Monday, 20 December 2010


Wow that was hard work, rode in offroad this morning and it hurt! Riding on the flat was like an exercise bike on very hard resistance. Some places were well tamped down by weekend walkers, others not so, following the tracks laid by a quad bike at forest bank was OK until front tyre touched the powdery snow at the edges and pulled over started a big front wheel drift. On a short road section I picked up speed and frost formed on all leading edges of me and the bike, including my discs, as I found out when I tried to brake! Properly tired now, going home will be a grind.

Had plans for the weekend which all changed due to the snow, took wife's little matiz out saturday morning, quite tail happy on sharp corners, back end skipping out frequently - all slow speed on big open quiet roads so amusing rather than terrifying. Later doing the shopping in my car it was the other way round, understeer, turn the wheel and nowt happened, eek. Still manged to bimble around without any fuss, no spinning tyres, getting stuck or near misses, I'm a pretty lame driver so if I managed ok I dunno why there were so many numptys revving the nuts off their engines going nowhere and/or getting stuck. So glad I didn't have to drive any distance tho.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A very mixed ride

Near death experiences, ephemeral christmas trees, gay cruising and some very slippery stuff. It was the official (ie formal/boring) christmas do yesterday afternoon, there are 2 more to go so I abstained from drinking so I could get out for probably the last night ride before christmas. My mrs thought my "priorities were all f***ked up" apparently I should have been out getting pissed like any normal person. Ho hum. Johnnie bailed at the last minute, ill health again and no doubt moving issues. I was going to head over to darwen and back via jumbles but as I got onto winter hill I decided I hadn't done 2 lads/wildes for a while so I went down there. 2 lads was properly slippy not quite lethal but definitely a handful, in a good way. Halfway down wildes just as I got to the cobbled section I was thinking this was the first quick run I'd done in ages, got to the lefthand bend before the sharp right and suddenly I was on a wide section of compacted snow/ice shhhiiiiiiii... straighten up, off the brakes, unclip one foot, just head straight on (towards the wall at the far side) and think smooth thoughts. Made it across, phew, sharp turn before I hit the wall and thank my minion ST for not dumping me on my arse. Lucky escape, sticky tyres have been ace during all this snow/ice.

Up school climb and the pike, very slippery coming down from the pike. As I was eating my mince pie riding up winter hill access road I looked up, the mast was wreathed in cloud, the red lights up the mast shining out created a christmas tree effect, like so
very festive (awesome artwork eh?). San marino was fun, legs aching by the bottom, this really is a very stiff frame but I said that about the kinesis at first too and I did manage a 40 miler at weekend without irreparably damaging my undercarriage so can't be that bad. I headed over to the jumbles via bj alley where I saw at least 2 different guys (presumably) drive all the way along, get to the end and turn back, wonder what they were upto... I ripped along the roller coaster then down www (where I saw a barn owl - cool!) to turton tower and home. Very very tired today.

Monday, 13 December 2010


Nowt much to report last week, rode in xc on tuesday and it was like a bloody ice rink, went home onroad where I noticed the front brake was rubbish, leaky caliper had pissed oil all over the pads. Whether this is due to cold weather ruining the seals or my latest hamfisted maintenance i dunno, either way caliper is screwed. Threw a hope mini on saturday night and finally went for a proper ride sunday. Almost all the snow has gone and it was milder weather so I could tone down the sub zero clothing but still cold enough for hard packed trails. That was the plan anyway, mixed results tho, I was pretty warm even overheating slightly but my feet were still cold (crap circulation I guess) the ground would be arctic winter frozen solid one minute then I'd sink into a mild miserable winter boggy section. Great to be out tho, went up winterhill then over to darwen, had issues getting me and the bike over the 8' dry stone wall at belmont res! Re-rode a load of different trails I've been shown by various people but never been back to. On my own so the pace was reasonably high, whilst climbing out of darwen I noticed the sun was very low, oops. I'd come out at 11:30 to do a 4-6hour ride, bearing in mind I leave work at 4 everyday and it's pitch black, I came out without lights, I can't believe I didn't see a problem with that plan! Idiot. Quickened the pace even more, up duckclough didn't quite manage the climb, a lungbuster at earnsdale res (where I may have seen julbags and friends) and then up wheelton for a hat trick of nasty climbs within an hour. Down to white coppice and along anglezark then fast as I could home. Legs were toast when I got back, walking downstairs was proper painful. This is just a taster tho, next years plan is to get quick, this years aim was distance, next year its speed, hopefully do a few brownbacks races.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Fading fast

Ride home was a little easier last night but still took me ages to get back. Going through the woods the snow was light on the ground and looked grey, like ash, with the bare tree's and gloom it looked very blast site/post apocalyptic. First time I've ridden without a headtorch for a while too, really increases the night ride tunnel effect, look to the side nothing but dark, can only see where your bars are pointing. Got home after the time I normally leave to go nightriding, text Johnnie and he was in a similar position, cancelled again, sensible choice. Not so sensible was riding in this morning, I died on my arse, halfway in my legs were weak, stomach feeling off again and dizzy, hmm. The ride home is looking fun it's proper heavy snow. Oh and I've just seen a guy walk passed our building with a pair of skis over his shoulder!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ooh ooh ooh me first!

Fresh tracks nearly all the way to work, seems like no-one could be bothered this morning, only one short section of offraod had footprints on it, most didn't even have animal tracks altho I did chase a rabbit for a while. Trouble is this snow is neither one nor t'other.
Not deep enough...
...for comedy handling.
...for nice soft landings. turn the rest of the transport network to chaos instantly upgrading any cyclist commuter to godlike status.
but plenty deep enough... make any blacktop very nervous for 2 wheelers turn the whole place into and ice rink if the temp drops again make it bloody hard work to ride in. Took well over 90 mins to get into work this morning, pitiful. Admittedly I'm tired after the weekends exertions but still, maybe 2.35 sticky downhill tyres aren't the best for snow. It needs to thaw out properly (yuck, nasty slush) or get some more proper snow on top otherwise we'll have a thick layer of ice for the next week or so, which if it then snows on top of will make it treacherous. Tonights ride isn't looking good, tired legs already, can't see me riding there, doing a ride then riding back and riding in tomorrow for my free ride2work breakfast. Hmm.

Update: Gaaaah, those big jessies at work have cancelled ride2work tomorrow, grr and indeed harumph!

De Ja Bleurgh

 Another weekend of perfect riding weather forecast, another pass out, another sorted ride planned with some mates, another bout of stomach upset, another failed weekend split between bedroom and bathroom. Grrr.
Those of a sensitive disposition look away now.
Seriously I don't want anyone complaining this post is gross, I gave you fair warning.
To be honest the ride had already fallen through, neither Johnnie or Simon could make it but Johnnie reckoned he'd be up for a local so spitlers edge was looking promising but I awoke 2am Sunday with a well dodgy stomach, Mrs had been throwing up during the week so I instantly knew what was gonna happen. We'd had Fajitas for tea and I really didn't wanna see those again, as it turns out it wasn't so bad so whilst still bent over the toilet bowl waiting for the next heave I started compiling a top 3 worst boaks ever. (told you this wouldn't be tasteful)
At 3 we have barely chewed Gammon. I was 13 on hols with my parents me and my sisters had spent most of the afternoon rolling down a massive sand dune making ourselves dizzy. Felt queasy for the rest of the day. Had Gammon for tea which as per usual for me back then I wolfed down. We then went watching indiana jones last crusade at the cinema, just as they got to the Venice boat scene my stomach had enough I walked briskly to the bogs had trouble finding them didn't quite make it. I spewed in the cubicle but didn't quite hit the toilet, whoops. Feeling like death I went back but a few mins later had to go for another go, sprinted this time made it to the cubicle just in time only to find it locked, went for the next one but the delay meant I liberally sprayed the floor of this one. I can only apologize to the cleaners at Newquay cinema.

At 2 Tapas. Work do, La Tasca's, nice, spicy spanish food, absolutely zero stodgy filler to soak up the copious post prandial alcohol (Chinese or Indian you get rice, with tapas you get nada) Spicy tomato puke, bleurgh. Horrible.

And at number 1 we have, well wait and see. Mine and a mates birthday, ooh 9 or ten years ago, we went for a curry, had a right laugh in the curry house - but that's another story. As was pro forma with my mates at the time some found eating food a necessary evil and were in a rush to get to the boozing while the rest of us finished. The other birthday boy and a few others went over to the vodka bar. I followed a little later, no sign of BB but there were my mates offering me a shot, ok cheers and I necked it, chilli vodka, you gits! They told me the other lad had already had one and had run to the bogs to throw up, I kept mine down ok but it didn't half burn (on top of a hot curry too) The night continued, ended up at someones house supping vodka til, well dunno, whatever time sunrise in march is. Now I've generally got a pretty strong stomach and very very rarely throw up on a night out but if I've really over done it, my stomach tries to sort it out, tries for a good few hours too then decides it's had enough around lunch time the next day and gives up. Anyway me and my gf went home and had a bit of a snooze, got up later felt crap for a while then tried our usual hangover pick me up, tuna mayo sarnies and tomato soup, she felt better i didn't. Sure enough a bit later I barfed, chilli vodka and tomato soup burned it's way back up my throat and out my mouth and more disturbingly my nose. Ow ow bloody ow. Worst ever. Since then I never neck a shot without tasting it first and I stick to fryups the morning after.

