Christmas Update / Race plan / Sponsors

A few things happened that made this christmas an incredibly stressful, unusual, but mostly successful week.

Day 1) Job interview, I had focused on looking for a job in the Cycling / Outdoor sports industry for a while, and after a brilliant 2 hour interview, I was told that I had got the position! I'm Absolutely delighted, and excited to be working in a field that's obviously my passion!! And the boss is an excellent guy too!!

However 70km after the interview (I cycled to it) I arrived home to find out my amazing father / No.1 cycling fan, had been rushed to the hospital and was presumed dead or dying!!! (He keeled over at work) This was incredibly stressful to hear, but it turns out, he was alive and well, and had keeled over after a medication mix up. Dad's had more heart attacks than cappuccino's, so anything health related, tends to set the alarm bells off with me / the family..

Day 2) I was out training (on the way to Kerry to visit the 90 year old granny) And I came face to face with absolute death. 2 cars racing side by side up a narrow country road, coming straight at me, speeds at over 100kmph. Divine intervention, call it what ever you like, I'm lucky to be fucking alive.

Day 3) Christmas in the lovely south west of Ireland, amazing views / mountains, great but highly dangerous training roads, and of course the constant pissing of rain!! That's Sneem, Co.Kerry for you!

Anyway's, everyone's alive, no one actually died, I got a job, all is well!!!!

For 2013, I have one massive event organized, its the Iron Bike, which goes across Italian alps for 9 days! Its over 8 hours racing each day, so i'm focused on being in tip top condition Mid July!

Also, I'm happy to say, that Met are supporting me with a range of their amazing helmets, to keep the brains intact on the rough descents! Also, Ill have news on an exciting new bike Sponsor very soon!!! 

Happy christmas everybody, and go ride your bikes!



Winter Update / New Focus

Firstly, I successfully got my Advertising Degree, and since then, I've had to knuckle down and start a job hunt, its not as easy as it sounds but I've been able to train a lot.

For 2013, I'm changing focus, longer, grueling, endurance mountain bike events are to be my main focus. They normally last for about a week, and tend to go across vast mountain ranges with riders sleeping in tents nomadic style. I decided this in June, and since then have been trying to adjust to a longer distance style of racing.

There's bound to be incredible experiences, and of course serious high's and low's. I think i'd that's why they appeal to me. In Ireland, we've only really had one event like this before, a shortened version, everyone who raced it loved it!

One of the events I have in mind (more on this soon) is 9 days long.. 9 days!!! 4000 meters climbing each day, its going to be beyond difficult. Its going to encompass everything I love about mountain bike holidays or Races in the alps, History, Sun, incredible descents, and mountain top war fortresses. Italy is full of these. on the french border, nearly every peak has a one, Amazing!

Here's a picture of Briancon, the town is surrounded by this amazing Vauban fortress from the 1700's.  its an incredible place to ride a mountain bike for over 8 hours.

More on the Races soon.


XC Champs / Road Stage Race!

