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...