Feel free to share yours :-)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Pushing the envelope/Breaking the crust

Ride home was fun, the ground had softened in some places but had a few dodgy moments where I'd push into a turn and the ground held fast, seconds later another turn and the mud crust would give way and it'd go all squirrelly. Got some proper drifts going on, no stacks tho so it's all good.
Some inconsiderate twunts near home, I got home just before my mrs, I waited outside for her to help get Charlie out, she was opposite our house indicating to pull into a parking spot on our side of the road, she had to wait for a queue of traffic to clear. Lights at the corner went to red so we waited for someone to let her in - you know just pause for a few seconds before joining the long queue ahead. Nope no one stopped, just before she got completely blocked in for another cycle of the lights I had to step infront of some womens big 4x4, cow, admittedly plenty of people had already not let her in but she'd have blocked my mrs in. Where the lights are is a box junction but quite a few times recently I've seen people queueing across the junction and when the lights change no-one has been able to get across (except me on my bike of course :-) There's just no need for crap like that.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Couldn't be arsed nightriding this week, it's getting just cold enough for offroad commuting now, 98% of the trail was frozen this morning, just a couple of puddles hadn't, lovely. Got in work quite clean, numb feet tho even with merino socks and neoprene overshoes, rubbish circulation I guess. Looking a bit milder at the moment, hope the mud hasn't defrosted. Looking forward to some snow (untill it ices over and later melts, I'll be bitching about it then) Hopefully get a proper ride in this weekend.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Not very Zen

I was not transcending the mortal plane this morning, I did not reach nirvana during my singlespeed commute, the purity of monocogging completely failed to enrapture my beating heart. As I grovelled through a solid headwind with toasted legs, head bowed against the rain I was thinking gears would have made a bloody brilliant addition to the ride.
Nightride with Johnnie and Si last night, fairly short, pike, wildes, bastard climb, ICR, home. Si easing his way back into downhills, Johnnie recovering. Nasty wind at the pike but not bad elsewhere. I went back up AICR on my way home and it had got a lot worse, had to stop for an energy bar and legs felt proper drained this morning. Early this year I was knocking out commutes and nightrides no problem but at the moment it's killing me, guess I just need to push on through it. Just off for a caffeine boost to (hopefully) help propel my legs homeward. This morning it took me a pitiful 70minutes to do 14miles of (admittedly redlight heavy) road riding.

Monday, 15 November 2010

What tyres for...

...rock, gravel, grass, mud, bogs and snow(!)? Big group ride in the lakes yesterday, still having riding mojo problems and after purchasing a new graphics card on saturday I had COD black ops and assassins creed vying for my attention. Salvation/motivation was provided by Lowey who kindly offered to chauffer, we met up at staveley, 18 of us set off. Very very wet, started of with a lung buster tarmac climb then some well surfaced lanes with big puddles, twisting our way over to dubbs lane, I was warmed up and finally glad to be there. Dubbs was loose and gravelly, not ace but do-able. Garburn was not doable at all, Gavgas our leader blitzed passed us on the bottom section, (I didn't see but I presume he didn't clear it all) and Jacqui was on usual top form outclimbing the rest of us. At the top of garburn Gav threw us a curve ball and headed over to high street instead of down garburn. The snow started to appear on the ground as we traversed the hill on off-camber grassy singletrack. My tyres didn't like this, lots of front and rear wheel slippage. Coming down from Ill Bell was steep and sketchy, with my confidence in my tyres shot I minced sections of this. The snow was deeper now 2" up to 8" or so in drifts. We ended up pushing across to mardale ill bell, a proper trudge through the snow, serious wind chill and grumbles from a couple of riders suggesting this wasn't a great idea, specially once the cloud cover came in. Anyway we made it and started the descent, some fast snow covered track followed by steep pitch stairs mostly free of snow but no way was I attempting them. Started getting my shit together on the natural stuff just in time to hit nan bield. Didn't clean it, had to redo 2 sections but managed to ride it all. Good stuff. Graham had a "face brake" moment, ended up with a massive graze down his nose and there were a few other offs but no serious damage. My waterproof boots were compromised on the very wet trail on the valley floor but we didn't have far to go, road straight back to Staveley, a bridleway detour was started but abandoned when we realised we would run out of daylight. Big ringed it back to the cars, my feet squelching with every pedal stroke. On the way home lowey was lamenting how tired he was, I felt OK but later lying on the couch at 8pm I was nodding off, a very early night and my legs are fried this morning. A hard ride day out for a paltry 25miles 4000ft climbing.
Gavgas has done a vid, lowey and Deejay have some pics.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Showers with intermittent riding

Not been proper nightriding for a few weeks but Johnnie was reportedly ove rhis flu and Si was back from his big crash. Speaking of which this is a pic of the drop he jumped/fell off, pretty big huh? Either this guy is a hobbit or the drop was over 5'. Anyway I wasn't in the mood for technical just wanted to get a few miles in, the guys were in agreement. Barrow bridge climb was hard work, think I've lost a load of fitness, wildeswood has changed, the bit through the trees has been seriously cut up with loads of water channels through the earth and the 3" layer of leaves, there's loads of little islands of leaves and you've no idea if they are just leaves or concealing big rocks so have to pick your way between them. Met Si and we waited for Johnnie, a cyclist appeared just down the road, we weren't sure if it was him, cyclist then stopped turned his bike over, removed a wheel and started fettling "yep that's him" We steadily climbed up to Georges lane, Johnnie nearly hurled so retired early obviously not quite over his flu. Me and Si continued, georges lane, winter hill rd, Holdens farm scout rd, smithills then back up Barrow bridge walker fold down hole in't wall and wildeswood. Nice, easy (well non-technical, winter hill rd and barrow bridge was bloody hard) mud free route, weather was cold and windy but rain held off and it was not too bad a night all in all, lot better than I expected after the last couple of weeks. As we got to the rivi school access road I tried to cross the chasm of a ditch to reach the tarmac. I lazily just tried to compress the forks and wheely over from the rebound but the leaves disguised the extent of the ditch and front wheel just went down, front wheel hit the tarmac and I went OTB, stupid bugger. I spun home on the road properly tired, hope we get a few more rides like that.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

taking it easy

More of the same weather wise, I'd been wanting to get some hill climbs in, punish my legs a bit but again wussed out of a proper nightride, instead took the long route home. Rain was a bit lighter so my sub gold standard clothing was coping, went to smithills dean rd, not done the full climb before, 1mile dead straight, 120m of climbing, ooh that was hard without gears. Going along the tops my joystick was proving to be rubbish, rain blowing in my face, oncoming cars dazzling me, I couldn't see diddly, bit nervy. Was planning on going up edge lane too but after SD rd my legs refused, down to chorley new road into horwich and up chorley old, nice steady climb. Round the ring rd to stretch it out and home, legs feeling well worn.
This morning my legs are tired but my shoulder is frigged, been sore for a while now doc said muscle damage NSAIDs and take it easy, thrutching a singlespeed up steep hills it turns out isn't taking it easy, quite sore and stiff too. Damn.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Last year Johnnie got himself some endura stealth longs, the ultimate in pant technology, waterproof softshell stuff that is a proper fit and cut for riding in. Match them up with some waterproof boots and jacket and you've got the perfect winter attire. But they cost an absolute mint and are overkill for 90% of even winter riding and I can put up with damp legs and wet feet can't I? Of course it's the other 10% that gets you reaching for you wallet, last night was like that. Chucking it down all afternoon and night, by the time I got home from work my shoes were full of water and my "waterproof" gloves were waterlogged. I was warm enough and could probably have managed another hour but then I'd have had enough. "No such thing as bad weather just bad clothing"....balls to that! just not enough funds for the very best clothing. I was out in the rain even longer than usual, because visibility was so bad I had to keep the speed down so no numpty ran into/pulled out on me. As it was some guy nearly got me, queue of oncoming traffic waiting to turn right, a 4x4 turned right in the (just about big enough) gap in front of me but nobhead tried tailgating him (due to the big 4x4 nob had no view of the road but went for it anyway), if I hadn't been smack bang in the middle of the road he wouldn't have seen me until it was too late, as it was I got a ermergency stop slide and a hand wave of apology - is that it? A wave? For nearly killing me? Thanks. Nobody was up for nightriding anyway so I didn't have to come up with excuses, see if I make it out tonight.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

getting messy

Been a bit wet lately but bike needed a wash anyway so came in offroad and got absolutely covered in filth. Constant spray of water flicking up from front wheel, interestingly squirmy mud was now scarily slippy. Heading along the old canal I normally ride along the stone edging, about 14" wide fairly smooth stone easy normally but when it's wet or icey I get nervous and stiffen up and that can lead to mistakes, hopping over the missing stone was managed OK but I ended up moving away from the canal edge which led to my rear wheel slipping off. You know when you bump up a kerb at an angle and the rear wheel just slides along instead of bouncing up? It was like that but with a drop to water on the other side. Eeek! A bit shook up but I kept on the stones, now I love my hope lights very powerful I got a good deal on them but one downside is that their idea of a battery meter is waiting til it's nearly dead then dropping to minimum power and flashing - which is what happened whilst still on the canal stones, argh! Unable to see much I dropped onto the muddy trail at the side just as it turned into offcamber cobbles, front wheel went sideways (towards the canal obviously) and my head went towards the wall at the other side, just saved it with a dab. Phew. So by now my nerve had completely gone, I stopped and composed myself a little but without much light the rooty wooded section was scary, tyres kept sliding around roots I hadn't seen. Today the trail owned me, ah well, some you win some you lose.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


The ride home was excellent, gave it some beans, slipping and sliding in the bit of mud through the trees, carved a few berms in drinkwater, thrutched round all the hairpin gates, trackstanding for eternity at the couple of redlights and just pretty much owned it all! (or is that pwned?)
Not so good I was reading the CTC mag and there were 2 guys on the letters page moaning about mountain bikes. 1 saying Benji Haworth (I think it was) shouldn't be recommending chapel gate due to MTBs ersoding it and 1 saying there was too much MTB stuff in the CTC mag. Like STW forum it's disappointing how many cyclists dislike other cyclists just coz they use different bars/tyres/trails/roads. Get over yourselves.

