All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Scottish Dry Tooling Trip

About a month ago a mate Rob, a very handy climber, suggested when we where coming back from a night on the chalk that I should enter the last round of the MCofS Dry Tooling series.  He made it sound pretty good fun and I had a look online and entered. Hmmm?

Anyway, being new to Dry Tooling and never entering a climbing comp I decided that some proper training would be wise and over the next month or so put in the effort.  During this period I did notice that I was improving, stamina, strength, technique and reading of routes and problems.

Rob had also managed to convince Shelle a friend of ours to enter the womens comp, Nik unfortunately didn't have enough leave for this trip.  So on 4ht of December, Shelle, Rob and I drove through the afternoon and most of the night to get to Kinlochleven where the Ice Factor stands for the last round of the series.

We pitched a tent for Shelle and Rob and I shared the van.

The next morning we registered and waited for the start and then got going.  The format was 17 problems/routes, with 3 ice routes as well in the Ice Factor ice box.  You take your score card and a climbing partner and do the problems and score each other honestly.  Cheating and qualifying for the finals would actually be embarrassing as you flail around in front of everyone, so most are pretty honest, whilst some have lapses.

Anyway, Rob flashed all bar 2 problems and one was due to checking the setting of the problem and finding that a particular hold had to be used in only one way, so he redid the problem.  He still qualified second, nice work.

I on the other hand dropped one complete problem, that's 10 points gone and then dropped 3 points each on another 3 problems  This meant that I just missed a qualifying climb off by 3 points.  Although that would have been against the chap that went on to win it.

During the finals, we witnessed some amazing climbing from the juniors, in particular the boys.  The women were stopped in there tracks by two killer powerful moves in their final and the subsequent super final.  This went down to the supposed highest point reached after it was said that it would be the fastest time to whatever point they reached, therefore if they all got to the same point the fastest woman to the point won.

In the vet men, there was a clear winner.

Oops, Veteran Mens Final

The men's final went to a super final as well, that would be timed, after Steve, Rob and Malcolm, all topped out (reached the top of the route).  Steve came out and went first in the super final and made it to the top, then Rob.  Rob put in a great display of percise climbing and flew through once section very fast, but missed getting to the top by a few moves in the alotted time.  Malcolm was out next and looking good and moving nicely, I looked away and heard the familiar sound of a fall, only to turn back and see Mal being lowered off.

Rob, styling in the mens final

That was the end of the comp and a great day.  Rob had done very well and sets himself up for hopefully a great season and some success at the comps.  Shelle loved it and wishes to return stronger and more competitive now she is use to the horrid plastic holds.  I personally couldn't be happier, I finished 6th in the Open Mens in my first comp.

The next question was, what to do in a wet mild Scotland in winter?  More Dry Tooling, stay tuned.

Gorrick Brass Monkey 29th Nov

It had been a bad prep week and an even worse morning with several things going wrong and needing sorting on the bike at short notice.  This distracted me from my normal pre race prep of eating and drinking lots to get me ready for the impending 4-5 hrs in the cold wet November weather.

A delayed start meant more shivering in the rain and circling to keep warm.

Finally we got started and the charge down the soft wet start/finish straight set the scene for the rest of the track. Wet, muddy and hard going. By the first hill I had already gone past a number of riders, by the next I went pass a few more and settled into a good rhythm the remainder of the first lap I felt good and pick up a few more places and seemed to be holding a good race pace.

Being mindfully aware of a bad prep week I keep drinking and trying to get more food on (this track made that hard to do). Heading out on to the second lap I still felt good and was keeping a consistent pace, even if other cyclist went pass me, I knew the sections I would catch them on and did so.  By the end of the second lap I had gained a few more places.  I swapped bottles and continued, what I should have done was grabbed some more food.

Heading out on to the 3rd lap, I dropped a few guys that had been lapping at the same speed as me, had a mild and fixable mechanical and kept pushing on.  But as I hit the sand section of the course my legs immediately felt sapped of all power and I started to feel a bit rough.  I immediately drunk and ate some more.

As I pushed on I felt worse and worse, I tried and succeeded in maintaining my place and pulled past a few more riders. I stuffed some more food in, but I was now starting to feel the cold and feel very wobbly.

After a very heavy section of mud that I had ridden through previously without issue, this time had me walking I realised that I was out of this.  I got back on the bike, cleared the single track and then stumbled of my bike and sat in the wet for a while shivering, eating and drinking.  I felt bloody terrible, I had to think hard where I was, I was seeing stars and really couldn't stand for a moment.

Many of the riders going past ask if I was alright and I said yes, knowing that I just had to get back to the event village and get warm, dry and eat more.  A young lass stopped for a while chatted to me and offered me some more food that I declined, and thanked her for the offer and stopping.  But with that I got back on the bike and finished the lap and my race 2hrs earlier than planned.

The weather had been terrible and my prep just as bad for this race.  But at least I knew what I had done wrong.  After getting warm and dry after I finished, I ate loads and drunk even more and this reinforced my thoughts as I started picking up but very very slowly.

The good thing to come out of it though was that my race pace was good and competitive, I just need to prepare better, which I know I can, eat more when racing which I normally do and train more to get stronger and faster.  Well I have 2 months for that and some very good mixed training in between.

Accept, learn, move on.