Friday, December 28, 2007

The time is nigh...

Hello Everyone:
Registration for the Single Speed World Championships
2008 in Napa,CA, USA, will open on January 1, 2008,
at 12:00 a.m. pacific standard time
(AKA: California time.
We will post an on-line form for people to fill out a
nd email to us soon. Again, registration does not open
until January 1, 2008 at 12:00 a.m. Any emailed
registration forms prior to that date and time will be
deleted. We will leave registration open until it fills
up, maximum riders will be 350. Everyone will be emailed
letting them know if they are in or out. If you are in,
there will be instructions on payment via PayPal.
Registration is $35 U.S. dollars. If you don't make it
in, we still encourage you to come out and play that
weekend anyway. There will be lots of rides going on
all over the Bay Area. More details about the
race weekend will be posted soon. Good Luck! Please
forward to friends that might be interested and please
post on blogs and websites, if applicable. We really want
to inform as many as possible so that everyone has a
fighting chance to get into the race. Thanks.
Curtis, Ken, Jeff, Andrew, Dennis & Mitzi

Saturday, December 22, 2007


So the years shortest day. Darkness. Daves birthday beers last night ended with g fonk and myself slamming a TVR...all good, and excellent to see the boy before his ageless self becomes a little more ageless.

Jedi on a bike has posted a work of pure genius...i thinki may go have some bacon.

Doing some more home improvement stuff today, taps leaking, floor of newly deco'd room needs varnish, wife needs a coffee upgrade, all the usual stuff. But i *did* manage to get out for an awesome ride the other day in frozen mud on the windy fantabulous Mugdock trails....2.5 hrs of pure fun slamming the IF into things...its ace to ride fat low pressure tyres again now cross season is done.

So, darkness, we welcome the Humungous says "fear is our ally".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Millions and millions

Somehow, and for once, the sensible choice won....

Go sustrans...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Crossed up

Photo pinched from TA photo...

Sunday saw the championships of the Scottish cyclocross series at Plean, near Stirling. It had snowed and although the air temp was around 2 degree centigrade, as soon as the water splashed up on to the chamois, it got cold. Marty and myself used Belgian knee warmers, and the rest of the crew was made up of Superfans Trina and Chris handing out the heinies with peperami, and £1 primes, and Anja (recent transfer from New Zealand) and G-funk and jac. Telly savalas gave a nod to recent passed Evel with the stars and bars capes and the whole shebang plowed through the mud and the snow for an hour. As you could predict it was hard going. Some of the mild climbing had the singlespeeders grinding out of the saddle to keep any forward progress, but in the end a good time had.

Anja clocked up third with Eileen getting a 1st right at the wire. A prospect for sure. The blokes had to be content with finishing, but g-funk did us proud with a DFL. So DFL in fact the organisers didnt clock he'd finished and ended up phoning him at home! good work there...

Problems...well there were a few. My front wheel took a beating after jumping off a stump onto a slidey off camber landing. Seems that using a disc on that wheel (it is 3 years old) has caused the spokes to loosen a little and i had a taco from lap one onwards. No punctures ( 37c twisters and 70psi put paid to that) but on trying to retrue the wheel today seems its beyond an A317, and some supercomp spokes are coming my way...amazing how hard it is to find the build info from shimano for their xtr hubs...fortunately there are some resources to help...

Damon Rinard
DT swiss
Spoke calculator

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

This week end we salute a hero

So it is the Scottish cyclocross champs this week end. Tely savalas players will be in full effect and this time, we are doing it for evel.

I took the rear wheel off the dambala and swapped the end caps to the 10mm bolted fitting, 10 mins work when you have a good method for popping the non drive side end cap off. Not sure yet if i'll run the stans crows or the proper cross tyres. The issue there is im a little undergeared at 38:18 if i drop the wheel diameter...we'll see...

The ro sham bo will ride again, in honour of a man who played that game with fate until the very end...

The logo is lifted from the old kelly site. If anyone didnt read chris' expose of how his brand was in essence stolen from him in {updated: how could i have been so wrong?} the outcast, its worth digging out.

Pictures? well, in the last issue of Dirt we have a tom moran special of mark tattooing kelli's bum, and we also have a story by jp wombat in the latest dirt rag...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Not enough people wear capes these days

Tim said that. Prophetic in the utmost.

RIP Evel...there is a tune by Aim where soundbites of evel talking to a bunch of school children prior to the ill fated jump across the snake river canyon. I suspect a lot of dreams were hatched during that interview.

