Tag Archives: biking

Q&A with Specialized

 

Hey I did this a while a go for Specialized and thought I would share. #happyRiding

What bike(s) do you ride?

Specialized Era Carbon Comp

Very old Carrera road bike

–          Favorite ride?

Wow, that’s a tough one there is so many! Locally to me I love riding around the South Downs exploring new trails and usually getting very lost!

I love being in the mountains and have spent a lot of time walking, climbing and now biking in Wales. There are so many trail centres and plenty of natural riding too if you know where to go.

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My favourite trail centre at the moment is Afan Forest because you can easily link more than one trail together to make long rides.

Afan also packs in lots into its trails with technical rocky descents, big hard climbs, fun rooty singletrack through forests, board walks and stunning scenery where ever you look.

–          Favorite food?

I love Greek and Italian food, there is nothing better than fresh pasta and pesto with some scrummy olives!

My favourite riding food is salted peanuts, or malt loaf. On long training rides I use nuts as a source of energy which is a change from sweet training ride food.

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–          How long have you been riding?

 

When I was growing up I used to go mountain biking with my Dad to Wales and around our local Dunwich Woods. When I was 10 I went to Slovakia on a mountain bike holiday which was really hard work, at times Dad had to tie a rope around my handle bars and help pull me up the hills. I loved the experience of being outside and the freedom of exploring trails.  I then discovered horse riding and it wasn’t until 2012 (some 12 years later) when I was watching the Olympics at Hadleigh I felt inspired to get back on my bike and try racing.

 

–          How did you get into it?

I got into racing when the Olympics came to London. I was watching the girl’s race at Hadleigh on the TV and was so inspired by these incredible riders that I wanted to try it myself. After my first race I was hooked and decided to set myself a goal, to see how far I could take cross-country racing.

–          Who inspires you?

My parents have always been very inspiring to me both competing for Team GB in Judo and Canoeing. They have always taught me to go out and push myself for what I want to achieve.

From the world of cycling I find a lot of the women racing inspiring but lately watching and hearing about Annika Langvards training for the Cape Epic and how she runs up 16 flights of stairs in her local hospital 10 times has really helped to keep me going in my Trans Alp training.

–          What kind of riding do you do?

Mountain biking is my passion and where I compete, but I enjoy the freedom of getting out on any bike, I just think it’s a great way to experience your surroundings and to be able to go places by your own steam.

Hannah 1

–          What’s your favourite thing about riding?

One of my favourite things about riding a bike is you see the world in a different way, on early morning training rides I often see deer, badgers and owls all creatures that you would usually never see in your car.

I love the freedom cycling brings when I clip into those pedals it’s just me, my bike and the trail, nothing else matters. My mind is clear from everything apart from what’s going on in front of me and I find that is a magical feeling.

–          What’s your best cycling memory?

My best cycling memory has to be travelling around Scotland with my boyfriend Martyn ticking off as many trail centers as we could in a week.

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There has been many from a coaching point of view the first time I taught a child to ride their bike with confidence.

–          What’s your least favourite thing about cycling?

Working full time, like most people my training time is squished in around work. I am an early bird so tend to train around 6.30 before work. I actually love this time of day but when the wind is howling and its chucking it down or icy outside it makes training a lot harder, but it’s about having the resilience to get out, endure the bad weather and know when it comes to racing you will be stronger for it.

–          What advice can you give to people starting out?

If you’re new to mountain biking I would suggest you go with friends who have some experience and head for either your local bridleways or a trail centre and try out green/blue graded trails.

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The key things to mountain biking are:

  • momentum – speed can be your friend it’s going to help you when the ground is muddy or sandy so remember to keep the bike moving
  • look where you want to go – this sounds easy but when you start to progress onto steeper terrain or more committing trails the key is to look where you want the bike to go, looking down at the tree stump usually means you hit it!
  • gear selection – using your gears effectively makes climbing so much more enjoyable, don’t change down to your smallest gear as soon as you start going upwards, ‘reward’ yourself with a change down gear as you go up the hill this will make it easier going and again you will keep your momentum

Getting some coaching is always a good option as you will learn things correctly and stop any bad habits.

 

–          What advice can you give to people who want to improve/ potentially start racing?

There are two options when you’re looking to race if you’re thinking you want to do it seriously you need to look at you strengths and weaknesses to choose the type of racing which will suit you, or if you’re just keen on mountain biking then just getting into cross country is the most accessible type of race with regional races all over the country for different abilities.

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The best way to improve your riding or racing technique is to practice, analyse your strengths and weaknesses, then set yourself a plan of how to improve. Getting a coach is a great way to keep motivated and reach your goals.

 

–      What’s made you want to do the Trans Alps?

