Monday, 29 June 2009

More of the same

Yesterday was the monthly stw ride, we met up in settle with the weather looking promising. The first climb was a biggy, 1in7 tarmac from the town square switching to gravelly then grassy and it went on for a while. One really tricky section which I messed up, mixture of traffic and gear choice, went back for another go with the same result, by now a few were trying again cos it did look do-able, cleared it on my third go - yay. More climbing with some swoopy double track and a few grassy decents to follow, as lowey advertised it was quite "pedally" (as opposed to long slog uphill then freewheel down). Not too hot which was good with all the climbing, a super fast zig-zaggy descent got us back onto tarmac with a quick spin upto the pub at litton and the sun came out properly. 29 of us threw our bikes down and rushed the bar then sat out in the sun - lovely. A nice climb followed steep but not too steep, get the legs going again after the pub stop. Riding along the tops looking over to Pen y ghent I had to stop and take it all in, the view, the weather, the riding, top day. The downhill that followed was a screamer, a loooong gravelly track straight-ish super fast 30mph+, don't remember braking at all on the second half must have been nearing 40. A nice leisurely ride over to giggleswick scar and it was all done bar the cakes. Cracking day out.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Dust and sunshine

Night ride night this week was wednesday, I set off a bit early to try out a cheeky offroad route up to barrow bridge, not bad all rideable, 6 mainly offroad miles instead of the usual 3 on tarmac. Went upto 2 lads before meeting Johnnie and Laimonus, the last 2 nightrides I've been late due to punctures so I pumped up my tyres rockhard and did the downhill to the kennels then wildeswood. I pinged about all over the shop, not too scary but definitley on the edge instead of comfortably in control. Was feeling a bit tired, last couple of days have been a shock after the hols so got 2 Paris slices from the lower barn, mmmm. Met the lads and went up to the pike where we met with a few of laimonus' mates, so about 10 of us all together. I let some air out of my tyres so was much comfier dropping from the pike. We went down georges lane and up winter hill to 2 lads and did the kennel run which most people enjoyed, then on to wildeswood which everyone liked unfortunatley I got a flat in the woods and there were midges everywhere, at first people waited while I replaced my tube but soon said they'd meet me at the bottom - don't blame them i was getting eaten alive, I've about a dozen bites on each leg! At the bottom I split for home via scout road/barrow bridge and had a quick look at the amazing collapsing shop on halliwell road. Crawled into work this morning, bloody knackered.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