"Its a sky cycle honey, not a bike, a sky cycle..."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Its been awhile...

photo from ta_photo
Its dark and i struggle when i dont see the sun. Oh well.
Whats been happening? First off (i think) was Carron Valley cyclocross. I have never ridden there and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the trail. Shame the forestry and now Scottish IMBA cant seem to pull their fingers from there arses and back the development group who have put an enormous effort in to try and get this place up and running. Quality stone laid trail with sympathetic use of the Forrest make for some fun trails.
The course was admittedly not a traditional cyclocross course, and there was some whingeing about the technical features and puncture risk. But all i can say to that is harden the fuck up.
Needless to say trying to keep andy cathcart in site down one of the downhills led to a pinch puncture, that only made itself evident on climbing to the top of the hill, some 10 mins from the end. I was in 7th in the time, and reckon i could have held that placing. DNF. Oh well oh well oh well.
A bit of a break planned last weekend. We headed down to Eastbourne to catch up with biff, ruth and the boys. Wine food singing drawing frisbee jumps showing off and smiles with an interspersed cross race over in brighton, where we said happy birthday to the adjustable crumpet and suffered through a freezing rainstorm on a super slidey green-chalk course. I went down pretty hard and have remembered why i thought it was a good idea to shave my lost but not as bad as gravel rash can be. Phil the horse, Jo burt, olly pepper and deano were a few of the brighton boys who were in full effect. An ace day.
Trina and myself popped to london and met up with Nonni, who led us to a garlic and shots restaurant. Ace! i love garlic and the shots were good too...the banoffi shot was a highlight and the toffee pud with garlic in it was, interesting....
Change is afoot. The super light tube from the rear of the dambala has been swapped out to a wtb. Pressures will rise. I need to rest up this week end. I am whacked out. So i will miss the dundee cross, then see where i Eastbourne i used biffs jones 29er shod with cross tyres. I think i have learned more from this and now believe i have a firm idea of what i like and dont like geometrically and fit wise with 29ers...more on this shortly.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fine, fine coffee.

Lots to post about. Dambala thoughts, the last 2 cross races, several books, kit i've been using and assorted random things.

But its too early for all that. So i'm going to finish supping on my cup of WC Clarke's finest coffee, a gift from my good friend jimbo from mt nittany wheelworks.

Truly, i cant wait to be over there again...and it may not be that long. The sswc confirmed for 23-24th august, shenandoah is the next week end. It would be churlish not to eh?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Iceman cometh.

Go Kelli. 3 in a row...and still smiling.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bread and coffee.

New kid on the block: Tapa. Thanks to gareth's gift of espresso blend, and trina's advice on bread products we have a highly recommended glasgow Special.

Not so Nys.

It was Glenrothes cross last week end, one i have never done previously. The course is notoriously singlespeed unfriendly - it is short and furiously fast with a long straight and an awkward steps section which does not allow any momentum. So it was. A glorious day with the telly's represented by Chris, Jac and myself. Martin took a week off and joined superfan trina in providing beer sprays, bottle hand-ups and photos.

The race started well for me, a good hole shot and the first lap in around 8th or so. The quality of the fields this year has improved...the grass is better kempt...nah! joking. The racers have moved up a notch. The Creber brothers cream everyone when they arrive, and there are a few newbies and out of towners who have swelled the ranks of those vying for top 10. A couple of years ago i could get into the top 10, not comfortably but relatively frequently. Now, well, lets just say im still chasing the top 10!

So it is that a little show boating may be the way to gain a psychological and or an actual racing advantage. Bunny hopping started in earnest in the late 80's with Danny de Bie's victory in the Worlds utilising the technique to hop the barriers. There have been several notable practitioners, including Sven Nys and the Americans including our own Adam Craig. One way around this for race organisers ~ who seem to (in the more serious races) want to discourage the practice ~ is to put 2 or 3 barriers in close succession. So it was on Sunday. In my mind, a smooth dismount and remount is a beautiful thing, but prior to the start i had practised the triple hop in order to assess any advantage (and yes, to show off a bit). I wasn't convinced of the benefit, but at race pace it was pretty clear, and on the second lap i decided to go for it.


Down i go after my foot pulls directly out of the (very) old time pedal and the front wheel is pulled off line on the first landing, an ignominious fall. Crunching 4 fingers, my left knee and shoulder. Remounting as fast as possible, only to find that the bars 360 had split the front brake cable, leaving the pads rubbing. I went on for half a lap, and then realised there was a growing section of tyre unseated from the rim. So air out and a wander back to the pit. A quick gulp of water and the CO2 to sort things out then give chase.

Chris was having a cracking race and the overall pace was hot. I felt pretty good however and managed to chase down a few folk. The time came to put the hop to the test and i succeeded 3 or 4 times in the end to do the full triple hop section. Coming in to the third barrier was generally pretty heart stopping...but it definitely made for a faster exit as feet were already clipped and applying power. The last time over martin narrowly missed giving me a beer shower for being a show off...but there you go. Jac meanwhile schooled the females and earned a 1st place finish for the Savalas massive.

