Monday 28 July 2008

Ballyhoura Trails, Co. Limrick – Sat - Sun 26-27th July 2008

Gar and I drove down on sat to the Ballyhoura trail centre. 2.5 hours in the car and we were ready to ride! We set out on the full red loop, 52km, 4 – 6 hours the sign said. After 2:50 we were back in the carpark, so a bite to eat and a lap of the brown loop saw us into the afternoon.
Next day, we just did the white & brown loop, as the blue and red were just too tame, through scrub land and lots of crap frieroad.
A good weekend, could do it in a day easily!

Watch the drop!

Boardwalks everywhere!


Handy bikewash

The trailcentre was well setup

Monday 21 July 2008

Irish National Championships, Kilruddery, Co. Wicklow – Sun 20th July 2008

Back to Kilruddery, the home of the Irish XC nationals. I first won the Irish nationals here all the way back in 1993, on my 21st birthday, so I have fond memories of the place. It’s a great venue, stunning scenary, wonderfull wooded singletrack, and great fields to race in.
Robin and TW designed a great race course. Only 4 small 3 min climbs the rest was rolley face singletrack. There was sooooo much going on, non stop corner, humps, yumps, bomb holes and berms….great stuff.
7 laps for the elite and I was nervous. My last 6 weeks was terrible, a bad crahs, a shoulder and neck injury, Hazo hospitalised and the crapola weather didn’t help either. 2 kgs heavier, and I wasn’t even goona race!
A 2nd row gridding based on my world ranking, and bang we were off, I had to hold back as I didn’t want to get in the way of the real battle (Robin, Niall and Conor). I followed these trio and Lewis for the 1st half a lap, and then settled into the race. I had good legs for the first 3 laps, and I was holding 4th with Aidan @ 40secs, and Ryan @ ~ 1:30. I then started to stuggle, and Aidan caught me on lap 4. He was riding like it was lap 1, so I was unable to hold his pace for long. The last lap was real hard, cramping all over, and Ryan coming up fast from behind. I though I had 5th, but Ryan came storming up and passed me on the last climb, I was bullin’. Not to worry, a good ride and an ok result, my last Elite nationals.
Congrats to Robin, his 15th straight tile, with Conor in 2nd and Niall a very close 3rd. Big it up for Aidan, mega ride, super slick on the singletrack, I was no competition for him today.

Great weather and great singletrack

Robin and Conor do battle

Evan failed to finish

The start was FAST

Ryan passed me on the last climb.

NPS # 4, Djouce, Co. Wicklow – Sun 15th June 2008

I was REALLY looking forward to this race. The course was incredible, a twist on TWs K Capital course. Very dry too, this should have suited me down to the ground! After a good start, things started to go downhill! I really suffered throughout the race, I couldn’t climb at all. Robin was there out in front, and Peter stuck to his wheel while I drifted back. Then James passed, then Aidan……..this was not good. I stuck at it though, only to get points for the league and to maintain my 40 race DNF record.
I came in 5th, a good bit back. My worst race in a long time. I had a lot of injuries and other things going on recently, so this all contributed, so it was not that surprising.
5th was still good enough to keep the league, but I will be missing the next round in Tymon, so its all down to the final round!!!

Ohhh, the pain!

Craigs first race in K Cap colours yielded and excellent 2nd in the masters

Thursday 29 May 2008

NPS # 3 - North Pole – Sun 25th May 2008

Ok, not quite the north pole, but way up near Larne in Antrim (still only 2:40 away, great new roads). Any, Hazo and I set out on sat, 5 hours of shopping in Ikea and I was knackerd, not ideal race prep.

Race day came, sunny, dry, but a little windy. Held on an old quarry, the course was actually quite good, flatish, nice drops and kicker climbs, lots of ST too. Very bumpy though, and I brought the vertex and not the element, bad choice. However, the venue was grim, crap start/finish area, cars parked 500 mtrs away, and no atmosphere…..not good enough for NPS imo.

The start was v fast, Luis Ferguson was flying, his first MTB race this year as he was concentrating on the road. His almost complety slick tyres were a ppor choice, and I’m sure this contributed to his race ending shunt on the 2nd lap. Anyway, I was 3rd after 3 laps, 50 secs back on Peter and Ryan, a long way back on such a fast course. I stuck at it, got better legs, and eventually caught them with 1 /12 laps to go. Starting the last lap we were all together, howver, Ryan attacked and I didn’t have it, I kinda sat up then, rolled in 3rd, good enough to hold onto 1st in the league.

Next up is Djouce on 15th June, cant wait, hope its dry……..

Off we go!

