Adventures of the Cotic - A Quick Release holidays mountain bike race team

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Mountain Bikers Get Behind One of Their Own

Own a piece of Australian mountain biking history and support Trekky’s cancer treatment. Up for auction on ebay (item 150397647262) is an official Australian national team jersey signed by members of the Australian mountain bike team that raced the world championships at Mt Stromlo in September 2009.

The shirt is a brand new medium sized Santini jersey with MTBA logo as worn by our national team. Most of the team has signed the jersey including Beijing Olympian Dan McConnell, national champions Rowena Fry and Lachlan Norris and many more including AQR guest guide Andy Blair.

All proceeds from this auction will go to assist Brendan “Trekky” Johnston in his fight against cancer. Brendan was diagnosed with cancer just before the World Championships this year; he had urgent surgery to remove the cancer and amazingly was able to get back on the bike to race the championships and finish 50th. He is now at the start of a long road of chemotherapy. You can read more on Trekky’s website at

So help us help Trekky, and score yourself some unique Aussie sporting memorabilia. Bid now at

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Crossing to the Dark-side

It's been a while but I think I have got the racing bug back. Why, I got up early on Sunday morning to do a road race.

The sensations weren't good rolling over to Stromolo, the legs felt rubbish it was really windy and I probably should have worn arm warmers. The ride over double as a warm up which is always good, signed on for C-grade and had a cruised round staying warm. A and B were combined and there were some big hitters in the field, including local MTB star Dylan Cooper.

C-grade had 6 riders in it which proved to be good as the racing was positive from the gun. The wind played a big part, the first quarter was a head wind, second half was cross wind and you guessed it, the last quarter a tail wind. Up to the halfway point I was feeling good, I cruised up the climb and was on the right wheel when my mate Les decided to put everyone in the gutter in true rouleur style. Just after the turn around Les and I had a brief chat at the back, he was going to light it up over one of the the small rises. I saw the move coming and made sure he got a clean jump, the idea being I would bridge to him on the climb. The remaining 4 riders had it strung out trying to chase Les down but his advantage was up to around 500m with 12km remaining. From here we had about 3km of climbing up the Three Sisters. I followed wheels and there were only two of us left over the first sister. I rolled to the front, pretended to chase but backed the pass off to let Les open up an advantage on the flat. Climbing up the second sister I tried to jump across solo as we were down to less than 100m, but had an unwelcome passenger who I couldn't unhitch. Alas I backed things off again. By the top of the third sister, Les's advantage was about 200m, I knew he was a time trailing machine so I pretended to swap off to maintain my podium position. In the last few kilometres a really strong guy caught us and Les's lead was looking in doubt. I got to the front twice to block but the little guy would attack me. The second time the elastic broke :-( Les hung on for the win and I came in 4th. The support in the chase group was appreciated. It turned out to be a nice Sunday morning hit out.

I wish Les all the best for next weekend Tour of Bright (especially the TT), which is one of the biggest road races on the Australian calendar, including the 20 plus kilometre climb up to Mount Hotham.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Thursday Night - Crit Night

Once daylight savings is in full swing here in Canberra, our club holds weekly dirt crits. The format is simple 10-15mins on a short lap with juniors up first, then all the way up to A-grade.

So after a crazy week at work, I left at 5 and made a B-line to Mals where I was reunited with my bike, now my forks work! I was back in the car bound for Hackett gate whilst trying to avoid the 6 O'clock rush around Dickson. With the time running out I was on my bike heading up the climb over to Majura Pines (Majura is probably a 20 minute ride from the centre of town and is covered with singletrack.), it was a humid afternoon and you could see the storms rolling in from the mountains.

I arrived just a D-grade was starting, Claire signed my on whilst I did a quick practice lap. As a results of the afternoons thunderstorms there were some muddy spots to keep things interesting. The course was broken into two section on singletrack with the later being into the headwind followed by the start/finish straight climb.

The key to a good race in C-grade is being near the front on the start line. Claire and I were sadly on the second row, I tried to go for the hole-shot and ended up going into the singletrack in 5th. The gap from 1st to 2nd opened up really quickly and there may have been some encouragement to let the brakes off. The Merida kid in 4th was letting the gap open to 3rd after a few hundred metres and wasn't happy when I tried to take advantage of the door he left open coming into a open lefthander. Up the start finish straight on the end of lap 1, everyone was looking at each other so I laid the gas down was led the pursuit of 1st place. By the 2nd of lap 2 I was in no mans lands 20m off first and feeling the effects of the chase. After an incident with the mud it became evident I wasn't going to catch first so I backed it off a little and maintain second place.