Monday, 25 October 2010

5/10 must try harder

I was liking the look of the frost yesterday so with more this morning I grabbed the SS and went to work offroad. The wet and mud had started to solidify but the permamud down at the bottom of my road hadn't and various other sections were still wet. Colder please! Well actually it's probably cold enough just need a month or so of this weather. I'd forgotten that rim brakes + sub zero + mud = no brakes, whoops. Had to stop at one point to sort out a sticky piston, whilst there I thought I'd employ a park tools mud stick and get rid of the build up of crud on my downtube/bb but no good, that was frozen on, something else I'd forgotten. I saw 2 deer near the forest bank crim centre, nice, then a bit later there was the most fantastic view. The sky overhead was almost purple, lower down that morphed to azure with a little bit of pink cloud, fading to orange and red on the horizon, the towers of manchester in the foreground and the peak district behind, below there was the bridge over the river with a bit of mist coming up of the water then the whole lot was reflected in the millpond calm on the irwell. Awesome, certainly took my mind off my hangover.
Bike is now in the loading bay, defrosting and no doubt leaving a puddle of mud, will have to consider fitting discs but my trusty Z1s don't have tabs, altho I did notice my "trusty" Z1s had oil on one of the stanchions, might have to fit the newer not improved bombers.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

3rd Time lucky

Sitting comfortably? Right as you know I broke my hardtail a while back so I checked t'internet for a cheap replacement, 18" ragley mmmbops have similar angles/lengths to the xc120 and only £155 so I'll get one. Ordered 4th Sep, got it on the 9th, I fit the headset - pain in the arse, scratched it up getting the cups in, fit the BB, hmm not quite right, both cups aren't flush, ah well, I fit the crank anyway but there's a tight spot when I spin them. Hmm speak to Brant he says see LBS about a tap and reface, LBS's don't have the tools plus they say it looks like the BB has been tapped at an angle so facing won't work. Return to CRC, they tap and face and send it back (postage refunded thanks) fit cups, nope LBS was right cups still aren't flush. Return frame. New frame with headset cups fit by CRC (phew) BB looks better, possibly not spot on, but cranks spin fine so I'm ok with that. Finish building bike on the stand, everything done just fit the wheels. Hmm disk won't go in caliper, hang about that's not right, the nds chainstay is obviously flared out too far so post welding they have manipulated the dropout so a hub will fit in there but that's left the brake mounts wayyyyy out of line. Hmm, return frame. Get a call from CRC "whats wrong with it?" fair enough I didn't spot it straight away "try fitting a wheel" "ah, refund or new frame" well I've had to buy a headset, seatpost collar and BB/cranks to fit this and I'm still without a bike so replacement frame it is. CRC do a proper job on this, fit a brake and wheel, fit my BB cups give it a thorough once over and finally 6 weeks after ordering I get a working frame. Not bad customer service but I've got reservations about the ragley factory QC.

Anyway I finally got it out for a ride last night, first impressions too small, too stiff, too green, too loud. While a similar length and angles the frame is not as tall as the 120, a 400mm seatpost is right on the limit of minimum insert (or possibly over, minimum insert mark has rubbed off), I have 2.5" of spacers on the steerer. Going over rocks shakes me up despite using the same tyres and forks as before, shoulders and legs all battered after wildeswood. The big ali tubes amplify every sound, freehub tick, grit hitting the downtube, gear changes etc. So not going great then, however as the ride went on I started to like it, definitely stiff but maybe not as bad as I thought, I'm still used to riding the heckler and don't think my arms and shoulders have recovered yet from weekend. It's a similar length to the kinesis but lower and at the end of the ride I was starting to rip into corners, pushing harder than usual. So more punishing but more accurate, could be interesting, the jurys still out and the search begins for a cheapish >400mm seatpost.

Frame number 2, hmm theres something not quite right there. Wonky rear end

Very green isn't it? Full build, it needs a new saddle and a higher rise stem, other than that seems ok

Monday, 18 October 2010

A day spent not pedalling

Johnnie went and signed us up for an uplift day at Ae Forest (scotlandshire) think he just wanted an excuse to visit the motherland. Mark, who hates riding uphill, unbelievably couldn't make it but Ryan the part time downhiller took his place so along with Si the 4 of us headed up there. With the exception of Ryan we had the weediest bikes there but with his full facer and borrowed body armour Johnnie looked the part - if you ignored his tights. First run down we were advised to go down the shredder but we had been warned thee were some do or die sections on bot runs and they weren't signposted (gulp). Shredder is like llandegla or lee quarry on steroids, bigger drops, bigger jumps, steeper switchbacks but similarly flowy and eggs you on to go faster. We saw the DHers ahead stopped at the fireroad jump a 4-5ft drop where you tired to clear a fireroad and land on the downslope. We watched a DHer come up short and bottom out very harshly on the flat (on an 8" travel bike) hmm. 2nd run down on a whim I went for it, again came up short and bottomed out big time, got full travel on my forks (1st time ever!) and tweaked my knee. 3rd time I didn't bother but Ryan did, he was short too and slammed down, Johnnie came round the corner and stopped next to it, then Si came tearing round the corner I thought bloody hell he's going for it! Nope he'd forgotten it was there, too slow, nose heavy his front wheel pile drived into the ground followed by his head - not good. He got up feeling OK-ish but his glasses had cut pretty bad into his ear, tacoed front wheel, I stamped on it till it was true enough to roll, helped him fit a new tube then he minced down and off to A&E. We were late for the uplift so I charged down, properly quick, barely in control but made it back incident free and in time for the bus.

The downhill run was more technical, rooty and rocky with some tight switchbacks oh and a HUUUUGE stepdown which we looked at and said no way. It was good to see that on the tech stuff similar to what we normally ride we were a similar speed to the downhillers, then on the silly big drops and jumps they kept going while we minced. After 7 runs down Ryan was threatening to sit one out as he was tired....tired he's 22 he should be able to sit on a bus and ride down a hill FFS. Actually by then my hands were getting tired, braking was hard work, anyway we persuaded him mocked him till he relented. We did the shredder again and this time tried the log ride, Ryan went 1st I followed, from the start it was looking bad, was going to fall to the left but hung on and recovered then started to go right argh, tried to keep on but no chance, so jump off bike or ride/drop off? Jump/drop/jump/drop eek, I dropped, nearly landed it too but bars twisted and threw me off, Ryan cleaned it git! The last few runs we had it dialled and ripped down, really good fun, DH was good but shredder was better, so many jumps/drops to fades where you seems to be in the air for ages then touch down smoothly and I was getting some proper height and length on the tabletops. Managed to clear the fireroad gap on the last run aswell. Feeling rather battered today but will be going back next year, maybe a trip to innerleithan aswell.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Proper night riding

Tuesday night ride was cancelled so yesterday afternoon me and SI decided to nip upto Cragg Quarry after work, he's not been before. Drive upto his then set off, 40minutes in I realised it's a lot further to the top of rooley moor road from Si's than I remembered, getting pretty cold too. Eventually got to cragg and managed a loop in the dying light, good stuff, pedally but quite flowy, there was a lot of really good bits I'd forgotten about but I had other things on my mind last time. We had a second lap in the dark, much harder work, taking the downs a bit slower so even more pedally. Few near misses as I was coasting around the top of the berms instead of carving the start and cutting in. Ended up running out of berm a few times. Dunno how anyone would manage with just bar mounted lights, you can hit the berms so fast you need to look wayyyy ahead and scan the trail up down right and left, if you got the choice helmet mounted lights are the way to go. Was funny, stopping and looking back along the trail for Si and just seeing his light shining out above the hill he was climbing, very "close encounters" We split after that lap, he had a long downhill home I had a bit more testing route. Stupidly I did more of the loop again instead of going straight down RMR. When I did depart the loop RMR was no where to be seen I just had a rough idea of direction and a faint sheeptrack to follow, the track twisted and turned and then dissappeared. I looked ahead still no sign of RMR and no chance of tracing my route back - gulp! Started getting worried, didn't wanna get lost on the moors. I forged on and fortunatley found RMR close by, phew! Remembered the route back to sandbeds lane and over to holcombe moor OK, pretty good considering I've only done it once. It's a bugger of a climb onto the moor but I managed it and was presented with a nighttime vista different to the usual from rivi. I headed to crowthorne round the horseshoe, a bunch of bikers passed me at the maggot farm (particularly pungent!) My legs were fading fast so took the road home mostly downhill. A pretty hard route for a night ride, I was shattered at the end but it was a good blast.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Really nice chilled offroad commute this morning, sun was out (eventually) bit of mist, trails in good nick, think I saw a fox (well i saw a flash of red fur). Caught up with a guy bimbling along some very narrow singletrack so I just coasted, patiently waiting for a chance to pass, he was hardly looking at the trail just checking out the view through the trees down to the river, just soaking it all up and that reminded me what a nice xc commute I have. Got to agecroft there was still a bit of the pink of sunrise in the sky, beetham tower was rising out of the mist on manchester and a squadron of canadian (iirc) geese flew passed and landed on the river next to me - very cool.
Forgot that xc takes 20mins longer, oops, will have to set alarm earlier tomorrow.

Monday, 11 October 2010

3T backwards

So we've got a reprieve on winter for now, lovely day yesterday, I was unsure where to go, fancied a biggish ride but didn't have a load of time. A slightly slimmed down 3towers I thought, aim for 4hours. Setting off I'd initially planned to go trough the jumbles, I normally do this early or late and in minging weather so no bother but there were so many people out on the trails before the jumbles I swerved them and headed up the road to Holcombe....along with a monster headwind. At peel tower I saw a couple of guys headed over the moor, I thought they'd know the trail back to the horseshoe so I chased and caught up with them, unfortunatley they didn't, they were just exploring so I turned back. Met Mr Sparkle and friends at the bottom they'd come from Darwen over hoddlesden moor and the area Lowey was exploring a few weeks back, there's a decent route there apparently.
We were all headed to Darwen so we had a natter and Simon showed me a few new trails round there including some lovely singletrack. Simon was showing up my lack of fitness, I was ok at powering up short steep sections but on longer stuff he was leaving me for dead. Roddlesworth was busy so I was on a go slow, was a bit boring going back to rivi TBH, it was getting on and my legs were fading so I didn't do great hill was tempted tho. Rivi was packed, picked my way up the hill, the last stretch to the pike was murder, wind was back with a vengeance, getting blown all over the shop. Headed home via georges and chorley old rd as I was running late, just managed sub 5 hours. Conclusions, seems my knees are a lot better just not 100% yet, my cold still hasn't buggered off, I don't need to eat as much as I normally do (didn't eat at all during the ride) I need a new back wheel for my RM, the old one off the HT I'm using is proper heavy. 5300ft is not a lot of height gain for a 41mile ride.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

That's why

Dunno who this guy is but I like his SS write up.

