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...