Going into the last lap I did all that was required to go into the first section of singletrack in the lead. I accelerated onto the short fireroad to ensure I went into the last section of singletrack in front. I felt the effect of my chase and the headwind so with a group of 3 on my wheel took the tactical decision to back the pace of to let myself recover. I didn't brake check anyone (have been known too) but chose the time and place (tight bend) to lay down it all down for the sprint to the line. I just managed to take out the sprint for 2nd from a member of the recent world champs downhill team. I very unlady like fashion she let loose on my dirty tactics and had a good bitch to everyone about it. I wasn't in a position to defend myself as I was sitting by the track trying to get my breath back.

Claire had an annoying race, she went into the singletrack just behind me but spent 2 laps trying in vein to get past the Merida Kid. He was strong in a straight line up a hill but could ride singletrack to save himself. Eventually Claire stuck past and finished just off my group. The Merida Kid continued his bad form, bring down our mate Karen at the finish.

The best bit of the night was the de-breif with the crew from Mals at Edgars over a few beers.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

More woodsy playtime

More fun in the woods on the Hemlock this weekend with a trip to the edge of the Peaks for some woodsy sniggletrack and rocky downhills. Blue skies and winter sunshine at last! :-)

Friday, 23 October 2009

Not the usual Cotic

Popped by Round 1 of the Gorrick autumn series at the weekend and although I wasn't competing, it was great fun to blast round on the Hemlock rather than the Soda which the AQR team usually race on; good to see such a busy XC event at this time of the year too.

Joolze's full report is here but thanks to her also for the photo while I was checking out the course!

Monday, 19 October 2009

Riding not racing...

Peak District Hemlock-ness
Originally uploaded by
James Dymond

So summer's over and with it has come the end of my '09 racing season and all the fun and frolics that go with tearing round the country to rip each other's legs off for a few hours! At the same time autumn's well and truly arrived... but all is not lost and the last couple of sunny weekends have made a nice change to be riding purely for laughs. Taking the Cotic Hemlock out for a blast in the peaks with mate Jimbo was amazing the other weekend; I haven't chuckled as much on a ride for a while as when I was tearing down the Beast to the edge of Ladybower reservoir. The following week I even managed a few hours off work for an afternoon blast round the local race course at Sherwood Pines... check out those shadows from the warm afternoon sunshine! So farewell summer and roll-on autumn :-)

Originally uploaded by James Dymond

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Some 24hr Photos

As the house is back to normal I felt I can add some photos from the weekend. OK there aren't heaps of racing pics but I will leave that up to the guys at Sportograf (Luke features in the best of). Hopefully the atmosphere of the event comes across.

We were there ready and waiting to hand our Luke his bike for the first lap, in the dog and ready for a fire road drag race. Any cross rider would be pleased with how smooth the hand over was.

24hr racing in Canberra has always featured a 'le mans' start. Luke is some where in the group of 500 runners.

Is Angelo going pig shooting, riding or ready for some strip tease? At least his shoes finally arrived.

The Hemlock coated in a fine layer of Stromlo dust and Angelo's digs know as 'The Shanty.' I wonder why he was cold on Saturday night?

Claire here in action on her last lap. She dragged the four guys in the background around for the last 10km, sadly the favour wasn't returned in the last section.

Two champion Claires.

Claire spending some time on the podium, 3rd in the hot lap TT. As you can see the podiums in Australia are a highly profesional affair.

A special mention must go to our mates Claire and Joel who took the title for the mixed pairs. Well done!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

News Flash: AQR gets on podium twice Down-Under

Hot of the press, the AQR Down-Under crew of Claire and Paul Aubrey made some podium appearences at the Scott 24hr race in Canberra, Australia over the weekend! The Scott 24hr is the biggest and longest running 24hr race in Australia and was run at Stromolo Forest Park which held the world championships only a few weeks ago.

Before the race got started properly, Claire enter the prolouge time trial, with the possibility of being crowned the fastest women at the event. Without much racing under her belt Claire rode sensationally posting a time which let her step onto the third step of the podium. It was close, 13 seconds sepearted both first and second and second and third. During the event, Claire backed up her hot lap with the unoffical fastest night time lap.

The main event start and midday on Saturday and by the time dawn broke on Sunday morning we knew it was going to be really close for the podium positions, 20 minutes separated the first 4 teams. All the members of the Malcontents stepped up and left everything on track to move up into third position in the Mixed 6 category.