Berming the midnight oil*

Johnnie fancied a change of scenery this week so me and Si met him at Lee Quarry, I have been up here on an evening before but it was only just getting dark as we left, last night was a proper blackout from start to finish. Nice night, it clouded over after sunset so not too cold but no moon or stars and we were the only ones out, had the place to ourselves, perfect. The newish rocky singletrack climb was hardwork in the dark, dabs all round, and the steep roll-in is a lot harder when you can't see anything until you've gone over the edge but we made it to the skills area relativley unscathed. Did the ace big bermed red run there a few times, first time down was dodgy my lights weren't setup right for it, but then again it's not often I've got too look way up, above head height to spot my line (those berms are HIGH). With my lights set higher the next runs were better. We did the rest of the loop, coming round a corner at the far end of the quarry there was an awesome view, dark to the left and right, bit of trail ahead illuminated by my hopes then the blackness of a drop and the lights of Stacksteads close but way down below us. I've never done a nightride on such a precipitous trail before, pretty cool. The ginnel and the jumpy bottom section were a lot more involving in the dark. I held the gate open at the very bottom, bad move, Si tried to corner on the loose gravel and binned it. Another quicker loop followed, I rode the optional black drop offs again - with my forks locked this time Doh. Had a go on the pump track, all of us on full sus made it very hard work. Hit the jumpy bits harder this time and managed not to die. At the bottom again I held the gate open this time Johnnie tried to make the corner....and didn't. A nice change to the usual rivi run and a reminder of what nightriding can be like, depending solely on that little illuminated spot infront, we know rivi so well there's not a massive difference doing it at night. Good stuff.

*sorry best I could come up with

Monday, 4 October 2010


Bit of a mixed bag really, kielder and quite a few away rides was rather good, Kielder eating my knees, me breaking my backwheel and mental rain turning the trails to mush wasn't so good, as born out by the pathetic 316 mileage (and a third of that was 1 ride!). I've rested my knees since ambleside but the gentle commute this morning showed they still aren't 100%, fingers crossed they are sorted soon.

Aims update, a few things ticked off, looks like 3000 xc miles is out, I've not broken 2000 mark yet and only 3 months to go, stw weekender never happened, coast to coast hmm we'll see, doubtful tho. Maybe if I commute xc for the next 3 months I could crack 3k, cleaners would probably ban me from the building tho.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Out riding again yesterday, for some reason Si didn't fancy another hikeabike, so nan bield was scrapped and we did the ambleside STW route I did earlier this year but we parked at clappersgate and left the killer loughrigg fell climb for the end of the day - joy :-) A long road section then climb upto iron keld, my knee's were moaning again, think I need to rest them. Downhill was good but again in my opinion seems to lack something to make it a great downhill. Tongue intake plantation was fun and surprisingly legal, news to me, slight navigational breakdown at Hodge close but eventually found the correct pile of slate to ride down. Si was not impressed with the silly steep climb up the old quarry. Missed a turning in moss rigg wood but found a section with a pretty serious penalty for error. Back on track Si showed me up infront of walkers by successfully crossing the ford at little langdale while I minced across the bridge. Sawreys wood then a brief detour up lingmoor fell, got chatting to some walkers, when they heard we were headed for loughrigg terrace they questioned whether it was a bridleway, of course it is, I was just waiting for them to comment on the non-ROW we were stood on but they didn't :-) Sawreys wood again then the looong climb upto high close, which Si wrongly assumed was the killer climb I had talked about. The terrace was quiet and most walkers were cool we only recieved a couple of scowls.
Si was overjoyed when he saw the lungbusting tarmac climb from Rothay bridge, I've done this climb lots now but always at the start of a ride with cold legs, it was a little easier being warmed up...but not much. More navigation problems on the top of the fell but eventually I found the route down. Lovely twisty wooded singletrack back to the car where pork pie and various cake awaited, mmm. 22 miles and just a little short of another 5000ft ride.
Map for julbags, from the original ride, we didn't do the bit through skelwith fold wood


Well Skiddaw was so good and I had a fresh volunteer (Si) so went back on friday. We went straight up latrigg, was hard work on my (still) sore knees, didn't bother attempting to ride any of the path up skiddaw. Wind was pretty fierce as we made our way up the switchbacks, windproofs on. Managed to get riding again after the switchbacks, it was hard work getting blown by the crosswind but atleast we were riding again and we finally passed the walkers who we'd seen at the bottom. The top section was awful, pushing into a monster wind, worst I've ever experienced, hunched over the bars pushing up, backwheel getting blown sideways over the scree, I had every layer and thick gloves on and still I was getting chilled. Hunkered down at the top trying to get some feeling back into my hands, I'd be needing some fine tuned braking on the steep scree that followed. We set off and were soon thankfully out of the wind, didn't do quite aswell and had to stop on a tricky part, Si crashed right behind me, clouting his glasses on a rock, good job he had them on! Managed to get going again and did ok, hit th end section pretty quick just and launched over some rocks just as the wind picked up again and nearly blew me over. Ullock was a lot harder in the wind, going slow into tricky stuff then the wind would stop you dead or knock you off line. Didn't ride a couple of sections I managed last time or the cliff (obviously). Si was doing really well, there were only a couple of bits I rode that he didn't altho he did say there were sections when he just blindly followed me down, which if he had stopped and looked he may not have ridden :-)
Still an excellent bit of trail even with the wind. My knee's were proper aching on the road back up to latrigg but it's too good to miss out. On the way down I slowed approaching a blind corner, sure enough around it there was a group of elderly walkers. I slammed on and slowed right down to walking pace before I got to them but I'd already startled them, bloke at the front told me I was going too fast and a woman called me a silly boy(!) I told them there was one more rider behind me as we heard Simons approach, he too slowed and stopped but they ripped into him. "this is a footpath" no it's not. "You were on the wrong side of the road" it's not a road and you were on my left. "You were going too fast" I stopped safely. They weren't having it, we were naughty and they were going to tell us off. Si wished them a nice day and we carried on.
Next we went down to derwent and did the start of borrowdale bash, Birketts leap was fantastic as usual, Si had a minor off on the big rocks but otherwise he cleaned the rest including some proper sketchy loose stuff in Frith wood. We wanted to do the castle crag section too but it was getting on and I had to get back to pick up charlie so we took the road back to the car. Another sorted day out of proper technical riding, just 21miles but over 5000ft again (5350 actually).

Thursday, 23 September 2010

More awesome than the awesome-ist thing in awesometown.

Apologies to lowey for pinching his ride.
By tuesday I still hadn't decided where to ride but I warned Johnnie we would be riding something steep and rocky on wednesday. Picked him up nice and early and we made our way to Keswick. Got on the M61 and immediatley had to leave due to M6 being closed, great start, Johnnie found us some quiet roads to skirt round preston and eventually we were on our way. Finally decided on Skiddaw/Ullock pike, parked up at the bottom of latrigg, did the blencathra climb, the steep bit at the head of the valley has been sanitised, easier now but a bit boring. Wasn't pushing hard so didn't expect to clean the rocky bit up lonscale, I just focused 3' infront of my wheel and didn't plan ahead, as I hopped up onto the big stone halfway up I had to trackstand a second to regain balance (Johnnie accused me of showboating) I thought I might actually make it but not to be lost it not long after on the last tricky bit. Dropping down to whit beck johnnie nearly hit a tree, then the monster climb of skiddaw began. Absolutley brutal, not tech, plenty of grip but stupidly steep. I rode a bit collapsed in a heap, rode untill collapsing again, decided this technique would cause some major bonking later so resorted to shanks's pony. Quite a few walkers but the clouds were brewing and several turned back before little man. A bit of riding then before the final push to skiddaw man. Saw a couple on bikes coming down, the guy was taking it pretty slow and his lady friend was walking, ouch - long walk up long walk down bet he was in trouble later. By now we were in cloud, for a while we could just see Keswick below then it too was gone, nowt but cloud. Had a chat with a guy at the top then saddled up for the touted "best descent in the lakes" Only just saw the trail in the mist/cloud a tiny ribbon of trail perched on the side of a huge scree slope. I was going down heavy braking on the limit of traction on the loose stuff, paused to wait for Johnnie, looked back and saw he was having trouble walking down, that's when I realised how steep it was. Due to a last minute wheel swap Johnnie only had 160mm discs and they just weren't cuttting it here. Saw some walkers struggliing up, one old lady said "you're mental" and then we didn't see another soul til the road at the bottom.
Ullock pike was brilliant, tight twisty singletrack switchbacks interspersed with pick your own line, open rocky drop sections. After nailing a long sweet section I stopped and started jumping up and down whooping, like a kid with the keys to the sweet shop. MTB nirvana, I was very happy.
There was one section I looked long and hard at but didn't attempt, the rest was just right for me. Johnnie rode a lot of it, getting more comfortable on his 5. Nearly lost his lid tho, while I was checking out the un-rideable bit he took a break, removed his helmet but the wind caught it and it started to tumble downhill fortunatley it caught on some heather 20ft down otherwise it would still be falling/rolling now. It finished with grassy singletrack and then a drop through dodd forest. took the road back up to the car park below skiddaw and did the Latrigg section which was unusually fairly walker free. The heavens opened as we got to the car, perfect timing, excellent trails, contender for ride of the year.
So good I think I'll go back very soon.
No pics, too much cloud anyway but el-boufador got some decent ones here when he did it and peachos too. Oh and Freeridenick who's pics were the inspiration for the ride.
21miles 5000ft!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

salford crescent refurb

Lots of work going on at the crescent right now, a part of my road commute, at first I assumed it was gas/water work thats been going on all over manchester but no it appears they are making big changes. Bus lanes in either direction have been closed off and they are extending the pavements. Why? the pavements infront of the uni are colossal, the section between the uni and the train station are of a decent size, admittedly overgrown trees encroach on the pavement but gentlemen of salford I give you the black and decker hedge trimmer. Anyway it's currently a bit of a mess, what was a relativley safe easy section of road (with the odd bus lane raider to dodge) is now a PITA.
A bit of googling shows it might not be all bad (for cyclists and bus-ists) sabre (no I don't know who they are either) has a discussion on it and this link seems to show they are cutting speed down from 40-20 and will still have bus/bike lane. Basically a major facelift, 1 car lane, 1 bus lane, an extra crossing to contend with but basically not too bad if they get the link up with broad street right. Nightmare for drivers tho. Lets just hope no one gets smeared over the road during the work disruptions.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Winter is upon us

