Recently life has been rather turbulent and in fact the last 15 months have been something of a whirlwind that I struggle to keep up with.
I didn’t honestly envisage things turning in the direction that they have, which is organising cycle events. Previous to Battle on the Beach last year events were for taking part in and for racing.
Find a race. Pay the entry fee. Turn up, sign on. Race. Go home.
A crazy idea to create an event on a beach took off and last year I ended up creating 5 brand new events: Battle on the Beach, The Monster, Grimpee Mynydd Ddu, Tide to Tide & Cross Mountain.
Once the ball was rolling there was no turning back. A mountain bike stage race had been on my mind for a while. I was under no illusion how much work would be required, but jumped in and Epic Cymru was born.
To this date Epic Cymru has been well over 12 months in the planning stages and there are still another 4 months until the event. From the early recces and working out the format to finding venues and approaching a few key industry people to gauge a response.
Although there is still a massive amount to do, Epic Cymru is happening and what an amazing initial response!
To anyone who thinks that Welsh Mountain Biking isn’t among the best in the World, or perhaps isn’t that well regarded the event so far has entries from the following countries with zero marketing outside of UK channels:
China (Hong Kong and mainland), Japan, South Africa, USA, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Ireland.
Overseas entries is by far the most humbling for me as a race organiser. These racers are staking perhaps double or triple the race entry on an airfare, plus everything else that is required. I am incredibly excited about Epic Cymru, but its also a massive weight on me at the moment. Put simply, it must go to plan. To ensure that happens, all my energy and time at present is being put into the event, something that has seriously affected my personal racing.
In January and early February I headed to Oman to race the Trans Hajar, but my race calendar has been empty since then as I have been busy with Battle on the Beach, which was a massive success again. Racing the first BMBS in Sherwood was a possibility, but would have perhaps been a folly with my complete lack of racing.
With Epic Cymru a few months away and Battle on the Beach now behind me there is some time to train and race but motivation has been a big struggle at times.
A lack of racing and training means less speed and fitness, which in turn means I get demotivated about racing. It is one big vicious circle and something I needed to get out of.
I turned to running to try and get out of the hole and its something that I am enjoying. Instead of watching my bike fitness go backwards the progress in just a few weeks of short runs is great and I am looking at a few trail events to motivate myself even more. The Easter bank holiday was another turning point, a chance to get some good distance on the bike done.
Friday was actually a write off, I did nothing at all. Perhaps a chance to mentally recover after a mental few months previously.
Saturday started off badly, a planned fast 5km run instead become a 400m run and 600m hobble home as my legs decided they didn’t want to run fast. After sulking at home for a few hours I decided to go back out and jog a steady 9km which massively improved my mood. In the afternoon, still keen to do something I headed out on the bike. The sun was shining and the warm temperature had me excited, so I headed up the Black Mountain; the biggest climb around. To my complete surprise I put down my 4th fastest time. 1 minute off a PB (set in 2011) and 30 seconds off 2013 and 2014 times. How did that happen?!
The thought of being only a minute off a PB set when I was a massive 7 kg lighter has re-kindled my love for the bike. The realisation that things are not as bad as I thought and although I am no where near my best, I do have a half decent place to start from.