Thursday, 30 July 2009

Multiple choice

Your names Debbie Donaghy from Rochdale, you find yourself to be the registered keeper for a very expensive Hummer behemoth of a motor vehicle. You let some fucktard of a driver loose with the keys to your beloved shitemobile and he goes on the rampage driving like the cock he is and running into cyclists.
Are you?
A. An imbecile who loans their vehicle to someone claiming to be Mr M.Mouse of Disneyland, Florida?
B. Girlfriend or other close personal friend of said fucktard and don't want him to get into trouble with the police, so say Mr M.Mouse was driving?
C. Some junkie who agrees to sign vehicle registration documents and take any flack for your dealer so he can drive around in his big orange wanktank?

Answer correctly and you win 8 points on your license and a £350 fine.

Mince factor 9

Went out with Jonnie round rivi last night, woah how slow? The down from 2 lads was awfull handfuls of brake all the way down, sliding about and generally not "ripping it" Wildeswood was better, climbing was fine, drop from the pike was another mince fest. I was surprisingly controlled down ICR, much more than usual but I guess thats cos I was travelling slower than normal. Another go down wildeswood and then decisions, which route home? I wanna get home as fast as possible, do I take chorley new road fairly flat but I'll be spinning out my 32:16 @18mph-ish all the way or push it pretty hard up chorley old road and then freewheel all the way into town 20-30mph? I went with the latter no idea if it's quicker or not.

Donk the cleaner

Me Mark and Simon went off to the peaks last weekend, had a go at cut gate, me and Mark have done this a couple times before but they've sanitised it since then and to be honest so far so good. They firmed up the 1st steep climb from langsett, I seem to remember it being a lot looser with big rocks, cleaned that, after that it's been dumbed down a bit but mickledon edge was same as ever, cleaned that for the first time. The start of cut gate has a rock field which they've picked a line through with a narrow ribbon of agregate or sommat. Again it's tamed but not ridiculously so, then a previously unrideable section has had rough slab steps put in and slabs across the boggy section, now cleanable uphill :-) After that the riverbed section has been pretty much untouched, dunno whther they are moving on to do that later tho. Loads of different lines through it, great fun. The drop down to ladybower was fast and fun and I managed to ride the (cheeky) steep nadgery stuff right at the end. The long schlep to Fairholme was boring but the plan of a quick cake stop followed by a steep climb and blinding descent spurred us on. Cakes were nice but the climb not so, this HAS been sanitised I could drive my car up it, used to be a cracking descent I heard (never ridden down it) it certainly used to be a bitch of a climb. This did not bode well for the downhill, if they'd done the same to that I'd have been well dis-chuffed. Fortunatley Lockerbrook was untouched if a little wetter than I'm used to and all three of us made it down without punctures. We were fading fast tho and every little rise on the lakeside path felt like a huge climb. The climb back up to cutgate was as bad as ever but going back down to langsett - wow superb, still a great trail. Si managed to go over the bars into a bog but aside from the mud was OK. Mickledon and hingcliff were taken at lightspeed, we got to the bottom with big grins. Good stuff.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Dave's on a singlespeed, lets punish him!

Went out on thursday for a ride round the Lee Quarry area, Graham had kindly offered to show us some natural stuff in the area so Simon, Lowey and myself met him there. After all the rain I was expecting a bogfest so I took my singlespeed but it was surprisingly dry. A quick once round the LQ red route, then off on the natural stuff, we went over to 'Kymes brew' a proper steep tarmac climb was bloody hard work on SS and my legs started to feel the toll of a weeks riding. Tarmac turned to dirt road, the climb continued but we veered off before the steep top section, going through cragg quarry was fun, whoops and stuff. Merging breifly onto the mary townley loop we went downhill by cowpe lowe where simon had to split as he'd lost a cleat bolt. We carried on backup to kymes brew and this time right to the top of rooley moor road, none of us cleaned it, my legs were shot but what stopped me was my arms, nothing left in them to heave back on the bars and get the power down. Bit boggy on the tops back over to LQ but not too bad, then down the red run and home. Good ride, I was completley shattered at the end, sore legs, sore arms, even my hands were sore from throttling the grips! I slept well that night.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Knocked up

