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King Alfred and no more bike envy!

August 08, 2022   ·  
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Where do I start. I know let’s start here 

 

Chapter 7: “the month that kept on giving!”

 

This month should have been a non eventful month bar for a week long training camp in the uk finished by a 24 hour charity ride for racing welfare around the Cotswold hills. 

 

Like I said a non eventful month. No racing (very little to pick from). How wrong could I be? 

 

It all started one evening when I went to drop my beloved Rocky, my full suspension bike (a Santa Cruz Tallboy) to his new owner north of London. It was an agonising decision to part with him but I barely rode him due to him being a little bit too heavy for racing and he was just collecting rust in my shed and depreciating in value. I had bought him when I didn’t really know what I wanted out of cycling. I actually bought him from BW cycling in Bristol, a great bike shop nestled at the foot of Ashton court bike park  If you ever go to a bike shop, this is the one to go to, great service, good choice of bikes and you might get to meet Oli or Andy, the owners. Oli being my coach, this is how I met him. 

 

Anyway back to my story. As I said I wasn’t riding him. Dropped Rocky off, came home and decided that my next bike would be a custom built one, something that I could built over time. As I wasn’t in a financial position to get my dream bike…. 

 

Until…

 

A few days later, I got sent an eBay page link by a friend to the holy grail… 

 

A SCOTT SPARK RC 900 team issue. I know to most of you this doesn’t mean much. But to me, this was my dream bike. The same bike that Nino Schurter (the GOAT of MTB) won world titles on (well slightly spec up). Kate Courtney also won a world title on it. Just to tell you something, it was so good when it came out that Scott did not do anything to it for 2 years! I was torn between my head or heart! should I, shouldn’t I? I took the plunge, went to check it and bought it on the spot. It is to die for, remote shock lock out, electronic shifter, dropper post, 100 mills of travel front and rear, the last owner even kindly upgraded the old wheels for some mavic crossmax SLS (the same set up I ride on Eddie), it’s perfect. And guess what, it rides perfect. It just makes me smile everytime I see it, touch it, ride it! I literally have a full stable of race bikes now. Whatever bike I decide to ride at a race or out, they are both perfect. No more looking at other riders envying them. Because now I have my dream bikes, and I am lucky to do so! 

 

After that exciting Sunday, the very following day I set off on my adventure around the well known King Alfred’s Way or KAW. After riding a 100 miles on my road bike the previous day I must add. The KAW is a mostly off road loop going from Winchester (king Alfred statue and the town where he was buried) back to winchester (but you can start it wherever you want as it is a loop really), going via Salisbury plains, Amesbury, along the ridgeway to goring, down to reading, farham, petersfield. It takes on the ridgeway, South Downs way, north dawns way and Thames path. It’s 223 miles around with 14000 of elevation. It is a cycle route establish only since 2020 but is all ready very popular amongst bike packing riders. Yes bike packing, as in, most would ride it over 5/6 days with either overnight stays in camp or B&B. meaning you need to take spares clothes and bike maintenance essential plus fuelling for the bike. Loading you with extra weight making the journey more complicated. 

 

To go with all of that, it’s not sign posted, so you need to carefully plan your route and keep your eyes open and to where you go. And it’s off road, meaning technical uphill and downhill, like the devils punchbowl (a famous hill just before liphook), duster hill (no one mention him, but it’s savage with 25% ramps) and the tricky technical at times South Downs way, plus windy Salisbury plains and rutted ridgeway. It’s a challenge, one that many people take on too lightly and get found out on. I used it as part of a training week. And I did it in 3 days. They were huge days on the bike (2nd day being a 101 miles on mtb with 8000 of climbing resulting in just under 9 hour on the bike). But I LOVED IT. I loved the adventure, the bike packing, the unknown of where I was going , the story sharing with other riders, the story sharing on social platform, the having to mend my bike on the side of the road, the amazing sights and the riding of it. Would I do it again? yes without the shadow of a doubt. 

 

After this I took Scott (the new bike) for an inaugural ride (I rode my trusted Eddie for the KAW) over 82 miles and I finished the week by taking part in the great British cycle  challenge  (24 hours non stop riding in teams of 4, pair of riders at all time out on the course) organised by racing welfare, the racing charity looking after the human participant in the racing industry, of whom I have been a beneficiary in the past. The challenge was riding a loop starting from Cheltenham racecourse. I was in teams of 4 (i participated in it with the Charlie longsdon racing team), my team mates were Will Biggart, Amber Cartlidge (both working for Charlie) and Brittany Teague. All very competent bike riders and between the 4 of us, we completed just shy of 600 miles and climbed over 40000. A gigantic effort from us 4 and a gigantic effort from all the riders taking part in event. We raised over £100000 as an event sprayed over 81 riders and 20 odd teams. A great 24 hours and fantastic to see many big names in racing involved in the event.  Sir AP McCoy, Richard Johnson, Oisin Murphy amongst many others saddled up and done the challenge. 

 

In a week I completed 574 miles (300 plus on a mtb) and climbed 34000. Great training camp and great time on the bike with lots learned about me and how far can I push my body. 

 

This month is the last training block before the appeninica and Scott will make his racing debut at the Welsh marathon champs.

 

 

Wishing you all a good end of summer and looking guard to share my adventures with you all. 

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Katie Range
Katie Range

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