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Petra Wiltshire's Blog

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October 2011

Italian Sunshine and lots of hills to ride up and down!

Just recovered from the most amazing event of the season The Super Enduro Final in Finale Ligura (Besides the Cobble Wobble) In fact the two had similarities, racing a short thirty-second Time Trial on cobbled streets! I travelled down on Friday after a limited amount of hours spent in the saddle over the previous three weeks. Fearful of what I was letting myself in for. When we arrived the Finale Luguran coastline was sparkly blue, white sands and blue skies. A nippy wind did not curb our enthusiasm for riding our bikes in some amazing scenery.

My hotel was interesting to find, windy streets in a large minibus were expertly negotiated by Lloyd Grace (Bike guide and Professsional Transfers boss) Upon checkin, the receptionist gleefully informed me of the easiest route up and down to the town….200 Steps!!!! They went straight up! Fun going down on the bikes, hell carrying it back up! I would post pics but I managed to lose my camera during the weekend!!

Met up with Tracy Moseley and Northern Monkey Boy James that afternoon. They filled me with fear, explaining the nature of the event and the enormity of the climbs. Many taking well over an hour with time penalties for late arrival at the top. Sounds ok, but there were 1500m to take in in one days racing. The easiest one took me an hour!!!

I opted to not practice the stages too much as not having an uplift planned, it meant I would be doing some mega climbs and descents the day before the event…Retrospectively, I think I should have hitched a lift somewhere, the descents were eqaully tech and needed learning! Its all a learning process for my Enduro series assault next season.

Anyway, I opted the day before to put Maxxis Ardents on the Rocky Mountain Slayer… Big mistake as they were 1 and a half ply! The time trail was fun around the town, short street circuit on cobbles and spectators…Felt at home!!!

Next day I was paired up on the podium to start the race with Tanja Zakeji.. Junior and Under 23 World XC Champion!!! Eeek first climb for an hour at a hot pace with her not breaking sweat and me dying as we chatted!! The first dh was the most tech and I made a few mistakes, dropping my chain and getting over taken by Tanja… I then had to chase her all down the mountain. Very very impressed with a xc rider who can really shift on the DH sections too. At the bottom we only had 50 mins to make stage two and the mother of all road climbs for about 5 km. I had no lead out as Tanja had bust a quick helmet swap and gone on at warp speed!

I was really struggling on the second climb, no pacing meant I was not sure of my speed and time in relation to my start time (Must remember a watch next time!) I was a few minutes late for my start at the top, quick helmet swap and off on very tight rocky track. The Slayer was in its element, I passed two chaps and on one passing move hit a very square rock….Bang no pressure in my back tyre and nowhere to fix it. I ran for 4 minutes until I could find a place to repair the tube. The valve had completely sheered off! Quick change and burst of my CO2 cartridge and I was off and rolling…Dreading the time I needed to make up on the next climb! Just before the end I had the worst feeling again, my back-end was snaking around and another flat…Bloody single ply tyres!!!! I rolled through the finish and set about another repair. I had a another CO2 canister ready, I managed to inflate it about half full before the canister emptied…Bugger! No more co2 , tubes or pump! Amateur mistake I will learn from. My roll back to Finale was slow and laboured with only two stages completed and retirement! The beer on the beach did little to cheer me up, stories were filtering back of epic crashes, energy sapping stages and mechanicals all round. One guy I rolled in with had no mech and two flats as well!

Hey ho, I would like to say I would have finished but think my fitness was a bit suspect. Lloyd suffered terrible cramps in the final stages and even had marathon wall legs for a while! Tracy won convincingly from my climbing partner Tanja. Remy Absalon won the mens and the end of a fanatstic season for all involved. I cannot wait for next year. Not sure what I will be riding on, but I have loved my year with Rocky Mountain Bikes. They have worked faultessly and still look like they have just come out the box…testament to the quality of paint finish. Thanks again SRAM, Rock Shox, Avid, Rukkus, and Chris Sports. You have all made it a great year. Maybe I go for another Rainbow Jersey next year. Four is a nice round number, the winter nights will be spent plotting my assault on 2012 and a fitness regime to help me in the Super Enduro series too.

Keep smiling wherever you are

Pee x

Busy end to the season…Cobble Wobble and more…

I do not know where to begin…Time has flown by so fast with no time to catch breath it seems! Does not seem two minutes ago that I was in Finale Ligura Italy, taking delivery of two fresh shiny Rocky Mountain Bikes and riding down super steep, flowing tracks with dealers from all over Europe. That was February with snow on the ground in Champéry and skiing still firmly on the agenda. Now its October, the bikes are still shiny, but have a few more miles on the clock and I am heading full circle back to the tracks in Finale Ligura for the last blast of the year! Snow on the horizon here in the mountains again and mid drifting to snow and skis!!!

Its the big Enduro racing finale….The Finale Superenduro Final! I have to confess the bike is more ready to race than the pilot! I have not had time to get out enough since the lifts shut and guiding finished! Gardening work has taken priority with every tree and garden in Champéry need a prune it seems!!!alas, we all need to pay the bills and racing does not do that very often.

Looking back, one of the highlights of my year was the infamous Frome Cobble Wobble, in its third year it was something that should be put in red on everyones race agenda… A MUST do event, in the same vain as Cape Epic, Mega, Trans Provence and many others…!!!!! I arrived back in the home town armed with a pair of race shoes and a helmet….Looking for some kindly sole to lend me a steed suitable for an assualt on the cobbles of Catherine Hill. The winning record time of Chris Akrig is staggering, something I still find hard to comprehend. Basically, its a time trial up a short steep cobbled, shop lined hill in a sleepy Somerset Town. Dreamt up by visionary bike genius, Andrew “Cobble Wobble/Bike Academy”Denham. Riders can take it seriously or not

There were some amazing sites, including a Stag Party in various stages of undress, pantomime Horse and countless fairies, smurfs, and assortment of men in womens clothes. Small kids on barbie bikes and elderly people on Bromptons and professional riders from GT and Rapha-Condor etc.

Richard from Live 2 Ride in Frome came up trumps and loaned me a splendid small road bike from the shop. Jess Stone also came down from Trek Gravity Girls. Richard used the chance to launch his Live 2 Ride Women section in the shop (Maybe a rethink on the name is in order Rich?) We had lovely one off T Shirts especially with our names on the back!


Well needless to say, I hold my hand up and profess loudly that I am not, and never will be a star climber or roadie of any repute! Its downhill for me! But, I loved it, felt like spitting chunks at the finish and smiled the whole 30 something seconds of it! Next year I will be on tender hooks to get an entry and preparing a super dooper cobble wobble race steed! Thanks to Richard and Fleur, Marjorie and all who helped me prepre for the event and helped me get up the hill in one piece! I think I need to have more Cobble Wobble beer with Rich, Fleur and Jess the night before and more of the pre race food of Champions…Curry and then brekkie of porridge

So, now I am preparing for Finale Ligura this weekend. The Slayer is shiny, buffed up and ready….I just have to get my tent de-mildewed and sleeping bag fumigated! Just found out there is about 70 km of riding and 1700m of climbing…Eeek! Ah hell, its not all bad…Mediterranean coastal town, Gelato by the bucket load, good wine, good food and some of the best natural descents to the sea known to man. Just got to get me and the Slayer to the top under my own pedal pushing power first!

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