Thursday 8 May 2008

NPS # 2, Carlingford, Co. Louth – Sun 4th May 2008

NPS # 2 already, I need a break! Great weather should have ensured a mega dry race in Carlingford, but rain all the way up turned the 2km flat fireroad into mudcity! The best singletrack in the country held up real well, but I doubt I can beat my 1 dab record from last year.
A few less riders in the elite field meant that I may be able to bag some points. BANG, off we go up the steep tarmac road start, onto that flat fireroad, and I am sitting on Ryan and Peters wheels, MEGA mud splash. I big sprint for the singletrack and Peter showhorns himself in before Ryan and me. Peter gets about 20secs here as I sit on Ryan dabbing away. Up the long fireroad I sit on Ryan, and jump him into the 1st singletrack on the 2nd lap. This is the last I see of Ryan as he flats out of the race, pity. I try to catch Peter over the next lap, but he pulls a bit more time. Next thing I see him walking back up the trail, another flat! I am leading now, time to ease off and bring in then points!
I am leading the NPS now, mad stuff……not sure if I’ll make it to # 3, so I’ll have to finish 4,5 & 6 to go for the overall!

My first win!

The slippy river crossing

Evan and Richi chase hard

NPS # 1, Ballinstoe, Co. Wicklow – Sun 27th Apr 2008

Straight from the K Capital Cup, into the NPS! No let up these days. My goal for the NPS is a top 3 in the elites, so I need to focus again! The international field of the K Cap was not there, but a couple of the top juniors and a couple of the top masters/vets made the move to the Elites to boost the completion.
A dry bright day greeted us in Ballinstoe, home to the new MTB built trails. The course was VERY fast, almost big ring the whole way, great trials, fast racing. I got a good start, and starting lap 2 I was only a few seconds behind the lead group of Ryan, Peter and super junior Liam. Disaster struck on lap 2 when I twisted my front mech, and a BIG high speed crash on lap 4 nearly ended my race (and my life). But I fought on, pulled back a couple of places and finished a solid 4th.
Very sore after the race, headaches, etc. No good, but a good start to the league. Next week is # 2 so time to recover and relax.

Flyin on the new trails

Ryan took the win. Peter and Liam follow close behind

Tuesday 22 April 2008

K Capital Cup # 4, Castlewellen, Co. Down – Sun 20th Apr 2008

Another K Cap, another incredible race. An amazing lap designed by XMTB legend Robbi Lamont, Savage singletrack climbs, deadly single track descents, off cambers, drops, rock garden, quick fireraod, everything. The icing on the cake was the conditions, dust dust dust…..and we are still in april!
I was gridded on the second row for this race, but the usual mix of international riders was down on previous races, with some of them attending the World Cup opener in Houffilize. Not too worry, there was still a couple of foreign riders to focus on. Off we went and I felt good at the start, staying with the lead group until the first singletrack. I backed off here, as I knew the race would be long and I did not want to blow up aka K Cap # 2.

The leaders on the first climb

I made a push before the long singletrack descent to get ahead of a polish rider who seemed to be struggling technically, and this paid off as I had a 20 sec gap on him and the chasing group by the time we were shoot out on the fireroad. I remained comfortable in 6th position for the whole race, loving the singletrack and taking it a bit easy on the hills.
Niall took the win from Gareth Montgomery and Robin in 3rd. Conor came in 4th with Ryan in 5th.
I got 5th overall in the series which was my main goal for the year so I am happy with that. Big thanks to all the race organizers and to Robin and Geoff Seymour for their vision. Also a big thanks to series sponsor and our team sponsor Mark of K Capital Source.
The NPS races start next week in Ballinstoe, I must keep the head down from that and stay off the Pringles!

Big 'n big

Race winner Niall Davis

2nd and 3rd place riders Gareth and Robin

Wonderful singletrack!