Since the last update, I’ve had my head down pretty hard, focusing on one of my main objectives of the year, the cross country championships! Its kind of a stressful event, and it takes its toll mentally. However, things were amazing fitness wise in the lead up to the event, I was getting stronger each week, and the figures were showing it! 
Race day came, and I had a perfect start to the race. About midway through the race, I blew up, the engine had broke. In the end, all I could manage was a 6th place, but C’est la vie! 
 Strangely enough, a couple of hours after the event, I suddenly got really ill, This was a close one, as I nearly vomited all over the car on the way home! It seems I must have caught a bug or something. Unlucky, but that’s life! 
After the Nationals, I took a chilled out week, rested, did a load of partying with friends, had a few too many beers, and of course way too many cakes! Very glad to be finished objective No.1
Objective No.2 -  Marathon Championships
As the cross country season winds down the Marathon season starts. These are essentially longer mountain bike races which cover distances up to 100km. They are excellent fun, and much more interesting, as anything can happen! Through hard training I’ve been doing solid 20 hour week blocks of endurance riding to get in shape for these events. I’m certainly clocking up the milage at this stage.
For some excellent training, I competed my in my first ever skinny tire stage race - The Ras Connacht, This was an amazing road stage race which involved 3 races in 2 days. Unluckily, I never got to see Westport and Croagh Patrick, but the rest of the scenery was seriously incredible, bar the torrential rain which followed us for the weekend! 
Stage 1) 95km Road race, 677 Meters climbed
Stage 2) - 9km Time trial 
Stage 3) - 87km,  Luckily, this included a 4 minute climb at the finish. Which allowed me to ride away from the chasing group of riders and finish 10th.
The key to these events, is eating (Lots!), resting and recovery. So during the event, It was really important to take on board plenty of carbs, the best way was through caffeinated energy gels, and a good carb drink, USN Vooma gels / Cytopower HP did the job excellently.  
More importantly, chilling out after each stage is critical, as is taking enough food on board, Its difficult to replenish 4000 burnt calories with pasta, This is why USN Recover XCell drinks pretty much wins. To replenish effectively after each stage, I guzzled down my an XCell shaker or two.
To do well in the Marathon Championships, ill be racing some events back to back to get used to the hard, endurance efforts. Looking forward to the next group of races.
Sun 5th August  - 100km Road race
Sat 18th August -  55km Mountain Bike Marathon 
Sun 26th    (Marathon Champs)         
Also, If anybody is interested in doing an amazing 7 day Mountain bike stage race across Portugal’s sunny Algarve in October, Check this link out. 
My Buddy,a top Portuguese pro cyclist (Tomas Swift-Metcalfe)has set up Swift Momentum Sports, a bike holiday business based in the Algarve. They are looking to get a bunch of riders to this event, under the SMS banner, Ill be joining them. Oh and every level and ability is catered for!
Check out the site - http://www.swiftmomentumsports.com/


Maratona Conceicao de Faro - 70km - Portuguese Regional Championship!

Racing in the Bike Algarve colours..

Okay, fist things first, I’m slowly turning less Irish over here! The evidence of this was that I was able to race a long marathon in 40 degree sizzling heat… without any problems!  Well, apart from seriously running out of water after two hours.

I started with two big bottles of USN Cytopower to keep my energy / electrolyte levels up. After I ran out, I stopped at every feed station and guzzled down every bit of water I could find! This meant I lost more time to the racers who had feed support at each stage! It was chaos, I loved it, and I felt strong.


Portuguese bureaucracy issue No.1

Race sign on proved to be seriously difficult. I have an international racing license which means I can race in top level mountain biking events around the world. But, on this occasion, they decided to be difficult, and not allow me to race the Elite race!!!!

This was annoying, but I still remained positive, as I knew I could  still race the ‘B’ race.. Which was the same distance but started 2 minutes after the elite‘s went off. However, they made me start at the back of 300+ people… this was the next challenge.. But it still motivated me.

The elite’s went off first, then slowly the 300+ B racers followed suit, albeit, a couple of minutes later. I decided to go banana’s at the start and try and get past as many riders as possible in the hope that I would catch up with the Elite’s.. I got caught up in a  barrage of ‘b’ racer’s after many, many hairy moments of going in to the red and nearly crashing, but eventually I started to catch up to the top 20 overall. Amazingly, the USN gels were incredible in the marathon, I guzzled down my 5 Vooma gels each 25 minutes and each time, I got a boost of an extra gear, it felt amazing and got me to the end with a fair bit of force left in the tank!

Bureaucratic issue No.2

In the end, they somehow added an extra 10 minutes to my overall time, lowering  me to 2nd place in the ‘B’ race.. This isn’t correct.. I’ve emailed the organisers.. But with no response.
My actual finishing time would have put me Top 5 in the Elite category….. 4th to be exact.. This is frustrating, but bureaucracy is common here, so ill learn from it. It was a motivating race at the end of the day, that’s for sure!