Overall, 17th last week after the start line spins and beer tomfoolery at mugdock, this week we'll see.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bivi selection.

The IF camper bike is ordered, or at least as near as dammit, so kit selection is coming to the forefront. Im going to fit old man mountain cold springs racks front and rear, the fat bikes frame bag and use a small ruck sack. That should allow good weight distribution with no high load focus anywhere on me or the bike.

Then there is kit for me. At present i have a pretty light set up. Overnighting is easily possible with ~ 33 litres in a MacPac. However, im wondering if i can go even lighter/tighter. The terra nova jupiter bivi has caught my attention. Made from goretex, with a single pole in order to lift the material from your face, and with a bug net, it has all the right features whilst weighing only 900g. about 600g less than my mountain marathon tent. We'll see....

Ti kettle and spork, msr stove and gas, water im thinking should be directly drinkable or use iodine. Sleep bag, thermarest (3/4) clothes, some food, bob;s yer uncle.

So: it looks like this spring coming will see the long schemed over and eagerly anticipated overnight bike rides.

Need to know more?

details, details

Andy's fare thee well alley cat.

Andy, all around tough guy and top bloke, leaves at the end of this week to ride to Jordan (the country...) spend crimbo there, before riding to south africa, through sudan, ethiopia and various other amazing places. Overall its going to be several months of epic.

In order to say bon voyage, an alley cat was organised, around edinburgh with a south african theme and lots of beer and laughter. I proved to myself that i should never ride through red lights and i wouldn't be a good taxi driver...but had a tip top time. Photo is of chris as we zoom to the start/pub....pumpkin lights for hallowe'en.

Have a good one Andy ~ i'll be very much looking forward to hearing the tales on return...

Monday, October 29, 2007

New linkage.

Some things i look at added, not least check the slide shows. Amazing...

I saw a poster in a window today saying "happy halloween". Struck me as a bit odd. Halloween (or hallowe'en) is short for All hallow Even. Initially, it was a pagan festival, but the pope messed around with All Hallows Day and moved this to November the 1st to coincide with the pagan festival. Thus, All Hallows Even became the night prior. In Celtic cultures Samhain, or in scottish gaelic Oidhche Shamhna, was a time when ghosts and spirits could contact the physical world. It was the end of the harvest and prep time for winter. Superstition held that the dead could affect the course of the crop or the livestock and they were placated by bonfires with cattle bones thrown on and masks representing the spirits.

When we guised back in the day with a candle in a carved neep (turnip), dooked for apples and got covered in treacle eating pies hanging from strings, there was always something spooky, and supernatural about the whole thing. In my mind i remember it as always dark, with a haar hanging in the air. It is so odd to see pumpkins at the vegetable shop down the americanised, and weird for some reason to see happy hallowe'en signs.

Perhaps the 'happy' bit related to the day of the dead (dia de los muertos) which also takes place on all saints day. This is a time where the dead but also life are celebrated in Mexico, by calacas (skull masks), gifts of sugar skulls and of course tequila, mezcal and pulque form a fairly important part too.

Who knows? anyways...

Have a spooky one. Knowwhatimean?

Mugdock and soup.

Susan and Martin Savalas were over this week end. We had a lot of near raw beef on Saturday with Helen and G-funk Savalas, all washed down with some banter and beer, then Saturday saw us donning the black suits of doom and racing for telly at our local course. Jac and Chris arrived as did Rose, Heather and Dave Savalas. A league of super fans set up the stereo, complete with rawwwk, the megaphone of heckling and Heineken on tap sat atop gallows' hill. There the race course wound around 3 times including a log hop that Had a few of us wondering about dnf'ing due to bent chain rings. The course was either loved or cursed and a good showing ensued.

The customary 10 spins looking at the sky on the start line meant we all started from DFL, but by the end we peppered the field and excellent soup prepped by my wife and some tired bodies were evident after....

All good clean dirty fun.

Andy is leaving for Jordan (by bike) this week coming. A man who seems destined for adventure. Aim is South Africa ultimately and he is having a leaving alley cat Wednesday ... i'll be trying my level best to be there.

Photo is marty's.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sore arse.

Sunday was another cross race - this time the Auchentoshan classic. The forecast suggested dry bright and cold, so i had the crows on and took a fairly early night after the rugby world cup final at friends big andy and grace's house.

Course, i woke up to rain...oh well, no time to change the tires, game on. Trina took photos and did essential bottle handups. The beer of choice for the race was Heineken - subtle and crisp and didnt lead to too many red-line burps.

