Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wayback machine.

Back from Merida mountain marathon at Rhayader and still suffering.

I went there knowing I was not terribly fit. I also knew there had been a week of rain prior to the event. I raced the Rhayader event 2 years ago when it was wet, and figured I would cope. Additionally, I was hoping to find I had more form than anticipated.

3 out of 4 correct.

The course ended up being pretty brutal. Really energy sapping sticky thick mud. The trails there are not used/built to withstand that amount of weather and number of riders and still offer a pain free ride. Nevertheless, pain free rides are not always what we are after.

Overall, I went pretty badly. From the first road climb in I had a stitch and no zip in the legs. From there I descended to purgatory. After a while, I was wondering whether to quit. I even had a snooze at one point which would have become a full blown sleep if people hadn't kept riding past asking whether I was ok or not (oddly, I actually felt this was a 'good thing' in terms of ethical behavior).

Mostly due to my chagrin at not finishing an Enduro 6 a few years ago, I kept going. Just. Finishing an hour slower than last year was somewhat tempered by hearing shaggy had managed to pull out a deeply impressive time at around 5.20min. Having ridden (somehow) with him until 20km or so, notably with a horrible detour down a steep farm road, he continued to show the strength evident in his riding over the initial parts of the course. A sterling performance indeed.

For me, it is back to the drawing board. More food, more miles in the legs and less wine the night before seriously required. The thought of doing 101 miles with 5000+ m of climbing is deeply scaring me...

Friday, May 26, 2006


Beloved of agitators from Paris to L.A.

So my IF will be plain ti. Then I saw this...in candy absinthe.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

One in the Bush?



Odd how sometimes things seem to cluster, or coalesce. This morning I listened to David Attenborough ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programmes/who/david_attenborough.shtml ) tell Radio 4 he now believed that climate change was a real phenomenon. I also read an article in Outside magazine ( http://outside.away.com/index.html ) about a bloke called James Kunstler ( http://www.kunstler.com/ ) who is a mouthpiece for the Oil apocalypse squad.

The theory goes like this. At some point 'Peak Oil' will be reached. This is when 50% of the available oil in the earth is gone. Some say it was last year, some say it will be in 15 years time. But if you take a best case scenario, say 15 years then a steady decline with rising costs of oil, I still don't think that is far enough away for the 'new advanced technologies' which are touted to be on the horizon to save our arses, let alone our grandchildren's.

What is the answer? Neither Kunstler, Attenborough or I for that matter know. New Urbanism? Better Public Transport? More fuel economy? More bikes? Who knows...

My suspicion is an attitude change is needed and this needs to be based in practical social change. We'll see.





Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

The postion and the steed.

Me and mine...


Interesting to note that Seven and probably IF too are beginning to use gussets at the downtube/headtube junction for the ti frames.


Having fitted the Ritchey barends to the roshambo, it was time for a shake down ride. I have done a few miles recently on the reborn Se7en, so I needed to get the muscles back in shape for riding the roshambo at this weeks Merida mtb marathon.

Thoughts? Like them, for cruising and climbing. Doesn't seem to kill the straight bar hand position, or make it feel too narrow. Relieves a little hand fatigue. The new lock on Oury grips are nice too. A little less squishey than the traditional ones, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Nevertheless, I think I prefer the Jones H bars overall. Obviously I need to do some extended testing, especially off-road, but I am beginning to think the IF will be wearing them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Little things...

I fitted these to the roshambo today. Also some oury lock on grips and some new cleats to the ?3 year old sidi's (I will have to get around to discussing some of the parts I have settled upon for their longevity and function in crappy conditions over a long time...sidi's will be near the top of the list). The bar ends are off set further inwards to mitigate the effects of bars with more sweep. Full report to come...

There is something deeply satisfying about getting all the little bits working smoothly on the bike. Working with the hands is often satisfying, but there is more. On that nth climb when I am buggered, if everything works well and is quiet, I'll be a happy bunny. Well, a happier than I could be bunny.

Interestingly, after reading another blog (http://g-tedproductions.blogspot.com/, or it might have been http://roguemechanic.typepad.com/roguemechanic/), I followed advice and put the time cleats in snugly but without reefing the bolts. It seems as though there is no need, as a little corrosion and settling will keep the bolts in place. We'll see.

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Let fly!"

So I decided to stuff it and go for another ride today. This is the first week I have ridden 3 times since, um, well Mallorca, but that doesn't count cos it was holidays.

The agenda for today (inspired by my wobbly power to vino ratio in Mallorca, and Uncle nick) was power and lactate threshold. Decisions, decisions. The weather made the biggest point, thumping down with rain pretty much everywhere. However, the www.meto.gov.uk website showed the weather moving in a southeasterly to north westerly direction. So I plumped for the steepish but constant climbs of Glentress. There is a SCU xc race held there each year and the course is pretty tough for a singlespeed. Rough and swoopy downhill after a decent long climb which is thirds fireroad/singletrack switchbacks/fireroad.

The normal for Masters (for that is what I am, oh yes) is 3 laps. Today I did 5. Dunno what the total climbing was, but I did it without stopping at as close to race pace as I could.

Well, lactate I got, and power, wasn't too bad. I also got pretty wet and cold, but a rum and dry ginger and some Cowboy hash is taking care of that as we type...


First: It's my mum's birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday mum! We had a wee lunch on Sunday at a little place we all know and love, and it was typically superb.

Second: Heather and Dave produced their long awaited, slightly overdue and very beautiful baby girl this week. Rose is welcomed into the world and has already several adoring aunts and uncles just waiting for baby sitting duties.

Third: I have smooth legs. As I type, I have been de-leg-fuzzed for 24 hours. No complaints so far, but Ii was promised by someone (Jo?) that ladies love smooth legs. We'll see.

Fourth: New Black Keys album. Supreme as ever, go buy.

Fifth: Managed 2 rides this week end. Both short and to the point. One as a tester for the H bars in technical situations, the second as a blast around Stoorie Brae to further investigate the 'alterations' which have occurred with my co-conspirator Chris. To be honest, not all bad. A few gems have been wiped from the hill side, but there is still plenty left and although a little cheeky, still remarkably good riding. No wonder we grew up breaking bike parts and with no fear of steep drops...

Sixth: The race chair is taking shape. I found my stash of bike stickers and they have been liberally applied to try and take attention away from the washed out avocado netting on the sit and lean sections of the low chair. Its better and will be pressed into service soon at MTB Marathon Merida Rhayader V3 for me...

Lets keep it smooth like silk.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bad news Monday.

Welp. 2 bits of bad news. Kelly calls it quits. http://www.kellybike.com/1st_rrwhatnot.html

A bike builder I have so much respect for not just because of the product, not just because of the incredible commitment to racing, and singlespeeds. As a company and a man he is a force for cycling.

Best wishes wherever the trails take you, Chris Kelly.

Also rode on the hill where I learned to ride today. Lets just call it Stoorie Brae...

Found bulldozers and 6 foot wide shale paths everywhere.

Gulp. End of an era then...

Ultraviolence at the milk bar.

Back from a week working on the supplesse with Susan, Martin (happy 15th!) and Jac and Chris. We were in Mah-jaw-ca. It was lovely, steep mountain roads and sun and vino tinto.

Stories and a photo or two soon.

In the meantime...