In 2012 when I started racing I set myself a goal of a stage race. Now 4 years on I feel my fitness and ability is ready for such a challenge. My aim is to encourage and inspire other women to get outside and have adventures on bikes whether they’re big or small. I want to show that with hard work, determination and focus you can achieve your dreams.

–      What will be your biggest challenge?

The Trans Alp will be a huge challenge both mentally and physically, we will be climbing over 17,000 m which is twice the height of Everest over 7 days in heat, so getting enough fluid will be really important. The altitude makes its harder work too and it’s something I can’t really train for in the UK.

The Passo Gavia

Mentally getting up each day for 5/6 hours in the saddle is something I have not yet experienced, but something I can practice. Michelle my Trans Alp team mate and I will be going to Wales to do long rides over a few days to get an idea of how this will feel!

 

–      Tips to improve confidence?

Look at how far you have come and what you have achieved, when you are faced with a new challenge look back at the last challenge and how you achieved it and think positively about how it will feel to overcome this new obstacle.

Please can you add these social details:

Follow Hannah’s journey to the Trans Alp and beyond on Instagram @hannahlifeon2wheels

Twitter: @Hannaha87

An adventure to Afan

Last weekend Michelle, and I travelled to Wales for Battle on the Beach, the UK’s only beach race which takes place in Pembrey country park, South Wales.

On our way we stopped at Afan forest to test out our legs on one of their trials. I haven’t been to Afan in ages and this is the first time my new Specialized Era has seen rock!

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We decided on White Levels and started up the climb, it was very rocky with some big step ups in places but the 29er wheels ate up the ground. This is the first time I have been on something technical with this bike and I felt really confident on it with my 700mm handle bar and full suspension. I felt invincible! We soon were descending through the forest on tight singletrack,

It felt like I was flying as my bike made easy work of the rocky and rooty terrain.

One of my favourite sections is a board walk through the trees with some little steps and thinner sections and off camber turns. It’s really good fun and tests your nerve and ability to focus on what’s in front of you and not look down!

The 15km White levels loop is a great red trail with an even amount of ascent and descent. The climbs are technical in places and hard work, but the descents make up for it in excitement. This red trail has something for everyone, whether you like carving through the trees or feeling exposed racing down the mountain side. It packs a lot of features into a 15 km circuit.

It is well worth investigating Afan’s other trails when you are in South Wales.

Here is a short video on the best bits in my opinion!

Mud Sweat and Gears, Henham Park, Round Three

Sunday was my first XCO(Cross-Country Olympic setyle) race this season and I was really excited about racing the Mud Sweat and Gears series as the races are always really well organised and there is always lots of people to cheer you on!

My Mum Had also decided to try her first ever cross country race which added to the excitement.

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We arrived at Henham Park at 7.50, collected our number boards and headed out on the practise lap. Mum had never been on ‘singletrack’ so I had to coach her down a few parts, but I was very proud of the way she handled some of the steeper descents and also obstacles such as logs which she roll over with ease. Well done Mum!

The course was a mixture of fire roads and twisty singletrack through the trees. It was fun and not technical but had one ‘A’ ‘B’ line, where I actually think the off camber ‘B’ line was, in ways harder than the straight down ‘A’ line.

After course practise we had  a short amount of time so I went off to warm up, during this time I accidentally managed to ride into a tape barrier which was lying on the floor, which pulled me off my bike quite harshly leaving my left side felt rather battered and bruised. Not the best start!

We gridded just before 10. As I stood on the start line my mind was full of thoughts about the race and the training I had put in over the winter, had it been enough? We stood on the start for a good 10 mins whilst everyone was gridded and my muscles became cold.

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As I sprinted off the line I got a pretty good start and was happy with my place going into the first bend. Power endurance has never been my strong point and I soon felt like I had to slow down to recover.

Getting cold had really affected me as my first lap felt like my warm up and it wasn’t until my second and third laps when I felt I was starting to gain on the leading group.

On my second lap I passed Mum just after the only ‘A’ ‘B’ line in the course and she said she had a tumble, but seemed in high spirits so I carried on but felt a bit concerned if she had hurt herself badly.

My the last lap I was feeling really good and crossed the line feeling like I could of done another lap even though I had been working at the top end of what I’m capable of, I felt like I had more to give. I wad relived to see Mum had finished and was smiling!

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I finished fourth which I am pleased with and after analysing my results from last year can see that my fitness and pace have improved.

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My next race is the Nationals in Plymouth which is going to be my first ever Nationals at elite level.  I know this is going to be a tough challenge and feel very excited about the opportunity to race alongside some of the best riders in the country!

Thanks to Bike Fixers for keeping my bike in tip top condition, to Dog Tag for supporting my Pedal 2 Pedal racing team, to Grip Grab for the best gloves and over shoes and Silverback for my awesome bike!

