Thursday, November 06, 2008

SpiderFire LED

With another winters commute approaching I decided that I'd like to open up my route options which would mean that my pathetic LED front light would be useless. You know the sort, ye'olde LED flashers that are more "be seen" than "see by".

So I trawled the tinterweb and found Tactical4U offered a compact bar mounted LED system that ran off x3 AA's and pumped out 200 lumen's. Best of all the price was a smidgen over £20 - which surely made it worth a punt. Uphilla confirmed that he ordered something similar a while back and said it'd probably be okay for commuting. Sorted.

The Hong Kong shipment arrived less than a week later (£10 p&p) and was quickly filled with spankin' new NiMh's. Initially I was a little disappointed with the output but then found that the beam can be adjusted from a teeny spot (the shape of the LED emittor) out to a wide flood.


The lamp bracket is rubberized and fits well on the bars but only offers up/down alignment. A large recessed rear mounted switch controls the light through low, off, high, off and flashing. The battery uses an elasticated strap which fits easily underneath my 100mm stem.

In use the lamp is small and unobtrusive and the clunky button works well even with gloves pinkies. When the street lamps disappear I find that the flood setting (even on high) doesn't offer sufficient penetration but a couple twists tightens the beam to a more useful spot/flood combo. It works a treat on the roads though and cars/buses no longer cut across my path.

I've no specific details on actual runtimes yet but the spec's suggest 6hrs.

For less than thirty notes this is a marvelous offering and proves that robust, bright and long running LED's are defo the way to go :thumbu

Uphilla has fondled the the unit, played with the three light settings and mentioned that they'd since improved the battery casing and shrunk the lamp.

* "info" pic's listed on behalf of Tactical4U (to save bandwidth).

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Coed-y-Brenin, MBR Trail

After lunch we three headed out around the familiar MBR trail and the opening rocky section soon had DD doubled up with a headache. The tough lickle soldier soon shrugged it off and plodded around the rest of the trail without so much as a "where's the short cut" :p

I can't recall if Uphilla somersaulted here or on a later section but as usual our rubber pal immediately jumped back on and cranked off into the distance.

We've all ridden this several times before and mostly remembered what was coming although I'd forgotten how much fire road crankin' there is. Fortunately excellent sections like The Pink Heifer make the toil bearable.

Unfortunately none of us cleared the tricky bridleway climb up from the ragin' river but we were all quite tired by this point.

The trail was again much drier than anticipated with just the odd puddle here and there to remind you it's autumn. The sunshine was doing it's best to keep us warm but as the day light receded, so did the temperature.

The drive back through torrents of rain (from Telford on) which made me chuckle at just how good the weather had been for us - quite unusual for me this year.

Photo's.


Posse: DDave (4x), Farqui (5Spot), Uphilla (5Spot)
Mechanicals
: None
Weather: Fabulous autumnal day, cold breeze but dry and sunny

Coed-y-Brenin, Tarw Trail

Uphilla and I had already hatched a plan to take in a couple of the north Welsh trails before the end of the year, namely the extended Penmachno and Coed Llandegla.

The day before arrived and we were pleased to see that the weather forecasts all looked favourable and before we set off we quickly checked the trails websites for the latest maps, etc.

"Oh-no"
, Penm was closed with a rally AND Coed-L had it's car park closed due to snow ! :O

Over the next few hours a sketchy plan-b was hatched with options of Coed-y-Brenin (which has lots of choice) and even Machynlleth to the south (time permitting).

The 'hillas' made their way NW after the Friday rush but by bedtime I still hadn't received final confirmation of our venue - so I guessed the lads were out in wilderness without a signal. Come 5am Saturday morning (yawn) and they'd managed to find a signal to confirm CyB @ 9.30am was indeed the center of choice(b) - game on.

3hrs later I'd enjoyed traffic free drive and been rewarded with inumerable truely jaw dropping views of the autumal colour with picture postcard snow capped peaks. All under a bright blue sky - which has been quite a rarity this year. Actually the drive wasn't without incident as I had a near miss playing chicken with a pheasant (thank you mr.ABS) and a windscreen strike serveral turns later of either it's dumba$$ cousin or a partridge. I do know that it was big, went with an almighty and in an instant took my ticker from calm and relaxed to pounding harder than Afan's 6km climb. But I digress, where were we ?

Whilst I waited for the center to open I assembled my trusty steed and watched the car park gradually fill as the daylight ticked by. The casual 'hillas' rolled up, unloaded, twiddled with this'n'that before we all rolled down to the trail head to decide which of the 6 routes we'd tackle.

Our opener was to be the medium length Tarw trail and off through the 'horns' we dived.

We've all ridden this in the past but not since CyB's overhaul and after a few short sections of singletrack we began our climb up the fireroad to into the short Heart of Darkness. I don't know about you but I find I need a few miles to adjust to these trails (they're so different from my home patch) and I through here I took many a bad line and fumbled plenty of dodgy gear choices. However I soon settled down and hammered through Snap, Crackle and Pop which were familiar from the ol'Red Bull trail. My 5Spot felt great with loads-a-grip from the NNic's, amble braking from my Mag's and the Pike felt so good being rammed into every rock that came my way :thumbu

Onwards we cranked and after thumpin' our way through the Rocky Horror Show, Mantrap and Flightpath a quick glance at my buddies showed the same moosive grin that adorned my chops :p

Back at the cafe we plunged into some lunch whilst deciding what the afternoon might offer...

The only photo I snapped was in the car park, before 9am.

Tracklog.