So I've had my inbred a few years now and it's getting a bit battered and bruised, heres the obligatory chain damage, mostly from when using gears bit of chain suck and flappy on the downhills. There's a massive great dent in the downtube, no idea how I managed that, only noticed it whilst cleaning my bike one day.
Anyway on monday I rode into work, I'm lucky enough to have showers and a place near my office to stash my bike but when it's wet/muddy I used the workshop, coz a bit of water/mud don't bother them. Whilst in there a whacking great bit of pipe fell over and twatted the seat tube. Thats a health and safety issue right there but I guess I can't moan too much or someone might ask what my bikes doing there. There was quite a dent, it was below the seatpost so I pushed the post right down and it popped the dent out a bit. Hopefully frame should be fine but I was lucky, if it had been my xc120 or canondale road bike the frame would be a right off, dont think the pompy would have fared to well either. Might not leave my bike there again :-)

Monday, 20 July 2009


What with one thing and another I haven't done an offroad commute for a while (6 weeks) and the last few weeks haven't been kind to the route. Lots of puddles, quite a bit of mud and over grown vegetation. I was a bit of a state when I got into work and late, mincing through those puddles slows you down but it was a trade off of punctuality vs getting to work looking like a swamp monster. Hopefully a couple of dry days will clear the worst and it'll be back to summer speeds. Finally got my act together and ordered some bike stuff too, a new lid, it's white with pink trim - I'm hoping I won't look camp wearing it, a new saint front mech but the main thing is some maguras for the inbred. Disc pads simply don't last round here when its wet (just ask matt) V brakes last longer but the parallel action ones get rattly, standard ones need adjusting as pads wear and the cables get full of grit so I'm giving hydro rim brakes a shot, pads cost a bit more than Vs but a lot less than discs, I'm working on the premise that back wheels are disposable, rims and freehubs get trashed in the mud but I can pick up a whole new wheel for £40ish, bargain. I'm hoping this gives me the best £££vMaintenancevFunction.

Gisburn Night ride

A few people off STW were going to gisbunr the other night, Simon and I went along. A decent sized group was already there, Lowey was running late so we tagged on with the group, should have waited for lowey but he easily caught up so no probs. The first 15minutes was all a bit ho hum, fire road and a bit of narrow trail winding through the trees, nowt spesh and I began to have my doubts but this was the original stuff, soon we got to the new and it was great. Some proper twisty stuff through the trees, bars scraping bark in some places if you weren't careful. The quarry was fun and later the optional black stuff was ace. The slab is indeed steep but rideable by most, Si went up for a go I went up to offer advice on line but by the time I got there he had just ridden straight off 1st time. The gulley was great HUGE bermed corners 10ft I reckon maybe more followed by some proper big G-outs, unfortunatley the troughs had some soft earth/mud and all of us had some sketchy moments. Si had a flat at the bottom so I took the opportunity to charge back up the fire road and down the gulley again. Some more boardwalk and then the finest bit of 'blue' run I've ever ridden, really flowy. It wasn't all top notch, I had a comedy dismount over the bars in the muddy section after the gully (see below) and nearly crashed a couple of times. Some of the berms didn't seem the right shape, getting sharper halfway round but that could be pilot error. Worth a visit anyway, bit of a bugger to get to for me but give it a go.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Nan Bield

Ooh big mountain passes, gatesgarth and nan bield, been wanting to do NB for a while and Lowey organised a trip so I just had to tag along. Weather was iffy, it had pissed it down all night and was very overcast. Set off from staveley and the climb up the fell was very damp, summer shoes may have been a bad choice. Descent to sadgill was fun grassy to start then rocky and loose at the bottom. The climb to gatesgarth was not. Loose energy sapping rocks to startlong slow grind then it gradually got steeper and steeper Then switched to grass edged slabs at a stupid steep gradient, it briefly levelled off then got silly again with more loose stuff, my climbing mojo had gone AWOL and I walked most of the last section but DJ, lowey and Jacqui were climbing well. The descent to Haweswater was loose, steep, sketchy, brake boiling, goodness. A spot of lunch then the hard bit, an hour of carrying. It was hard going but I mostly managed to not let it get to me, then 2/3rds of the way up it started to rain, grrr! A quick rest at the top and we set off with a decent gap between us, Ton got about 5 yards before he got off and started to push, jonnie went next and as he passed Ton he made a comment about riding technique, unfortunate as 10 seconds later he was on his face, a step down into a switchback had him off and he smacked his cheekbone dizzying him and got a deep cut on his cheek, lots of blood. Wors patched him up and we picked up his bike, when he was ready to go we got going again, it certainly piles on the pressure when you try to ride a section thats had your mate off and is still splattered with his blood. I made it down all the tricky stuff, sketch-tastic then on the flatter section I suffered a loss of concentration, the trail went left I went right, over a rockfield which had me off and as I went down I saw a rock that my face was heading for - eek! I missed the rock, just bruised shoulder and cut knees, picked myself up and carried on. We had to wait a while for everyone, poor Jacqui and Mel carried their bikes all the way up and most of the way down, I doubt they'll be back to nan bield. A bit more fun up and down and we were back. nice day, crap weather, bit of carnage, think I'll be back in a few weeks to show Mark.


