Jaymie Mart - BARBADOS NATIONAL DOWNHILL TEAM - one of the most colourful and well loved athletes on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup tour today.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
So, it hit - the snow that is. I woke up last Sunday morning and looked out side to see the snow line closer to home than I was comfortable with. Guesty and Baller came down and
we gathered a few troops for a blast up 'the backs' which are the secret tracks round the
back of some of the mountains in the village. Loads of the trails here are 'way marked' for the masses - quite a lot aren't and will always remain secret for the locals only - this may seem a little clicky, but to be fair, these trails are fresh, they probably won't ever get maintained by the forestry bodies and trail builders, so we don't like to see them get ridden too much.
So got 'dresssed up' top to toe in lycra, overshoes, winter warmers and off we went. Stop
ping briefly by the Leithen Water on the way out of the village to see the salmon jump up the ladder which was pretty cool.
We stayed out for ages, we were all just loving it. Andy - the god of all secret trail knowledge introduced us to a sett off camber slate track which was AWESOME. There is nothing cooler than riding on loose rock and hearing it all slide around under your wheels.
As usual, Baller pushed the limits and got a puncture .... so obviously before we carried on, he fixed it and the boys took it as an excuse to have a 'bro down' with the bust up tube .... QT.
We got so carried away, we rode back up to the top of the mountain as dusk set in so we could descent one of the coolest trails on that ridge - 'Rockie' - it is what is says on the label - bloody rocky! Even though we had lights, visibility was such that the lights wouldn't have done much good, so we used the natural illumination from the snow and threaded the needle down the trail.
The next morning, we were at it again .... Guest Andy and I wrapped up again and hit the other side of the valley up.
It was an amazing morning for it- super frosty, the ground was hard and unforgiving, but it was just so fresh and beautiful.
We climbed up to the snow line at the top of the hill and picked out way through the trails downwards - stopping briefly to drink hot fruit T - damn, we sound like a bunch of hippies, but believe me, in minus 5 degrees Celsius .... anything warm is GOOOOOOOOOD.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
It's Novemeber still, there is still time to 'function outside' before the big freeze ....
A few weekend ago, I spent the weekend with a few friends. It was a FAB weekend, truly civilised, freshly butchered meat and weekend 'fizz' ...... you have to 'deserve' a feast, so to build up an appetite, we hit the fells in Stirlingshire....
We hiked Ben Ledi - 2283ft - which is 17ft short of what we class here in Scotland as a real mountain- or a Munro.
It felt like a 'real mountain' after a few hours of leg burning uphill hiking ......
When we got to the top we messed around doing jump shots, the general concensous was that we made up the extra 17 ft in jumping. So, with that in the mix - I think I can safely say we hit the summit of a 'real mountain' .......
So I made it to 30! I was astounded by one of my friends comments on facebook on my birthday - she actually wrote 'You made it, I had money on you never being an old fart'. I guess when my van rolled over this year - I used up another life, but I doubt that I've used my allocation quite yet ...so onwards and upwards - I'll keep walking close to the edge in my 30's and I hope that the adventurers continue to be wild and wonderful.....
So, for my 30th - I was in the US. I set off the week before to Phoenix A.Z. to do a Performance Nutrition course at Athlete Performance - one of the most advanced performance centres for athletes in the US. Plugging in to their matrix was pretty interesting.
I stayed with Buhly and lived it up after work - we pushed the boat out and burned the candle. Buhl was thick into her mid terms and as I was working, the days were busy - but the nights were busier - we caught up with her family and some of our friends out there, we hit the massage place, did a hot yoga class and ate and drank fine wines and grub.
After the course - I hopped onto a plane to see Damion and Neven in Colorado.
I just L.O.V.E Colorado, to me, it's a place I associate with GOOD TIMES.
Damion planned the coolest trip for us and whisked me away. We went out to the Rockies in a stinky big truck. We had 2 sweet Yeti Bikes, a box of beers and a loose plan of action. We soaked up the scenery of the American way of living in the country. We hit up an old mining town - which was just as you'd imagine in the movies - old school and still functioning. We also tried to stay at a natural hot springs hotel - but forgot to book and it was shut when we got there. BOO.
Riding out there was frikkin HARD. I'm pretty fit right now, but the altitude really troubled my breathing, with it being over a mile high, the partial pressure of O2 is reduced which means that there is less 02 available to breath.
For people who are acclimatised to altitude, exercise capacity is not compromised, but for me - to be blunt was like paddling up a river in a flood - I was 'effed'.