Posse: DDave (4x), Farqui (5Spot), Uphilla (5Spot)
Mechanicals: None
Weather: Fabulous autumnal day, cold breeze but dry and sunny

Friday, October 24, 2008

Morzine June 27 – July 4 2009



After a 4-5 year wait I have a pass again to return to the Alps. I have looked at a few options and decided to return to the Les Portes du Soleil area (but this time when the whole area is open).

The recommendation is to stay in Morzine this time as it is more central (see dahnhilla’s recent trip).
http://knobblies.blogspot.com/2008/09/cider-wine-food-and-bikes.html


As well as the miles and miles or way marked cycle trails, there is a lot more to this area if you are prepared to get a map out and explore. We spent a whole week last time just around Les Gets and that is about 1/10 of the area :-)



http://www.passportesdusoleil.com/

http://www.portesdusoleil.com/en_summer/Live%20from%20the%20ski%20area/12virtualtours.html

More info and videos here
http://www.winterandsummer.com/_vtt.php

There is the option of flying to Geneva but I intend to drive again, it is probably about 12-15 hours door to door.


Costs:
Transport:
Eurotunnel - £30 tescos vouchers per car :-)
Ins & breakdown £100 per car
Tolls £70 per car
Fuel – 1300 miles (hopefully in something more economical than a Honda Shuttle 2.3 petrol Auto.)

While we are there:
Accommodation S/C allow £200/head
Lift pass £50
Food & beer???

So if we optimise cars well I reckon about £450/person + food and drink

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mabie - First Taste

After a couple of aborted visits I finally got to my knobbly's out around Mabie earlier this week.

Before you ask, "yes it was wet and falling from the sky" :-( Comically it was bright and sunny when we arrived, before the heavens opened whilst I changed into my ride togs. Which then cleared for 5mins whilst I assembled the bike and then dumped big time just as I rolled off road. Fortunately I then only had to tackle a strong wind and the odd spot of drizzle.

The red graded Phoenix trail unfolded as a typically well drained trail (thankfully) consisting of a slate, small rocks and mud with a good dose of slippery roots which made me feel right at home :p The trail doesn't have any long nasty climbs or descents and keeps you busy with little challenges throughout.

There are a few 2-3ft drops dotted around to keep you on your toes but they can all be taken carefully - although one at the end of a board walk really made me grin as I floated into a level drop :D

Did I mention raised board walks ?...there's a few of these and the first is the worst being uphill, around a couple of corners and off camber. Oh and like Dalbeattie there are short technical black sections available to those with many more skills than I. I did commit to x1 "black" right at the end which simply turned out to be a steep roll back to the fire road :rolleyes

There's even a couple of small stream crossings which were good fun and flowing strongly.

A number of small open berms (unlike Brechfa) were great fun and easily railed even though I didn't know what was coming around the next bend.

"The Scorpion" is a fairly challenging steep albeit relatively short climb that played with my mind and seemed to repeatedly yell "dismount" as my legs and lungs burnt. It was a shame that riders were resting at the top (the fireroad) which forced me to dig deep and crank my way ever upwards atop my knobblies ;)

The route isn't very long at 10miles-ish and although it's graded "red" I'd say it'd be a good trail for a competent rider to cut their teeth on as it doesn't have any nasty surprises but has plenty of nice bits to entertain.

A special thank you must also go to Mabie House for making this trip as special as the others.

Tracklog.

Penmachno/Llandegla 1st November

A while back Farqui an myself did the first Penmachno loop straight after the Marin Trail. It is a great trail, but we were not at our best and struggled a bit!

We have put diaries together again and come up with Saturday 1st November as date to give this now extended and much loved trail another try.

Daanhilla and myself are heading up Friday eve and meeting Farqui at the trail head Saturday am. If time and energy allow we will head back via Llandegla and see what is going on there.


Please feel welcome to come along!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wendover to Princess Risborogh Autumn Ride

Recently I've been piecing together some new routes in order to add a little variety to my riding. As a consequence, last week I discovered this gem and suggested to Farqui that he might like to give it a go. He was particularly impressed with the route on our recent night ride and I was sure this would provide even more thrills! Unfortunately, he couldn't make it but with the help of a few emails a collection of the posse had quickly vol entered.


The meeting point was Wendover Forest (just opposite Aston Hill MTB centre). The Planned Route was a figure of 8 picking up the Ridgeway at Wendover and working towards the ridge point overlooking Princess Risborough.


The ride starts with a long down hill section into Wendover town centre. From there, the Ridgeway climbs back up to the top of Becombe Hill. Its a reasonably tough climb rewarded by some spectacular views. To the East Ivinghoe Beacon, to the West Princess Risborough, Chinnor and beyond....


We continued our ride and picked up the Ridgeway Riders Route which just behind Chequers (no sign of Mr Brown!) and slowly climbed up through route strewn woodland and then fast single track until we reached Risborough and the halfway point. We took a few moments to re-fuel with energy bars and absorb another fine view before we quickly descended into Risborough. Now for the bit I chose not to tell everyone....a hard slog road climb back to the top to pick up the Ridgeway and return on our previous route. With plenty of huffing and puffing with reached the top and and made the most of the long down hill single and forest tracks back to Chequers. From here we climbed once again to take a circular route back to Wendover and the final climb to the car pack.


From my perspective it was a tough ride (2500ft accent) with some rewarding descents. It was great to ride with a good size posse and I look forward to our next day out! It's a real shame Farqui missed this one but weather permitting I'm happy to do it again as soon as his got a free weekend!!

Once again, thanks to the posse for supporting the ride and I hope it gave you a good sense of what the Ridgeway has to offer.


Tracklog


Posse: R2, Rob, Paul, Dozer, Darren, Les.

Conditions : Generally very good. Very dry for this time of year.

