Not many people drive to Wales for the day to ride mountain bikes without actually owning a mountain bike…
But first up I had a race to race! Last week was the LCCA Team Champs. Each club or team from the London ‘Cross League is eligible to put forward a four man team, with the best three riders scores, counting toward the overall result. I managed to put together two Southborough & District Wheelers teams – Keith, Rob and myself raced in one team whilst Pip, Grant and Paul raced together also.
Dougie and his team of Crawley Wheelers had done a fine job of putting together a fun and challenging course for the six of us to contend with teams from the likes of London Dynamo, Vicious Velo and Evans Cycles. Technically, as I’ve not been racing as SDW this season, my season ranking counted for nothing, therefore we were gridded toward the back. This meant lots of work to do to move our way through the slower racers, but quickly a good battle developed between myself and former Evans teammates, Stu and Matt.
We swapped places for several laps with plenty of jeering from Mark and Ru (course marshals today, but also old teammates). I eventually felt like I’d got the better of Stu and later on Matt would be forced to run in with a broken mech, but now my current teammate, Keith, had made his way back up to me and for laps four, five and six we had a great fight, giving each other plenty of space, but neither of us were budging an inch either!
With one lap to go I was cruelly stripped of the chance to take the fight to the line when I punctured just in front of Keith. On his way past I gave Keith a cheeky push up the grassy hill and into the headwind – if I wasn’t going to beat him I didn’t want anyone else doing it! The teamwork paid off and we ended up 10th overall. Not a bad result for SDW first ever ‘Cross Team Champs. I’m looking forward to September and this year’s ‘cross campaign, but now it’s time for some mountain biking!
So (this weekend) we travelled down the M4 to sunny Welsh Wales for the official KTM MTB RACING launch. Team Manager Gaz Hurst and I took a rather interesting detour through the icy welsh valleys and found ourselves in possibly the most picturesque carpark in Wales, but once we’d sussed out the directions we met up with team mates, Alex Tompsett, Carwyn Davies and Chris Noble. Getting everyone together in the team kit looked fantastic and after a few clean photos we headed out to get the bikes muddy.
I was borrowing Gaz’s spare bike as mine is due in any day now and apart from being a tad small for me it felt great to be back on a mountain bike. I sold mine at the beginning of the winter to fund my cyclocross racing and whilst a love my cross bike, the mountain bike seems to just exude confidence. I’ve spent a limited time on 29” wheels (apart from my cross bike, but you know what I mean), but the Continental rubber was working hard to cover up all my numpty line choices and the 1×10 gear set-up caught me by surprise – I’d always just shrugged them off as being a bit of a gimmick, but I never really ran out of gears or torque, so I’m seriously considering setting my bike up like that too!
Anthony Pease and Oli Jepson had joined us for the day to take photos and we all gelled really quickly – I’ve worked with some moody photographers before so it was fantastic to work with Ant and Oli who both directed us well, kept everything flowing and interesting and came up with some incredible results. Cwmcarn was relatively dry for this time of year and the sunny, albeit chilly, February day helped keep everyone smiling for the cameras. After shooting all morning we took an hour out for lunch to discuss a few of the finer points about the team, before all getting back out for an afternoon blast in what was left of the rare, but welcome sunshine.
Things are looking awesome for the coming season and I’m really looking forward to a summer spent racing. We’ll be at all of the major 24 hour races and most of the Southern and National XC series. Carwyn, Alex and Gaz are racing a few of the Welsh series and I’ll be smashing up the Easterns. Chris, Alex and I will be doing various 12 and 24 hour races throughout the year so they’ll be plenty of chances to catch up with us at races along with our sponsors, Conti tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lighting.
Photos by Oskar Scarsbrook, Anthony Pease and Matt Evans.
Glen races a KTM hardtail in the UK National Points Series, the Eastern XC Series and the Southern XC Series and uses the KTM Scarp Master 29 for Marathon races. He receives personal sponsorship from Helly Hansen, THE.ÆIGHT.BICYCLE.CØMPANY and Tribeca Sport. The KTM team is sponsored by Continental Tyres, Torq Fitness and Four4th Lights.
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D Bike Science bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details.