Portugal -Great bike shop - www.BikeAlgarve.com

We rocked up to a bike shop in Faro to see about renting a road bike for the month. This was perfect, as it was just around the corner from the airport. Tomas, brought me to 'Bike Algarve' a specialized dealer, and we were greeted by freindly staff, and a shop full of nice bikes!

They were seriously nice, and gave me a mega good price for a specialized Roubaix for 1 month! Full Ultegra etc. Beautifull bike, and perfectly fittted / sized. They offer a great product range for MTB / Road, and their rental bikes are top notch. For Irish / English people going to Faro, its a no brainer and less hassel and cheaper than bringing a bike.

Not only did they give me a great road bike for the month, but also they asked me to race a mountain bike marathon wearing their team colours on the 17th!! Amazing!! So I picked up a mini sponosor for the holiday within 30 minutes of being in the country! That's a new record for me!

So, I'm seriously looking forward to racing the Algarve marathon! The trails here are amazing, very like The Roc d'azur, Seemingly, Cadel Evans won his Mountain bike World title in the near buy town of Silves. Silves has been a melting pot of cultures throughout history. Dating from the stone age/Bronze age/ Romans/Visigoths. It would be a great place for a mountain bike criterium!! with its gruelling 20% cobbled climbs! and routes around the castle and church. The cliff trails that surround the coast are breathtaking.. Huge drops in to the sea. The history surrounding the cliffs make it sound like a TinTin story. You can see  little caves built in to the cliffs which, were used by pirates to smuggle goods from their ships!

Here's the nice bike shop and the lovelyRoubaix! Big thanks to these guys for helping me with my month long adventure!

Contact - geral@bikealgarve.com


Portugal - Training for 1 month!

So, I'm here in the south  of Portugal, training like a warrior, thanks to the amazing and eccentric highlly artistic Swift / Fortune family! They are essentially having me over in their amazing villa in Alfonsino for just over a month.The weather is incredible, and about 30+ degree's every day.

Luckily, one of the house members happens to be Tomas Swift Metcalfe!!! he's a mixture, of Irish english and Portuguese heritage and mainly a fantastic Rolouer with Portugal's top Pro team Carmin Prio!! Strong as an ox, and with a penchant for saving small animals on training rides! He's also a sports scientist, so I'm getting to know some useful pro biking facts.

1) I'm fat, and need to lose a few Kilo's!

2) Learn to train harder!

3) More importantly, Dog's are cool.

Day 1) 4 hours - 130km
 Mountains -Road biking including 30 min w/ sprints, 30 min motor pacing  + a gruelling test up the highest mountain 'foia' HARD..........

Day 2) 1.30  - Nice and easy

Day 3) 5 hours - Inc 2 hours fast pace in the mountains with a future young pro if he sticks at it!

To survive with this gruelling month of training, i'm horsing through the USN supplements, which include Recover Xcell for after a hard session, this tasty carb / Protein mixture is making me feel automatically refuelled and recovered!  I'm also trying out the Epic Pro all in one source of fuel / recovery on the long mountain runs. This was designed for events like the Cape Epic!! Its seen as an all around usefull fuel source, For during a session, and even for after. So big thanks to USN for keeping me fueled over here! Its amazing!


Overall Series Winner

So, I had a 3 week block of back to back racing. It was great training, and amazing weather! I was also on borrowed bike components, so everything felt a little different for these races. But after 2 weeks I got things dialed in. I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far. mostly fitness but also now technically. I seem to be on a new level this year. I think its a combination of better nutrition, maturity and overall conditioning over the years. But I definitely think my nutrition sponsor USN has something to do with my progress this season.  So thanks a million guys. Its incredible support.

Also I won the overall Biking Blitz series, held my Niall Davis at Biking.ie Which was great!! These guys did an amazing job, so well done to them!