Mechanicals: Darren...two punctures!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Black Mountain 'Killer'

This was supposed to be the antidote to the lack of riding in the wet summer, a date had to be picked out and I was being optimistic and hoping for a drier autumn. It did not happen, for once the forecast was spot-on – Periods of heavy rain, wind and low cloud.

Full marks to our small posse who turned up and did the ride regardless without complaint.

The advice is to allow 6 hours for the ride, which seems a lot for 23 miles, but when you see the terrain it starts to make sense.

We set off from the Castle Inn at Pengenfford and soon met our first tough climb and were off pushing up lose rocks. After skirting the base of the hills now towering above us we made a choice to push up y Grib rather than the steep rocky climb a little further round at y Das, thinking it might be easier in the wet. It was still a tough walk with the wind and rain cutting hard by the time we reached the top. Promised views were only briefly glimpsed through the wind blown cloud – we had already climbed 1000ft.
We were grateful to be cranking again across a moorland track and soon picked up the ‘proper’ route again and the long steady descent to Grwyne Fawr reservoir – this was welcome, but not easy in places with much lose rock and slippy ruts – it tested us all, but was great fun. This eventually brought us out in valley bottom with another ‘big hill’ looming over us – I think hearts may have been sinking a bit at this point, but up we went on forest fire roads thankfully zigzagging. The GPS then pointed us up a track to the right and once again we were off and pushing until we reached a remote and narrow hillside singetrack. Another short push brought to the top of Crug Mawr and the start of a brilliant downhill, well it would have been if it had not been for the conditions and all took it very easy this time :-(

The optional lunch stop at Llanbedr was not taken, the preference was to keep going this time. It was quite relief to be back on predictable tarmac for a while as we started the gradual ascent – the tracklog show this to last for 6½ miles in all. On a clear day it would have been a bearable with some great scenery, on this day it was a real slog at times. We passed a group carrying an injured dog back to civilization who wished us the best of luck as we headed ever upwards.
The wet and grime had taken its toll on Dozers chain by this point and all the lube had gone, luckily Farqui had packed some Purple Extreme and a quick squirt restored the gears sufficiently to get to the top.

Needless to say we were all weary by the time we got to the top and the prospect of a fast downhill blast was not that appealing, so we picked our way carefully down what would be challenging on a dry day and sensibly chose to dismount in places not wanting any last minute injuries. As the descent levelled out it did not get any easier with unrelenting lose rock to negotiate rattling our teeth all the way to the bottom!

What a relief to get back to the Castle Inn change into dry clothes and get into the warm bar for a much needed pint. Sadly the hot food we had also hoped for was not available.

What can I say? Well I am not sure about the others, but I am glad I did the ride and had a real sense of achievement getting round unscathed. It is a real ‘Killer’ loop as had been promised through some stunning, wild countryside. Sadly we did not get the views promised. On balance, one to do in better weather, but picking the right time would be more luck than judgement this year.

Posse: Dozer- Canyon; Farqui – 5-Spot; Pete – Cannondale Scalpel; Uphilla – 5-Spot
Mechanicals Dozer, chain suck?
Weather: Almost as bad as it gets.

MORE PICTURES

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Berko Loops

Last night R2 arranged to take us cranking around his local patch and both Rob and I jumped at the opportunity. R2 was worried the trails would be gloopy but after checking the trails the wkend before he committed a date and prayed it would stay dry.

With lamps lit we started out and lifted ourselves up a quiet gentle tarmac incline before diving off-road in amongst the trees. As you can see from the route profile the first few miles were mostly flat pedal-y sections through Berko common which were great fun. R2 needn't have worried about the trails as there were only a few puddles to contend with. Dodging the occasional black pool actually added to the fun as we ducked and dived around the the trees :p

As predicted the 2nd half of the ride involved a number of great descents that were promptly dispatched with massive grins. R2 wasn't too keen on getting run over so he often hung back letting those with less sense than travel hammer a line down the trail. With my single bar mounted lamp I often had to trust in my machine to get me around, over and under! the rapidly approaching obstacles. A head mounted lamp would have been a great help and might have given my fast beatin' ticker a breather ;) Squish suspension helped me out on numerous occasions but I really must give my ol'steed some TLC as the rear shock was way too soft.

Rob had a chance to demonstrate his climbing prowess as he winched himself up the "Donkey Trail" with it's loose, channeled, steadily steep track there to grind down a tired rider. To his snotty credit R2 kept up but I lost the will and hop'd off to push for a few meters.

My companions with their helmet mounted lights scanned the trails and undergrowth which often found eyes peering back at us. Lots of eyes. It seems that the deer are rampant in these parts but I'm still not convinced that the grunts came from our antlered onlookers rather than my lycra clad companions :D

Big props to R2 for a truly fantastic hack. I could have ridden numerous sections again and again, mostly the downhill bits ! ...and to Rob for repairing my snap'd chain.

A big thanks has also gotta go to MrsR2 who cooked up some top post ride nosh for the hungry posse :thumbu

Tracklog

Posse: Farqui (5spot), R2 (Canyon), Rob (Flux)
Weather: Dry, cool, windy
Mechanicals: Farqui - snapped chain

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Decisions, decisions

At the moment Chippy and I have a different set of booties per rig and I thought it'd be fun to make our suited and booted into a lickle quiz.

It shouldn't be too difficult, especially for those with a rubber fetish :p

So what'd'ya see ?

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Proposed Night Ride Berkhamsted

Following last weeks successful Woburn outing, I'd like to propose another mid week ride..........

Proposed dates: Tuesday 30th September or Wednesday 1st October....let me know your preference

Time: 7.30pm

Location: Berkhamsted

Let me know if you are interested and I'll mail directions as necessary

R2

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Woburn Surf

After a few minutes comparing the diddy LED's of our "bling kings", dusk started to fall and we headed off to Woburn via a swift crank down the Grand Union canal.

