Friday, June 27, 2008

Satan's emissary on earth.

Bit of an odd 24 hours. Building a wheel last night, and, well, im sheepish to admit i kindof laced it worng, and got a drive side swapped with a non for 2 adjacent spoke holes. I had been using the DT swiss calculator and erred on the short side, as i quite often find i run out of thread because i use relatively high spoke, there i go, bringing in the radial and *BANG* a nipple flies past the left side of my head and impacts on the wall. it had split in half leaving a powdery lump af aluminium on the nipple. Took me a while to realise what i had done, and it seems i left a score at the wrong angle on the DT 240 flange. i hope itll be fine, im sure it will...eeek!

Chipps sent me a book the other day on wheel building and it is a good one, and its odd, cos i scanned the whole thing and the bit that stuck for me was dont tension with yer eyes close to the nipple holes. Good idea...

Shaggy and mel are here at a wedding, they stayed over last night and i got lots of useful chat with shaggy about bike stuff...all good.

Awoke this morning with the vague memory i was doing another fitness test today. Bugger. A busy morning and a quiet afternoon had me totally thrilled to be heading to the gym. Really. Anyways, i managed a 7 minute reduction and felt comfortable all the way except on the 30-40th presses where my arms were again fatigued and at meter 400-600 on the 8% run. 20 mins dead.
As a feed up i plan to inhale 4 chicken breasts i have steeping in mesquite flavouring. A poor substitute for the real thing, buuuuuuuuuuuuuut its pishing down. So, that, corn, some sloppy salsa and peas with pitta breads and for after, white russian. I made a special stop to get some finlandia vodka, which is a favourite for the white russians. Turns out, the geezer in the offy was a bit of a lebowski buff and a vodka lover. Thus ensued a great conversation about which vodkas we prefer for what. Scary knowledge probably, but good at the same time.

Right. Meat. Chilis. Beers, a bad film and Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Damo in town.

Well, in the toon anyways...he's over building a bamboo structure at the sage in newcastle, a bridge over the tyne. Yep really.

Sounds like it will be well worth, natural materials and damn big.

Photo shows damo and a fellow bambuco team member, nicked from fotobamba.

What else? fitted some road bb7s and a set of my old paul canti -levers to the tIf...looks nice, improved ergo/reach we'll see how the power is. Should be ok from a survey of folk, especially sam's input from singular cycles. If not i can bung a bigger rotor up front.

If its nice, the pinkster will be swapped also. The spare brakes are now on the dambala again, on which im testing a headset currently. It has been a relative bugger (if there can be such a thing) to fit but once on, it seems nice. A good compression mechanism without the use of an angled compression ring...we'll see how it holds up.

That bike seems nice in a funny way, the green is kind of absinthe-metallic, i like it.

All i need to do is build a new rear wheel and its all go...hopefully in time to lend shaggy, who is visiting us with the lovely mel this week end, and i reckon with a squeeze anja will fit on it too to try the big wheels...should be good.

Seem to have spent a lot of time futzing with stuff in the bike room recently. I'm enjoying it...i like working on bikes.

Also, well, its prolly not a suprise, but a jeff fork in 135 and fat front wheel may be wending their way to me soon. But thats a whole different story...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mud wrestling...

Back from red bull. Trina, anja and myself headed down with a surprisingly efficient packed car to ledbury, southern england for the 11th staging of the Mountain Mayhem. I joined team mates keith b, chipps and brian and set up camp. Brian had broken his wrist riding the course, so chipps had set up a few ringers to take some of the strain, but i guess we werent entirely serious about our placing so no worries.

After the usual late night with friends, which turned into an early morning and a wobbly walk back to the tent, we arose to sunshine and hurried preparations for the race start. Unfortunately, pat adams, larger than life organising legend was in hospital so after a quick rules and regs by chipps, off we all went.

As usual the le mans start was a pretty horrific affair with elbows out, acid in the throat and stiff soled running shoes knocking the feet to bits. After getting on the bike, i had the pleasure of riding with phil moore for the initial part of the lap, and then we hit the technical stuff and the traffic started.

A bench cut narrow single track had been cut out of the clay hill side after a series of steps on a built up section of trail. A tricky right hander was the entry and the exit was guarded by gnarly old trees with sharp branches.

Needless to say, the traffic here was pretty severe, and the alarm bells were ringing for the almost inevitable rain.