Thursday 17 April 2008

British NPS # XCO 1, XCM # 1, Thetford, Norfolk – Sat/Sun 12th/13th Apr 2008

My first Elite XCO race in the UK for 11 years, what could I expect. Evan and I got an early morning flight to Standsted, hired a car, and set off for Thetford. The race was at 3 so loads of time…..until a text from Robin at 12 said the race was now at 1! AGGGGGGHHHHH, mega rush to find the course, build the bikes in record time, straight to the start line, no lap, no warmup, but at least we were there!
The weather was great, and the tracks looked very dry.
Looking around the startline things were not as I remember. There was only about 45 elites, compared to the 70 I used to race with. Plus the whole event was missing something, maybe it was missing the stars of the mid 90s, Baker, Ford, Gould, etc…..Anyway, of we set, superfast flat fireroad, stones flying everywhere. I had heard the course was all singletrack, so I tried to stay in a reasonable position here. I got into the singletrack in a good place, and held on for a while. However, the pace was like the last 2km of an A road race, so I backed off a bit towards the end of the lap. The rest of the race was damage limitation, but I did manage to pas some riders.
The course was pretty cool, pancake flat, with 90% amazing singletrack, flat out, 30km/hr average, fast MTB ever for me!
I ended up 21st, a good bit off the front guys, kinda brutal. Evan pulled out on the 2nd lap, not fully recovered from his illness earlier in the week. The other Irish had a mixed race, Ryan had a huge crash after been cut up, Robin flatted out while int eh group for 3rd, but Conor had a great race to finish 3rd. Mel got an incredible 2nd in the Elite women, well done to her.
Back to the hotel to get ready for tomorrows marathon racing. I was doing the 50km race (shorter than the XCO the day before), and Evan was trying the 75km race in prep for the Trans Rockies in July. A good dinner and a crap movie and we were ready for bed.
Brekki was at 8 the next day for the early race start at 10. A similar day to sat and a similar course. I was in the 50km race, with about 100 riders. Off we went, and I immediately got into a good group of about 6 riders, with the 2 leaders off the front. I attacked a few times during the race and shed a couple of riders, down to 3 of us for 3rd. A couple more attacks from the other riders and I went out the back, but I managed to pass the 4th place guy before the finish of the race. 4th it was, not too shabby. Evan got a great 5th in the 75km race, buzzin at the finish. Ryan got an even better 3rd in the 100km race. Mel repeated her 2nd place from the day before, excellent.
All in all a good trip, not sure if I’ll do another, something seems to be missing from the races.
Busy few weeks coming up, K Cap Cup # 4 next weekend and then the NPS kicks off the week after that. Ohhh the legs are hurting already.

Hoofin it on the only kicker in the race!

XCO Report, results and pics

XCM Report, results and pics

Thursday 10 April 2008

K Capital Cup # 3, Djouce, Co. Wicklow – Sun 6th Apr 2008

WOW, what a race, by far the best ever held in Ireland. An amazing 8km loop set out by Robin. All our favorite single track with some new bits added in. 15 foreign riders were promised on the start line to add to the competition. This was also the final race in the Irish Olympic qualification so the heat was on!
I picked Kev up on Saturday at 11ish. We helped mark some of the course and rode to practice laps. Kevs loved the course, nice and technical with some real nice fast climbs too. The weather was dry all week so there was very little mud, great stuff.
Sunday came, and I warmed up on XTC to prep the tech skills. Sure enough, there was a good international presence, the UK team, Chech republic, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Wales, Swedan, etc…..all looking very pro. I got a second row grid place based on my previous result, not bad.

The team before the start

BANG, we were off. Pace was savage from the start, all the way to XTC in one long line. Kev and I stayed together on the 1st lap until the main river crossing, when Kevs rear mech was ripped off, race over for him!
I continued on, very comfortable at this stage, I passed the Swede, Micke Haggquist, on the second lap, and caught a glimp of George Hudeckova from the Czech Republic starting the 3rd.
I had a great race with Hudeckova
By the last climb on the 3rd lap, Hudeckova and I were together, attacking on the fireroad, savage. I then caught and passed German rider Jochen Cochonelli on the last lap, but Hudeckova was still hot on my heals starting the last climb. Ryan was only about 10seconds ahead here, so I was trying to catch him and at the same time stay away from Hudeckova and Cochonelli, amazing racing.

I had a great race to finish 9th

At the end I came in just behind Ryan with Hudeckova and Cochonelli not far behind. 9th place, very happy with that.
Brit Ian Bibby took the win late in the race from Robin. Robin has now qualified for Beijing, congrats Bob!
A big thanks for Team WORC and all the Seymours for all their hard work to make this the best event ever in Ireland, I wont forget it!

Ian Bibby took the win

Robin took second and the Olympic spot

Monday 7 April 2008

Kevs Ireland Visit

Rocky Mountain/K Capital Source team manager and all round savage Kevin Calhoun took time out from his busy schedule to visit us in Ireland. Kev got to ride every one of the 11 days he has been here. The weather was mixed, from pouring rain to 18 degrees, weird stuff. Lots of trails, and a few pints too.
Thanks to Mark for ‘sponsoring’ the trip, and putting Kev up in the luxury attic room.

I am looking forward to making a trip to Vancouver some day!

Team RM Ireland. L - R, Craig, Paddy, Mark, Joe and Kev

Kev and I on top of Lugala, 120km/hr winds, mad stuff

Kev and I at the top of the Spinx, with Glendalough lakes in the background.