The Danesborough climb is still a shock to the lungs (not to mention the legs) and after a brief gasp to regroup at the top we slithered our way over to the jump arena with our knobblies surfing the dry crests of sand.

After a couple of switchback runs into the bowl we hit the deep g-out where Rob and I were left waiting through the trees on the "other side". Only to discover that R2 had stalled and caused Uphilla a lickle tumble behind :p To be fair this was R2's 1st taste of the woods and it's still gotta be handful even with his monster lumen count.

Across the road to Fullers Earth and the sheep dip descent was fast'n'furious - damn the trails are good at the mo. I then hooked the posse into a set of curves they've not ridden before and I was glad to see the ol'hands recognised the inclusion - drip feedin' keeps 'em keen ;)

Back across the road and at the bottom of the bypass climb I met two riders coming down the hill, which ended in a clash of knobblies! No matter which way I turned the other rider went ,so I dived into a gully feelin' sure he'd ride around and past. But oh no, he piled into the gully with me - doh ! After a brief hello, forehead slappin' and comedy gear re-starts the singing wheel was despatched and we headed for what has gotta now be named the "blind alley". The descent to Longslade Lane is mighty overgrown and requires a blunderin' attitude to clear - fortunately I "do" blunderin !

Munchin' an energy bar or two the Rob's compared their L&M Stella (Rob) and AyUp (R2) which both cast an impressive light given their diminutive size. Neither impress on paper but when eye ballin' the output next to a L&M HID they both offer similiar output and as they're so small (the AyUp are bonkers diddy) they're defo the way forward.

The full length of rooty climb followed and some odd wailin' in the darkness kept me crankin' a pace and before too long we headed back to stumpy and the twister behind Woburn Sands. Last night the curves were a perfect blend of speed coupled with a lickle slip'n'slide to keep you on your spd's :D

Back at the road we tallied up and most of us had a nap in the rooty darkness, but it's all part of the fun/challenge and entertainment of your buddies :p

A steady crank around Caldecotte and back up the Ouzel valley soon has up back at the trail head with an honest 20+ miles covered in what seemed like no time at all. Back at the ranch, Chippy had a chilli and some spuds bakin' which the posse soon gulped down - thanks babe.

Right when/where's the next group night ride chuckle gonna be ?

Posse; Dozer (Canyon ES), Farqui (5Spot), R2 (Canyon Nerve), Rob (Flux), Uphilla (ElSalty)
Weather; Dry, cool, breezeless - darn near perfect
Mechanicals; None
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Black Mountains Killer Loop - 4th October 2008

"This is proper wilderness mountain biking with some ace high-level, ridgeline singletrack thrown in"

Anyone interested in riding this 'Classic' route? It is one I have wanted to attempt for some time, so I have finally booked a date - Saturday 4th October. One or two other folk have said they will come along, so I hope that we get a late summer as this is not one to do in poor conditions.

The advice to allow all day and to be well prepared as parts are very remote and mobile phone coverage is not good. There are also some very demanding climbs, in fact one involves around 30 minutes scrambling on foot. There are stunning views and brilliant descents to compensate.

I suggest a start time of around 10 am from the Castle Inn at Pengenfford. A similar route can be done from Crickhowell, but it does add some unnecessary miles - this route is about 23.3miles. with 4650ft climbing. I will be travelling down Friday evening and staying at a nearby YHA for simple B & B. Start location is probably just over 2.5 hours from Northampton if the roads are clear. I guess if the weather is too bad I might just head for Afan.

Tracklog

Hope you can come along!

CRUG MAWR video

RHIW TRAMAU video

Monday, September 08, 2008

Long Mynd - a taster

The Long Mynd near Church Stretton in Shropshire is often spoken about with affection amongst those loving natural trails and although I have done several walks in the area I have never ridden there.

A weekend break in nearby Ludlow gave me chance to get a taster in. Originally I had a couple of route options to try, one 21 miles and the other around 16, but the weather and the fact that I had a friend new to off-roading, George, tagging along made me go for a simple loop.

The rivers locally were running high and had burst their banks in places, I guess it was not the ideal time to sample this area for the first time, but I was determined not to be put off by the rain. The climb out of Church Stretton was on a single-track road and consistently steep for 2miles. Very soon there were fabulous views and thankfully the rain held off. It was a harsh climb, but we both managed to keep going to the top.

The aim was to descend on one of the best pieces of single track called Minton Batch - one of the narrow valleys typical of these hills- and if it had not been for the GPS I am not sure we would have found it because by the time we reached the top of the trail visibility had deteriorated and much of the ground was under water. We followed the direction show on the Garmin and soon picked up other tyre tracks and a narrow trail through the heather. When I say trail, in places it had become a stream in narrow ruts with the only option to ride on wet sloping grass which threw the back wheel out from under you. We managed to pick our way through this section and then it all became much more ride able and it was easy to understand why this is such a popular area - fast single track running down a valley side not unlike some of the trail centres, but with less stable surface and plenty of water thrown in. It was all over too quickly and then to another road blast back to the car park with the rain setting in again and some deep floods to negotiate.
George did well to get down the Batch and thoroughly enjoyed himself - my worry that he might be put off was unfounded.

It is a place I would like to go back to, not just to explore more trails, but the town also has plenty to offer with tempting pubs and an excellent Fish & Chip shop.

Posse: Geoff - Turner; George - Ventana
Mechanicals: None
Weather: err, Wet

Gorlech

After a month or so of sullen rain swept commutes had sapped my enthusiasm for getting up in a morning let alone riding off-road we forced ourselves to adhere to our scheduled trip to Wales last weekend. We left work good and early on Friday afternoon and against all the "news advice" that ALL of Wales was under water didn't drive through any floods or showers of note until we were a few miles away from our b&b. When the heavens opened briefly and dumped big time, thankfully this was the worse downpour of our trip.

