Saturday, 30 November 2013

Typical teen in training

Picnics made to order

During my first Soggy Bottom three years ago, I decided to stop half way around the race to have a mini-picnic at the top of the gravel climb.  I took my time to eat, take off my coat and cheer on all the other riders - enjoying the fun atmosphere of the event.  Now, the fun side continues, but I’ve learnt to save my picnic until afterwards.
My first race...
Spot the difference now!
Over three years I have gone from doing the occasional Yogi Fun ride to a serious training programme

It all started at my picnic race, when my parents took me along just to give it a go. After, my second race I realised that this was a sport I really enjoyed. I was lucky enough to find out about Fully Sussed advertising a youth team sponsorship and jumped at the opportunity to apply. When I found out I had got it, I was unimaginably over the moon! This was the start of everything.
The first Fully Sussed team ride at Haldon Forest
Maddie and Jay Horton at Fully Sussed have been the most supportive sponsors, organising extra sponsorship from Certini Bicycle & Co. and now all my training. They have  continuously helped me through all my riding experiences, from my first Cyclocross race to my first Nationals this year. I used to find it hard to find anyone to ride with, but thanks to them, I now have the team of Mavericks all of which I'd call close friends and love to ride with on a weekly basis.

Socialise or train? Both!
My coach Maddie is a role model to me, being an elite athlete who is motivated and enthusiastic about training. She inspires me to train hard and it is our choice to get up at 5am to train still in the dark, knowing that dedication is the only way to get to achievement. Training with Maddie is socialising in its self - she's always great company and we never stop giggling!

However, I'm a typical 17 year old - so I do like to party as well as train. It is sometimes hard to balance this with my training and I've realised that you have to weigh up what you want more? For me; I dream to be National Champion and so I've chosen to put it as my number one priority. I'm lucky that my best friends from school understand this, as two of them do activities of their own, one being a ballerina and the other being a previous national champion at Judo. Although completely different sports, they share a common understanding of the commitment you have to make and are always very supportive of me.
You have to give up a lot of time and that means home-work and socialising has to be worked around the busy programme, but it is manageable! It has got easier and easier since starting the programme with Maddie this year, and now just seems like the norm for me. I have even started feeling guilty not training on my rest day - officially obsessed. I have learnt to juggle lots and my number one advice is to get a calendar, to avoid double booking!

Thank you to Maddie who gives up so much of her time to train me. Also, my other coaches, Gary Andrews and Jay Horton.

Thank you mum for being my chief organiser and manager, and dad for being my pro. mechanic, pit feeder and driver. Plus, Max Suttie for being my secondary mechanic he-he.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Escott Park Cyclocross and The Mavericks away weekend

Carl Austen Photography
Escot park Cyclocross

Sunday 24th November

Today was another round of the South West Cyclocross at Escot Park. Luckily the weather held, and cool sun and fresh frost motivated us to move even faster to warm up on the hilly cx course.

This was the first time I'd ridden on a cyclocross bike off-road, other than for a 20 minute cycle around the park last night in the dark. So I had no idea what to expect on my new bike (I usually ride a
Specialized hard tail Fate mountain bike
). But it's safe to say that narrow tyres flow better on a gravel sprint start and a section of road in the circuit.  I do however need to understand why they bother to have drop handle bars and no suspension as my back was killing me...any advice? However, it did make the downhill's a lot more exciting and different, which is all part of the fun.

Race Face!
I got used to it quicker than expected though as I managed to take a second place in the senior women race, after fighting off Maddie Horton for as long as possible (well for a couple of laps at least - she is just too quick haha!) and Angie Pike following very closely behind me.

I was also really happy to see a lot of new women faces giving it a go and all completed it with determination and skill. Great girl power, helping to boost the entry list to 84!

With a lot of competition at todays race, it was tough for everyone, but I'm so impressed with overall winner Steve Davies who was so fast I barely noticed him come past when he lapped me - well done man!

The results were done very smoothly and quickly for the event! Great work from the organisers, thank you!

If you want to see more photos from the event go to the South West Cyclocross Facebook page and Carl Austen has kindly posted some.