On saturday the forecast for sunday said rain during the night then showers in the day so plans were made to do walna scar and possibly parkamoor. In the morning I packed the car in heavy rain, Johnnie called with reservations, we decided on a course of MTFU. Before I set off I had a quick recheck of the forecast, it now said heavy/torrential rain....ah, change of plan. Probably a lucky escape there, I had visions of mountain marathon video footage from the other year, monsoon, mountain rescue, news crews calling the participants idiots. Anyway we met up at rivi later for a more tame ride. Took the SS, not ridden it for a while and it showed, my slow speed thrutch technique needs a bit of a brush up. The rain was on hold but there was a river running down AICR, riding wasn't too bad, we stuck to decent surfaced trails and my clothing was doing a good job of keeping me warm and dry, when I mentioned this Si and Johnnie threatened to throw me in a reservoir. Rivi, wildes matchmoor, winterhill, not a bad short route, finished with 2 lads and wildes. I hit 2lads pretty quick, was making decent time down it, got to the drop offs and was doing OK, until the last, biggest one, went a little squirelly on the landing, veered right, into the side of the gully, a tank slapper moment concluded with a proper OTB at speed. Jumped up quick and got going before the lads caught up but at the bottom owned up to the crash, think both of them had had "moments" too. 2nd big crash on this bike in 12months, got to remember this bike is not as forgiving at speed as my others. We got back to cars wet through, a paltry 11miles, good laugh tho. Plenty of people out despite the weather, good to see.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Annual llandegla trip

Weather was looking grim so me and Johnnie headed for a trail centre, not been for a while and they've added quite a bit of stuff. The skills bit at the start is OK, had a go on the drops then the little jumps. 1st go on the big jumps was ok but 2nd time I fluffed the first and landed well out of shape, ahem, back to trail riding for now. Did the original red/black run as far as Offa's Dyke, good laugh, nice and fast singletrack downs, knees still sore so was pushing quite a few of the fire road climbs. Up Offa's for another run, this time we did parallel universe a jumpy section where we were warned "crash landing is dangerous" good to know. You also needed jumping skills AND landing skills, well useful to have both skills I guess, body armour also required - damn, I fail. I recklessly gave it a go anyway, loadsa fun, not so much jumps as launch pads, no jumping skills neccessary (good job as I have none) just hit it fast and you are catapulted into the air, wahey. Tabletops, step up and downs and some tame (ie you won't die if you come up short) doubles. We pushed straight back up and had another go at that, I tried to squash the jumps a bit so I wasn't overshooting the landings. Johnnie wasn't feeling quite so comfortable, some setup/getting used to new bike issues I think but he still enjoyed it. Did the rest of the loop with a good play on the pump track, VERY tiring on a sqaushy FSer but just about doable (ie i could get round a few times sans pedalling, I couldn't jump at all).
A monster burger at the cafe before we left, a decent day out. Liking what they've done with the place, rain held off too, only dissapointments were the notshore bit has been dropped, a cpl of closed sections and the ridiculous amount a crap left by bikers, gels, cake wrappers, inner tubes, relentless/monster cans, pretty annoying.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

ride fail - again!

After (gently) mocking Johnnie about the state of his bike the other day I suffered some karmic payback. Met up with Burk and Si for a planned loop round darwin tower, kicked off from barrow bridge and did san marino, wet but lots of fun. Had to climb over the walls at the dam road again but soon onto witton weavers were at a gate I noticed a problem. Back wheel was very wobbly, driveside of axel had a lot of play, non drive side solid. Hmm, tried the locknuts but they were too tight to undo with trailside tools so I bailed, rolled home on the blacktop. Weather was pretty grim so Burk and Si binned the rest of the ride too but took a slightly more scenic route back. Not cracked wheel open yet so dunno what the problem is.

3rd fail this year not good, 2 mechanicals and 1 weather fail. Grrr.
Oh and it seems the indian summer is off, we're straight back to winter, 6months of this lame weather :-(

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Top bodge

Excellent! I've just multirelease-ified my XT shifters, well ryan in the workshop did anyway. Turns out shimano have done what I've heard of several electronics companies doing. Use the same hardware/manufacturing for the top and not so top of the range models then disabled the really fun stuff on the cheaper models to justify prices. Bit of bodgery and your XT shifters behave just like XTRs.

Time for mtb top trumps does M952 beat M770? Do I replace the older XTR shifter on my heckler with this bodged XT or just put it on my hardtail? Oh the pressure.

Nightride slackers

Out on tuesday, went to pick up Johnnie cos he had some bike parts for me, running early so called in at Fredericks for a 2 scoop cone, mmm. Johnnie's bike was in a typical state of functionality, no front brake and the forks were on backwards :-) Met Si at the barn where the midges were out in force so we got moving ASAP as soon as Johnnie had a working bike. It was definitley more about getting out and having a laugh than the riding, just upto the pike, upto 2 lads backdown and then wildeswood, doubt we hit double figures but it was fun. Johnnie had gone back to work after time off so was in quite a caustic mood and we had a good rant/blather about lots of stuff. Looks like kielder destroyed my knees, was thinking of going back up the hill to do ICR but my knees said no and Johnnie and Si weren't bothered either.
Yesterday - incredibly - a day off coincided with gorgeous weather but I spent it indoors :-( waiting for more bike stuff :-) and getting some painting done :-( Knees were still sore riding (very gently) in this morning hope they're fixed for weekend.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Brighten the place up

I don't post enough pics, can't be having text, text, text so I'll do a job lot at once.

Midgie-ed, I managed to get all these bites in the time it took me to sit down and eat my burger immediatley after Kielder, very itchy today.

This is what happened to my bashring when I hit that rock on the ICR the other week.

The other affected area

Crack goes 3/4 of the way round the chainstay.

A "before" shot of the wheel I built, unlike a lot of people Charlie likes very clicky freehubs. He likes turning things, it his "schema" apparently. Didn't bother with an "after" shot considering the job I did of building it but it's now running sweetly thanks to Mr Smith the LBS owner.

This is Charlies birthday present for later in the month, Shhhhh don't tell him, it's a surprise.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Well that was an experience. Wasn't feeling good friday so was quite cross, tried having a lie in but it just wasn't happening. Lay in bed wondering whether to bother, fully expected to drive up feel rough as toast saturday do a few miles then crash out and drive home, this could be an expensive drive. Got up bad temperdly packed the car, begrudgingly had my brekkie killed a bit of time, went to morrisons got my mrs some lunch then took it up to her work. Just didn't wanna leave. Finally thought sod it and set off. Got there and pitched tent upto sign in and met Samuri, sat and chatted with him, Mike and a guy I met on the lee quarry STW ride. Midges EVERYWHERE, really annoying. I'd brightened up with the atmosphere but still not optimistic, was expecting to not be able to breathe going up the first hill then blow up spectacularly at 30mile mark - not a bad prediction.

Race day came round woke up it was bloody freezing, trying to put on suncream when it's dark and cold is not fun. Cold home made rice pud for brekkie mmm. I was one of the early birds so was at the front, it was chilly waiting at the start line but we were soon off. The ride out I was taking steady felt OK, very misty, people just streaming passed me, waved at Trio as she passed. At the first climb I stood up, chest felt awful and I got a bit dizzy so I sat back down again but otherwise I was going along OK. Skipped 1st station so caught up with trio chatted for a while I kept pulling away on the downs, she needs more ballast to keep up - more cake! :-) but she caught up quickly on the flat/ups. We were spinning along managing an 11.5 average for the first 20miles next feed I stopped and I didn't see her again. 20-30 was hard work, lots of climbing in the first half of the course, 30-40 was really hard, was getting saddle sore (!) had bitten my cheek a few time so that was constantly bleeding but I thought I might make the 50 or 65mile cut off.40-50 was horrible just wanted to be at home, in my own bed and my mrs bring me tea and cake til I felt better, figured I'd definitley get cut off at 65 even if I had to hang around for half an hour until time was up! 50-65 wasn't too bad, awful climb up rubble-y zig zags but then the giant boardwalk to the top was weirdly cool and the trip over to scottish land was grassy and draggy but OK.

The lentil soup and tuna butties at newcastleton were heaven! I was feeling better and was quite a bit ahead of cut off, set off again. The trails here were lovely, proper twisty turny forest stuff then a long flat (thankfullly) drag back into englandshire and the 80mile mark. Saddle sore was chronic now and I realised why, I'd put an extra 20psi in my rear shock for less bob more efficency, unfortunatley my arse was paying the price. I'd beaten the last cut off and only 20miles to go, thats a tuesday nightride I can knock those out in my sleep. The longest hardest 20miles I have ever done, was chatting to Christen an ex-american for most of it, we were riding for ages til we got to a marshal point he said 6.5 miles to go, you are joking no way have we only done 13.5. Grrr. keep going, singletrack, big climb on double track, about 20mins and a few miles later we see "5miles to go" Arrrgh. I kind of lost it a bit then head went, these were proper country miles. Pushed on swearing and cursing. Finally got to the last checkpoint just 2miles of singletrack descent to go and a big gap infront of me cos I'd slowed right down. Hit the downhill at full tilt, Innappropriate speed considering time in the saddle and fatigue but I was loving it, eventually caught some riders and then slowed to sensible speed and followed them in.

12:40 8mph average, 107 miles apparently a shedload of climbing. Feeling pretty ravaged now, legs are gone, backs aching can't decide whether my knees or arse hurt more but very happy with the result - I won't be back next year tho :-)

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Finely honed body in tip top condition fail.