A crackin' meal at the Belle followed by a long soak in our b&b's hot tub washed away the 5hr journey (+1hr delay of Friday madness) and our spirits were lifted ;)

The near constant showers on Saturday didn't bode well for a ride and I feared my rig would stay in the bike bag for the duration - just like our last trip to Mabie :( So we spent the day checking out the local area, duckin' the showers and even managed a walk around the start'n'end of the Brechfa trail.

Sunday dawned as another overcast, gray day (surprise, surprise) but after another hearty breakfast I decided that I was riding and that was that. I was so determined that I barely noticed the rain as I loaded up the jalopy. 20 minutes later and I was unloading at the Abergorlech trail head and it was dry - hurrah.

On the fireroad winch from the carpark, with my thighs grumblin' I remained in high spirits and soon started to calm down and "get my head into gear" for the route ahead.

The Gorlech starts off on a wide fireroad that then swings off onto a narrower path before you then start a bit'a'duckin' and divin' between the trees. It's a terrific route that starts off easy and then gets more and more challenging. Even though the climbs are still there they I don't find that they beat ya's up too much either :thumbsu

The first section of singletrack is a real treat and I'm grateful to the local lad who ripped past and soon had me lifting a chainring a pursuit. Otherwise I'd probl'y have continued my granny ring winch through a fabulous atmospheric and flowing climb. The Nobby Nic's were hooking up nicely and after a few more miles my familiar Bonty wiggle was all but forgotten.

The rest of trail is just as impressive with a good mixed bag of up and down action with numerous obstacles to keep you focused.

At the start of the final descent I made a determined effort to clear a dodgy switchback between two tight trees, over roots, followed by off camber and slippery rocks that I walked last time. With a controlled entry and growing confidence in my booties I slithered through without a dab :) The subsequent berms come thick and fast to end a crackin' trail.

Although there's no autumnal Afan action for me this year I thoroughly enjoyed these few Welsh miles the blasted weather has allowed.

Many thanks to Rosemary and Jim for their warm hospitality.

Mechanicals: None
Weather: Overcast, light drizzle for a while

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Shimano "Yumeya"

Lesser known as: "Shimano smoked some crack, came up with a crazy website and some shiny stuff.

WARNING: CLICKING THIS LINK MAY LEAD TO EMPTY BANK ACCOUNTS. PUT ALL BANK/CREDIT CARDS AWAY FIRST.

I know most of us are on the old Sram but thought you might be interested anyhoo.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Turner with added DW Link for 2009

Thought you might be interested to see this.... linky.

With Dave Weagle dropping the ever successful Iron Horse, was interesting to guess where he'd take the awesome DW link - seems Turner have stepped up to take it on. Be interesting to see how much of a difference it makes to popular rigs like the DHR and 5spot.... maybe DW is cheaper than Horst?

Cider, wine, food and bikes....

Yep... Dangerous Dave has been to France again.

I'm afraid I don't have many pictures yet as one of the guys has run off with them on his external HDD but we are working on "reaquiring them".

After last years disaster we were all hoping for fine weather and we weren’t disappointed – we arrived to the sight of everyone using wetscreams and thought, “Oh Sh**, not again!” Our fears were averted by bright sunshine the next day and the weather only improved as the holiday went on, with only another 2 days of half arsed rain to make the trails “more interesting”.

We stayed in Riders Retreat, with the idea that this year, we would make a holiday out of it rather than sleeping in a dump like previous years. Proper bedrooms and all rooms having en-suite meant that there was no queue for the shower and you had a place to hide if 11 other mad gits got on your nerves.

I’ve noticed this year that my riding isn’t as confident as it had been – I’m putting this down to realising I can’t afford to break myself but I have a cunning plan to get rid of this “fear” in the next year.

We rode some pretty awesome trails, and put some demons to rest (Morgins Freeride track – steep, rooty switchbacks of death down a ridge that we all slid down on our arses last year in the gloop). Also rode some pretty fantastic “singletrack”. When I say singletrack, I mean singletrack in the sense you can only truly fit one rider down at a time – but the similarity with the XC singletrack back here stops there… we are talking stuff so steep your arse is behind you back tyre, and your bars are lower than your pedals. AWESOME stuff.

Eating was well taken care off, having an awesome professional chef there to cook, many notable dishes were produced including the Pasta Monstrosity and the Brioche Mountain… Oh yes.

I’ve come back pretty poor but oh so glad I went. I’m now thinking of doing just one week next year so if anyone wants a lift…


Trails Ridden: Le Pleney, Yeah boy, “Carls Secret Trail”, Chavannes, Swiss National, Morgin DH Tracks, Morgin Freeride Track, Rutsville, Guepe, Chatel Freeride runs… many, many more.

Mechanicals: Only my pivot nut rattling loose somewhere causing me to spend £50 to buy a replacement kit.

Comedy Crashes: Several - many on Yeahboy, 1st of which down the first steep chute trying to avoid a rut and ending up facing UP the chute! 2nd got a bit too brave on my 2nd run and didn't make the turn at the bottom of another chute ending up with me riding straight into a tree. Other notable crashes include the over the bars on my 2nd run down rutsville when I stalled and then flipped over the bars but landed on my feet... the best one tho has to be as a result of the pic below!
I'll leave you with this pic: Yes I crashed and laughed very, very hard.

Mountain Bike Action Top Ten's

Hello Dudes

Found this on Mountain Bike action website thought it might be helpful.