A last minute visit to the travel agents bagged me and the mrs 7 days flobbed out on a sun lounger, brilliant. Eat sleep and sunbathe was all we did, a very relaxing holiday. Skiathos is a pretty small island so my usual plan of just turning up with my cashcard backfired when I learnt there were no cashpoints in resort and the main town was a taxi ride away. Christakis who owns the self named apartments at Troulos was a nice chap and lent me a tenner for taxi fare. Skiathos is a nice place, normally fairly quiet but due to current cash climate is dead quiet, nice for us as we wanted a chilled hol but not for the local economy/businesses, hope they can ride it out OK.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Come on! What a fantastic weekend, was chucking it down on the drive over, stopped raining as I got to leeds but Dalby was nice if a little overcast. Parked up and pitched the tent quick and got out on the pub ride. Some swoopy singletrack from the off, down through the trees, a short sharp climb which had loads off and walking, more twisty downs a big climb and then a spin across the moors to the first pub on a village green, sun was out I was too hot in my waterproof but it was lovely. 60 or so mountain bikers sitting drinking in the sun. I met Mr Sparkle (from the STW rivi ride) there and we got chatting along with loads of strangers, a really friendly vibe. A pint followed by a fast road downhill got everyone giggly with some rash overtaking manoeuvres as we raced down but the hill that followed was a killer. Proper steep long tarmac, my head was pounding when I got to the top but I learned a useful zig zag technique for this sort of climb from Mr S. Another pub stop then back to the camp site. Rollapaluza was on in the beer tent, I'd decided to stay well away from it, legs already tired from the pub ride. Mr S agreed but after watching for an hour he turned to me and said "we having a go then?" yeah why not. We got strapped in and set off (after a false start by me) longest 25seconds of my life. As we pedalled like mad the commenter counted down the metres, "400", "300", "200" long pause "100", incredibly long pause "50" much longer?....more pause...."25" eh? what? why have I not finished yet? "Finished!" Agony, legs were jelly and I spent a while just hunched over the bars trying to breath. I just beat Mr S but was way off the qualify times. More drinking ensued with a few getting very wasted then having trouble riding back to their campsite.
Race day dawned and I got out the BBQ, bacon and brie butties for breaky mmm I offered one to the racer looking type in the tent next to mine but he turned it down cos he throws up if he eats before a race - oh yeah good point. Hmm shame to waste this bacon so I polished it off anyway. (That racey type was George who went on to win)
Before the start we rode to the trees and stashed our bikes then retreated to the start line for our Le Mans start, meanwhile organisers were busy hiding our bikes. As we started loads of people ran up to (not) find their bikes, there were a few piles of inbreds and as I stood looking at one pile a guy shifted a bike off another and handed it to me telling me to move it, I looked down to see it was mine - result! So I set off in the first 40 or so, pushing hard, after a couple of guys came past me while I was waiting for others to move at bottlenecks I decided to adopt a similar technique, I passed a few, riding out of my skin hammering the climbs and flats, it was a bit annoying passing people on the climbs then having to wait at bottlenecks and everyone catching you up. One or two who where fast uphill were getting phased by pretty easy rocky bits, I'd nearly run into them as they stalled then they'd charge away, ah well. I could taste my breakfast and was worried I was gonna blow (and/or throw) up, I had my second lap power gel halfway round the first! Got thrown off on a rooty section under the trees but no damage and after that it thinned out a bit. Second lap was better, no one in front or behind for most of the first half meant I could hit the singletrack fast and carry my speed better so despite not pedalling as hard I reckon I was going just as fast. I passed a few more later on, got covered in stella for not stopping at the beer stop (no cider :-( ) and finished my second lap 1hr 45 after we had started. No one was keeping finishing positions beyond 1 and 2 so dunno how I did, a guy I lapped said there were only "10 or 12" had passed him and a few who finished the same time as me reckoned top 20 looked about right so that'll do me. The course was ace, loads and loads of singletrack, some woodwork, some rocky gullys, a really nice switchback-y dusty climb, a killer fireroad climb and a few manmade rock features. A big rock drop onto the fire road was pretty scary, tight hairpin then very steep roll in, would have been fun on the right bike at a relaxed pace but not racing saddle way up and ragged breathing. First time round a guy stalled infront of me so I ran it, second time I went in too tight, had to endo and swing the back end round, the front wheel slipped and I ended up trackstanding right on the entrance to the drop, quick push of the pedals and I made it down, unintentionally unclipping one foot as I bottomed out on the fireroad. Sketchiest of sketch but a clean. Afterwards I even had a chance to play in the skills area with jumps, berms and skinnys, brilliant.
Overall a corking weekend with brilliant riding and great atmosphere, I'll definitley be back to Dalby and I will be at SSUK10 if all goes well. Pics shamelessly pinched from others:-
Inbred mountain by Ali via Trio

Me by Martin

Busy Busy

What a busy week! Bowderdale on Sunday then I went road riding with a couple of guys from work on Tuesday. Gaz is getting back into road riding, he used to race and stuff years ago since then he's been commuting but he got a spangly carbon bike and has started a training plan. He wanted to ride round north manchester so I took him and Si out through middleton/heywood, up ashworth res climb, over to edenfield, haslingden, helmshore, holcombe, hawkshaw, affetside, tottington, affetside again and into bury where we split. Good ride lots of climbing, I pushed preety hard on the climbs knowing Gaz would chase and he did. He stayed pretty close behind, Si a fairly new biker did well, going at his own pace. Felt guilty at the end when I had 6miles to get home Si a bit less, Gaz was still 18miles away! I thought it was only about 10 flattish miles but no he lives further away than I thought. He may get his own back when we go out to his end!
Thursday I went over to the north yorkshire moors, I had planned thursday off and asking around at the Bowderdale ride deejay offered to show me round the moors. I didn't realise quite what a bugger to get to they are but went anyway and it was a good day out. Overcast and chilly but good company and good riding, Craig and Jacqui had to leave early due to Craig ripping his rear mech off in the heather but Mel Deejay and I finished the route, moorland singletrack (very cut gate-esque) and doubletrack no idea what route we took but fryup dale was in there some techy downs and nice flowy moortop riding and of course tea and cake back at the cars. Mmmm. Thanks Deejay.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Bowderdale is pants!

Another singletrack ride this weekend so here's a report especially for lowey*
It was rubbish, crap weather, rubbish route, bloody awful company, 33 ignorant sods, I didn't smile once.
If you want to share in the misery the pics are here, here and here

*Lowey, one of the main organisers, broke down about 15 minutes from the meeting point and spent the day waiting for the AA.