This race always has a double barrier. I scoped it out pre race for a bunny hop as i wanted to use the flat bar advantage, but they were too close together, so a running dismount/mount it was. It ended up being a good spot for me as for one barrier hit (oops) i took about one place per lap on the barriers. It was good as immediately after there was a singletrack muddy section that was up my street, so i could consolidate any gaps.

Ended up 12th i think, not sure...seems to be a theme as 12th overall, 11th for seniors last race.

Sported the mt nittany kit again, and it has to be said it highlights my glorious body's curves well.

Photo from my wife's flickr. See how much beautiful Rose has grown...

The day after there were no tasks to do around home and i had a portfolio to drop into the RCGP in edinburgh, so i decided to make a ride of it and take the forth and clyde canal then join the union canal at the falkirk wheel then reverse once the parcel was dropped off.

On the way out i took in a doughnut at the old school grocer (think arkwright's) in polmont, then dropped into ratho for a desperately needed cheese sandwich. Weather was classic bright sunny cold and crisp.

Once in edinburgh i needed to stock up on sandwiches from gregs as i was running low on energy. Also by the time i hit linlithgow my arse was beginning to feel raw. No cham moi booty butter will do that. One consolation was seeing a groondie (scottish for ground control) tire track immortalised in the concrete on the almond viaduct.

The minewt proved its value on the 620m rock tunnel as the path aint wide, and i limped home in 10 hours for an estimated 130 mile round trip. Nice to get some miles in the legs.

Today was a kettle bell day and it went surprisingly well, in fact i think i may be peaking for the off-season. Yay! good timing as ever....

Oh well.

After a cross race and 130miles, the flat bars from the dambala are historic items. At present the loctite is setting on the shim and my oldest set of jones bars are going on. My wrists were not happy with the seven 8 degree bar, way too little sweep....more later on how this goes. All information will be fed into the IF super computer and a steel deluxe will be coming my way soon....

Saturday, October 20, 2007


The uncommonly high pressure/dry weather this autumn so far has allowed me to consider using crow tires, a stans product, for cross and general mixed riding.

The dambala is therefore getting the semi slick, 120 tpi much discussed tires front and rear...we'll see how they go. I dont often weigh bike bits, but in this instance i decided to see if the claimed weight was realistic. 450 g each. I'd say that is fair.

Paired with the salsa light weight tubes i've been too much of a sap to use previously, and inflated to 30psi, they will be an interesting experiment.

Peds and fatties.

Is it a problem, then, this iPod thing? for pedestrians i mean? i think there are issues.

I'll admit to owning an mp3 player and giant dj-esque earphones, too. Often you will see me nodding along the street if i am not on my bike. Tunes keeping me smiling at my own internal world.

Then i come to a junction. What does the green cross code say? hey? Look both ways.

Especially if someone is coming around the corner in, say, a dumper truck. Or on a bike. In the wet.

It is also important, if you decide to ignore this simple and polite bit of common sense, NOT to scowl, shout or otherwise be a dick to the road user you have just stepped out in front of. It ain't their fault, for once.



A report was issues this week after examining the rate of obesity in this country. Off the dial and increasing. BY 2050 we may see as many as 60% of the male adults clinically obese and the children? well, thats just child abuse. They should be *able* to eat as much as they can and not get fat because they are exercising so much. Truth.

What's more, beware the crap you are eating. In a not-so-shocking look at fast food outlets, the salt content for some meals (such as at Pizza Hut) were found to contain 200% of the adult recommended daily amount, and 250% of the childs recommended daily amount in just one meal.

Does that give you a thirst? am i being cynical?

who knows...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Snake charmer

Bulit up and ready to roll.
17" dambala frame.
Niner rigid fork, 490mm.
King goldset and spacers.
Ritchey comp stem, 120mm for now, syntace 139g 105mm en route.
Seven ti bar, 25", 8 degree. If i dont like it on this i'm selling it.
Paul shorty levers, an old pair, what else?
BB7 s with avaid flak jacket and steel conduit, bent into place.
DT 240 rear ss hub with king cog, and xtr front hub, both with spline adaptrs and 160mm rotors.
Twister kevlar 37c tires, conti tubes.
XT UN72 bb and impel cranks. Ratio 38:18 through a ultegra chain with sram connector and time pedals (old style).
Moots pin, and magma saddle, wtb trail grips.


Needs ridden before this week ends cross....

The reason for this bike is to fiddle with geometry. It has a taller front end, with a 71.5 (i think) head angle. The catalogue calls for 72 degrees but i reckon the long fork pitches it slightly more relaxed....2cm shorter f-c and a correspondingly shorter wheel base than my tIF and it also has a shorter top tube by 1cm or so. This combined with a taller bb by 1cm will give some interesting comparisons.

