Wednesday, June 28, 2006


After the sunburn has settled and started peeling I have decided to invest in a Tilley hat. Pretty good, and it makes me feel a bit Tim Cahill/Redmond O'Hanlon ish...

Received the Magma saddle. Yes it looks like a very fast car, and yes it is superbly crafted Italian luxury.


Just back from Mountain Mayhem '06. Left Scotland at 10.30pm and 10 degrees c. Arrived Ledbury 16 degrees c and 4 am. Pretty good going. Cracked a Sam Adams for myself and my co-pilot/wife, and set to work dealing with tents and what not.

Somehow, we missed my to-be-team mate, Chipps, who had retired at 3.47am. Beer and white russian had apparently flowed...

Awoke and preps made. Signed on as a slightly under-manned 4 man team with Chipps a.k.a Johnny Dangerous and me a.k.a Enrico Gonzales. Chipps ran, and rode (swiftly and smoothy), Trina snapped photos (see flickr, SSMM2006 tag) and the heckling was brash.

We managed sixteen laps in total, but far more impressive was the amount of sleep we got. I actually feel pretty re charged after this one. Fastest lap for me 36min. Pretty happy with this and my recovery after each laps' climb was good, plenty of zing in the legs - which is encouraging. Chipps went super well, ever cheerful and super quick to boot. He even managed to light up his test Assos outfit for the night laps.

Jenn won solo - wooop!
Chris rocked the Kenwood Jersey to 20 laps solo.
Shaggy, Steve, Dave, Seb, Phil, and so many other good friends kicked arse on the super dusty, dry and bumpy course.

I had but one problem mechanically. As previously noted, I have been trying to minimise kit. This has meant the move to CO2 for races. Unfortunately, due to the presence of a photographer ( see her snaps, the one of jo and jenn is sooo good) I tried to jump the Kelly out of a bomb hole with a slightly off camber, right turn exit. Landed sideways and blew *both* tyres off the rims. Seems my penchant for running somewhat relaxed tyre pressure and 19mm rims isn't good for those free ride moments... The CO2 was used in earnest as I poppped the bead another twice that lap and ended up with a mile long run to the arena... All good tho' as 48psi (eeep, ping!) sorted out the rest of my laps. That felt scary hard so I can only guess what I ususally run.

What else? Met Abby and Ariel from Maverick. Good folk and Ariel rides smoother than butter...

Also, jerky rules. That's it.

Thank you to Chipps for the last minute entry, Trina for photos and support and pizza and beer and putting up with stinky-me.

No thanks to really stingy nettles and sunburn.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Looks like the mtbr 29"er board has descended to a level beyond playground antics. Pity, it used to be a good read. Recovering from the mixed hunner well. Tired but legs in one piece. Oddly, the arms are still feeling it... Ordered a new saddle today in the search for even more comfort...Selle San Marco gets the nod with the new-ish Magma - not the pure magnesium one, a little padding and a preference for ti rails.

Rest of the parts for the tIF are coming together...there is a last minute bid being made by Avid juicy Ultimates tho' but will prolly stick with cables...

Moots may be involved too. Its great to be scheming and planning.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Edinburgh to Selkirk yesterday. The concept was to do ~ one hundred miles with a reasonable ratio of off and on road riding. Broke out the maps and planned a route which took me to the Pentland Hills off-road and from there a road section to shy of Peebles. At this point I was planning a yomp over about a km of 'unknown' land to join the trails north of Glentress and drop down from here to Peebles, then transfer to the south side of the Tweed river and continue, taking in Cardrona, Elibank and Traquair and then Innerleithen forests. At this point I would join the Selkirk Merida course from last year and at the last minute drop off down the Minchmoor 'road' to the south of Selkirk. Looping Selkirk I would then rejoin the forest trails and go back.

I hadn't figured in the rain. Never heavy, it was always threatening or raining. The trails became sticky and as fatigue set in I had to alter my route. First missed out the unknown section and thus about 3 miles of off-road became road. Also missed out the forest trails between Selkirk and Yair and joined a lower trail (part of the Sustrans route 1) to Plora woods and Innerleithen. From here it was the same as on the way down. Except for a wrong turn from Flotterstone which somehow led me to the wrong side of a hill meaning I had a steep walk to rejoin the trail down to Bonaly and back into Edinburgh.

The whole took near 11 hours, 3 liters of water, 750ml of SIS energy drink, a can of IrnBru and 3 cans of sugar free Red Bull. On the food front, 2 sandwiches, 2 cereal bars and that was it.

Honorable mentions in terms of equipment: Pearl Izumi mitts, with gel padding on palm. Very good. Pearl Izumi no-stitch posh shorts Never had a sore bum.

Felt like I could have one on further, and was a little disappointed about bailing on the steeper climbs out of Selkirk, but all in all I was pretty stoked to see my form *finally* beginning to come.

1 week recovery, then SSMM 24 hr race as a pair (currently, tho' that may change) then the next Merida 100km the week after. On course for Wilderness 101.

"Coach, put me in the game..."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Added some new linkies to things I read. They are way down on right hand side there. Not sure why they are languishing down there, sometimes blogger just seems to do that.

Otherwise, things might be ship-shaping up a little. Today I had the first sensation of fitness coming. I had a little zing about my legs, almost felt like running rather than walking.

2 rides this week end: a 3 hour finish at the pub circuit of Edinburgh, taking in an *amazing* amount of snaking, wooded and sweet singletrack - all within town limits. Not only that, but The Pear Tree never changes, always a good craik and a good pint. The other ride was an escape from the city with no particular plans. So I rode from my folks to the Forth Road Bridge, then after a while of sneaking around Fife on the now trusty Se7en single cross/road machine, made my way to Kinross and joined Sustrans route number 1 - The Kingdom of Fife route. Having had good experience of sustrans route previously I stuck to this through several small towns and a lot of superb scenery until I hit Glenrothes. From there I decided to hit the coast and follow this back to the Forth Road Bridge and home. My original plan had been to head to St Andrews - as I used to study there when I was a nipper, but I was running out of time. I reckon 80miles, blistering heat, good and most encouragingly persistent strength in the legs and 7.5 hrs of sunshine. All topped off with 2 cans of coke and a trial run of sweeties as food on a ride (the cheeky crew seem to like the tangfastic thing, so when i started feeling a little wobbly, this provided sustenance).

I can walk no problem, my ass is a little raw, but that was 10+ hrs of saddle time this week end with no all good.

Pretty pleased, but need more...riding eventually calms the screaming in your head, no matter how loud it is. This week end? I need to try and hit nearly 100miles ideally mixed route on and off road, or pure off road (unlikely!). Then I can say I'm getting there.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lived in.

It was the SSUK this week end. Yet another great event put on by those who care for those who care. Fun, frolics, an epic course and an epic dose of sunshine. Stir briskly with beer and vino tinto, a soupcon of whisky and lots of E number preserved comfort food.


The race was both won, and lost. Tears, snotters and ecstatic smiles. Pictures are worth a thousand words so:

and also:

(Simon really has taken some cracking photos...)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Its not just bikers.

Seems access and the use of cheeky-ness is not limited to bikers (well, I guess that was something you knew, riiiiiiiiiight?).

Dean is a *magical* climber, really. As an occasional climber myself I can see some of the issues here...the way I deal with it on the bike is most often 'does this feel ok to me?' and if it does I tend to ride. Not sure if i need to re-evaluate.

BTW Merida. Shaggy an astonishing 15th, if my spreadsheet work is right, me 51st. I can't really complain about that given the snooze 3/4 of the way around.