Here we are mid March 2018, and the season is about to kick off again. What’s new? what’s the same? Am I the same rider I was last year or have I progressed? Have my skills moved forward, along with my experience and attitude. Did I do enough with my fitness? Well this weekend we find out, round 1 of the Tweedlove series, between the tapes once again.
The off season has certainly not been without its trials and tribulations. I took a lot of down time out once November arrived for a few reasons. 1) To give my mind and body a break from the 4-5hr training and race rides I was dishing out to myself. 2) To get some much needed money in by working a 2nd job all winter. 3) To spend much needed time with my loving and understanding wife.
So what’s new? Well for a start I managed to get a fully supported rider deal off of Marin Bikes UK, meaning I’ll be getting a 2018 “Attacktrail8” to race all season and forcing a move from Fox Suspension to Rockshox. There’s no problem there, both suspension brands believe are equally as good as the other. Unfortunately there’s a bit of an issue with shipping at the moment and the bike is a month overdue. I also managed to sweet talk myself into getting a deal with Sixth Element Wheels to ride their carbon hoops. They are currently sitting looking pretty in my garage, awaiting the new bike. Due to the boost factor I can’t put them on my current bike, mores the pity. Lastly I’ll be working in conjunction with Ryan’s Bike Surgery in Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland. Ryan is fairly young, but I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been a mechanic in the bike industry for well over a decade with all the qualifications to boot. I’m unbelievably anal about my bike come race weekend and so it speak volumes that I trust Ryan with keeping my bike running smoothly and indeed safely.
Of course I’m still with Flare for clothing. The kit is fantastic. I’ve been wearing to death my long sleeve “Roost” jersey all winter. It’s up there now with one of my all time favourite riding jerseys, keeping my temperature well regulated and surprisingly dry in damp conditions. I just need to see if I can get Flare to make a signature tank top for the once in blue moon 25deg+ days. Usually shorts don’t tend to last me too long – between 4 weeks and 3 months before the arse falls out of them. I don’t know how Flare have managed this, but I have been using my black “Stage” shorts since last April along with other shorts, and pretty much non-stop since October and they still look fresh as a daisy. Incredible!
So, between the tapes, where are my goals at this year. I’m racing in elite again, despite being old enough to race veteran’s category. I am aiming for at least one top 5 finish this year and also a top 5 overall. It’s high aiming for sure, but the following year, if I’m serious about doing the world champs, I need to get used to that pressure and stay on my tippytoes!
Here’s to a successful start to the 2018 season