Ok, go.


So a new internet service provider has provided and w are back on-line. Several things to report.

First: Blairadam cross. First of the season for me. 1st day feeling like a human being. Just to make sure the night previous i had swung a few kettlebells with no ill effects. so apart from zero riding for 2 weeks, other than short commutes, and very little good nutrition we hit the kingdom of fife for a fresh but not cold day in the trees. The course was great. a fast downhill double track led to a sharp right run up into the trees where a boardwalk with chicken wire led into a steep drop into a muddy, slippery corridor to a rooty winding trail. This opened out and led to a significantly drier sweeping section then onto a double track climb, the only sustained effort of the course, thenb a sweet singletrack decent down to the sart/finish. Apart from the usual idiots t boning everyone trying to get from 40th to 39th on the first lap a good clean race. Think i snuck into 11th, not sure yet. The start line beers and the spicy sup at susan and martin's afterwards with jac and chris was a perfect end to a good day of racing.

Raced in Mt Nittany colors and was proud to do so. Thanks eric, jim and the rest. Photo lifted from Grant doig, who put in a sterling performance after riding to the venue.

Next up is the dambala....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Not satisfied with being fevered and migrianous on saturday and sunday, hence missing the cross race (played out in 19 degrees and sunshine rumour has it), i spent a beautiful monday thinking i had cholera and then tuesday night having a bizarre full body urticarial reaction complete with fluid filled bubbles all over and hands and feet so swollen i couldnt get my ring off my finger. Not only that but monstrous doses of antihistamine had miited ability to reduce things down. now 18 hrs after it started i am merely pink and itchy and headachey.


Anyways, still hopeful i will be able to race come sunday but walking is a major achievement with so few calories going in and so many being lost. Trina is the same...a right old couple...

Also: sad news, as mentioned in HTATBL Driver has passed in peace.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


So all the prep was in vain. First cross race tomorrow. I have a beautiful Mt Nittany wheelworks kit courtesy of jim and the guys at the shop to race in, and i have the worst cold i have had for 3 years. I slammed in the vitamin c and echinacea and had so many early nights this week and i still feel like i have been hit by a truck and i cant breathe through my 'node....

Anyways, whining aside i'm going to give'er my best shot. So peebles it is.

Today, a rugby match or two and the urban downhill in edinburgh...ace.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The hour

I have just finished reading Michael Hutchinson's book about sporting immortality the hard way. Being familiar with obree's version, it was a great read. Recommendo. Interestingly, the UCI don't come out of either story smelling of roses. Indeed, the opposite is true.

The last thing in the world the drug addled and gangrenous world of cycling needs at the moment is destruction from within.

On a related note...from cycling news.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Lots of c's

Its been a busy ish few days. A new frame from sideways showed up...a 17" dambala. Lovely green. Purpose: to investigate the effects of suspension corrected forks. Maybe with a view to some lefty's/ maybe not. In the first instance it will get a 490 mm niner steel fork to make the front end somewhere near the predicted 72 degree headangle with a 100mm travel fork. The frame was a screaming deal....check sideways cycles for more info on some of last years voodoo's.

Next we have a no gears and a beer and good soup ride with trina to the stables along the canal on saturday. relaxed pace and beautiful autumnal weather. Oh yeah, thats why we ride bikes.

Another canal...this time the clyde. I followed this from the new section at sighthill to the section immediately prior to loch lomond. Then i did some run up practising in the park near our flat. A 1 min loop with a 2 run ups 45 degree hills. 3 lots of 5 circuits with an extra 2 cos i love punishment.

Oh yes, its cross season.

Lastly, crashing. Whilst hopping up a curb on the town bike. Bad judgement and a face covered in scabs....oh well, its been a while.

Really lastly now....mercedes driver, pulls out after looking at me, and proceeds to cut me up. I thump his near side door and use the odd expletive. I havent had to let go like that in a while, but it was just incredible. If no surprise...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Cross season approaches all too rapidly. There are 15, count them 15!, races this year in scotland. Last night i did a bit of running....and soon ill slap the 38 tooth on the ro sham bo and twisters and that'll get me in a 60" gear anaerobic mess come october the 7th.

Rumour has it a skull and cross bikes on burns night, somewhere in kingdom of fife.

More on this sometime soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


So, back home from pub and it seems someone took a liking to my vw front badge and so i have an empty grill on my car. Blah, blah im going to break the arms of people standing near my car/oh its just a car, it isn't important/ still feel like i want to kill, maim, destroy.....

And so it goes.

