half marathon next weekend and the big aim – my first marathon, looming ever more present on the horizon I have been searching for advice on the right way to increase my training programme. I had been hoping more knowledge would work to stem the panic but infact the more I read the more confused I became and the more inadequate my own training efforts felt. It was all aerobic/anaerobic/lactate thresholds, VO2max intervals, protein shakes, measuring your heart rate, counting your steps and having a target pace for every mile you ever run.

It was all so far from everything I enjoy about exercising.

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Moments like these…

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Racing at Triscombe

“You looked like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights” – this is how my newfound buddies for the day later described my facial expression as I kitted up at the car on arrival. It is also how I felt! Though the UK enduro series events are also still new to the scene it felt like there were much bigger crowds at this race and with the fantastic setting in the grounds of an old private boarding school I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Luckily I didn’t realise until afterwards that the likes of Katy Winton, Greg Callaghan and Kye Forte were also racing or I probably never would have got out the car!

 

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A trip to the Brecons for my first Half Marathon

The morning of race day dawned with perfect clear blue skies and the most stunning drive up through Wales into the Brecon Beacons to find the quaint little village of Talybont-on-usk. The event organisers Trailevents had picked a great location here with all the facilities you could need all within easy walking distance. There was a small shop, cafe, 4 pubs, toilets in the village hall registration area and the campsite where we parked for a small fee of £5 also included a proper toilet block with hot showers – massive bonus!

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The only thing marring this perfect morning was the return of the dreaded chronic nerves. I thought I had started to get them under control last weekend but they seemed to be back in full swing that morning. I’m putting it down to the race being over a much longer distance than my previous ones and only having ever run that distance once in training. I’m also beginning to learn, much to my own self denial, that I am quite a competitive soul so to just finish is not good enough for me, I have to do respectably well in my own eyes.

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