Race 1 - 1st Place - Galway Biking Blitz 

There was a crash early on in the first lap. I landed on my leg badly, and this meant I had to hobble my way to finish on one leg and claw back the two minutes which I lost to the guy in front. It was excruciating, the adrenaline didn't stop the pain. I slipped on a damp wooden bridge and landed on my knee / thigh / hip. I couldn't stand over the bike in the technical sections and I nearly lost to 1st place!! 

But, I was determined to win. This was some good mental training! I was excited at winning, but quickly realized i couldn't walk well after race or train for the entire week afterwards! It all makes you stronger that's for sure!!

Race 2 - 3rd Place - Leinster League - Bunclody, Wexford 

So I couldn't train for much of the week with the injured leg. But, I went to race and tried to avoid thinking about the consequences of little to no intensity during the before the race. This is an amazing track. I've won it previously twice, and i consider it my race course. With a long steady climb, and a technical descent it suits me! But this time I had to accept 3rd place.  Marty Allen (Riverside,Cannondale)who was a super cool fast american, and Peter Buggle (Rocky Mountain bikes) were 1st and 2nd in a sprint finish.

Race 3 - 2nd Place - Biking Blitz 3Rock

This was an unbelievably great race! Again, the course suited me. A long climb to the top of 3rock followed by a fast descent *4 times. This was a relatively short 1:30 minute race. My good friend Sebastian Rakos (Chile), took up the lead on the climb and for the remainder of the first lap. He was clearly going faster than us without suffering too much. Even on a bike he picked up for 200Euro!!!!!! Sadly he punctured on the second lap. I took over the lead from here on, and led for much of the remainder of the race. It was Peter Buggle (Rocky Mountain) and Robert Scanlon (Team Worc) behind me for the race. I felt good, It felt like amazing training as I rarely had to go in to the red. I was content spinning away, and I was feeling good. I WANTED to win. I was so close, but in the final moments, Peter squeezed by me to take the win on a dangerous entry to the final technical descent. I was caught a little off guard, and I chose to live, and let him by! I was one second of the win.


Training, and living life!

'Sticky Bottle', Ireland's latest and super slick cycling resource decided to run a little piece about me, I'm very happy to see this!! Its brilliant to see that mountain biking is becoming much more mainstream!

Check it out - http://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/cool-video-mtb-rider-richie-felle-is-off-to-chile-ahead-of-full-time-racing-career/

So, In the mean time I've been training really well, working on power for the shorter races, and my weeks have been 100% cycling, good rest, especially with a mega relaxed rest week. That's how I've been doing things for the last 3 years, thanks to my trainer, Aidan Ryan. This is the way to do things, and basically it involves 3 weeks on, and 1 week off with very little hours biking. So,  basically with loads of naps, healthy eating, the benefits become automatic.

Today, 3 hours Mountain Biking across the Wicklow way to practice some skills, loads of amazing incredibly, dry trails! Rode some of them dangerously fast! Wow, spring time is the best in Ireland.

Here's my post spin recovery drink! check out the colour!! Thats go faster green, and its incredibly tasty..  USN Recover XCell




Race Win No.2! Point to Point MTB, BIking Blitz (35KM, 1h40 Min of suffering)

So, we went down to Limerick for the 2nd round of the Biking Blitz race series, held by Niall from Biking.ie. These events are great for getting people interested in Mountain biking and for beginners, and also for promoting the man made purpose built mountain bike trails that are appearing over the country.

These type of trails kind of scare me though! I'm not great at riding them at all! The wooden bridge sections are amazing, and make you feel like your in a lord of the rings forest,  but I still seem to go over most of these trails kind of slowly. I guess its practice though. But, my heart lies with the amazing natural  trails, i.e. places like Djouce in Wicklow!

Anyway, it was a good 'training' race especially after a tough 3 week block of races + fairly hard training. I completely suffered from the get go from the cold. I never complain about the cold, but for the first time ever, my body just didn't seem to warm up at all in the 3 degree's temperature!  Sleet/ hailstones were firing away at the start line making it pretty chilly. I should have worn more clothes, that's for sure!