Sorry more bitching about my health.
So I was just getting over my (possibly) tonsilitus last week, felt OK saturday quick spin upto bike shop to stock up on power gels. Fine on sunday took charlie swimming and then pub lunch (no booze) but later eating some soreen my bloody tooth broke, great yawning chasm of unprotected tooth root. Brilliant, 2days before the dentist is even open let alone a free appointment, damn that fruity malt loaf.
Woke up monday feeling a bit groggy but it soon developed into full on hangover mode, headache, weak and nasueous. WTF? I didn't even have a drink, 2nd weekend in a row, I feel like Bilious. Was in bed at 4pm, still a bit iffy this morning. What the hells going on? Grrrr.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Why? Seriously why?

So I'm ill, again, I'm not happy but before I go apop-bloody-lectic I'll just chill out and see if I can get over it in time for kielder. Anyway, no riding to work, it's school hols so light traffic, for a limited time only I got free parking at work plus I had a few errands to do after work so I took the car in friday-wednesday, hould be cheaper than the train too*. By tuesday I was sick of it and I gave up on wednesday night, put the car away not to be used for commuting again without a damn good reason. Even with the hols it's busy out there, you gotta concentrate a lot coz everyone is trying to cut in and is swip-swapping lanes to get 1 car length ahead, not a good way to start the day, in normal commute conditions it must be a nightmare. If I was stuck driving to work everyday I'd be looking very bloody hard at alternatives, cyclings not for eveyone but train, bus or tram, you can just get on and switch off, read a book, watch some vids on your mobile, play some apps, catch a few more zeds whatever and arrive at work if not wide awake then a lot less stressed than having driven. I'm lucky (well I planned it actually) I live and work near 2 stations with frequent trains but park and rides have got to be better than driving into a city centre. When I ride in I see plenty of people who seem to be doing the same bolton to manchester rat run everyday I bet half of them could quite easily use public transport but they'll have a whole raft of spurious reasons why not. I really cannot see the why people put themselves through it.

*it is, not worked out how much yet but the petrols def cheaper than a day ticket, if I got a monthly or annual ticket I doubt it would still be cheaper than running a car tho.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Customer service? Whats that?

Figured I'd better get the pivot bearings on my etsx changed they're three years old, back end feels alright but a little flex. I asked merlin who I got it from but they don't do RM anymore but said if I got the bearings they'd fit them - fair enough I guess. I had a look on silverfish website for dealers, leisure lakes nearby and rutland who I've had stuff off before. Emailed both got replies from neither, grrr. I emailed silverfish saying I aint gonna go through your entire dealer list til I get someone who'll help me so sell to me direct or tell me who has them please. I get a reply saying they have them in stock so any dealer can order from them here's the codes. Erm I just said I wasn't going to trawl through your dealer list, I replied asking for RRPs no reply. Fortunatley BETD had some kits for £40, pricey but bearing shops were charging similar and I'm hoping these are the best sort for my bike. Got them next day, cool.
Was going to go to merlin after work to drop frame off but I nipped down to the workshop and I managed to change them without much trouble. One pivot axle wouldn't come out but the guys made me a custom drift, sorted. Quite easy actually (when you have a fully kitted out workshop to hand)
Just need to get my forks back together and fit a new freehub (don't want that failing during kielder) was going to service my shock too but don't fancy screwing it up and having to get it fixed a week before kielder, will do it after.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Rain stops play

Bit of an explore last night, straight from work to drinkwater park then took the irwell valley trail up towards rossendale. Was going to go upto edenfield then back round holcombe moor. It soon started drizzling but not too bad and I was pushing a decent speed towards radcliffe along Bolton-Bury canal. Got lost in Bury, signage is rubbish, after Bury it got more interesting following the irwell, more twisty and singletrack-y but too many gates and steps. Started raining harder :-( Had more trouble following the route at summerseat and by the time I got to nuttal park it was properly raining so out with the asda bag showerproof and I turned back for home. It was a hard climb up onto Holcombe moor and by the time I'd dropped from peel tower the spangly new drivechain was making some proper 'orrible noises, slapped a load of squirt on which quietened it down, brilliant stuff that. Flew down crowthorn and on to the strawberry duck, climbed up to green arms then down passed turton tower and home. Rain spoilt it a bit and I probably won't bother with the irwell valley trail again but still a decent ride out.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Recovery riding

After sundays exertions I was in full on recovery mode, train to work Mon/Tues and then a nice slow road commute weds should have had me fully recovered, well nearly. Was going so well till the commute home where I picked up one and then another drafter. Pedalled along at a nice slow pace for 5miles or so, neither showed any signs of taking the lead. I got near kearsley roundabout, the approach could never be called a hill but it's a short steep climb. Stop at a redlight at the bottom then we set off, I stood up put the power down and just accelerated til I was spinning out, hit the roundabout at about 25 and I was away. I just wanted to send a message in big bold caps U R DROPD. So much for recovery.
Just trying to get ready for kielder now, a few things on my shopping list and some prep on the bike to do. Doing a ride tonight, stag do this weekend so write off any more training, usual riding next week, hopefully a couple of normal sized rides bank holiday weekend then an easy week til race day. Not exactly text book training but I'm feeling more hopeful than last week.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Some training....finally

Well bugger me summers back, had planned to ride saturday but the met office assured us sunday would be the best day so I made other plans for saturday but with it being so nice I had a nasty suspicion it was gonna be throwing it down sunday. My fears were unfounded and I set off at 10 in glorious sunshine. Plan was to do a try out for Killdave, big mileage, no saddle dropping, no taking helmet off for climbs, a decent pace as little stoppage as poss and try for an overall >8mph average. Had planned a route over to cragg quarry weeks back but never had the chance for various reasons - mostly weather based. So heading for cragg obviously I went straight up winterhill :-) down kennel and wildes, upto the pike down AICR, over to leadmines. Going along the top I ran into a horny bull (quite obviously so) and 4 cows completely blocking the trail, had to shout at them quite a bit to get them to move. Looking back on this it might not have been a great move, if I was in my home with 4 ladies in an excitable state I doubt I'd have appreciated a mountain biker crashing through.
Over to white coppice and up through the plantation. Saw lots of guys in power ranger suits at roddlesworth, must be some mental DH tracks over there :-) Water (and cake) stop at tockholes cafe, up darwen tower, down whitehall, up the 666 along the rollercoaster at entwistle where I was chasing another mtber, first time I've ever seen another rider there I think. Fast drop to turton tower then up the road to crowthorn.
I was still going OK, faster than my usual "all day pace" can't believe how many riders were out, I think everyone who owns a bike saw the weather on saturday and thought "right I'm definitley riding tomorrow" Holcombe horseshoe was great best I've ever ridden it, upto the tower which was open but no time for a brew keep going to pleasent view. Down raven shore and up via the train station, a tasty bit of riding this, will be back. Up east st onto sand beds lane and a loooong climb to cragg, no signage but finally found it. Did 1 loop, it's good and as I was taking it easy it flowed rather nicely as opposed to my usual charge into everything and either stuff it up or grab massive handfuls of brake. At this point I ran out of food (oops) had meant to go to lee quarry too but that would have been pushing it I think so back the way I came, pub stop for a coke and water refill chatting to some bikers, hope the smell didn't offend my clothes were smelling pretty lived in by then. The climb back up to holcombe was fine and along the top I was buzzing, combination of the coke sugar rush/caffeine hit plus a cracking tune on mp3 player I was giggling as I belted along, great fun.
I saw mr potatoehead from STW on the horseshoe had a quick chat then ripped down crowthorne to the strawberry duck, I had meant to do the rollercoaster and turton tower again but halfway round entwistle I changed my mind it was only 5:45 plenty of time so I necked a caffeine gel, rode down BJ alley over to belmont and went up san marino. Was pretty tired and not confident, aching all over including ribs (!) and my stomach was starting to go a bit funny but I settled into 22x32 and took it nice and easy and cleaned it. Anyone offering the hero biscuits? I'll take one. Turns out I was 65miles in when I started that climb, I'm quite happy with that. Wanted to lie down at the top but knew I'd never get back up so bent over stretched my hamstrings and went all dizzy when I stood back up. Was going to ride back down but didn't fancy loss of concentration high speed crash so backdown through the golf course and barrow bridge.
Did some proper post ride stuff too, ibuprofen, a cold bath (really feels nice on mashed legs) and a choccy for goodness shakes, supplemented with double soss egg n chips which soon settled my stomach.
Not feeling too bad today just tired obvioulsy, final stats were 74miles, 10500ft ascent, 9hours, 8.2avg, 4 flapjacks, 1 gel, 6L water. I'm very happy with that, biggest hardest ride ever. There's about 15miles of road in there which will help the avg but I had gates and some map checks to slow me down. If the weather for kielder is like that and I ride like that, then I've a decent chance of finishing, some big ifs tho. All in all a pretty fantastic weekend.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Owned with bombers

Big bikes for fast riding. Took the heckler out for a spin to test my back wheel, fresh from the shop to fix my inept wheel building (it did fine thanks for asking). Parked up in horwich straight up wildes and winter hill. Down san marino at light speed, must have spent a decent amount of time about an inch from the ground, skimming over the bouncy bits. Winched my way back up in a not appaling 15 minutes. Off the shoulder was a bit less accomplished but was fun, but very ragged. The normally hated Belmont old road was ignored as the very plush suspension just soaked it all up while I spun the cranks. Ice cream run rocked. I middle ringed it up to the Pike just to remind myself I still could and also refused the granny back up hole in't wall. Kennels and wildeswood to finish, brilliant.

Stripped my kinesis yesterday and managed to jam a sharp knife into my thumb knuckle, pretty hard too right into the bone, swelled up now hope it's just bruised not infected.

Monday, 9 August 2010

£7, I want a refund

I seem to have a talent/affliction for guessing the storyline of films after the first 5 minutes. If it's generic hollywood dross just watching the trailer gives 90% of the plot away. This is why I don't watch trailers of upcoming films and never ever watch "next week on..." slots at the end of a TV programme. What makes the best films so good is that all the info has been there but I've still no idea whats going on until the film reveals all, usual suspects, fight club, sixth sense etc awesome.

Finally got round to watching seven pounds last night, originally I knew nothing about it other than it looked a bit depressing. Someone at work had been talking about it the other week, I tried not to listen and told them to shut it but I still managed to hear a bit about the story, I didn't think it would be that important but it turns out it was a pretty bloody pertinant part of the story. Halfway through I was thinking this film is good, it would be freaking great if I didn't already know the ending. When the film revealed all tho it was still pretty good.
If you haven't already, watch it.
I shall be having words with my colleague today.

