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The Big Dog Cometh

§ Mountain biking

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Dave and Mikey climbing through Stanmer woods

Back in December I knackered my Achilles tendon while out running. Since then I’ve been getting back into cycling. As much I enjoy running, cycling and mountain biking in particular is my first love but has taken something of a back seat since the arrival of kids and a lack of other people to ride with. I’m perfectly happy running on my own, but the joy of cycling I find is greatly enhanced when in a group.

Anyway that’s all changed this year. I’m out on the bike(s) a lot more, I have friends in and out of work who ride, and I’ve discovered new places to go.

One of those places is the woods surrounding Stanmer Park on the edge of the South Downs. It’s a small area, but the riding is fun with a decent bit (300m) of climbing and lots of technical singletrack to enjoy. It’s the closest thing within easy reach to my beloved North Downs.

In August one of Britain’s biggest mountain races comes to Stanmer Park. The Brighton Big Dog is a 6 hour endurance race winding through the very woods we ride every week.

The Big Dog can be ridden by individuals (no thanks) or by teams of three in a relay (much more sensible). Clearleft is entering a team - me, Jon and Mikey. We don’t have any hopes of placing well in the race, but it should be a fun day.

Brighton Big Dog from Morvélo Bicycle Apparel

None-the-less I’d still like to give it a decent shot, so I’m trying to get in shape. It’s a something of a course for good climbers, so the first thing I want to do is get my weight down to 80kg - I’m currently 83.5kg. Hopefully keeping an eye on my eating (and drinking) combined with plenty of riding will get me in better shape by August.

Watch this space, and my progress on Strava.