I'm not even that 'car proud', but i deeply, truly HATE people taking things that dont belong to them. So, balaclava and baseball bat....

Monday, September 17, 2007


Got out for a ride today. No agenda, just enjoy it and bed in the cleaned EBB, re-installed cranks, and new stem. Wow! the body felt like it wasn't connected to the brain today. Poor technical riding, dreadfully high heart rate with multiple rest stops on the climbs and short lived power.

I'm either under the weather or i am unfit. Either are possibilities - it's been a pretty hectic couple of weeks - but it needs turned around as all too soon, its cross season. This year there are 15 races and i'm hoping to hit as many as i can, and hit them running, too.

(Image is either steve m's or simon b's.....either way...thats me freezing my tits off after the first Skull and Cross Bikes race. When will round 3 be?)


Congratulations to Holly and Buck on the arrival of Hayden. I can already see a mischievous glint in his eye! I hope Mom and Dad don't mind me using this picture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Buff Ghandi

So, back to the real world, and back to the kettle bells. Helen Marie had me snatching and pressing 24kg today, amongst other torture. After a 2 week lay off it was a surprise i could even swing that, let alone snatch it (swing kettlebell from between legs, in a crouched position, snap hips and stand straight with kettle bell arcing infront of you, then coming to a stop as arm outstretched straight upwards ~ all in one fluid motion). To give you some indication that meaty chap there probably has a 20 or maybe a 24kg kettle bell in his hand...the biggest? well, that'd be 48 kg....eeep! Some way to go then.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Changes everything

I received the long awaited ti moots/ti open face plate stem through the post today. Perfecto....120mm length, 12 degree rise.

This is the result of falling out with my x4 stem, and being keen for a little more rise.

Its a nice piece of work, and complements the bike well. Of course the proof will be in the riding...which will be soon. I may remove 2mm spacer from under the stem, i may not.

The second pic is how the bike looks now. Since i first built it, the xtr bb is phil wood, changed out the moots for a kent eriksen post, removed some stickers, and went to the DT thru axle RWS system.

The latter rocks. Hard. The steering is so precise, whilst losing none of the suppleness of the pace fork, and the rear end feels like its 2" further towards me. Hard to believe it can all make so much difference.

Done? Probably. I can see some 35mm wide rims at some point in the future, maybe. We'll see. I'll have ago on Look's quartz pedals when they arrive too. Then i think its there...

Monday, September 10, 2007


Damo just left on his way to dismantle a bamboo structure in Strasbourg. Our good friend Damian is also having some bikes made under the name Cog bicycles, by renowned frame builder Ewen Gellie. Well worth checking out

See here.

He is also a super good bike packer. You may notice if you look close that there are 2 bikes in that box!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

s s w c pictures.

I am going to try and keep an updated list of pictures of the s s w c, not least for my viewing pleasure.

The above picture is steve makin's. He has a super fine eye for a photo, and the technique to back it up...His photos are accessed on the flickr sswc group.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

SSWC - rock n' roll circus

Its done.

A huge thank you to one and all.

I think it rocked.

Napa 2008. Go Curtis!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Black box

Just like the mysterious black boxes in 2001 and 2010, the race is consuming all my time.

As a teaser - got a new tool...but what does it do?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Sometimes i need to do a bigger haul. I still would prefer to use a bike....

Image (and more info) from bikehugger.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Schpeed, ... shingleschpeed

Nice work.

Wheels and breaker bars

I finally got around to building up a new rear wheel to match the front wheel which will be used on the nzumbi. After reanimating the road rat (which got unceremoniously stripped in building up the voodoo) i have given myself the ability to have 2 built up road going bicycles. The road rat, which will be used for errands, going to work and such, has cheap/used/old stuff and is much less of a target for thieves (spit!).

The nzumbi will be built using newer, posher stuff and will act as a miler muncher for when the trails are too maukit for off road riding, or i just fancy a loooooooooooooooooong ride.

I like wheel building. I now dont ride on any wheels i have not built myself. I have built with 3 different manufacturers rims (mavic primarily, DT and Salsa) i use DT spokes exclusively, comps and brass nips for the most part. I use phil, shimano, DT and paul hubs.

The rear wheel pictured i really enjoyed building. I have had the parts for ages: they were purchased so the front wheel (DT RR 1.1 to DT comps to 340 hub) would have a similar looking but singlespeed rear. The 340 hubs differ from the 240 i use as a singlespeed cassette rear in that they have steel axles and are not available singlespeed. This is a shame, as the 240 is really quite expensive...£220 at last count. So i decided to utilise my old favourite phil wood rear hub. Although coming in at nearly twice the weight of the DT, it is big, burly, beautifully smooth and a dream to build with on account of its huge flanges and super wide spacing.

