Sunday, July 31, 2005

Back from Selkirk

Welp, back from Selkirk. A tough one. A good course, with some relentless climbing and rock f*ck descending. Hard. Not helped by a group of us going the wrong way at one point, a puncture and rolling the tire off the rim at about 30 mph, and another episode of the tire coming off later on due to a destroyed tire-bead. All part and parcel, but it won't be a good placing.

the course took in some of the best riding in the Borders of Scotland. Unfortunately, as is common in the Borders, a lot of the trails that were man made suffered with lots of braking bumps. It is a pet hate of mine, but I reckon there are many riders who would benefit from less suspension and less disc brake power for a learning experience. Hammering towards corners and then throwing down the anchors makes for an unpleasant time for those of us on rigid bikes. Still, I'll try not to whine too much.

A fine gift of a 'live wrong' bracelet from my hombre Marty, and good to catch up with Chris, Hamish, Andy Cathcart and Ally too...Might be some more thoughts on this one later. I may also learn that drinking 12 bottles of Sierra Nevada and 3 pints of Guiness the night before a race is a young mans game...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Off to Selkirk

Welp, packing up in the July rain to head to Selkirk for another race. Will be meeting with my hombres Marty and Chris and camping out with a small stove, spork and a bottle of red for the suplesse. Feeling tired this morning. Seems a little off putting when heading to an endurance race. Still, we will see how we go. My wife is attending another endurance event: the six-weekly haircut. Fight well, my love. Somehow I'm sure she will win...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Alain de Botton

Anyone read any of this chaps books? Born in Switzerland he combines a knowledge of philosophy with an analysis of the pressures and issues of modern day life. From relationships to travel his comments are very thought provoking. All written in a very 'soothing' style. recommendo...

2 things

Firstly, the anonymous comments bit is now active. So who ever you are, if you want to leave a comment, be my guest. But: be polite and constructive...It will be appreciated. Secondly, the issues of supply and demand have hit home this week. A little while ago I bought a 29 inch wheel mountain bike. Its a bit of a niche I s'pose, but I am lucky in that our local shop (Alpine Bikes Glasgow) has a manager who is not only a great friend, but also a very balanced adviser in terms of bike parts and set up. They deal with fisher/trek/bontrager and as such I slapped some bonti 29er tubes in. They have been a mixed bag. I had 5 tubes of which: 2 pinch flatted (my own fault) and 3 developed valve leaks around the join of the valve to the tube (not my fault). I wondered whether an alternative would be better. I don't want this to turn into a product review, but briefly, I tried the conti 47c touring tubes. A little narrow for sure, and yes the first one blew after one ride, tearing the valve off. It may just have been rotation on the rim, but I reckon compounded by the thinly stretched butyl. So where to? As far as I am aware these are the only choices easily available in the UK. There are plenty of other manufacturers: schwalbe, wtb, IRC, salsa etc etc. But they ain't available. Even continental does a wider tube, again, special order item. It's not difficult to order things from the USA, where availability is greater. If you have ever been to any of the bike shops in the states particularly in San Francisco for example, you will have enjoyed the vast and esoteric array of parts, spares, clothing, shoes and bikes available. And this in a land where Lance is less well known than in Europe. Seems odd and a shame. But there we go. At the moment I'm awaiting an order of wtb tubes for a try and we'll see how we go...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

June & July

June & July have been heavy months as far as bike racing goes. I started with the rhayader merida 100km race ( and did ok. Quite surprising given the lack of long rides so far this year. The next aim was my first solo 24 hour race. My partner in crime was my main man Chris Marquis. In fact, he was to blame for the whole shebang. Still, we both completed with no support team, both of us on rigid singlespeeds, and both with no real breaks. The next week end saw the second merida 100km race, and given the heavy rain, it was a tough one. Little recovery after saab salomon mountain mayhem either. Nevertheless a reasonable placing yet again. So far several thousand miles of driving rack up against many hours of riding. One thing I am fairly certain of is that I will race solo 24 hours again. The 'no support' seemed to be a non-issue insofar as I don't think I would have gone further faster with support. Still, we'll see. Couple of pics included of the racing. Thanks to jo b for the special top. Next up is the third (Scottish) round of the merida 100km. Then my wife and I are off to state college PA for the SSWC05. Better get the 26" wheel s & s bike sorted then...Haven't ridden on 26" wheels for 4 months now. Should be fun...As long as we get a big pick up to roll around in.

we have to start somewhere

and this is the beginning of my blog. the destination is unclear and the purpose shrouded in mystery. the wandering will be the lesson, the reward and the medium. onwards...