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

Monday, 26 March 2012

Southern XC 1

Emma reports from her first race of the year...

(Final version of photo to follow.)

2012, a new race season & for me this also meant new coaches & new team. I was thrilled to be welcomed with open arms into the Cotic/AQR Holidays Race Team/family (that's what it feels like), having previously stated to many people that "all I want to do is ride my Soda"; riding for Cotic/AQR makes perfect sense then :)

I turned up to an exceptionally cold & murky Checkendon having stepped off a plane from the AQR Portugal coaching week less than 12hrs earlier; the temperature drop was at least 15degs if not more!

Out on the practice lap I found things rather slimy at points with some off camber & rooty sections. The tyres were clogging here & grip was an issue but I felt that everyone would be in the same boat. Having practised riding sections of limited grip in Portugal (all be it dry there) I did find applying the same technique worked a treat. Apart from that there was plenty of twisty singletrack to get stuck into which was really lovely.

New again for 2012 was all the women starting together. This was brilliant & provided a great atmosphere. There were six women in the elite category with people wanting to test themselves before the first national race the following week. 

I got a good start but couldn't sustain it for that long and soon found myself playing catch up. Not to worry as I was doing four laps. I eventually caught up to Iwona Szmyd & then we both caught Natasha Barry. There then commenced a three way battle & it remained this way for two laps. Half way into the race the open men started & in their first lap adrenaline rush they ended up allowing Iwona to get a larger gap & also caused me to have to dig deep to catch up again after one crashed in front of me. I caught Natasha again & we were together until a badly timed chain dropping incident. After that, whilst I tried as hard as I could I was never able to reign Natasha back in & finished 6th.

This had been a training session for me. I'd been instructed to go as hard as I could & I did, although my legs were complaining on the uphill sections & in the really sticky sections. However, I was really pleased with my performance. I was riding technically well (with Ian's words from the Portugal coaching week echoing in my head!) & my pace was pretty good for someone who has struggled through winter. For the first time in over a year I felt like a racer again & not just a rider making up the numbers. 

For all their work so far I have to say a huge thank you to Kate, Ian & Anne. I know this is only the beginning for me & there are plenty of developments to come. Let the adventures continue!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

The 2012 Team

Wow, mid-March already, how did that happen?!  Anyway, this quick entry is long overdue as it's about time we revealed the 2012 line-up of the Cotic - AQR team, including some of the 2011 faces plus a new Elite XC rider...

Main sponsors for 2012 are of course Cotic bikes, A Quick Release holidays and A Quality Ride coaching.  We are also pleased to be using:
 - Clee Cycles / KCNC components
 - Torq energy drinks
 - Maxxis tyres from ONE Industries
 - Sunwise eyewear
 - Magura forks & brakes
Thanks also to Eurobike for supplies of American Classic 29er wheels.

And so to the riders...

 - Emma Bradley joins the team this year as our main new rider.  Emma will be racing Elite level XC at nationals and Southern XCs as well as some team events such as Enduro6. She will, of course, be on-board a Cotic Soda.  A big welcome to Emma!

 - Anne Dickins will be part of the team again this year as an endurance specialist, although her season will depend on her recovery from injury which is still ongoing - best wishes Anne!  Most importantly though, Anne is the AQR & team physio  -

 - Rachel Sokal will be racing endurance for Cotic - AQR in her first full race season after injury in 2011.  Focussing on 12 & 24hr racing, Rachel will take on 24hrs at Exposure in April as well as TwentyFour12 and other events.  She will be riding a Cotic Soda and prototype KP24 full-sus.

 - Katie Collins will be racing Scottish XCs and team events, also on board a Soda. 

- Kirsty Eastwood will be racing her Soda in Masters again in 2012, primarily at regional and team events, as well as a move to more duathlons.

 - Anthony Jordan joins the team again as another enduro racer, also taking on Exposure and other 12 and 24hr events. Ant has a Cotic Soda and is currently building up a 29er Simple.

 - Matt Prior will be racing regional sport and team events after a great 2011 season on his Cotic Soul.

 - Simon Usher is formally welcomed to the team for 2012 and will be racing his Cotic Solaris 29er at Exposure in April and other solo events.

 - James Dymond will also be racing regional events in sport as well as some pairs racing with Emma and others at Enduro6, Erlestoke12 and Bristol BikeFest.  He'll also be on board a Cotic Solaris 29er for team events.

And finally, the racing... the season kicked off in style in Feb with a win from Kirsty at the Pippingford duathlon, well done K.E.!!

James then raced at Midlands XC round 1 in Leics in late Feb, coming 17th from a massive field of nearly 70 starters!  A solid start to the season this early on in the year.

Next up is Emma at Southern XC Rd1 tomorrow and the British XC national series at Sherwood Pines on Sun 25th March.   Good luck Em!