Laps progressed, food eaten, ringers found and a few pretty quick laps, with less efficient handovers followed. Then at 10 pm after i had dropped a thin wind proof off at the camp site to head out again, BAM! the heavens opened. The course had been increasingly slidey and sticky (yes, both! its a magical property of clay...) but the rain made everything go bananas. It took extreme power to drive the gear up the hills, with the rear slipping constantly and the technical stuff began to deteriorate. At one point, keith needed to lassoo a tree with his front wheel in order to get back up to a walkable section after spending 5 minutes doing some form of mc escher routine of trying to climb up only to slide down again. Hideous, but sort of challenging and perhaps a glimmer of fun in there.

At 3.30am, we called it a night, as double laps were becoming very tough and without those, any rest was out of the question in the rain.

Needless to say, in true mayhem tradition, the sun came out and the latter stages of the race were glorious and the sunday night again gave us all chance to bbq food, chew the fat and drink the left over beers.

After last years mud bath, i said never again. Well, seems i wasnt speaking sooth...there is a papuan tradition in the chimbu region to cover the face with mud in order to celebrate the dead...i dunno, maybe there is something in that...

Monday, June 23, 2008


Just in case you didnt know Jenn is in the GDR this year. She is doing well, 5 days in to a likely ~20 day ride...go girl!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday night, monday morning.

After getting on the wrong train from haymarket i doubled back and got back to glasgow with enough time to hurriedly pack up the pinkster and get out for a bivvy ride. When i decided to bed down somewhere near the whangie ( a large split in the rock caused by the devils tail as he flew to a witches coven meeting...apparently) it began to rain. It was 11 oclock and i was pretty bushed and didnt feel like getting wet, so i didnt pay much attention to the ground, covered as it was in a thick coat of grass.

Needless to say, the grass hid several 6" high, hemispherical mounds, positioned in such a way that i never really got comfortable all night. Hey ho.

The packing aim for this trip was as light as possible. As such the complete weight of the bike, racks, waterbottles and kit was 17kg. The bike and racks weigh 12 kg so given the 2.25kg of water on the bike, thats pretty damned light. My ruck sack was a little heavier than i wanted, with 3kg of water. Fully dressed i had 8kg of kit on my person. Soooooooo, subtracting the H2O, shoes etc i had about 6-7kg of stuff. Not bad, and right where i was aiming for. I can go lighter, but not much without sacrificing certain comforts (coffee, hot food).

The packing was a different matter. I had less stuff on the racks initially - bad idea, and i also didnt have enough dry bags to keep the sleeping bag totally dry -bad idea 2. Live and learn.

A winding 50 or so miles through the roads and hills with a drop down to clachan of campsie had me back home and sorting out the bike for this week ends mountain mayhem. New tyres were needed on the tif as i spotted the tyre had bugun to split, and i took the opportunity to true and tension the wheels. Good work. Time for bed...

24 solo, the film fest and a wombat in edinburgh.

Sunday i met up with fellow tspc squadders marty, chris and jac, A quick pint of thrappledouser and we headed into the film house to see 24 solo. This was supposed to be a trek vehicle for eatough (eat-off, as in a PLATE)....see at conyers in 2006 he was heading for a 7th solo 24 hour world championships. But an unknown from australia pitched up and shoved a huge, great big spanner into the works. The pace in the early part of the race was truly frightening, and both the aussie, craig gordon, and eatough pushed it as far as i have seen any athletes. In the end, one man destroyed himself to beat the other. A truly epic battle and fortunately not spoiled by the trek-centric viewpoint. Well worth seeing.

As we sat down to catch the film, in walked jacquie phelan. She is over here promoting bicycles and teaching riding skills etc to kids. It was fab to have chance for a catch up and a pint or 2 after the film..

Dad day.

Went through on saturday and caught up with mum and dad, on the eve of fathers day. Here's to my dad!...(thats him, taking the photo!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


On monday i had the pleasure of team giant's company...or at least some of them. After the world cup in fort bill i got a call from adam as he was passing through glasgow and was keen to get out for a pedal. Adam is a super good bloke... and i have one or two spare bikes, so we were going to head out with jared rando and amiel cavalier for a quick blast around the local trails. Unfortunately, roadworks held them up so we stopped in at monkey with team road manager elke brutsaert for some lunch instead...

they then flew off to italy for the val di sole world champs....Allez!


