Tuesday, June 03, 2008

MACstrong Girona bike routes via bikemap.net


Yes, we are still alive, just migrating most of the sports tours into a new sports+business consultancy practice called Total Fitness for Business, and travelling loads to promo that. Having said that we are in the middle of some MACstrong Total Sports Experiences tours, both running and cycling, with some reports on those coming very soon.

Just found a great piece of software the other day, bikemap.net, which is basically a mash-up of Google Maps and probably the best out there for European based bikers. Check out the freely available MACstrong routes by clicking on the title of this post - and do please add some comments if you want to highlight any aspect of the ride. If you make it to Girona, take advantage of the routemaps to find out the local secrets - print out as much detail as you want - you can even export as a GPS file. 

The route below (have fun with the interactive map and elevation profile!) is probably my favourite, especially during the summer, with a good honest climb to St. Grau waking you up from a sunny Tossa stop. Enjoy y hasta la proxima!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

We're running up that hill, running up that mountain... eh??

Can't beat a bit of Bush.

A 31-strong contingent from Jog Scotland Strathclyde Park took Girona by storm at the end of May, not to mention making a lot of noise and taking away quite a few trophies from the Tossa de Mar 12k. That Tossa race included a climb of 650 feet in 4 painful kilometres while the last day saw a 90minute run punctuated by a 900 foot climb to the Castell of St. Miguel.

Sadistic? slightly, but not intentional!

I learned quite a few things during that action-packed weekend:

1) That i run up more hills on a daily basis that i realised (although i am beginning to realise now having a few extra pounds to shed and almost no training in the past month).
2) That you can still have a great time socially, eat, drink, and be merry, yet still face new challenges, try things for the first time - and come out the other end happy (and tired!).
3) Whas like us? Gie few an thur aw deed!

Many thanks to Jim D and all the gang, and congratulations on that attitude to run up that hill, no matter how long and high it may be! All in, its probably the most 'Total' Sports Experience we've had. Cheers!

Tearing up the Terra

I won't forget the start. Two and a half thousand cyclists packed into the small Catalan town of St. Esteve de'n Bas at 7am on a slightly misty and warm late Spring Sunday morning. The journey north from Girona was an experience in itself - a huge caravan of traffic slowly climbing towards the Pyrenees at 6am with a battalion of Police 'motos' weaving in and out of the traffic.

We started over a thousand back, taking around 40 seconds of walking the bike to pass the constant beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep of the electronic chip mat. And then we were off. The sun was still to break through, and there was absolute silence apart from the gentle whirring of a couple of thousand Shimano and Campag groupsets - but the place was absolutely drenched in atmosphere - and i was out of breath. The closed road to Olot was flat, smooth, and wide, and i found a cosy position behind a 6ft 13 stoner powering away on the 53-12. My new friend, oblivious to my draft, led me out of Olot towards the first climb of the day up Capsacosta. It was then i really took note of the scale of the event, seeing not just the 70 or so cyclists around me at any one time to the thousand-strong peleton still ahead, taking up the full width of the motorway. I knew that width wouldn't last long and i started moving up, and then the climbing began...

So that was the start - a tremendously successful MACstrong tour with the Terra de Remences the undoubted highlight. We took away the coveted 'furthest travelled team award' ;), improved tans, some free beer, and a thousand memories.

In other news, Ken 'the mighty atom' Craig smashed Andy Strathdee's Els Angels TT record, lowering the benchmark to a very respectable 25:12.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Triomf en Sant Joan

Busy few weeks coming up for MACstrong, with some cycling and running groups out to do some events, including the Terra de Remences cycletour. Looking forward to getting a breather from lots of travelling recently and the 'day job.'

The fitness had dipped although I was delighted to grab my first Spanish Duathlon victory in Sant Joan last Saturday. After more than a dozen close tries in the last 4 years in the Basque Country and Catalonia it was good to finally get to the top of the podium. I enjoy racing at Sant Joan - a hilly area at the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is a good honest duathlon with a severe up and down hill run, and i had got 3rd there in my only previous visit in 2005.