Friday, 6 August 2010

calm down dear

White van man flew passed me on a dual carriageway doing 40ish a few inches from my elbow, caught him at the next lights. I calmly asked him to explain himself, managed about 5 seconds before I started swearing. Apparently he didn't see me cause of the big black 4x4 in front. So you were tailgating? No he saw me so it was ok. So if you see me bounce under your wheels it's ok cos you saw me? No I saw you I didn't hit you, the lights have changed please move. Grrr. What really gets me is these people (the ones who I get to talk to post scary experience) really don't give a shit, "I didn't hit you so go away and stop moaning you nasty little cyclist" I'm not impressed with my own bodies reaction to it either, adrenaline shoots through my system and I get all jumpy, shaking hands and everything.
Saw another WVM nutter last week, manchester rd, bolton near burnden park asda. Comes flying passed me near the cop shop into the dip, theres a car ahead of him going to be at the lights/traffic islands same time as him so he goes onto wrong side of the road passed traffic islands, burns up the road and through the very red lights at the shell station (wrong side of road again) What a tool!

Jase let me try his ragley for size last night, mmmbops are pretty cheap at the mo and I should be able to squeeze onto an 18" trouble is I'd need new headset (1.5" reducer), BB (73mm), seatpost or shim and a seatpost collar pushing the price up, still less than a new xc120 but not much. 456s are cheap too, same size and wouldn't need the parts, heavy steel tho, or carbon for £499. Hmmm

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Going out with a bang

So finally managed a big ride yesterday (sort of), with Tuesday nightrides I'm normally getting on for 50miles if I commute aswell (all be it in sections with rests inbetween), so last night I decided to go straight from work, do more miles and eventually meet up with the lads. I had a (very) ambitious plan of following one of lowey's routes then up WW to tockholes round roddlesworth and over to rivi. I'd been pushing the pace a bit but as I got to longworth clough I realised I had no chance so I went over turton golf course, along entwistle, down BJ alley to belmont and up san marino. Was going to try to clean it but Johnny called just after I'd started to say his chain had exploded and mangled his mech so wouldn't be out. Up to the top and down kennel to meet up with Si at rivi. Did the pike up hole in wall, kennel again then wildeswood. I set off first down WW, I stopped as I got to the tree's to wait for Si (make sure he hadn't punctured) but as I turned I could see him pretty close behind. Bloody hell he's getting quick. Off I went hammering it to the bottom. Brilliant. Up bastard climb and over to ICR. Again I set off first, was doing ok till we got to the really rocky stuff then I could hear Si right behind me. Damn, better go quicker. Pushed myself back to nervous speeds, I was pinballing about all over the shop. Then CRACK! sommat twatted the bash ring, dunno if it was a really big rock or a rock flicked up from front wheel, but it killed some speed and I collected a slow puncture, made it to the bottom OK but whilst changing the tube I noticed 1. my bashring is completely destroyed and 2. Frames got a crack in the chainstay. Eek. RIP kinesis :-( I rather liked it, bit small for proper pedalling but nicely chuckable. Back up AICR and limp home while Si did ICR again, not only is he catching me on the downs he's going up pretty quick too.
58 miles all in with 5500ft not too shabby, legs were toast when I got home. Now what do I replace the kinesis with? :-)

Monday, 2 August 2010


"JENS’ BIG RING IS 56. HIS REAR CASSETTE IS 11-11-11-11-11-11-11-11-11-12.

Funny roadie related stuff, cheers Lowey. Also check out the track rider overtaking a crash using the advertising boards.


Or slightly more sweary words to that effect. Only 5 weeks to go til killdave and training has just not been happening. I'm supposed to be knocking out 40-50mile xc rides no problem by now. I'm even less confident now than I was when I signed up. So just 4 weekends to get some rides in and I got a stag do on one so write that off, down to 3 :-(
Was supposed to get a big ride in on saturday, was meeting some guys from STW at rivi so planned to do some proper miles in beforehand then meet up. As it was I overslept (!) so only got the chance for 1 extra hill before the meet. Johnnie showed but no sign of the STw fellas. Hung around for a while then set off. Unbeknown to us it had been cancelled but Hora and 2 mates came anyway but didn't go to meet point. We ran into them on top of rivi and we finished the planned ride together. Pike, San Marino back up the road and ICR, quite wet but nice to be out with fresh faces. Afterwards me and Johnnie went back up the hill and did wildeswood, instead of going home I went back up matchmoor and round smithills for a few more miles. Had a do to get to so left it at that, 35miles and 5000ft, not bad I guess.
Oh and I'm overcoming my fear of ICR, rode it twice and really enjoyed it - well I normally do enjoy it but I get pretty nervous. I'm more relaxed now, the trick is to just ease off the gas a bit and don't ride it like I'm on a burly FSer.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bad JuJu

My chakras obviously aren't aligned and my feng shui is all out of whack. This post was supposed to be about a return to form (not my form I'm probably in worse shape than I was in march) but the weather was finally back for a decent night ride. Arranged to meet Si and Johnnie, got my Heckler out, good time to test my new wheel (mistake) saw the spoke key but thought no need wheel is bedded in and I have a key on my multitool (mistake x2) grabbed my backpack (a hat trick) and set off. Up barrow bridge and winter hill. On top of winter hill back end felt all wiggly. Hmm pivot loose or something? Nope back wheel, all the spokes had unwound so it was stupidly slack, like it had just been laced. Sweary, lots of sweary words. Look in my pack for multitool - oops, the multitool with a spoke key is in my other pack and I am bereft, key-less. Lots more swearing. Ended up walking down kennel run, met the lads on georges lane, used Si's spoke key to put some tension in the wheel and gingerly made my way home on road. Grrrrrr. Wheels going into shop at weekend. Might have another go at wheel building in the future but not for use on the heckler, need something I can trust.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Dangerous Dave strikes again

Finally got to test my home built wheel last night. The idea was to go out for a quick run down the street and bed* the spokes in so I could retension them again, but in a classic case of imaptience/overdoing it, I rode a few flights of stairs then went in search of some big stairs to jump off. I didn't find any but I did find some medium stairs with a crap run in/out so I hit them too slow and landed badly not very well. Basically instead of bedding it in I battered the wheel. Again to the eye it looked ok just a couple of loose spokes but in the jig you can see there's some tiny flat spots appeared in the wheel now, only a mil or so, shouldn't be noticeable riding. Tightened everything up, will go on a short ride up rivi soon and see how they stand up to some more abuse.

*yes I know a properly built wheel shouldn't need bedding in but I'm not a proper wheel builder

Monday, 26 July 2010

STW rides again

First STW ride in a while, Skipton this time, only 11 riders so sensible numbers, a 10am meet time meant a bit of a lie in. Weather was warm but overcast with rain threatening. We set off first climb was one of those gentle grassy ones that slowly gets steeper till near the top it's a proper steep. Quick break at the top then down, some twisty turny singletrack, more rocky singletrack then it got proper steep at the end, really nice, proper start to the day. A bit of road work and some little ginnels got us to the next climb. Again started gentle then got steeper and steeper and finally rocky at the top, got off line on the lose stuff near the top and had to trackstand to regain balance then a little further ahead Lowey slipped infront of me and I couldn't get round. Nevermind, really good climb and just about doable in the dry. Across the moor on some sandy single and double track, very north york moors esque. We got to a cheeky descent, 2 miles of grassy singletrack, a few rocks thrown in, a few ferns overhanging the trail and it just got steeper and faster. Lowey was a fair bit ahead of me at the start but I was slowly reeling him in and on the last section he went round a rock while I launched over it :-) We got to the gate giggling like idiots wondering where the hell everyone else had got to, then loweys fone rang, oops looks like we missed a turn but we both agreed, well worth the push back up. We cut across to Embsay crag, this is a well known downhill apparently and it was freaking awesome. Steep tech off camber rocky singletrack to start then it opened out to a super fast wide chute that seemed tailor made for bikes, off drops landing on the bermed sides to slingshot round corners and loads of rocks to launch off. Brilliant!
A rather nice pub stop followed and 1 rider left us and two others joined, we could quite easily have spent a couple of hours there but time was ticking by. Bit more road and a long grassy climb. At the top Burk was starting to hit the wall plus the late start and leisurely pace meant it was already 3pm and an estimated finish time of 6pm wouldn't go down too well with either Burk or my other halfs. We decided to split, one factor being that we could take in embsay descent again on the way back :-) nice one. The ride up Embsay moor was a slog with a persistent headwind but once again the downhill rocked. Embsay crag was done in one go, without unclipping and no walkers to slow us down. There's a vid of it here by someone going a lot slower than we did - probably :-)
Couple of road miles into skipton and back the car for 4. Good days riding, will be back (with an earlier start) cos there's some lovely riding there, thanks to Wharfedale for arranging.
Lowey has pics

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Sneaked one in

Bit damp yesterday morning but then glorious sunshine all day so I was planning an evening ride, 4:00 rolls around, I was just about to set off home and it hammered it down. Grrr. Waited 30mins for rain to ease then set off. Still raining but not so bad, got to Swinton rain stopped sun came out and steam was rising from the road - weird. Then some complete retard drove onto a slip road, changed her mind and did a u-turn right infront of me. Had some more idiotic driver stuff happen but I'd already used up my shouty quota.
Got home grabbed my SS and went straight out, nice and warm, tired legs tho, up barrow bridge, down san marino where it rained briefly, then back up. Shonky singlespeed in the mud with tired legs not as fast as light FS in the dry with fresh legs shocker! Just under 15minutes with a couple of stops, bloody hard work. Down the shoulder, belmont road is back to it's usual very wet self, ICR, pike, wildeswood, backup foxholes/marklands - ouch! From George's lane all I could see were black clouds and rainstorms all around, just a little island of clear sky above me. Down barrow bridge and down the road to town, thunder and lightning booming all round and sky got very dark, heavens opened just as I got to the bottom of my street, phew!