Within the hour i had my new rear wheel on the bike.

The rim was considerably easier to build with than my previous DT RR - it seemed far more true initially and far less likely to pop out of true once tensioned correctly. My tensiometer tells me i have a good tension all around so it is either luck, skill (doubtful) or a result of a different rim alloy (possible, i did hear a rumour this has been changed) or the use of the hub. Or a mix...

Anyways, should serve me well..

I also slotted the Hunter forks on trina's bike. Her voodoo was designed around a longer fork than the 420mm P2s that were on it and the geometry should be more relaxed and easier to ride trickier stuff now the 440mm rick hunter 5 piece brazed beauty is in place. With that went an upgrade to a king headset....well, it deserves the best.

So - all we need now is some sunshine!

As an aside, ever wonder just how long a breaker bar you need to remove a bmx freewheel from a well used hub? see the
aluminium scaffold pole in the back ground....?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Iteration X

Thanks to Trev at rockstarracing...titec h bars finish off the beater. Fear the reaper.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007


When i was an over enthusiastic, serial campag bearing afficionado, and general mtb magazine junky i spent some time working at Williamsons bike shop in edinburgh. This was the only place i am aware of that at the time stocked original bradbury manitou forks, yeti, fat city stuff, onza bar ends, hyperlite bars. etc etc....

A lot of the credit goes to shop (part) owner Phil Williamson for his vision of what was to come. Team Moont always had the best kit.

I was saddened to read therefore that Phil passed away at the age of 44.

Rest in peace.

Read more:

Tooled up

7 men. 4 barrows. A pick up. 2 showels and 4 spades. 2 marttocks, 2 macleods and 2 crow bars. A quarry. Some avon skin so soft.

The course is looking better.

Big thanks to Nash and Dan in particular for their help.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Just watched Syriana. Not since watching a portly Russell Crowe in The Insider has a film made me think, wince, fear for the future and angry, all at the same time.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

K tree

10 around kirroughtree was a few weeks ago now, and i have had time to digest and dwell on the ins, outs, ups and downs.

Marty and myself travelled down on friday night as the start was early on saturday. We were to meet up with hamish, chris duncan and crew and then maybe have a beer or two after some dinner, and retire to the youth hostel. It all kind of went to plan, except we got a lock in at the local pub and decided it was whisky time.

It was, for some reason, surprising to find ourselves locked out of the youth hostel at 2.30am, but luckily i had the wardens phone number in my phone and as no one would let us in after banging on their windows ("err, I'm not really sure i should let you in, i mean, i don't know you...."), it had to be used.

A short sleep and up and at em.

Arriving at the kirroughtree visitors centre, it was clear No Fuss had all the bases covered, with excellent food, coffee, marquee coverage, screens showing stuff, a wifi area for instant position download and very organised parking, staff and even a small bike mechanic/shop area.

The race started with a police car lead out. The torrential (and i mean *heavy*) rain of the night before had precluded the ride out from Newton Stewart. At the top of a tarmac climb it was all systems go and the usual british enduro crowd revved their baggies and 4" travel all mountain bikes to the max, breaking for the front. It has always been a bugbear of mine that the vast majority of racers at these events (and i do mean to differentiate from those who are enjoying the completion of such rides and the 'racers') insist on battering to the front only to block those who have a realistic chance of doing well. Its harsh, but definitely true, that some folk need to be more honest with themselves and fairer on others at these things.

Still, some high rev overtaking after the initial blockage at the start of the singletrack put me (i think) in top ten-ish. The course rocked hard. After the initial ride out, the course started with a short singletrack tree-canopy, root and rock climb, to a short section of fire road, then a duck along some hardcore whoops to another short fire road connector, then a super slidey, new cut steep drop and an old forest road climb. This continued for some time, levelled then led to a super fun decent on narrow gauge through the trees with rock drops and natural kickers and berms. The next section was the revelation. A long singletrack, technical climb. This is rapidly becoming a favourite for me. Only the other day someone said how strange it was to be sessioning a technical climb, but why not? it is how chris, marty and me learned to ride.

Following popping out onto the fire road for a last climb, a rolling singletrack section led to another steep slider with a sharp right turn onto off camber, wet rock, more rollers and a final supreme singletrack, dipping and snaking full speed/no braking required decent to the finish area.

So back to the race. As i pushed it along the roller sections on lap one *bang!*. I had dropped my chain...Quickly i dismounted and replaced it, but i thought it was a bit odd, as i have never dropped a chain on my IF before. Immediately the same happened again. On closer inspection one side plate had been forced off the pin and the chain was in essence broken.