The field may not have been as strong at the Catalan champs in Castellfollit 2 weeks ago (which i missed because of a wedding) but the manner of victory was pleasing, dictating the race although being very tired, with a silky first transition giving me a 50 metre gap at the start of the bike. The legs on the bike were good and i knew the group behind would be reluctant to work into the headwind on the out and bike 20k bike leg. I had 30 seconds advantage at the turn, but by then there was a group of 25 chasing me down, so i got the head down and averaged nearly 35mph on the 10k back to the transition. That gave me 20-25 seconds heading out on the last run leg, and i suffered, but still had enough in the tank to jog in and enjoy my first Spanish victory salute.

Like how the catalan press refuse to call me Steven and instead put Esteve! Duathlon season over for another year, and again work took over - although i'm hoping to be more settled next year to really focus on performance, have a bash at the Spanish Champs, and get my Scottish title back :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Return of the ladyboys

and lo, it came to pass, that on the 5th day of the camp,
the one who is known as 'big jock', in preparing for his
final assault of the angel, destroyed the signage that had
stood for a generation. that place will be known for evermore
as 'the valley of big jocks revenge.'

So that explains it then, the 'Els Angels 12 & Madremanya 19' signs that have adorned the start of the famous Els Angels climb for nearly, uff, i don't know, a thousand years, were unceremoniously destroyed by Alan Cardwell as he prepared for the first ever MACstrong confined Els Angels mountain time trial. Expect big George H. at your door soon Mr. Cardwell.

A great week had by all from the Lanark (plus ET and Glasgow Tri) version 2007. Fitter, leaner, stronger, and with bigger appetites and an almighty thirst i'd say we got 30 quality hours in over the 6 days - and i'm still knackered 10 days later.

Weather wasn't the greatest, and one wrong turn, but a fabulous weeks training and good memories from the Lanark boys, plus Ironman Andy and las chicas, Vicky and Karen.

Below are the results of that 1st Els Angels TT. How long will Andy's record last?

1st confined mountain time-trial, Els Angels, Girona
12k, 400m net climb, 28th March 2007

1st Andy Strathdee (Edinburgh Tri) 25:46 course record
2nd Alan Cardwell (Lanark Multisport) 28:44 handicap winner
3rd Paul Hill (Lanark Multisport) 29:25
4th Gerry McCrossan (Lanark Multisport) 29:32
5th Vicky Begg (Glasgow Tri Club) 29:46
6th Kevin Smith (Lanark Multisport) 30:12
7th Karen Glendinning (Glasgow Tri Club) 31:21
8th Davie Smith (Lanark Multisport) 31:27
9th Alan Kerr (Lanark Multisport) 33:04
10th Alan Garfanini (Lanark Multisport) 34:05

Next years edition is set for February 21st to 27th, and will include a sprint distance Duathlon. Get booked up now!

Friday, February 23, 2007

still alive!

Well hello there, its certainly been a long time hasn't it? how are things? any more grey hairs? ;)

I've been almighty busy with work stuff, and since I published the new MACstrong website (a great job by Blair at Doepud design in Glasgow), I let that do the talking. Check it out, and sign up for the newsletter.

Training-wise I'm struggling to get moving. I had a decent Cross-Counntry season and was sitting 3rd in the Girona series behind Angel Mullera and Pere Arco until the last few races which I didn't do to prep. for the Catalan Duathlon season. That started on Sunday in Barcelona (check out video report at www.tvmanresa.tv) and i was never really in it, finishing in 11th spot. It was a decent field and a lot of boys very fit for this time of the season. Its a long season though, and i'll be back challenging in a couple of weeks...

There are some fantastic MACstrong tours coming up over the next few months, including some great events - Banyoles Duathlon, Girona 10k, Sant Esteve Cycletour. Get yer ass over to Girona!

and finally, Stuart has joined the all-conquering Velo Ecosse team, and has just finished dragging Jason McIntyre around the island of Lanzarote over the past 7 days (or was it the other way round? ;)


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

MACstrong v2

After almost 2 years of steady growth its time for a re-launch.

Keep an eye on the main page for the new, swanky website being designed by Blair at Doepud, Glasgow - a very talented web designer. Join the mailing list to be informed of 2007 deals, get the new running and cycling flyers delivered to your door, and enter into the prize draw for a copy of the Tour de France official history on DVD!

Those DVD's will be mailed out soon to all previous customers who completed the e-mail survey, with info. on buying the new cycling and triathlon range of MACstrong gear in association with Costa Brava Triathlon club.

The 2007 calendar is filling up fast with Alan Cardwell and his merry band of Lanark Ladyboys, and Strathclyde Park jogscotland group notable bookings.

hasta pronto!