The trails haven't turned into a mudbath as I feared but the gully on the shoulder has been ravaged, ICR, SM and WW have changed a lot. I hope the rains stop soon.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


With a lot of peer pressure from Johnnie I've been dabbling in the dark arts. Apparently wheel building is not as hard as generally advertised and not as mystical as some believe. So with not a little trepidation I ordered the component parts, hung up some talisman charms, shuffled my tarot cards (kept getting "the fool") sacrificed a chicken (before Johnnie arrived, I doubt he'd approve) and got started. Lacing it all up was pretty easy and I managed to get a little tension in the spokes without dragging the rim severely out of true. With the loan of a jig and some supervision I managed to get the dish something approaching right and trued up the wheel, spoke tension still a bit all over the place but hey ho. Since then I've done a bit more fettling, tried to get the spokes to similar tension and corrected the true. I'm pretty happy with it now, in the jig you can see little wobbles up/down and side to side but hold it in your hands and spin it it looks bob on. I just need to ride on it now and see if it collapses or springs out of true at the first hint of a rock.

I did wonder mid-build how advisable it was to build my first wheel for use on the back of my heckler, the rim dinger, tube shredder, destroyer of tyres etc etc. Time will tell. Oh yeah and more non ust tubeless shenanigans to look forward to.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Stuck in the middle.

Trying to get a remortgage, the bank has assigned us a solicitor, sol says I must get this lease search, pay up £80. I've never had to get one of these searches with previous remortgages so I query with the bank. "we don't need that search tell the solicitor not to bother" I go back to the sols, "we'll only cancel the search if your bank tells us in writing" back to the bank, "we won't initiate contact with the solicitors they have to ask us" Guess what the solicitors say yep "we work on the banks behalf so we won't request not to do a search" ARRRRRRRGGGHHH!

Miss the North

Whilst it would have been great training and no doubt a bloody good laugh, circumstances have conspired against me and I won't be able to do Hit The North. I saw some pics of the preview rides so decided to check the area out and see if I could find the singletrack sections. It's just off my commute route so tuesday I took a spin round. The drinkwater trail centre stuff is now finished, looks alright but the vegetation at the sides has grown right up, twisty stuff I was ripping down a few weeks ago is now slower due to not being able to see the route. Did some of the old HTN stuff, including one steep down with so many ferns higher than my bars I couldn't see the trail at all, well dodgy. I went up to giants seat and a bit of exploring found some of the stuff from the pics. In the pics there was the shonkiest bridge ever, I'd decided it must be the pic, nowt could be that bad - it was worse. More like a ladder than a bridge and the last couple of panels bowed scarily under my feet. Some lovely singletrack down there tho, a route down a little valley constantly crossing the stream, dips and drops and mini-bermed corners, nice. Forks bottomed out harshly a few times in the dips, properly ragging it. Popped out at the end onto a familiar looking trail, The Hogs Back (iirc) last time I did this was lap 8 of HTN1 and it was purgatory, unrideable, too slippy to even walk properly but now it was ACE! I ripped along it, lovely trail, bloody brilliant. Did the section near the campsite and the bombhole too then the heavens opened so I sped off home. Should ride there more often, hope HTN 2 goes well.

Monday, 12 July 2010


What the ****, some scrotey ****er ***ing well pinched my ****ing saddle, seatpost and the cheeky ****s took my seatclamp too! I left my pompino in the train station this morning and the theiving ****tards went to work on it. I wouldn't mind but it was a bolt on one, I'm not daft enough to leave any QR stuff in public. Suppose it's a good job it's got proper nutted axels otherwise I might have been short a front wheel too. I'm not a happy bunny tonight, forty five quids worth of replacements ordered. Grrrr. I will be on the lookout for crappy supermarket specials with planet-x superlight saddle, 3d forged seatpost and seatclamp (all in black) and getting very irate with the rider in the unlikely event that I do see it.
It's been a while since I had anything pinched, forgot how much it pisses you off on so many levels. (I had 3 bikes nicked in my youth)


So kieldave* is coming up, only 8 weeks to go, so I should be hard at work training, doing fast high mileage rides on not too tech terrain. So what did I do? Some hikeabike uber technical rides. Great! High street on wednesday, Me, Mark, Si and Johnnie, the ride started off dry but as we climbed the cloud came in and drizzle started. A new route up to High st was harder work than normal, very steep at the start, some good bits in the middle but then a bit too technical to ride and the knott was still unrideable even approached from the side. Once on high st it brightened up, ground was a bit wet but still a cracking route. A long long drop to the cockpit then more downhill to howtown. I'd spied another new bit on the map, there's a grassy BW that dodges the hellish tarmac hairpin climb, much better. Was quite sunny as we hit the ullswater section, my fave bit of singletrack anywhere, very hard work but awesome. Everyone seemed to like it altho most prefered the cockpit downhill.

Did manage some training on friday did a run at lunchtime, only a couple miles but set the treadmill steep and fast-ish, was knackered after riding home.

Yesterday was skiddaw, been looking forward to this one, a superb descent off skiddaw, supposedly the best in the lakes! Lowey, Craig and I set off from Keswick, another wet start, it wasn't looking good. First the climb up from blencathra, done this a few times and it's a good one but I wasn't feeling it at all, I was off the back from the start. Rain continued and after an hour of climbing we started to hikeabike up a steep heather covered hill. Wind nearly blew me over a few times and in one pique of frustration I threw my bike down, I immediatley followed as my pack was caught up on the bike and it dragged me down too. Grrrrr. At the top we were fully in cloud cover, it was very wet underfoot and then the wind and rain really kicked off. We quickly decided to abandon the ride. No trail to ride just off piste down the moor alongside a gill. Was so hard going we considered riding down the gill but it was a bit too deep and fast flowing. Finally back to skiddaw house and we rode down lonscale. Brilliant downhill, only marred by me having to pump up my rear tyre about 5 times. (ust rim is old and leaks from around the valve) It's been sanitised a bit down near briar rigg and some whopping big waterbars put in. Still very fast and just as walker strewn as ever but a nice silly-fast drop to the car to finish.

Aching or tired from head to toe this morning, no proper training done and I never got to do skiddaw :-( must try harder.

*I've no idea how you pronounce kielder, if it's keeeel-dur that joke isn't going to work too well.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

On a lighter note

Just been totting up my June miles and they're rather good, tho it's a low total I got the biggest xc of the year (even with a week off) and some very good rides in there not just average xc commutes. Me, Burk, Johnnie and Si are out riding tomorrow too - yay. Weathers looking iffy tho - booo.

Something dodgy is going on with comments, keep getting notification of comments but there's nothing there. Dunno whats up with it.

What is the point?

At the train station this morning queuing for my ticket like a good little person, I see a builder type coming up from the platform and walk passed the 2 security guards on ticket duty. One of them eventually shouts him for his ticket (he's already passed them) "didn't get one" well come and buy a ticket from my colleague here "I'm in a rush" and builder walks off. Security guard looks sheepish for a second then shouts "I'll get you on the way back then". Now I'm not expecting security to rugby tackle the guy to the ground (he was a stocky bloke too) but WTF come on, at least put up some resistance "do you want to pay? No? OK that’s fine" is not good enough. Don't let the guy walk away, you stand in front of him and ask him to pay up, if he threatens you then move aside and let him know you'll be calling the police.

Dunno what it's like elsewhere but round here they had a big push 12months ago to stop ticket evasion, it was allegedly costing them a lot in lost revenue. Proper barriers went in at oxford rd which didn't work properly for 6months but now seem better, still rejects my ticket about once a fortnight (and I only take the train once or twice a week). Private security on other stations (G4S). But it's all cobblers, it's not the first time I've seen someone just walk through ignoring the guards and I’ve seen people tailgating paying customers through the barriers. All these measures cost money and if they aren't stopping ticket evasion then that’s an extra cost added on to the people who already pay. Boils my piss it does.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dodging the rain

Forecast for bowderdale area was heavy rain but said light rain for peaks so off we went to hayfield. Johnnies hurt his wrist watching the football so it was me Burk and Si. Did lantern pike, super fast downhill, the climg up ollerset moor was new to us, down to Far Phoside and towards peep o day where me and burk realised we'd ridden this section before. No idea about the rest of the route we'd taken but we'd done that bit 7 or so years ago. We climbed up mount famine and went down towards roych clough. When Burk inquired where we were headed after that I had to admit we were doubling back so he waited for us at the top of the drop into the clough. Halfway down his pessimism rubbed off on Si and e stopped so only I went right to the bottom, superb run, fast, steep, twisty, excellent! Back up to famine and down to caldwell clough, never ridden down* this before, steep and loose to start, my tyres were quite skittish so I slowed a bit and Si was right up behind me, he's getting quicker and quicker. Bottom half was ace tho with some big old water bars that looked more like doubles. Nasty climb after but then some lovely singletrack to kinder res, except I nearly binned it in a rut and Si did. Climb out of kinder was as punishing as ever, after that just the middle moor run to finish. Awesome! 3rd time down here and it just gets better each time, smiling like a loon at the bottom as was Burk. Si a bit behind us had crashed again, not a big fan of singletrack but I reckon give him a few more months and he'll be ripping that too. It never rained after all, fairly warm, some strong wind at times but we did well, another nice day.

*me and burk had trudged UP it in some appaling weather several years ago.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Trail tetris*

Reading Loweys post this afternoon spurned me into action, decided on a quick run round local trails. Its weird, I don't live far from lowey but I've never bumped into him out riding and apart from the obvious downhills I rarely ride the same trails as him so I decided to see what I was missing. Sketched out what I thought was his route and headed off. In summer I head for the hills straight up the road, in winter I try to get offroad asap and meander towards the hills more concerned with getting the miles in than adrenaline fuelled downs (cos I'm a big mincer in the wet). While I ride up one valley lowey and friends go up a different one. Quite a similar feel to it and some lovely singletrack, stuff to note for future use. Think I took a few wrong turns had to push a bit and even carry at one pont. Finally rode down a trail I've been going up for years, been meaning to for ages but never got round to it. It was cool finding new ways of getting from a to b and c to d and e to f etc etc Plus it got me out of the house.

*yes I pinched the title off chipps but it's the same scenario.