I am so lucky to say "this is what I did on my weekend"

Friday 8th November - Sunday 10th November

A couple of weekends ago, the South West Youth Squad and I went to Mine Head for the weekend to stay at Base lodge and endure a weekend of fun and hard training lead by Maddie and Jay.

We arrived on the Friday looking forward to getting started on our training, but first we had to have some inspiration and so spent the night watching "Danny Macaskill" and "The fastest ever bike crash", just to stimulate our adrenaline.

On Saturday we set off for a plyometrics run, including piggy back races to add extra aching to our legs. In which Harry showed his I have never ever been lifted by a 12 year old before! After the rousing start we came back to the lodge for a second breakfast and collapsed on the floor of the bedroom for an hour, before setting off to do some riding.

The afternoon was spent on a ride and a session of hill sprints, and uphill time trials. Being so great with directions I managed to go on a bit of a detour, going on a separate hill, because I'm special, but my instincts guided me in a circle back home just in time for the second time trial...Yay.

On the Sunday, we woke up with aching muscles, but all keen to get going, knowing that we had a surprise activity planned.  I thought it was trampolining (have no idea why) but luckily it was orienteering as I can't bounce very well.  Going in a team with Harry and Patsy, we used our awesome navigation skills (everyone knows my navigation is great from the earlier hill session) to run in last to the house, but still getting a share of the prize of 'pan aux chocolat', very yummy thanks Maddie and Jay.

Later in the weekend, local trail ferret's Joe Barker and Ed Welsh showed us some of Minehead's best routes.  I can see now how they are so strong on the uphill's when racing, they are all massive there. But the uphill's don't come without immense downs - it is amazing. The ride was unbelievably awesome, with Ed and Joe being superb guides and continuously checking that we had survived the descents.

Arriving back, I strived to stay awake until we headed home in the Fully Sussed van, when I dropped straight to sleep and apparently snored... but I definitely don't snore...I hope! It was safe to say that I have not been that exhausted in a long time! shows it was a good training weekend. All aims achieved!

THANK YOU SO MUCH JAY AND MADDIE, you obviously put a lot of effort into it and it really payed off because we all loved it, so thank you so much! You guys are the best coaches in the world!!!!

If you want to have a coaching session with them...which I would 100% recommend if your keen on mountain biking, go to the Fully Sussed website. You could not meet better coaches anywhere else in the world.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Soggy Bottom Race one 2013 - Newnham Park

The Soggy Bottoms definitely have a well suited name for the race today. It was a wet slide, but lived up to its exciting expectation. Newnams' famous bomb holes were included, but also many new tracks making it very new and original from previous Soggy's.
Me and Kris were watching the morning race and thought we were just going to be cheering people on, but it turns out the muddy slope had more planned for some people!
Unfortunately, on this race I had a mechanical on the first lap, meaning I had to run half of the uphill's and cycle the downs with no chain all the way to the pits from half way around the lap, but still came in as the leading lady, so really happy!!! Was also really happy with the other Maverick girlies, Patsy and Evie who got first and second Juvenile podium places, and Jack Hewlett who is part of the squad and did amazing, not only winning the juniors, but the whole male sport category. Go South West MTB Youth Squad!
The race was as brilliantly run, with great prizes from Juice Lubes for every category. This race is definitely suited for any level of rider and caters for all! Thank you very much to all the organisers, Maddie and Jay Horton, and sponsors!

Hopefully see everyone again at Soggy 2.
For information on them go to

The South West Cyclo Cross Champions!

20th October 2013  
Another race today, at Stover, for The South West Cyclo Cross Champs. It was a really exciting event, probably the biggest one so far, even when it was pouring with rain! The Fully Sussed girlies, lived up to our winning expectation after Oktoberfest and came away with three titles. Evie Lane winning the South West youth girls champs, me and Maddie made it the full house by winning the Junior and Senior titles and were first and second females! Sooo happy!!!! It was just our course...quite xc like due to the streams of mud. Had a lovely puddle wash afterwards so I could sit in the car! Also, so proud of my mummy who is now South West Grand Vet womens Champion!! So we had a happy car journey home - my dad was happy with his wife winning beers Well done everyone else and thank you for another awesome race! See you all at the next one. Lucy.

Also, Mullet Snaps has got some great photos from the event on facebook. Check them out!