... strong look
2009 was a good year for me. I had entered an early season 24 in the US with fellow Cannondale Racing rider Ant White and it had forced my hand – I trained through the winter for the first time. The 24 had proved to be my best ever and the Gorrick 100 acted as positive fall-out. About perfect time after Old Pueblo for recovery I had lined up and lucked out with a warmish field. About five and a half hours later I had my niece and nephew in my arms and I returned to Brighton armed with the big silver tray and a quality night out on the agenda. Cue 2010 and the field was stronger but so was I. On Lap 3 I took the lead and felt I had it in hand .. but the weather changed and so did my brakes… they died. The evening however turned out to be a belter. Legend Rory Hitchins had ridden out the storm to take home the tray.. come 10pm it was being used as an impromptu Tequila platter from which we were toasting his class.
So to now. The Gorrick 100 2011. It has been a funny winter. Big decisions, great times and about 6 hours of biking a week. Mmm. The Gorrick would act as a good long ride to bank in the legs and Swinley’s singletrack would be dry, fun and Scalpel suited.
The week leading in showed me where I was at. After patchy unstructured training I visited old coach Garry Palmer for a lab test: the result he was immediately re-hired! Fairly good FTP at over 5W per KG but shonky top end.. and 3KG over weight; he threw me straight into rough interval sets. Coupled with the physiological marker I took delivery of the new mountain bike for the season; A Scalpel 1…
After eight years on a hard tail and for the last rolling the big wheels – this was going to be different. I took it to Stanmer park for a hot lap and immediately scythed a minute off my fastest time. It’s lightweight and telepathic handling a revelation..
So finally to the Gorrick. A little warm up on the first climb and with interval hang-over the legs felt like they would be pushing squares from the outset. Next up a quick perusal of the starting line-up. Elite young gun Phil Lenney – that’ll be a good battle.. and Ben Thomas .. one of the UK’s hottest XC and Marathon riders… a shoeing was going to be the outcome.
Off the line and it was a group of five which shook out after ten minutes to Ben, Phil and me. The singletrack was great, the pace manageable and there was a bit of chit chat. Maybe I am just antisocial but I like a race to be just that and not a ride and come lap two my legs had freed up a little and I fancied a dig. The Scalpel got me carried away and I moved clear. Bad move! Last year I had week after week of 15 hours in the legs.. this year not so. The triathlon aims are a way off and as such a heart rate I can usually sustain for a long period was unrealistic. Ben caught and passed me and then systematically put in lap after class lap to show me who was boss. I came home 2nd – medium silver tray this year for me.
I could have been demoralised but I was against real class in a long race; something I am not training for this year. With dedication in the next few months I really think I can get to where I want to be; doing that Scalpel justice.
The old tradition of the Gorrick night out continued however… cocktails and beers and me vowing to cut back as this year I really want a big win.