Those are the questions all athlete’s ask themselves when training racing and having that quiet moment in your head but for some reason the answer is always just get out there and get on with it.

So the last month or so has been a tough experience  from all points of view  with not feeling great physically or mentally but I’ve gone out there and left it all behind on the course which surely can only make me stronger.

Cotswolds Classic

So where are we going?

Cirencester Community college

How hard will it be?

68miles 3000m of climbing and it’s raining very  very  very  hard so the answer is EXTREMELY

Can I do this?

Impossible to answer until the day but was very keen to find out as in the previous Sportive I’ve taken part in I was the first person home so was a little keen to do the same as was inspired by Tom Boonen’s effort the day before in the Paris Roubaix.

So at 8am we left and the rain came down heavier and heavier but it was a gentle start which was nice considering the climbs ahead of us but very quickly I’ve found myself on the front doing all the work into the headwinds but was a little surprised to say the least to find myself alone with two others after 10miles but hey ho at least I knew what to expect, pain lots of it.

So to be honest I felt quite good in my head so just thought let’s get on with until the first climb when my legs decided they were cold and not very happy but somehow manage to stay at the front and drop one of my companions and as we hit the top of this 12% 3km climb I once again took flight and set a fast pace trying to get rid of my riding partner as wanted to test myself over the distance alone.

I was quite happy to end after 3hr 20mins all alone and a long way ahead so the answer is YES I can.

Next up was Dalby BmbS

Where

World cup course in Yorkshire

Hard

Oh Yeah very muddy steep technical and my new favourite UK course.

Can I do this?

Well what can I that was so so hard that I can’t really remember  what happened in the race as it seemed like a blur but seemed to get stronger as the race wore on and come the end was catching everyone in front of me and the sense of achievement I had that day justified all my efforts and time away from friends and family on cold lonely days.

End result 19th which doesn’t sound amazing but everything is going in the right direction and I’m getting faster stronger and more importantly I’m getting to the finish everytime I start out.

So yeah I really really can.

Where?

Catton Hall Derbyshire

How hard?

My legs still hurt as I was doing this one as a pair with team mate Chaz (Charles Newton Mason) so every lap is a flat out sprint from cold.

Can I do this?

Having a team mate there racing with you makes you push harder as it’s not just your race you could ruin their race as well so you have to do every lap as hard as you can do.

So we start with a short run and if you have ever tried to run in cycling shoes you know that we all run like ducks but it’s fun and I was keen to do a good first lap so went out hard and found myself in the top 5 or 6 as we worked around  the 10km course which was very soft under wheel after so much recent rain but it’s a fairly flat course with about a maximum height gain of 40-50m so climbs are short and tough which suits me well.

At the end of the lap I was in a strong little group made up of 4 riders but this quickly split and we went onto the first climb and a few seconds gap grew between us and unfortunately I was at the back but like I said this venue so focussed on getting on with my race and pulled back the gap and pulled the guys back and went after the riders ahead of me before handing over to Chaz who rode brilliantly considering he has also been not at his best recently but will improve and has alot of potential in racing and we ended up in 12th at the end of the event which was a great result and I’m very happy with overall.

So again I can do this and now the question is how far I can push myself and what can we achieve as a team.

So thank you everyone who makes this team possible

Chloe

Alex

Andy C

Chaz

Bikefood

Edmunds Cycles

Wildoo clothing

Fullbeam lights

We wouldn’t be Derailed without you

 
 
Sherwood is one of those venues which divides opinion over whether it is a proper mountain bike course or not but I love the place as it's a real leg breaker. It suits me as a bigger rider who likes using the big ring all the time. This years course was no different with lots of tight and twisty singletrack snaking through the woods and a few steep little climbs to kill yours legs off so yes it was going to be one hell of a hard day in the saddle. 

Being a master we were left till 2.30 to start our 4 laps of pain and lining up on the start you could see alot of tans and guys looking very keen to get going (I started to wonder if maybe I should pull out of this race and train a bit more!) Unfortunately it was too late for that as the starter gun went off and we started the mad charge to the first singletrack. I do find it funny when other racers try to elbow me out of the way, but come the first pinch point on the course I managed to hold my position in the top 25. 