Toons

The 10 Trail Rider’s Moves You Need To Master
1 LOOKING AHEAD
Learning to look ahead is the most important trail riding skill you can develop. It is a skill you should continually hone, and by that we mean working on it 24-7. When driving on a freeway (either as the driver or passenger), practice looking far enough ahead so you see brake lights go on way in advance and anticipate slowing down without having to slam the brakes. It’s the same thing on the trail. Look ahead for trouble and the best line before you arrive there.
Instead of sighting down the front wheel at the ground right in front of it, look 30 or more feet ahead. Keep surveying up ahead and pick the fastest line while avoiding bad ruts and mud holes. Watch other riders ahead of you and read the severity of the terrain by noting how they react.

10 FUEL TIPS FROM THE ENERGY EXPERTS
1. ACCELERADE: Accelerade should be taken before, during and after exercise. Accelerade extends endurance by speeding muscle recovery; reducing muscle damage, and enhancing rehydration. Try it for one month. Than switch off and compare results against the sports drink you used to use.
PIVOT: You do not need the ProPedal on when riding a quad link bike. Try it, and you'll be surprised at how very efficient, controlled and bob free the ride is. It's faster climbing choppy, rocky ground without the ProPedal. You accelerate up instead of spinning and fighting for traction.
5. BONTRAGER: Don’t overinflate your tires. Pressures reaching 40 psi and above greatly detract from the overall bike performance and feel. Contrary to popular myth, these higher pressures do not offer a more efficient ride off-road and in many cases make you work harder due to loss of traction, deflection, etc. Our test riders like running 28-36 psi in 2.10 tires with tubes. On 2.35-2.40 tires, we’ll drop to 26-34 psi
5. MAGURA: You can switch brake lines moto-style without bleeding the hydraulics: Turn both brake levers level to the ground. Carefully loosen the hydraulic lines. Completely unscrew the lines the rest of the way by hand. Smoothly remove the lines from the levers and keep them pointed up to prevent fluid from dripping out. (Don't squeeze the levers!) Switch and carefully reinstall the lines and torque the fasteners to factory recommended specifications.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ventana "El Saltamontes"

It’s all Farqui’s fault! :-) An email pointing out a ‘bargain frame’ on STW Classified got me going on the bike-building trail again.
I had decided that it was time for the FSR to go as it was getting little use so when I saw the Ventana 4” travel frame it looked like a good ‘do it all’ replacement (like I needed one!). The thing that clinched it was that I had won a stack of ‘finishing kit’ that just needed a home.
The frame was a Californian built Ventana El Saltamontes, probably about 4 years old and fitted with a Romic coil shock. It came with the Quad bearing upgrade that is now standard for UK bikes – this means that each pivot point on the rear suspension has 4 sealed roller bearings. It also had and adjustable rocker arm allowing travel to be adjusted from 3” to 5”.
When the frame arrived it was clearly well used and the rear end had limited movement – it turned out that all the bearings had corrosion. I had read that using bike cleaner spray can cause water to enter bearings, it seems that this might have been the cause. Makes you realise that Turner got it right with their bearing design! A lot of GT85 type spray was applied and eventually they all started to turn fully, thankfully there did not seem to be any play. All were greased up and the rear suspension now moved smoothly and freely.
It turned out that the previous owner also had a Fox RP23 shock for this frame; I really like the way this unit works and its lightness, so a deal was done on this too. (Would have been foolish to miss it as the size and bushings are unusual). Funds stretched to a used XT HTII crank set and new front mech, the rest of the parts came from the FSR and Element freebies. Single run cables were fitted from the start.
Built up it weighs around 28.5 lbs at the moment and it is a delight to ride and fits me well, probably not as capable as the 5-Spot on the technical stuff, but it is a very different set-up. I suspect it will see more use than the FSR. Rob always said “4 inches good”; I will never hear the last of this!

Frame: ’04 Ventana El Saltamontes (17.4 “Medium)
Fork: Fox Float 80RL (set to 100mm travel)

Head set: FSA Orbit II
Shock: Fox Float RP23

Cranks; Shimano XT, HT II (external bearings
)
Rear Mech; Shimano XT

Front Mech: Shimano XT
Shifters: Shimano LX

Wheels: Mavic 519 on XT Hubs

Tyres: Hutchinson Bulldog Airlite

Brakes: Shimano XT 4-pot 160mm discs

Bars: Element Radium F OS Carbon

Stem: Element Neon Q 90mm (A mere 100grms!!)

Seatpost: Element Graph Q Carbon

Saddle: WTB Rocket V

More pictures:
1
2
3
4

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Toons Does It Again

Our northern pal has gone and acquired himself another beauty.

Setup.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sleepless In The Saddle (SITS) 2008 9/10th August

Yup. Your resident downhill, dangerous nutcase has gone and agreed to take part in SITS 2008.

Some of you maybe aware of a rouge MTB forum, known as "UKMB" or UK Mountainbiking. The site was formed when Future Publishing decided to kill the MBUK forum, and merge into one uber pit of drivel that is www.bikeg*ydar.co.uk... then decide to sack the people who'd been voluntarily running it for years.

Anyway, the forum decided to get a few teams together to enter the enduro races this year, unfortunately one of the team bust his arm a few weeks ago, and I bravely (read stupidly) decided to step in.

So, in preparation for this event (24 hour race, no less)

I have set myself a grueling training regime.

So far I have managed to ride zero times a week and continue eating crap. My hopes are high!

I plan on modding the meta into an uber XC machine as the rear sus should hopefully iron out the bumps and keep me going for longer.

Will post progress as I go :)

Full press release on the event, here

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

White's Level, Afan, Glyncorrwg.