The race ended up being longer than expected, and when its so cold, you can easily forget to drink your fluids! So 1 bottle of USN CytoPower HP, and a Vooma gel was my race fuel for the day. But luckily the Vooma gel's extra caffeinated kick, paired with the Zesty blackcurrent CytoPower HP, allowed me to get through with out completely 'blowing up' at the end.  Afterwards, I had a shaker of the extremely tasty Recover XCell. This is unbelievable for recovery, and is definitely the most effective way of recovering after a hard session as its made up of a  protein / carbohydrate mixture. You can get these products, in Thinkbike , Cyclesuperstore, and online at http://www.usnireland.ie/

3 lessons - buy some new winter gear, practice the man made trails, and drink more USN Cytopower hp!


Training Racing

So, these went surprisingly well! I've been using these races as training, while following a plan by my excellent coach 'Aidan Ryan'

Basically it means I'm going in to the races a little tired from the previous day's efforts, but luckily my body is getting used to it, and i'm not feeling too bad during race day.

Race 2 - Biking Blitz  - 2nd place 

1st Place was Robin Seymour, 3rd place was Kevin Calhoun (Canadian Rocky Mountain rider)) These guys were fast on the downhills, but I could catch back on the uphills. Robin got a 29 second lead on me overall. I was kind of on the limit going through the downhill sections. Following these guys at warp speed was intense, kind of dangerous but seriously fun!

Some how, I felt good, even after the previous day's 100km /1650meters road ride. I think its down to the USN recover Xcell recovery juice!

Not only does it taste amazing (tropical flavour), its easy to mix and doesn't mess your bottles up afterwards. Its a carbohydrate/ protein mix, so its definitely the future for recovery drinks after hard efforts. Its proving to be incredibly useful after training during college days, when lunch has to wait a little! Check it out here http://www.usnireland.ie/Endurance-Recovery.html

 Chilling before the start, with the foreign legion. Its great to have a varied mix of cultures at the races these days, I'm learning about 4 languages at once! I like hanging with foreigners, we all know that.
Going through the super fast flowy sections looking like a Skinny spiderman! RAD

Race 3 - Traders Cup - Dundalk  (Somewhere in the Top 10)

This was boring but good training, again we trained for 4.5 the day before with a lot of climbing and the day before that I did a short session of power intervals. So my goal was to finish the thing!

Being a newbie to road cycling, I'm not yet 100% sure of the dynamics. But, I decided to work hard at the front for 1 hour 20 then got tired and recovered at the back for the remainder, but in the final stretch I followed one of the sprinters to the line, cross eyed, looking like a demented rat.

Mountain biking in Ireland is creative, spontaneous, and allows for deep pensive thoughts, Road biking in Ireland is grim. You may as just sit alone in a dark basement on an indoor trainer.


USN nutrition list for 2012

So, here's a list of the USN products that Ill be using to help my racing, recovery and training. There's a lot of different things, so I'm slowly trying out each of the products. Ill do bigger reviews on each as the weeks go on.
So 1) USN Recover Xcell! This is going to be the most important product I think. Lots of training makes zero sense when your not recovered properly! The guys who train less always do better!

2) USN Vooma Gels - Massive re-sealable energy shots. 1 tube will last for a race.  There's 24 in a box. Use it, re-seal it, stick it in the pocket and away you go! Simple. And it tastes great.

3) USN CytoPower Hp - Go faster performance drink for racing mainly. Proper testing soon.

4) USN VO2Max - This is an interesting supplement and is essentially an iron supplement for increased oxegen uptake/production of red blood cells.  

5) USN Multiplex Sport -  Good varied amount of vitamins to keep the body in order.

6) USN Triple Omega  - Important omega 3, 6 , 9 fatty acids. Fish oil is the business.


MTB Movie!

Here's an amazing video about my mountain biking life. It was made by my great friend Brian Fortune who's a top, top film director.  Hope you like it!