The first few kilometres just flew by and I was fighting for position and trying to get settled into the race. I found some strong riders to pace myself against as we moved into the second lap and was looking to move up the field but  I found a little cheat line around the drop off which saved me a few seconds every lap and helped get me away from the guys I was racing against and the race really started to get interesting. I moved into the last lap and the speed picked as I tried to chase down Darren Alexander and James Gleeve who were a minute up the road and seemingly starting to tire. Coming to the half way point of the course I caught sight of the guys i had been chasing and tried to dig that little deeper to close the gap, but I started to feel the pressure and as I got closer I just couldn't make up the gap and had to settle for the position I was in.

At the end of the day I gave everything had no regrets come the finish line so a couple weeks hard training and some decent recovery before the next race. Want to say thank you to Chloe and the rest of the team for there support, you all rock.
 
 
The last two weekends have been very hard as my legs haven't been at there best and I've not rested (overtraining I think it's called). 

The Gorrick was at Crowthorne near Bracknell and what gorgeous weather we had. We race on a brilliant course down there (why is the Olympic race being held in Essex again?) The competition was very tough but that's always makes it fun and the race was one of those days where you could always see who you were racing as they were only a few seconds ahead of you but it was so hard to catch up. So after 5 very hard laps and some very sore legs I finished in 18th but seconds behind the guys in front of me. So it would seem that training is going in the right direction. 

After a little bit of thinking I changed my catergory so stepped back over to Masters so I could race against the old boys again . On arriving at Cannock  it was clear that it would be a hard day after lots of rain and some snow, and that the course would be tough, so practice lap it was and yes it bloody was a hard lap that would really kill you off over 5 laps. Being back in masters my previous race results would help me be gridded - although it was at the back of the grid. If I'm being honest that was the right place for me that day as I never really got going and struggled every lap, and when the hail started on the final lap I really wanted to go home but had a race to finish off. The rider behind was catching it was clear I would be in a sprint finish (why does that happens you feel like crap) and going into the climb I didn't know where the other rider was so I kept looking forward until the final straight where I held back for as long as I could letting him tire himself out. Come the final 100m I  made an error and let the bike slide almost throwing me off but manage to get the best in the sprint and cross the line in 20th (poor result but another finish and more race miles). So resting for now and training starts again tomorrow with the build up to Sherwood on Sunday and the first BMBS of the season. Bye for now and look out for the team this weekend. Corby
 
 
Ok after the title you want to start singing "Buttercup" but it's time to get myself to the next level in my race season and after the Midlands race had a hard block of 9 days training which left me with some dead legs but time to recover for the Welsh Mtb race at the Glen Usk Estate near Crickhowell.  

So come March 4th we had the first Welsh race of the year and the previous week of warm weather was forgotten as snow rain hail wind (delete as appropriate) decided it wanted to remind everyone we were in Wales after all!

Now let's get this out of the way, I do feel the event could have beem run better, but its a bike race and anyone who puts one on deserves the support. So I found myself on a wind swept start line looking at a stunning view of Wales and watching the rain and snow roll over the hills towards us as we were giving the race instructions and thinking about the 8 laps that lay ahead.  

Unfortunately my race lasted about 4mins as straight off the start I went over the back wheel of Mark Davis (Cycle Coaching Wales) (nothing he could do about it) as we avoided Sion O Boyle (Torq) who was having some difficulties of hiw own.  I came off the bike, bent my gear hanger and as I hit the first climb and I tried to catch up with the field it decided to break.  

So first DNF of the year but nothing that could be done about it so will train this week and get ready for the next race on and hopefully next time my race won't be the one Derailed!
 
 
It's been 5 months since my last competitive mountain bike race and on rolling up at the Midlands XC race at the National Forest Mounatain Bike centre my nerves were at a level I've not experienced for a long time - but this is a bike race this is what I do! How hard can it be?  

Well this year I've made the educated decision to move back to Expert so just below elite with the young guys trying to get to the next level and most just racing and attacking without much in the way of tactics which after a few years in enduro racing is a little hard to get used to but like I said earlier "it's a bike race it's what I do!".   So upon arriving and catching up with everyone (which every year feels like the first day back in school) I headed for a practice lap and upon this  lap I had a revelation- this isn't a mountain bike course it's a cyclo cross course! But I have a 29er so happy days. Berms, table tops, double jumps, single track and steep little drags - this place had them all in buckets so  I was very happy smiley boy after practice - but come race time its a different matter. I had 5 laps of this 6km course so 30km of sprint after sprint after sprint after sprint, well you get the idea and after seeing the elite guys shoot off down the start straight it was my turn and somewhere between the rider pen and the grid I got swamped and found myself at the back.  In the melay at the start  I struggled to find my pedal and lost a little ground.  I'm always here to the end though so I just got my head down and chased back as we hit a sticky muddy drag. Flying into the berms and jumps in one mad fast flying line  I was giving everything and chased each wheel in front of me. As is the way with racing, before you know where you are your heart is beating at 190bp and your struggling for breath but this where the bike race instincts really kick in and your body starts to feel that familiar burn and ache which you have been missing for the last few months. 

