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

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Photos from snowy Sherwood - British XC Round 1

Sherwood Pines played host to Round 1 of British Cycling's National XC series on Sunday and a brutal day it proved to be.

With several days of heavy snowfall before the race, the forest was picturesque but the race course a brown scar through the white.  Massive amounts of mud were freezing to bikes and just getting round the lap was an achievement.

More from Ruth & Emma soon on how they got on in Elite women, but in the meantime some photos from Ant of the girls looking great in their red & blue kit...

More at the team gallery: 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Perfect racing conditions?

Snow shovel – check! Wellies – check! Winter tyres – check! Down jacket and gillet – check!  This is not the standard pack list for a race day.

Wednesday was supposed to be the first day of spring, but I wouldn’t have guessed it, as my hands froze numb whilst prepping the camper for this weekend’s trip to the Lakes to race Whinlatter. Despite some wintery flurries, for those of you racing at Sherwood Pines this weekend, there’s no snow settling in Nottingham at the moment, but the forecast is not looking good.

It’s the first time the van’s going to be used in properly cold conditions, and though it’s going to be cosy, having the body heat of four AQR racers sleeping in it on Saturday night may just help it to warm up quicker. 

Standard racing equipment

As Martin, Matt Rach & I head northward to Whinlatter, Ruth and Emma travel up to Sherwood Pines for the first round of the XC National series: it’s a big weekend of racing for the AQR team and Twitter is buzzing about it.

For Rach and Ruth it won't be the first snowy race of the year – as they got some unexpected snow racing in at the Andalucia bike race in February, but for the rest of us there is likely to be some first-race-of-the-season-nerves. But that’s what all the over winter training has been about, preparing for the coming season. Personally, after a delayed start to my training prep I can’t wait just to don the race jersey, get out and race the Soda on some great trails.

Looking at the forecast, possibly the biggest challenge of the weekend is actually getting to the start line. We don’t want a re-run of Ruth’s truly epic 6-hour snow bound journey in Feb to get to the AQR skills day….

Come back for race reports after the weekend and don't forget you can keep up with Rach and Martin on their blogs.

Hopefully you'll make it to wherever you're planning to ride this weekend

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Rachel gets blogging!

Our own European 24hr champion Rachel has started her own blog - happy reading!

Ignorance is bliss: It's started: As I'd just finished sorting my blog and was preparing for my first post I saw a tweet that summed up the situation I'm finding myself facing...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Andalucía Bike Race chronicles – Chapter 6 and Epilogue

Chapter 6

After the cancellation of stage 5 everyone was keen to get back on their bikes for the next and final stage in and around Jaen.  Although the weather had cleared and the clear blue skies had returned, snow on the ground at altitude meant that the route had been modified to an out-and-back on fire roads with a loop of mainly singletrack climbing and descending in the middle.  

Off we go
Unsurprisingly the pace was ferocious from the start, any remaining energy at the end of this stage would be a missed opportunity by riders to gain seconds and places in the final standings.  We took a slightly different approach knowing that by avoiding any major incidents we were unlikely to lose our placing to the team behind us and we were never going to make up the large gap to the team in front.  

Our slow and steady tactic paid off.  The snow and rain had turned some parts into massive bogs of clay and we went past several teams who were attempting to cobble broken mechs and snapped chains.  

At the top of the final climb we had massive grins on our faces knowing that we only had a 20km of descending between us and the finish of our first stage race and the placing in the top ten that we had aimed for.  It felt amazing dropping down along a small gorge on the twisting muddy, rocky and rooty singletrack.  The most fun I’d had in an incredible week of riding.  Just brilliant.  
We eventually crossed the line in a little under 4 hours.  A modest stage time compared to the other teams but with our goal achieved.   

Trusty Cotic Sodas
The Epilogue

We came out to the Andalucía Bike Race not really knowing what stage racing or the race itself would be like yet it’s seemed to surpass everyone one of these undefined expectations.  

The riding has been brilliant.  The stories that we’d heard that Spain did not offer much in terms of technical singletrack could not have been more wrong.  The trails have allowed us to gain so much more confidence in our technical ability by tackling some fairly gnarly trails on our race bikes as they were there in front of us to be ridden.  

The atmosphere has been great and we’ve met some great people too.  It was a pleasure to be part of a growing British contingent of riders at this event.  The whole event was slickly organised which was particularly evident with the changes that were required as a result of the weather.  

Pick a bike, any bike
And finally, thanks to my team mate Ruth who now will be going to sleep every night hearing me nag her to have a drink, gel or energy bar.  The ability to ride with someone in whom you have every confidence in their riding ability should not be understated.  If I was leading down a technical section of trail I knew she would be right behind me and conversely, if she cleared a section on a particular line I knew I could go ahead and follow her straight down.

Final stats:
Category position – 7th Elite Women
Overall position – 241st
Distance – 320km
Elevation – 10,240m
Time – 26hrs 7mins 17secs

Team 139 - Cotic / A Quick release