Today's training - Mountain biking for 4 hours!

Ranelagh to Wicklow and back. Amazingly cold, Snowy at points tiring and fun!

I decided to see how far I could traverse up the snowy mountain!


Road Trip to the West / First Race of the season and a win!

Rd 1 Munster XC series! 1st Place

So, the races have started (very early this year) and I thought, the amazingly well ran  Munster xc race series would be a great way to get back some lost skills and stay in shape. I decided to make a road trip out of it and bring along some friends. Luckily, these friends were a horde of Finnish girls!

We stayed in a nice hotel in the picturesque village of Kinsale, saw some culture, ate some nice food, checked out the local 'nightlife' and did some ghost hunting around the medieval parts of Kinsale. But, best of all, we raced our socks the next day at the hugely technical and muddy race course just down the road from Kinsale.

These trails in Cork were incredible, they are kind of like some of the best parts of the Welsh mountain bike trail network but far far better.  However, its safe to say that I seriously need some mountain bike skills practice.. I could barely keep the bike upright at points. It was kind of shameful! All the winter's cyclocrossing has left my mountain bike skills run wild. But, it always comes back with a little work. Even Richie Byrne was having the same difficulty!

The race itself was short, just over an hour. Perfect for this time of year as I don't want to get too fit yet. So I took it not too crazy fast, and tried to go hard in the hard parts and easy in the easy parts. Simple.

 Sebastian, (the fast Chilean), went off from the gun.  I hung back just a little opting for a steadier start. I was kind of suffering, so I shouted at him nicely to slow down so I could catch up. There was also far too much mud being flung in my eyes from the wheels in front so I moved up to 2nd position towards the end of the long fire road climb.

Then came the descent of doom.. this trail was really insane. It was a long long downhill muddy chute with a sheer cliff drop on the right hand side. At the bottom, there was a sharp sliddery right curve, and we were greeted with slippery log bridge which brought you over a river crossing. A mistake here, and you would have gone white water rafting with only your bike for buoyancy! Wonder, how many victims  were claimed here, But i liked it!

Sebastian finished in 2nd which was great. It was really good to work together again in the races!

Really looking forward to testing out the new USN products once I get my initial batch (very soon!) The Vooma gels look like they'll keep the energy levels up in muddy races like these!

 Ghost hunting in Cork.. Had to be done!


Cyclocross Return

What a sport, I decided to give it a bash this year as I wanted to stay in better shape during the Winter. I started horrifically out of shape after a break from mountain biking and a lot of partying!

But,  literally every race, I made steady improvements and finished  a 7th overall in the Supercross Cup series, with some extremely tough competition.

Here's a video from one of the races, of me being a bit cheeky while everyone else was suffering! Or maybe i wasn't going hard enough... Hummmm

Corcaigh Park, Supecross round, crazy fast/flat/windy I did all the work, no one would help.

Kilbroney forest Park, Rostrevor, Crazy fast/Hilly/Windy. I did all the work, no one would help!

Tymon Park, had a great start through the Belgian mud pit, but then I started to suffer like hell pretty early on. and in fairness to Evan Ryan, it was me who didn't do the work this time for some time!! Finished 4th here, with some tough opponents.

Sadly, I had to avoid the Nationals like the plague, as I was in the middle of my final exams that week! I was intent on racing, and somehow doing both, but when it came to it, I couldn't manage the time!


2012 - Mountain Bike Racing Season Starts this week!

Its a new start to the season! and with that, I've found some new sponsors.


 I'm seriously looking forward to trying out these products in racing / training, especially, the Cyto Power HP product! I have a sneaking suspicion this will be rocket fuel in the races! I will talk more about their sports nutrition products after some testing.


 Ill be using their hydraulic and gear cables for the 2012 mountain bike season! Time to pimp out the bike with their vast array of colours!

Looking forward to promoting these guys at the races and in training! Also, the mountain bike season starts early this year! Time to get ready for some trails!