Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Welcome to new member Ali McQuillen

Ali McQuillen
Originally uploaded by westlothianclarion

I’m Ali and have lived in Linlithgow with my two children aged 11 and 8 since February 2007 and recently I’ve swapped my running shoes for a road bike…

My first introduction to West Lothian Clarion was with the Kids Club and was encouraged to join the club in September 2010 following the very sociable Ladies ride in July. I really enjoyed this ride, albeit I was riding on my full suspension mountain bike without locking out the suspension, it was hard work to keep up with the speedy road bikes!

In February this year I visited Club La Santa with friends for some warm weather training, where I did a fair amount of road biking as well as running up and down volcanoes. On my return home I had vowed to get myself a road bike but didn’t quite get round to it. However, two months ago a very shiny new red Specialized Allez Elite road bike arrived in the bike shop and I have clocked up a few hundred miles on it already!

To be honest I had been a bit reticent about joining the club, as I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to keep up on the club rides. However, Debbie and Diane convinced me that I would be fine on a club social ride. There’s definitely room for improvement though.

I’ve had a few bikes over the years: my first bike with gears was a Raleigh Shopper in a lovely shade of brown; later in life I bought a second hand road bike and unfortunately it was stolen in Edinburgh a week into the student term… Next came a mountain bike from Halfords, apparently it was made from RSJ’s my friend said as we heaved it over a gate on a mountain biking expedition in the hills. I quickly replaced it with a front suspension Specialized mtb, then another and I’m now riding a full suspension Specialized XC, which is as comfortable as an armchair in comparison to a hardtail but it’s not exactly light!

Cycling has been more of a secondary activity for me with all the running but I have tried a variety of different bike races over the years, some more successfully than others – I’m no athlete! Trailquest events are fun if you can decide on a good route although the navigation is easy. I’ve competed in one of the Open 5 Adventure races, which mixes running and mountain biking together with navigation, which was fun but exhausting! I’ve also dabbled in mountain bike orienteering but prefer to do this on foot. I’ve also tried a couple of mini triathlons at CLS. After doing the Loch Ness Marathon last year I felt like a change so I dusted off my mtb and have had some epic trips (mostly soaking wet) round the 7Stanes red routes this year. Some of it was quite terrifying!

For 2011 I hope to get my uphill cycling legs sorted, do some 10mile TT’s and perhaps even some road and cyclocross races. So far I’ve enjoyed every minute (excluding Kingscavil) on my road bike so long may this continue. My bike is booked in for a service next week and a bit of tinkering will be required to get the brakes and handlebars just right and my pedals worked on so that I can get my feet out more easily! Oh dear, it seems I have caught the bug…

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