The race itself was a great one for me as I was a little off form but fought as hard as I could and even got my fastest lap on the 3rd lap showing my stamina is good and my endurance training is working well. I was happy to finish a few mins down in 15th place but still its a start, a finish and something to build on for the next few months of racing,training and generally dragging Chloe around the UK.  

So on reflection I'm a happy boy and can't wait for 2012 to really kick off and the racing to get serious, bring on the battle and let's see how many peolpe we can Derail along the way.   Corby
 
 
2012 is going to be fun year with a focus on the shorter XC races but so far this year I haven't done one due to weather and lack of entries but did get the chance to do 2 new events for me, The Dyfi Winter Warmer and Fearless X Duathlon at Llandegla. I also did these on a new type of bike for me, a 29er, which in these events have shown how brilliant they are and I'm definitely a big wheel convert now.  
The Dyfi was a 28mile off road marathon which had the potential to be very very very cold but we luckily managed to miss all the snow and started on a sunny North Wales day with the neutral roll out on the road,  but unfortunately this was down hill and a little too slow so was a very cold start to the day! Turning onto the first big climb (which went on for about 20 odd mins and hurt a lot) I managed to place myself about 7th or 8th  with Phil Morris (xcracer.com) in second about 30secs ahead which pleased me even tho Matt Page (Team Wiggle) well out of sight at this point. My lack of time on the big wheels did tell on the first downhill run with me being a little to nervous and losing time but I don't race to be beatem that easily and on the following climbs and laps  Ieventually managed to find my racing legs and pulled myself upto 6th after 2hr 15mins of suffering.  
Next up was the Fearless Duathlon which was a nice change following the last minute cancellation of the Welsh XC at Margam Park. The thought of a 8km run followed by 17km of mtb and 4km of running seemed like fun before the start but come race time I started to feel like the total novice I am in these events. As the siren went to start the race the racer in me took over and I just focussed on what I had to do and on the first 2.5km climb I managed to get myself around the top 20 and settled into my pace before my strong discipline came along. I even surprised myself by putting some others into the hurt locker on the run and attacking a little but come the bike leg I knew that was where me race would really start as I stuck in the big ring and set off after the rest of the guys ahead of me and very quickly moved into the top ten. Unfortunatley some bad luck was around a corner quite literally as on one apex of a corner I hit sheet ice and bent my gear hanger and banged myself up quite badly and costing me about 5mins in total - but I needed to finish the race for the training benenfit at least and I started so might as well finsih! I just went as fast as I could on the bike coming into the transition area in the top 10 but on the second run  Istarted to feel tired and my bruising from the bike crash started to hurt. I struggled to get up to speed and quickly lost a few spots which was disappointing. I also got lost losing another 5mins or so but finished in 23rd overall with the 5th fastest bike lap,  2mins off the fastest time but feel comfortable that I could have beaten that time and got fastest bike split of the day.  I think some work on my running would help a lot and make me more competitive next time so will be including some more running work in my training plan.  
Well its my day off from the shop and its not raining snowing or cold so I think its time to do some training .  
Corby
 
 
Well I'm Steve Corbyn (Corby to most) and I started racing in 2002 at the Schwinn 100 at Builth Wells (and finished in around 7hrs) but its fair to say the bug was well and truly settled in me and very quickly that year I was racing most weekends including the Schwinn part 2, SITS and Dusk til Dawn (so long ago that was when Rob Lee won his first solo !) 2003 was my first year of XC racing in the sport cat which inlcluded the result of 4th in the Welsh Senior elite Champs race at Builth Wells.   Over the years I have tried all disciplines from xc to 24hour solo but find marathons keep drawing me in (probably something to do with my first race experience as a senior) but recently have been doing off road duathlon which is a little different but strangely quite fun. It has been a roller coaster journey in the world of mountain biking over the last 10 years but it has lead me to here where I'm setting up my own team.   We are starting with a simple aim - build a team that does everything very professionally and races to win but doesn't take it too seriously, as after all we are here to have fun and enjoy this silly but awesome sport we all take part in.  
Right now it's fair to say I'm excited as the future is looking very Derailed but I wouldn't have it any other way.  
Corby