Anyway, Damion took me to part of the Colorado trail to ride - we took the truck off road to get the start and off we went, it was beautiful - when I came to terms with my puffing and panting, turned out to be an immensely awesome trail - what more can you say to an amazing trail, an amazing trip, and amazing friends ..... hell yea!
So that's it - I'll leave you with a photo from my new camera of the autumn leaves on the Colorado aspen trees ......
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Ah, the summer - it seems like a country mile a way now. The snow is laying up on the mountain in the village and the autumn leaves are starting to degrade already - the winter is en route and with it, I'm waiting for my ticket to warmth and ticket to sunshine .... the next big step on the horizon, which has been looming. So, the summer - what a laugh. Minimal racing, lots of home time and a house full of people from near and far ....
It's best envisaged from imagery ... so here goes ....
A full action packed week day and weekend agenda of rides in and around the beautiful village I live in - with friends from all over the UK and the US ... this is one of the evening rides - you might recognise some of the village idiots, ski champs and MTB champs in this photo which was taken prior to a descent in which we merged some of the local secret tracks and ended up in a bonza river crossing challenge and evening swim ....
The summer extreme - high safety yoga challenge at Glentress
The Spanish beach side and urban yoga challenge ....
Wrapping my arms around Ireland. The tour of - without the bike. This is a photo of the Giants Causeway ....
The Lakes - a multitude of mountain top tours with some of the UK's best....
My best friends hen doo ..... 'strictly' censored - with random addition of random old wrinkly - not sure how he got into this shot - but in the brief moment, I seemed to have adopted his trilby .... !!
My best friends wedding - a weekend to remember for sure and an honour to be a bridesmaid.
A piped procession which led the bridal party to the stone circle for the actual marriage.2 massive marquees, pink champagne all night, a ceilidh band, a rock band and a DJ. Fireworks, 40 kilos of langustines, a French appetiser tent, an ice cream bar, a bouncy castle, a hog roast, a tee- pee, a collection of some of my oldest homies of all time all in one place, a 120m.p.h ride on the back of a motor bike, 6 pairs of wellies a Vivian Westwood couture dress and tug of war to erect the final stone in the circle ... some crazy Kiwis ... and all in 3 whole days of glorious sunshine, a haze of boozin and rich rich banter ..
A broken back and an emergency RAF airlift operation .....
A photo shoot with the guys from Aka Skidor Mag. The mag itself is a top Swedish Ski mag, but they do a MTB issue in the spring - so keep your eyes peeled for that article in 2011.
A much needed holiday with the ducks. Scotland and Spain got their fair share of
duck lovin and off the hook all night raging .....
MISSION WOW. Jo Guest from Mission WOW and myself organised an action packed weekend of riding in Scotland for a bunch of female riders - who just LOVED the w.e. Check out MISSION WOW and all of Jo's up and coming events in Chamonix and NZ in the coming months. It's a cool concept for women on wheels/waves and in winter .....
So there you have it, a brief and by no means detailed or complete account of an amazing summer. With out AMAZING friends, wicked riding, epic scenery and another great input in to the memory bank, where would we be? ....
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Back in February - when the world seemed dark and the edges of the light seemed out of reach, I asked the question WHAT IF.
Insignificant upon separation.
Together, if unanswered, these two words can haunt you for an eternity.
Embrace the question with both hands.
Take the leap of faith.
You may fall, you may fly.
You may grow wings on the way down.
It may blow your mind.
What if you do.
What if you don't.
I asked myself what if I applied my all, trained hard, focused, challenged myself ever day for 8 months in the gym, on the mountain, inside my head. I had a lot of alignment to do, mentally and physically and I needed some end goals. First stop was the Scottish Champs - I wanted to get a race under my belt to gauge my training and although I took the Masters Womens title, it highlighted just how much work I had to do. Brazil was the main focus, t
he push for the season and the aim; to bring home a medal. I embraced the challenge and came back fulfilled.
Here is the report I wrote for DIRT
I couldn't have done it without the amazing support from family and friends.
Damion - first up, for being there, for helping me with bike set up, course analysis, for giving me a tow in over the scary 30ft doubles on course, for looking after me in Brazil and for keeping me sane in the gondola. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-11404035
Here's Damions report: http://www.yeticycles.com/blog/?p=415
To all my amazing friends who rode with me over the months, training is so much fun when you laugh hard, and boy I laughed a lot this summer. You helped me believe, you put me back on my pedals, the place I am happiest ..... you helped me build fitness and strength and for that, I can't thank you enough. You know who you are. Last but not least, for your unconditional support and guidance, for helping me think properly - my family and extended family - Mum, John, Adam, Liz, Dot and Di.
THANK YOU. I rode the bike - you gave me the nudge I needed.