Oddly, I had looked in my mini wingnut pack and found i had forgotten to pack the spare 9 speed quick link only that morning. But i wasn't too worried, as, yup! id never broken a chain...


So, i got to work with the chain tool, knowing full well it was probably a lost cause as it was a xt/ultegra 9 speed chain so you need special joining pins. My mind went back to mountain mayhem where i heard a weird crunch from the drive chain...i wonder if this had caused some damage, but it is all academic now. People i know passed (chris d, marty, alison rushton) all offering help and bits but there was nothing compatible, so i had to leg it back to the start finish area and pick up a new chain, fit it and get going again. The morale took a beating and i almost folded.

Then for the first time this year, i looked inside and found some steel. I promised myself once id never give up another mountain bike race after giving up in exasperation at a 6 hour Trek mud madness thing where we were literally towing our bikes for near 5 km around a very messy drumlanrig.

So, i knuckled down, and started trying to chase.

Somewhere i have my lap times and the first 2 laps after this were pretty quick. I reeled in some riders, and despite the 40 minute loss, ended up around 27th solo after 3 laps. Then i started paying for the lack of base miles this year...the rain came on and the course started to become more draggy. Although there were no major climbs, my 58" gear led to some pain in the lower back and tired hams as i kept trying to force the pace.

Lap by lap i gained but i knew i was never going to get the finish i wanted as we approached the 10 hour mark. In saying that 16th overall solo, and 13th in my class ain't just has a tinge of disappointment in that it was the one race other than finale i was focused on this year as i am doing no meridas, and probably on account of sswc, few other events from now on.

However, it was really good to see i still have some sort of competitive core when it comes to these things. It was nice to dig deep and find something there...although it is becoming increasingly apparent to me that this year, i have more of an urge to ride in beautiful places, beautiful weather, on new trails with lovely people, than to hammer my body in the forge of enduro racing. Maybe touring really is the way forward.

We'll see.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I am lucky enough to call the organisers of the sswc 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 friends. All, at some point, have suggested it would be good to put on in scotland.

This is true, and it will indeed be good.

In addition they have all said it will be tough work. For a race that seems to be free form and random, there has been (i suspect in all cases) an incredible amount of organisation underneath the surface. Our race is no different.

In saying that, as i sit here, tapping away, orgainising, thinking, scheming and worrying, i cant help but smile. I heard today from nick sande of surly and yesterday from jimbo of state college.

It is coming, soon, the time we get (ok, maybe not me...!) to sit, yap, ride and have a beer, somewhere new, meet new folk and just enjoy cycling culture....

phot credit Pete Laing, trail builder of the highest order.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Some interesting thoughts and pictures. (pic is frame owners, jn carpernter)


Perseverance is something i seem to be lacking this year. Or maybe its just all the million and one things that are going on - meaning i am struggling to focus on any one thing. Dunno.

The house looks like a bomb site, literally. lots of building work, which is (yup! you guessed it!) taking much longer than initially anticipated. Lots of thought and fussing, and the imminent need of lots of action regarding the'll be fine, as long as we do our work...and it's that stage where we need actual physical results instead of concepts and plans.

But it was sunny today so having struggled slightly at Kirroughtree (which i am going to procrastinate on typing any more about, as i want to do a longer write up---it was interesting on a number of levels) i felt i needed to get some miles into my legs. With all the rain recently, a road ride seemed like the thing so i saddled up on the Nzumbi and headed out of Glasgow. The route took me to Strathblane, then Drymen, and from there to Tarbet along Loch Lomond side and over to Arrochar, down to Faslane and Helensburgh and back to Glasgow. Pretty much 90 miles. A headwind on the way out and sunshine and a tail wind on the way back suited the 48:18 well...a good spin and constant smooth peddling with just one meaty climb past an enormous, humming navy ship sitting being refuelled in the shadow of Ben Arthur.

The Faslane 365 crew were just up, cooking and shuffling about as i rolled odd juxtaposition compared to the 3 rows of razor wire, cctv and dogs on the other side of the road.

I had originally planned a bigger route, but wanted to go down the coast section and also my digestive system has been a bit, err, boisterous today so i felt the need to be heading back to civilisation rather than further towards the highlands. A beautiful day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

10 at Kirroughtree

10 hour race at kirroughtree this week end. It was good. The rain was heavy the days before but the trail seemed to shrug it off.

Full story soon, but 16th, 8 laps (errr, 122 km) 4080m climbed...pretty happy, but there are stories to tell.

More shortly, off to see a strange glowing globe that has just been sighted in th sky.

Telly rocks.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Whats it all about, eh?

Anyone care to enlighten me as to what this means?

Went for a ride - finally

A ride through the trees above Edinburgh, Pentland hills, in pictures.