Mark and I went out and did the 'classic' Back O Skiddaw last week, not so impressed myself, 30 mile ride 11 of it on tarmac and another 3 on a pleasent enough but boring C2C link route. Thats 14 boring miles out of 30, but what really seals it is that the best bit (lonscale fell) can be done on a much shorter 8 mile ride, leaving you the rest of the day to do a proper route like borrowdale. Nice enough day out but not a route I'll do again. Oh and Tebay services Westmorland farm shop do fantastic pies, some posh individual ones and slices of westmorland pie, cumberland meat with cheese and pickle, mmmmmm. If your going up the M6 to the North lakes call in, pricey but the best mid-ride snacks I've ever had.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention, I met Samurai at the singletrack weekender, I've been reading his blogs/STW stuff for ages, pinching his ideas for local routes and generally been inspired by him to ride further and faster than ever so it was cool to finally meet him.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Singletrack classic weekender

Wahey what a cracking event! Really good atmosphere everyone was dead friendly, chatted to loads of other riders, weather was brilliant (during riding times anyway) and the courses were spot on. Downhill was a bit longer than I expected it to be, as I was running late I gave my 1:40 time for the seeding then I noted the longer route....oops. Didn't shame myself in the end, a couple of little mistakes on the run slowed me down a little but 1:41.19 got me 8th spot. The trials was fun a nasty little climb then the stuff up in the practice area, 2 skinnies, the seesaw, a curved skinny and the stepped climb. I managed a clean sweep so would be starting on time. I was going to hang around till the entertainment started but I couldn't sit still, kept going back and riding the trials and other stuff, proper tiring myself out so I left after watching some of the second lot of downhillers. It rained just after I left but all the riders had got down safely before it started.
XC race day was not as good for me, we started at 11 sharp, about 12 of us with 0 time penalty. I set off too quick, was in 5th up the first climb and my throat was red raw by the top, I eased off slightly and a couple of riders came passed me, couldn't get my breath back but held it at a steady 'completely ragged' state which I thought I could maintain. Donwnhill sections were a bit sketchy so out of breath but I made it down and across the line 17m15s for my first lap, get in! Having checked the results I was in 8th at that point but I was hurting, thinking my short racing career should be put to an end as it's bloody hard work and not massively enjoyable. Halfway round the 2nd lap I flatted arrrrgh. Checked the back tyre it had ripped, about an inch gash in it, oh dear. Tried to patch the inside of the tyre with a 1cm patch, didn't have a plastic tyre 'boot' I sometimes carry for this sort of thing so bunged in a business card (also good for spacing your disc brake pads) hoping it would help, while I was at it I patched my original tube (good job) So that cost me about 10 minutes, not long after that I passed Si who had come to watch, he clocked my time, I finished that lap and started another, coming passed Si 18minutes later, pretty good, then on the downhill back into the arena I flatted again, grrrr. I pretty much knew it was over then, as I was fixing it the leaders came passed me so as I finished my lap I wasn't allowed out for the final one. Gutted about the punctures, with 17/18minute laps I could have been top ten.
Really good event I will definitely going to the next one.

