Sunday, February 26, 2012


Quick report on the Ronde du Taissoun, in Colomars just behind Nice. Usually, this place gives a great vantage point to look over Nice and the entire Cote D'Azur. This time though, after a lung bursting hike/pedal through the fog we got treated to a different view which, as you might have noticed from the pictures, was absolutely phenomenal.

While on the short side of the enduro spectrum, at about 26km, this was a ridiculously punishing event. Each of the three stages required a hike a bike section, resulting in searing hot legs. Added to that was the fact that all the stages were extremely rough and physical, with a relatively large amount of uphill sprints required. The first two stages went pretty well, I came in 25th and 26th out of about 80 riders despite 2 falls in the first stage, and several mistakes in the second from coming into corners too fast or simply not seeing turns in time. 

I was pretty pumped for the third stage which I know very well from many spins with LeChris, and which was by far the longest and most physical, two aspects which played to my strengths. After a good top section, I got to the section I had been fearing all day: le GR. A wide, flat hiking trail, which doesnt sound too bad, but the problem is it is pretty easy to hit ludicrous speeds on it as it alternates between smoothish for 20-30m followed by extremely rough for 5-10m, and many a tube and tyre have fallen victim to this section, which I now slow down considerably for. But this was a race, so F--k that! Full speed ahead, I was gliding over the rough sections like they wern't there, until I heard a horrible noise which I assumed was my tyre exploding but turned out to be my derailleur, derailleur hanger and gear cable all snapping at once... To add insult to injury, as I mentioned previously this stage had a very long uphill/flat section a few minutes later, meaning I had to push the bike for a good 10 minutes without even being able to coast...

Fun day overall, a proper challenge. Team mate Anthony and regular competitor Seb both posted impressive results in some of the stages and ended up in the top twenty overall, it would have been nice to see where I would have ended up without the mechanical. Oh well, time to peruse chainreaction for some drivetrain components...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rallye Hivernal de Levens

Just finished the first enduro of the 1001 series which runs through the year. The winter enduro in Levens is known to always have a bit of snow to add to the challenge. Unfortunately, for me anyway, the massive snowfalls from 2 weeks ago meant the trails were more then just a little challenging.

Started off with a massive climb, just under 2 hours, half of which was on compacted snow. Got to the top for one of the greatest cups of tea ever, and then straight into the first stage of the race. The format was 3 man starts, and I was starting with my buddy Seb who usually posts identical times to myself. The first 5 seconds of the race set up the theme of the day: I took the lead, pedalled hard to get away from the 2 others, slight bend in the road, leaned into the corner, slip, crash, covered in snow. Over the next 10 minutes this happened over and over... Eventually I finished last in my group, soaked and frozen...

Things picked up massively in the second stage, which started lower down the mountain and thus had much shallower snow. I managed to just about stay ahead of Seb (some bad manners required), until half way down when the track was dry and I was able to ride properly and took a reasonable lead in my group.

Pumped up from the second round, I thought things would go great in the third. Sadly this was not the case. The last special was probably the steepest track of the day, and while not under snow, it was covered in mud. No proper excuse, despite 3 years of mud riding 100% of the time back in Cork, I just couldnt hack it on the (seriously) steeper parts and rode very poorly. By the time I got to the dry section of the track I had psyched myself out and couldnt feel my fingers from the cold.

So a pretty terrible performance all-round from myself, ended up with a not quite so terrible 89th with Seb trashing me with a 73rd. Pretty bummed at how poorly I rode anywhere that wasnt either dry or flat. Really well organised event tho, and definitely planning on heading back up there later on in the year.

About half way up the 1st climb. Levens in the foreground, the sea in the back

Tea with a view. Really needed it after 2 hours pedalling/pushing up in the snow

Lotsa bikes
New year, new gear, new club...

SS1 Start gate

Race on

Fall number 1

Should have pushed him off

If this was me, I would be even more sideways, but also more lying in the snow

Spot the biker

Everyday heroes

Photo credit: Seb, Will from Levens. Thanks