Powerscourt waterfall

Kev on the miners trail above Glendalough lake

Craig on the sleepers....2 km of northshore

Friday 4 April 2008

K Capital Cup # 2, Moneyscalp, Co. Down – Sun 22nd March 2008

Back to Ireland with a shock. My first elite race in years and I was brutal! A v tech course with no rest made the going tough. Together with a crappy start/finish area things were not looking good (why do people continue to do this for UCI races).
I raced the first 3 laps ok, I was in 9th place with 2 Belgian guys. But then I started to feel it, and I blew up after only 1.5 hours. I got into a slow pace to get lapped and hold the position.
Robin won from UK rider Aido Lansley, with conor in 3rd and Niall in 4th, all within 1 min of each other. This almost guarantees Robin the Olympic place.
A poor ride, an ok result and 2 UCI points. Roll on K Cap # 3!

Watch the drop!

Robin takes the win



Thursday 20 March 2008

Mark starts his new diet!

Mark preps for K Capital Cup # 2 this weekend!

Thursday 13 March 2008

Gran Canaria training/race week – March 2008

Its been a while since my last update. Training going ok throughout Jan/Feb, but getting sick twice did not help things.
Hazo and I are just back from Gran Canaria. A bit of relaxing, a bit of biking, and a bit of racing. I entered the GC marathon, 87km and 3600mtrs of climbing!
I also raced in the crit the night before the marathon. 800mtr track with 2 corners!!! Flat out 100%. Got into the final and got dropped straight away, 7th place I think! Legs were ruined though for the main event!
The Marathon was ok. I was riding pretty poorly, no spark there…..I keep the head down though. A long course from Maspalomas to San Bart/Santa Lucia. No real technical secions, just rough fireroads and a bit of tarmac too. I got lost a couple of times and alos friggin punctured on the final descent. I got 17th place, a long way down. 11th was on without the puncture, and I would have easily came 5thish with normal form/no issues, but dem the breaks.
I missed the 1st K Capital cup for this week off. I have to keep focused now for the remaining K Caps to get a reasonable overall placing. The GB Olympic team were over for rnd # 1, with world class rider Oli just taking the win from Robin, great to see this level of racing in Ireland.

Flat out in the friday night crit

On the way up the vally not far from the start

Riding the canyons in the marathon

The new hardtail got a hammering!

Hazel at the infamous fuel stop!



Tuesday 8 January 2008

Irish Cyclocross Champs, Tymon Park, Co. Dublin – Sun 6th Jan 2008

Well, I can finally say that my 2007 season is over, rounded off nicely with a 3rd place at the National Cyclocross Championships.
I am really happy with this result as there was real competition for the bronze medal. There would probably have been above 5 riders in with a shout of bronze, but I keep the head down over Christmas and I was in good form going into the race.
The gold and silver positions were really ever going to be contested by 2 riders, Pro MTB Rider Robin Seymour and Pro Road man Roger Aiken, so 3rd was the main goal.
The course was a mixed bag, some real nice fast straights and corners, and then some silly tight slow singletrack(?). I got a good start, straight into singletrack (why I don’t know). Rodger immediately got a gap, going from the gun, with Philip Roche in 2nd, commonwealth games competitor Lewis Ferguson in 3rd and Robin and I in 4th/5th. Robin got away in the 2nd singletrack and I disposed of Lewis and caught Philip by the end of the 1st lap. Real fast at this stage and not much tactics, 100% everywhere.
I attacked Philip on the 3rd lap and got a good gap, and increased it to 2 minutes by the end of the race.
Roger got the win from Robin, a great result. To be fair, Rodger was flying! Congrats to both of them.
My bike was real nice too, I got a pair of Zipp 303s with tubs, big difference. I also tidied it up with new bars/stem/seat post/saddle/drivechain….felt great. Thanks to Mark and Kevin for making all this happen, all contributes to the good result.

Thanks to promoting club IMBRC for a great event, now I have to come back next year and defend the bronze, ohhhh the pressure!

Phil and I do Battle

Roger takes the win

Robin in 2nd

Philip in 4th



Friday 4 January 2008

Cyclo-cross Nationals Preview

I am really looking forwad to the cyclocross nationals on sunday.Favorites for the title have to be Robin or Roger. Both are fresh back from a hectic shedule in Belgium, so they should be fired up. Also acing in Belgium is Phil Roche, and he will be gunning for the bronze medal. There will be a few of us going for the medals, and the racing should be real this space!
I got the cross bike going well now, Zipp 303 cross wheels with tufos tubs are a go, should be worth a couple of second a lap.
woohoo, my first ever poster appearance!

Cross bike ready to go