Pic by Dave Haygarth

Friday, 3 July 2009

Day before the big race

So singletrack classic weekend tomorrow, looking forward to it but not for some reason as much as I thought I would be - maybe cos I'm not camping out on-site. Went up yesterday to have a bit of a practice, did first lap of the course (or as near to it as I can remember) in 16 minutes, the next lap was considerably slower, I reckon there'll be a few racer wannabes (me included) blowing up big style halfway through the xc race. Also there's a nasty little climb at the top of the main drag, it's rideable (just) I rode it tuesday, but not after just hammering up the main climb but it should sort out the men from the boys*, or atleast the men from the racers, the racers will be the ones saving time and energy running up it. I then tried the downhill course 1min50 is either way off the pace or I started and finished at the wrong places. 'The ginnel' is scary, I've ridden it a few times no probs but Ed-O told us the race line but it's defo a commitment move, you basically take the huge berm too wide and cut straight down the middle of the S bends fast, trouble is there are big rocks on the edges which you pass bloody close to. Also managed to over cook the ditch hip jump, some doubles straight into a berm, hit it too fast and high and you end up going straight over the top of the berm.
Beginning to think my hardtail may not be the best bike for racing, I can't actually reach the gear levers from the grips and while its comfy and fun riding normally it's more of a handful when your going at 100% and too fecked to concentrate on your line. Lets hope the weather holds out.

*apologies to trio and other mtb laydeez

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

6months in...

Well thats half the year gone already, how am I doing with my 2009 targets? Not too bad on the mileage front, 1264 xc miles is right on target for my 2500 goal. Road miles are slightly higher at 1504, with the iffy weather last month I slipped into the easier road camp again. Plenty of social rides done and more planned, in a reversal I've gone from mostly riding on my own to pretty much only commuting on my own now. Mary Townley loop still not done, neither have I done a century but have plans for one in the dales with Gaz from work, see if it pans out. Year is going well so far, lets hope we have plenty more dry weather to eke out as much offroad miles (and smiles) as possible from the summer.
107 rides so far, mostly done on (obviously/depressingly) my pompino commuter 2nd place is my inbred, in total I've only done 33 rides with gears, singlespeeding seems to be taking over. Slightly worryingly my 2 'bestest' bikes (the most expensive) have only made 7 appearances each! Parts bin bikes rule, you don't mind grinding their compnents to a fine paste when it's filthy out.

A Trip Down The High Street

Oohoo, High Street epic, not done this ride in ages, start in patterdale, up (very much so) to high street over the tops to loadpot hill, down to the cockpit and back along the banks of ullswater. Classic ride, we started from martindale to get the busy ullswater bit done while it was quiet, techno-rocky-tastic. Took us and hour to do less than 5 miles, steep little drops and climbs over gravel, big rocks and base rock, my fave bit of singletrack, hard work tho and not flowy enough for some. The climb to high street was brutal, 2miles took 1hr15, a just* rideable long steep gravelly section followed by a 30min hike a bike, on the rocks by ullswater I wasn't so sure about my choice to bring the RM but carrying up the Knott, which is practically a staircase, I was glad I'd left the heavy heckler at home. Along the tops it tried raining but held off, the trail went on for ages, nice fast moorland descents with drops and ruts and easy ups, once at loadpot the downhill went on for ever, my calves were getting really tired from standing up for so long! The back into martindale, more down, fast dry bit jumpy bit twisty properly quick, finished up at the pub, I rode up the bastard road climb to get the car while burk got the drinks in. 4hrs is about an hour quicker than usual, nice work. Good weather again, superb route that seems longer than 25miles, you keep turning a corner or cresting a hill to be met wih a view of more great riding lined up for you.
Had time to get home, shower, eat, grab my hardtail and head up to lee quarry for the STW weekender pre-ride. Ed-O showed us round and pointed out the best lines. I ended up beasting myself, going up some killer power climbs and constantly going back for another go. Good fun again and the weekender looks like it'll be great aslong as I don't over do it and crash out on the first day.
I'm in a world of hurt today, sore everywhere, even the callouses on my hands are aching. Sore legs from all the climbing, sore arms and shoulders from muscling the bike around all day, sore back from hefting bikes up silly steep hills. I love it - reminds me what a brilliant day i had yesterday, I've earned this pain :-)

*just doable by someone better than me, I cleaned the first steepest part but was on and off the rest of the way as my legs and lungs couldn't keep it up.