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.


Just got back off our holidays, we went into travel agent and asked for a quiet resort, greek island, leaving in next 24hours, cheap. Definitley got what we asked for, we ended up on santorini in a "resort" called monolithos, wouldn't surprise me if lithos was greek for horse (or it being greece, donkey) Bloody tiny, 2 hotels, 2 tavernas and 1 shop, oh and 1 power station next to the hotel. Wasn't looking good at first. Hotel was really good tho, big apartments with aircon, little pool area and a decent cafe. Couldn't hear/smell/notice the power station at all. A big beach with black volcanic sand. We were a couple of miles from kamari the big resort but we hired a car for a few days but the hotel did a cheap shuttle service and the big supermarket at kamari would come and pick you up from hotel and drop you off after you had shopped. Drove to Fira the main town, brilliant place on the side of a steep hill all the apartments and hotels were right next to each other just little paths between them. Not much fun with a pram but a lovely walk round, have a look here and here.
Bit different going away with a child, not as much chilling by the pool as usual but Charlie was ace, fine on the flights, bit off the first 2 days but soon got used to it. Oh and the entire hotel coo-ed over him all week, women, kids, blokes, staff, everyone and he lapped up the attention. Even when he was a bit off/upset, as soon as a complete stranger smiled at him he grinned back. Little attention whore that he is.
Managed to motivate myself a few days, biggish swim in the sea, a run back from kamari when I dropped the hire car off and another down the coast where I saw a massive sandstone hill. There were little caves tunneled into it with doors on. Fishermans huts I guess. Further on there was really weird erosion with mental channels cut into it, very picturesque, pity I didn't take the camera.
Really nice island and I'd recommend the resort aslong as you don't mind quiet.

Supposed to be riding today but I've got the usual post holiday cough, bowderdale at weekend hopefully - yay.