It is some weeks now, but I finally got to do the day trip to Afan I have had in mind for a while. The idea was to drive most of the way Friday night, stay in a YHA overnight and then start riding early Saturday am. This is much less of a commitment than a whole weekend and easier to fit in, so will be doing it again before too long if anyone is interested.

My companion this time was a young friend from the midlands who is a very able and keen cyclist just about to start University. It was tempting to do the July trail at Glyncorrwg as the final descent one of the best, but I decided to start with White’s level as I had not ridden this for some years and had heard about a new section.

Overnight stay was at YHA just south of Brecon, so we were also given a hint of how good it would be to ride some natural stuff in this area. The drive down was over the hills, so very scenic.

All the trails at Glyncorrwg have that long initial climb; it is a slog, but perfectly fine. We opted to do the optional black section running from the top of this climb and both managed to clear this. Francis got a pinch flat, so I was glad of some time to catch my breath and watched other riders picking their way through the ‘Black’.

I had no memory of White’s Level, so it was like riding a new trail. The great thing is that after that long initial climb the rest is mostly downhill and real single-track blast! We soon came the new Energy Section which is a sign of how trails are going with jumps berms and ‘north shore’ – all roll-able, but actually hard to keep your wheels on the ground at times. Great Fun! Further down more North-shore has been installed, probably some of the trickiest I have tried for a while – certainly needs full concentration. The rest is just fast downhill single-track with switchbacks and optional jumps. Highly recommended

We did lunch at the Drop-Off cafĂ© that was as good as always, then off to Afan Forest Park to do the Penhydd trail. Nothing different here, and it did not disappoint. It was Francis’s first visit to a trail centre and he was always way ahead of me, totally unfazed by the terrain, a great intro.

As we finished a little rain started to fall, the rest of the day had been warm and fine. Great new feature at this centre is a shower block, very welcome after our day in the saddle before heading home. We both suffered in days after with midge bites, it seems they have moved south :-(

Next time Penmachno or Black Mountains?

Posse: Uphilla; 5-Spot; Francis: Gary Fischer Marlin HT

Weather: Warm, sunny.

Mechanicals: Both suffered pinch flats

Monday, July 21, 2008

HELP!! Headset and forks

Thanks to you guys, I have ordered and now received new headset plus RS Reba Team forks. Whilst they look very pretty, I still have to get them fitted. Rob#2 went pale went I suggested knocking out the old headset cups with a hammer and screwdriver, and knocking in the new ones with a hammer and block of wood, so wondered if anyone would help one evening or weekend. Probably best if I travel (I live in Bucks) as you may have guessed, my toolkit somewhat rudimentary.



Willy



PS think I also have dodgy BB so help there appreciated.....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Proper 5 Spot

*ducks the incoming abuse*

Just spotted this and thought those with the 5spots might be interested to see what happens when you through lightweight out of the window....

*Found on SDH http://www.southerndownhill.com/forum/index.php/topic,163105.0.html

Friday, July 18, 2008

1 World 2 Wheels - Go By Bike Challenge

Ok so it's an American site but the concept is sound, quotes...

For your health, for the world, for our future, for 2 miles or less. With the world facing skyrocketing obesity rates, escalating traffic congestion and the concerns of global climate change, the bicycle is an underutilized solution.

For Your Health

The average person loses 13 lbs. their first year of commuting by bike.

Just 3 hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.

A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour.

For the world


The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling from 1% to 1.5% of all trips.

Each U.S. rush-hour auto commuter spends an average of 50 hours a year stuck in traffic.

In 2003, cars idling in traffic wasted 5 billion gallons of fuel.

For our future


In 1964 50% of kids rode to school and the obesity rate was 12%…in 2004, 3% rode to school and the obesity rate was 45%.

Between 1960 and today the average weight of a 6-11 year old has increased 11 pounds.
For 2 miles or less

60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.

24% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are made within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Builth Wells MTB Marathon Sun 6th July

I am planning to do this event on Sunday probably the 75K. There are various routes are from 30K to 90K. http://www.mtb-marathon.co.uk/index.php. Is anybody else considering taking part?

Paul

Friday, June 20, 2008

Inspirational Footage

I've never really been a fan of MTB related films as the one's I've seen have been been quite cheesy and/or dull. That all changed last night when I clocked a couple of recent releases.

The blurb reads "...captures Scotland's stunning landscape, the spirit of the place and of the people. Featuring reigning Junior World Downhill Champion, Ruaraidh Cunningham and trials phenomenon, Daniel Macaskill, Home is a must see for bike fans and film fans alike.". The footage is great, the trials segment is amazing and as it uses Scottish trails it's great to see sections you may have ridden.

Is the latest release from TheCollective, following top riders throughout a years riding. The scenery is breath taking, the slow-mo's are awesome and the footage is truly inspirational.

Both are well worth a look-see if you get the chance.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Chiltern Ride and Curry

Hi,


For those interested I'd like to propose a Chiltern Ridgeway MTB ride based around the Wendover area. Ride starting from my house (Berkhamsted), and returning to my local for a well deserved Thai Curry....

Dates proposed:

July 12th - posse preference

Start Point: Lock 48 on the Grand Union Canal, post code HP4 3TF

Start Time 3.00pm

Let me know if you are intersted and your preferred dates. I'll try to organise and confirm details.

Update: Here is the link to my suggested route in Tracklogs format (pic added above): http://knobblies.googlepages.com/R2_Wendover_24Mile_option.trl This route is not 'set in stone' and we can easily make changes on the day as required.


R2

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sneaky Peaks Ride

Anyone fancy a loop round the Peaks on Sat 21st Sun 22nd June. Chris has offered to show us round some of his local trails again, no idea which ones though :-)

I think the route will incorporate the loop he used when he was teaching people how to ride their mountain bikes, so quite appropriate.