The team was Luke Graydon(front right), Angelo De Maria(back middle), Harry Hearn(front left), Stuart McDougall(back right), Claire Aubrey(front middle) and myself (Paul Aubrey (back left)).

Some photo's will follow once the house is back in a livable state.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Midlands XC Round 4: A lesson in pre-race prep.!

Last Sunday saw the final round of the 2009 Midlands XC series with my local venue Sherwood Pines playing host in the September sunshine... yes, fast dry and dusty trails were the order of the day!

After over 3 weeks off the bike whilst travelling I was nervous about the race to say the least. A couple of road rides and a quick off-road blast during the week suggested the legs felt ok and I'd been at altitude so that might help too... I hoped!

After catching up with friends and a gentle practice lap around the super-fast and flowy course, 2.30 came all too soon and the race was on. Lined up 5th on the grid thanks to my series position didn't help the nerves but it was too late to worry, the race was on... and some race it was! The flat-out Pines course has never been my favourite for racing as it doesn't exactly favour my climbing preferences but wow was that start and the first lap a shock! It seems that 3 weeks had taken their toll after all and whilst my legs felt strong, the top-end pace I'd found in the last round was gone. Slipping into the teens by the end of the first lap I finally settled down and started to warm up. It wasn't to last though and about halfway through lap 2 I got knocked off-line down a steep dusty chute... thinking I'd held onto it despite being in the bushes, the next thing I knew was sailing over the bars and hearing the hiss of my front tyre as it rapidly lost all its air. Despite a quick fix attempt, it wasn't to be and it was game over!

The day wasn't so bad though with lessons learned & the Series places based on the best 3 results... meaning I finished with a 6th in Sport :)

Also on the AQR front, Kirsty was the team star of the day with a win in her Masters category and 2nd in the series - well done Kirsty!

Photos to follow soon...

Monday, 3 August 2009

Midlands XC Round 3 (Cannock Chase) - more AQR podiums!

Cannock Chase was the venue for Round 3 of the 2009 Midlands series yesterday and despite recent biblical weather turned out to be a great event, albeit a tough one!

Shortened to just 5.5km this year, we were all sceptical about the course but a practice lap soon showed why the decision had been taken - whilst the fireroad climbs were fine, some of the flatter woodsy singletrack sections resembled sticky bogs... this was going to be partly a running race too!

Claire and Paul Aubrey are our newly recruited Aussie contigents of the AQR team and had taken time out of their hectic European travelling schedule to come & try a UK race. Claire, racing Sport, and Kirsty, in Masters, were off first in the morning race, along with AQR guest and friend Rachel.

Rachel, Claire & Kirsty

The girls looked strong during their races with plenty of cheering from Paul and I while we waited for our afternoon race... with Claire even going on to do an optional 3rd lap to prove that she would have been 2nd in the Expert race (alas her Australian license had run out)! Fantastic results for both of them though with 1st place each and well done to Rachel too for her 2nd in Sport.



No sooner had podiums finished than it was time for the afternoon race and Paul and I lined ourselves up for 4 really challenging laps, especially as the course was drying and the mud getting even stickier! As the hooter went off I found myself 3rd up the first climb and wondered how long I could stay this far forward... would my recent 'Luchon legs' keep their strength? Forcing my lungs back down at the top of the steep fireroad we dived into the first singletrack and the pace started to settle. The short course length meant it took me at least a lap to warm up and I have to admit it was a pretty hellish first lap - learning lines, which bits to run (too many!) and where to pass (I was loving that long fireroad climb!). Before I knew it, lap 4 came round and I found the energy to keep pushing, past two riders ahead of me and into 5th place. I spent the rest of the lap checking over my shoulder but I needn't have worried and crossed the line well ahead of 6th. Not too long later Paul crossed the line in 17th place, very respectable considering his lack of racing for several months and the chunky full-sus he was riding!

All in all a great day for AQR and once again big thanks to James & Nadine for another quality Midlands XC race. Also cheers to the rest of the AQR team for the mutual support and feed-zone work.



Thanks also to Joolze Dymond for use of and links to her photos.

Friday, 31 July 2009

TwentyFour12 2009 - continued...

Tracy's now updated her blog too about her race in the AQR female pair at TwentyFour12 - have a read at TwentyFour12: Less is More

Also some more pics from the event, including Tracy & Warren's podium pics and the AQR-Cotic HQ with a rack of lovely Sodas raring to go.