British Cycling MTB Cross Country Hopton

On Saturday Martyn and I travelled down to Hopton Castle, Shropshire so I could compete in round three of the British Cross Country Nationals. Ludlow

I decided to ride the course on the Saturday giving more time to practise. I walked parts of the course whilst Martyn raced in the open category. This was to really help me on the technical downhill sections, knowing where to enter the corners and noting any routes that may be tricky!
Riding the course was good fun but challenging the course went straight up for the first couple of kilometres. First on a cart track and then after a small open flat sections onto a gruelling climb up grassy and rooty single track. This was going to be the hardest part of the race and potentially the part where the race would be won or lost due to my ability to go up hills faster than my opponents.
(Having been to Wales recently) The downhill sections where fun and I felt comfortable riding them as they were similar to things I had previously ridden and quite recently ridden in Wales.

BC round threeAfter having my practice lap,  I felt confident about my ability to ride the course and potentially win!
The next day started early with the race starting at 9:30 we got down early so I could warm up.
The race started and was very bunched up as we all headed up the hill into the first left bend, I pushed on and was sitting quite comfortably in third. However we reached the next sharp right hand bend and I cut the corner and slipped which cost me time but I pushed on. (The next grassy climbed as I though really split the group up ) does not make sense and I pushed on into the next bit of single track downhill where a lapse in concentration cost me dearly as I came off and then had to wait for everyone to go by, before I could  get back on safely. This lost me my third place and put me in last position.
I pushed on and over the course of my second lap regained a lot of lost time and actually pulled ahead of Fiona Innes (RAF) to regain third place, this happened on the second section of hill where I was able to put a big distance between the two of us.
I kept pushing on hard and taking the downhill bits steadily as to not make any errors which could result in me loosing time.
I finished the last section of downhill and rode back into the  arena relieved  to have finished as it had been very demanding on my endurance skills.

Round Three BCA tragic mistake!  I believed once passed the time lapse truck I had gone through the finish, this was not the case! And as I watched in horror, from the other side of the barrier which I had crossed and saw Fiona taking  third place. I crossed back into the arena to finish the race feeling very frustrated about how I could make such a blinding error which cost me dearly.
Overall this race showed where my weaknesses lie and where I need to improve, including my ability to push harder uphill and turn sharper and quicker both on downhill and uphill.
These are points I am now working on ready for the next race.
After this race I am now sitting in third position in the sport category overall.

Breeze Ride Leader

On Saturday I braved the wind and rain to take part in my Breeze level one ride leadership award. British Cycling’s Breeze campaign is to get more women into riding bikes for fun, the aim is to help women to feel confident and comfortable about riding bikes.

I decided as biking has opened so many doors for me that I would like to volunteer some of my time to help get other ladies on to their bikes! The training took part over the course of a day and incorporated class room lectures with out door practical sessions. It was fun and informative and was a great introduction to the sort of rides i could expect to run as a Breeze champion. I met lots of other Breeze ride leaders and it was a fantastic opportunity to network and build a base of riding buddies.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a ride leader and getting more women out on their bikes contact the Breeze network.

I will be running Breeze rides from April 2014 from Petersfield and the surrounding area please contact me if you are interested in joining h.attenburrow@gmail.com. Rides will be tailored to ability and can be off road or on road.

Happy Cycling!

Breeze Ride Leader Award

Biking in Scotland Part One

In six days we covered 1,212 car miles, 60 bike miles, went through eight inner tubes, broke gears, lost iPhones and met the BBC Country File cast. Not bad for a relaxing week away.The Slab

Our journey started at Dalbeattie one of the best (according to a friend) of the ‘7stanes’. These are seven mountain biking centres spanning the south of Scotland, from the heart of the Scottish Borders to Dumfries and Galloway. ‘Stane’ is the Scots word for stone, and at each of the 7stanes locations, you’ll find a stone sculpture reflecting a local myth or legend.

The red ‘Hardrock’ trail at Dalbeattie is a pleasant 25 km with not too many steep climbs and some fantastic views along the way. The ‘slab’ which is by far the most talked about part of the trail is a 15 meter granite ‘slab’ which from the top looks more like something you should climb up than ride down!

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On day 2, we went to Mabie another of the 7 Stanes. The Pheonix trail is a 19km mix of cross country and twisty single track. Mabie encompasses the most fantastic switchbacks ive ever encountered which feel like your entering a washing machine spin cycle as you get sucked into the never ending spiral. Rocky drop offs and routed sections make this an interesting and technical ride at times. The scenery was stunning with hills covered in Scots pine and purple patches of heather making every climb worth it!

The South of Scotland brought many surprises and had been a good warm up for what was yet to come.