Monday, May 28, 2007

Got any tobacco?

So, a long overdue film revue.

First, Brian Vernor and Willie K.Bullion's personal look at a season of cyclocross - Pure Sweet Hell. Narrated in part by Mike Ferrentino, and Rick Hunter this film is a beautiful expose of the rigours and passion of cyclocross. Obviously close to the heart of those who made the film, some of the footage is 'local' USA racing but some is international. The footage, shot on super 8, makes for gritty and therefore realistic viewing. Highly recommended.

I had the fortune to bump into Brian Vernor in santa cruz, and i have no doubt we will be hearing more from him soon, not least in the santa cruz bicycles film, We Just Work Here.

Next, A Thin White Line ~ a film following the Iditasport 130, extreme and impossible race in 2001. The latter, a 1100 mile sufferfest from Knik lake to Nome in Alaska, is well documented in the mainstream and adventure sports press as one of the most challenging races a bike rider can face. Not only is the distance and terrain a substantial test, the logistics of clothing, living and food are a major issue. The film is narrated by a softly spoken and knowledgeable commentator and the footage is fascinating and beautiful. Well worth viewing.

Lastly, the Jim Jarmusch feature Dead Man. Following Coffee and Cigarettes, and Ghost dog: the way of the samurai, Trina and myself have been looking forward to seeing anything else he has been involved with. Dead Man is the story of an accountant (johnny depp) who spirals away from his previous life after committing to a new job in the dead end western town of Machine, and becomming involved with a murder. After meeting a native american (Nobody) played by gary farmer and a host of other ingeniously cast, if unlikely characters, the film rolls along with seemingly little direction but a deep resonance and an emotionally unsettling ending. It is hard to draw any one conclusion from the film other than jim jarmusch is real talent.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Back and just about in one piece. That was a toughee. Rough and ready hot and dusty but all good despite 4 hours in the middle of the night of soul searching and inertia.

Full report tomorrow or so, and soon a film review or 2.

For now, catch up work on the sponsors, twinsix and sideways. Go check em out.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Testing testing

Got a shakedown ride in on the ro sham bo the other day. Trying to taper well, despite the scorn poured on me by chris duncan of endura at the carron valley trails opening on sunday, so didnt hit the trails too hard. Took some advice from dave of alpinebikes. Mugdock was all bluebells and dust. Sinewy singletrack and roots. Sweet.

My only hydration was a can of IPA over the 3 hrs of riding. Lots of creaks and groans from me and the bike, but we both held fast. Next stop: Finale.

Just in case: Holly and Buck are having a wee Buck...Meanwhile Buck Sr is on a rip, with 2nd at Michaux and more to come i have no doubt.

OK. Play nice while im away.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Packet rage

Forget raging against the machine, what about food packaging? Not the volume of the stuff, not the incessant double bagging, its the impenetrableness of the bloody stuff that does my head in.

Today, i was cheerfully chopping a few tomatillos, garlic and onion for a salsa verde. Came time to add cilantro and i COULDNT GET IN TO THE DAMN PACKET.

Its not as if this is an isolated issue. Surveys in the uk have shown 71% of adults over 50 have injured themselves getting into groceries. Now its easy to laugh initially, but if you think about it, i reckon you can identify a time it has happened to you.

For example, i opened a packet for a sony memory stick today. But not easily. I had to use significant force on a pair of scissors, a recipe for disaster if there ever was one.

(and deep breath)

So what else?

Took a tumble from the town bike today. Fortunately not in heavy traffic so i didnt get squished. I was sort of supporting/watching trina run her 1st 10k of the season. She did grand.

Minor bumps and scrapes and a wee bit of whiplash, so i should still be fine for finale, which is creeping ever closer. We now have an italian phrasebook, capisce? So we should be able to communicate the need for wine, or a bed. All good.

Ok, off to practice ripping cardboard and plastic...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Technicol mumbo jumbo.

Swapped back to the Pace forks for the IF and have a set being sent for the ro sham bo. I finally decided that i just couldnt deal with a v brake on the front for 24 hours. It takes too much forearm pump to control speed on any decent size descent and it also comes on later than with a well set up disc. It should be an easy swap for the ro sham bo, but why take the black sheep ti off the IF?

Well, it seems that while i was riding the Pace on it i got quite into the higher trail and 'slower' steering. After riding the ti fork for a while i found it too twitchy...strange, given all the rambling crap about 'slow 29ers' you hear.

In addition, one of my favourite feelings on the IF is how well it carves, and it had lost some of this with the ti fork. Odd, i mean, its such a small difference but so noticeable. I will definitely miss the comfort of the ti fork. It is incredible in that regard.

Maybe i should go the whole hog and get a lefty equiped tIF like Harlan Price's new beast...(pic pinched from Network - check the rest of his images too) and here...(photo by phantomrider - more great shots).

The off road to recovery

Not long to go now til finale, so i reckoned a short sharp ride was in order to see what the top (ha!) end power was like. After all i dont have time for any more base now, and i need to recover somewhat.

So, i headed out to aberfoyle and did 4 laps of the race course out there in drizzle. The wet and slippy conditions made for great fun in the woods and over the roots and rocks, and the climbing was stiff enough to require full on out of the saddle efforts for prolonged periods of time.

How did it go....


Ok. S'pose. Sore, tired legs and i will likely benefit from it, but it didnt feel easy or pleasant. Dont s'pose it would....ah well.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


So what are we going to do?

I voted today for the green party in the scottish elections. Why? i believe in proportional representation. That means if i vote green and others do too, we may have some green politicians raising green issues in the parliament. Is that important? Is anything more important, politically?

Its interesting to read about a project in spain using computer aligning mirrors to focus sun light on a steam turbine which generates power. A lot of power, for very little footprint. Read about it here. (image from the story).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Dehydration is an odd thing. Yesterday i took in 7 litres of fluid while exercising, and at least another 4 outwith that, if not more. Today, however, i am still dehydrated.

So far i am at 4 litres of water and 2 cups of electrolyte replacement. Pee yellow, mouth dry.

It is amazing how long the compartment fluid shift thing we learned about in physiology takes to put right, and frightening how fast we can get dehydrated.

No wonder they say a 1% drop in hydration levels begins to decrease performance in any sphere. (who is they? is it the makers of gatorade, or some scientist stuck in her ivory tower somewhere...who knows?).

Anyway. Stay moist out there people...