Dunno if this will work....

Went looking for ERD data as i am going to build a new rear wheel up...bought myself a pressie...

Mavic have a tech area, with lots of info about the rims, other stuff, and a pretty nice spoke calculator...

try here...

Went looking for ERD data as i am going to build a new rear wheel up...bought myself a pressie...

Monday, June 09, 2008


Down to bristol on friday evening. The plane was relatively painless, and we were kindly delivered to chez mel and shaggy by mel's dad. After a feed of curry courtesy of the legendary mel cooking skillz, we had a few beers, some good chat and some hearty laughs. Phil and gareth jones were there and tymo was manning the tent area at the race venue - ashton court.

After 4 hours sleep we hit the ground running and packed the beasts of burden whilst sipping espresso in the warmth of the morning sun. Ace.

By the time we hit the venue, the race was pretty close to starting. After a quick strawberry fruli, Tymo kicked off and with short laps of 30 mins, we were scheduling doubles. We waited for tymo to come round but after the field sped through with no sign of him, we realised something was up. Turns out that due to clipping the scaffolding structure of the fly-over bridge, tymos finger consisted of several more bones than was strictly required...damn! i rushed to get ready and headed out as the unfortunate tym was taken to hospital to be put back together. Needless to say, the course rocked. Roots, swoops, rocks, short power climbs and sweeping loose corners. All good: the pink beast came into its...there's something about 50mm of offset...

Handing over to phil, gareth then shaggy, we battered around the course for the first 9 laps, and the heat began to rise. The huge cooler was put to work, and a constant supply of frosty beverages kept us working hard. Mel tended the bbq and friends visited, matt carr and ian leitch ripped around in the solo cat and heckles were in full effect. All good.

6 hours in: having lost a lap due to tyms injury and shaggy snapping a skewer, we felt that we probably needed to decrease the pressure slightly. The pugsley was drafted into service, and we enjoyed a few chilled laps before the end of the race. With the focus on the Bbq, beer, friends, laughs and chat, we were stoked to hear emily and team mate made the podium, and freaked out when we heard we had too! 3rd in the singlespeed team class...

The celebrations continued into the wee hours and when we finally awoke the sun continued to beat down. We watched the 6 hour race kick off and enjoyed the last of the meat and beer. The world can be so good sometimes.

Extra double meaty thanks to mel and shaggy, and the team, with gareth stepping in to tyms not insignificantly well shod and speedy shoes.

P-phone learns to do the flap.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Daily bread and butter

Had an odd episode with the cat the other night. After getting the train back from edinburgh, then catching up on some emails later on at night, the p phone decided to join me. It was dark and i forgot i had put a beer on the computer desk, which slides the keyboard in and out. Needless to say i pushed the keyboard in, the beer glass tips and poors sierra nevada from head to tail down persephone's back. Suffice to say, she wasnt thrilled. After we finally stopped her tearing around the flat, she had her first shower...which wasnt as bad as i thought it might be, still - not to be repeated beer spillage that! (not our cat - happy robots from flickr....)

Looks like daily bread cycles is happening...good. quite fancy that frame, if they make one smaller.

Racing in Bristol this weekend...excited, pinkster got slotted into the trico and i have a computer on the bike which i am sort of working with at the moment. will be interesting to see if it helps stop me blowing up.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Looks like dejay and rebecca and others did the 24 hours of finale and did is a great race...maybe a revisit...

Chipps was up and we took off for the midge infested north for a ride. A great loop, in excellent condition. All good. Perhaps you'll see some of it in singletrack soon....keep your eyes peeled.

Heading down to the bristol 12 this weekend coming. Doing the 12 hr race with shaggy, tymo, and phil. Although i may struggle to keep up, im stoked to be racing...especially as mel and brah shaggy are now engaged to be married...will be great to see them...bravo!

The pink bike will be my companion for that, so ill re-gear it and remove the racks...the Looks seem to be much friendlier after this last ~80 miles or so...seems if its a vague clip in, you should re-clip in and its all good. MUCH more stable for pushing hard, and not so many unplanned un clips. It seems to be a bedding in process is taking place, or maybe im just getting used to them. But, i certainly will not be going back now.

Unfair advantage...


Pick up sticks.

Had the g and h funks for dinner. Pick up sticks got a little boring, after a few margaritas, so we evolved....