Originally uploaded by Woz & Shelly

Originally uploaded by James Dymond

Some great action pics from Joolze on her website too...
Ian & also here

Monday, 27 July 2009

TwentyFour12 2009

The Bontrager TwentyFour12 2009 has to go down as the endurance event of the year again this year... we're all back in one piece after a fantastic and very succesful weekend for the AQR teams with no less than 2 podiums...

- 2nd place for the 12hr Male Pairs (Ian & Warren), 2nd also for the 12hr Open Mixed team (myself, Ian, Jon & Kirsty) and a very respectable 5th for the 12hr Female Pairs for Abie and Tracy.

So well done all and also a massive thanks to Cy & Paul at Cotic for their mechanical and moral support all weekend!

More detailed report to follow, but in the meantime here's some initial photos thanks to Kelvin.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

British MTB Series Round 4, Crow Hill

Ian Potter, Mr AQR himself, was back in the UK long enough recently to do some racing of his own at Round 4 of the British Mountan Bike Series. Kate's mentioned his race on her blog as well as her own fantastic win of course!

This weekend I wasn’t the only Potter racing. Ian loves racing and was lining up against Britain’s top Vet racers. He was gridded on the last row with over 60 riders out in front. I was in charge of feeding Ian, but luckily for Mr Potter there is no tech support as speedy mechanics are not my speciality. Ian was racing his new Cotic prototype which consists of a Hemlock full suspension triangle and KP prototype back end. Cy didn’t know about this one until Ian had finished building it, so it has been a little bit of an experiment.

Ian had a lot of riders out in front, so when he came through in the top 20 I was lucky somebody in the pit area pointed him out as I was sunbaking! He was looking strong, but I wasn’t too sure if he was enjoying the experience as he wasn’t smiling, but I guess who does smile when they race, in fact Ian’s not known for ever showing a cheesy grin :-) Ian had to race four laps and by the second lap he was begging for a gel. I could tell he was hurting, but he had made up more places and was close to being in the top 10, in fact I think he was around 11th position. I was jumping or should I say hobbling for joy, as my legs had stiffened up. Ian ended up finishing in 14th place. He said he lost a few places in the end from a crash as his brain had fried and he decided to wake himself up by riding into a tree. Perhaps if I told him that his Mrs did faster lap times he would have tried a little bit harder at the end!

See her full blog entry here.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Midlands XC Round 2 & Champs

14th June saw was a blistering hot, sunny weekend for Round 2 of the Midlands series and the Midlands champs at Hanchurch Woods near Stoke on Trent.

As usual, James and Nadine put on a fantastic event, helped by Martyn Brookes and mates who designed the course on their local patch. A fireroad blast led straight into a loose stony climb, before the awesome singletrack began - rooty lines, steep bombholes and super-fast flowy singletrack through the pines & bracken.

The hot day meant for a tough race and cramp threatened to kick in from lap 2 onwards.... the Torq kept flowing though and kept it at bay just long enough to make up a few places after a less than ideal start. As lap 4 ended I came across the line in 14th place from 48 riders - and 7th in the Midlands Champs. Perhaps not the ideal result after 11th at Round 1 but some good lessons learnt on a great fun and fairly challenging course. Roll on Round 3!

(With thanks to Joolze Dymond for the photo)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Bristol BikeFest 2009

Bristol BikeFest 2009 was the first event of the year for the A Quick Release holidays team (with guest rider Adam Titley) to get together after a few months of individual racing and proved to be a fantastic event. The just over 6 mile lap of had a great mix of swoopy singletrack, rocky descents and a couple of decent climbs too, the Cotic Soda loving every section. Despite the morning's wet conditions, mud clearance was a non-issue and racing was fast and furious from the off, only getting quicker as the afternoon and trails dried out.

Almost 12hrs and 19 laps later and AQR finished 3rd in the Mixed Open category, still grinning and another race under the Soda's tyres.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Welcome to the AQR team blog!

The AQR race team
Originally uploaded by
James Dymond

Welcome to the AQR team blog for 2009! The A Quick Release Holidays race team is Tracy Miles, Abie Smith, Kirsty Eastwood, Warren Miles, Jon Roberts, Iain Collins and James Dymond and we ride Cotic Sodas, supported by Magura forks, Bontrager components and Torq energy products.

After a great first year in 2008 with a team win at Bontrager TwentyFour12, 3rd place at Dusk Till Dawn and loads of individual events too, we can't wait for 2009 and will post updates here throughout the year. Keep an eye out for us at these races amongst others...

- Bristol BikeFest 2009
- Bontrager TwentyFour12
- Midlands XC
- British XC series
- Dusk Till Dawn 2009