It will be in the Ladybower area and 'The Beast' - a tricky downhill section off the top of 'Hope Cross' - I'll be doing the wimps option at the side :-)

Let me know if you are interested and I'll keep you updated.

Cheers... Dozer

Update: start Sunday, 10am at Hope station.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

AFAN FILM

Only available for a couple more days, but may be of interest for those who love Afan and want to know a bit more about the area - only about 4 minutes about the MTB trails around 22 minutes in.
HERE

Monday, May 12, 2008

N Wales in September er well November then......

Summary,

Place Craflwyn Hall, nr Beddgelert

Date Fri 7th November to Sun 9th, 2 nights (extendable on request)

Places available 12

Price £28.35ea + opt £8.50 linen Deposit £20 required by the end of June

Decision required by 21st May

Biking choice of Gwdyr, Coed-y-brenin and Snowdon XC

Bring bed Linen and towels


Accomodation





The Hall is fully booked for every weekend this year however they have the Bunkhouse available for the weekend Fri 7th to 9th November. This is the earliest available. A full week is available in the hall for 15 people £158+8.50 each Sat 18th thru Fri 24th October but if anyone wants to go for this you best let me know right away.


Price is £340 for the weekend and we have an option for additional nights either side ie Thursday or Monday at £150 per night or £12.50 each.


The accommodation is split into a 7 and a 5 (split again to a 3 & 2) with the larger having a practical dining area. There is one bunk bed otherwise all are full size singles, no blow-ups or fold downs. There are 4 showers and 3 loos in total. Linen is provided only as an additional charge at £8.50 each but includes a towel.


The property is run by the national trust and benefits from 200 acres of it's own estate.


Catering can be organised for an additional price.


I have provisionally booked it, this will expire on Weds 21st May so a quick answer is essential.


Places are strictly limited to 12 on a first come first served basis. Once I get 8 takers I will confirm the booking and request a deposit of £20 each.


The Hall is a short riverside walk from Beddgelert and stands in the foothills of Snowdon.


Coed-y-Brenin is 23 miles http://www.mbwales.com/coed_y_brenin/index.htm
Coed Llandegla is 48 miles (but on the way home) http://www.coedllandegla.com/
Beddgelert Forest is 0.5 miles http://www.beddgelerttourism.com/snowdonia/
Gwdyr forest is 19 miles http://www.mbwales.com/gwydyr_forest/index.htm
Machynlleth is 43 miles http://www.mbwales.com/machynlleth/index.htm

The LBS is http://www.beddgelertbikes.co.uk/


The journey from Luton to Beddgelert is 210 miles or about 4 hours by car traffic notwithstanding.


For those not wanting to throw themselves off a mountain all day there are many facilities nearby including the Snowdon Mountain Railway.


Btw the SMR does not normally carry bikes but have told me in the past that if it's quiet when you show up they don't mind. Anyone fancy riding over the top of Snowdon??


As I see it, the accomodation here is perfect, very cheap, a good standard and spacious, the disadvantage is the long drive to Coed-y-Brenin although it's a good road and should be only half an hour at worst. If this doesn't suit you and you want something nearer, bigger or with a hot tub filled with very short sighted totty then say so now and I'll try to find something everyone prefers.

Why I bought my Giant XTC now I can post.

WHY

The bloke at the shop said it was the best thing about for £500 and I hadn't a clue!

TECHNICAL BIT

It has 2 wheels, one in the front and one in the back, then there are a couple of shiny rough things near the middle that have a band (not like Dire Straits) that goes around them that if you stand on the steps they go round.
Then there are things called breaks (not like when a drugged up hoodlum steals your telly) but flying saucers that magically stop you!
And it has forks (not like eating take away stuff!) but spongy things that sponge in and out! Not to be cofused with the rolly things that have spongy things at both ends that the girls ride.
So thats pretty much mountain biking!

RIDES

Yes you do them!

BEST BITS

The lunatics you ride with and that weird bloke from down south wqho services my Rolly thing evey time i go but prefers horses! Funny old world!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ddave/Daahnhilla/Dangerous' 2008 Commencal Meta 4X VIP

On request of some pictures, just thought I’d write a “few” words about my little Frenchie… yeah that one with the nutbar attached to the bars and pedals!



Why?

Something I’ve been debating for a while – I love my Chameleon to bits, the aggressive handling really suits my riding style, I can rail it round berms, let it drift wide round the flat ones, and jump, drop and descend with utter confidence despite it’s uber rigid back end. That back end that accelerates at a snap. You may have read my earlier blog about the trusty steed – the handling is not suited to novices but loves to be pushed hard.

I guess I’m just getting softer now I’ve got a house and I’ve tied the know (yeah, I know excuses, excuses) but I just wanted something similar, but with a few inches of travel out back to soften the blow but still have aggressive handling, small frame and burly construction. Really it had to be a 4x frame – anything else with 4/5 inches of travel would have been a bit to weak for abuse. Trouble is they’re all about £1200 +





One night though, I spotted a 2007 Commencal Meta 4X going for a damned good discounted price. After a bit of ummming and aarrring and trawling the interweb for pictures to get an idea of what it’d look like, I hit the order button and went to bed.

Got home from work, signed on and found an email sitting there from the shop telling me that they’d sold the last one on Friday, but would I like to buy the ’08 one for the same… “What’s the difference between 07/08, then,” I asked. “Just the paint job,” they said. “I’ll have one then!”





The frame arrived quickly and well packaged (sorry no pics!), and I got straight to building the blighter. A quick comparison against the chameleon showed it to have a slightly shorter seat tube, but with a good reach (as per most 4X frames) a long seat post is all that’s needed for that.

The Build

The build consisted of everything transplanted straight from the Chameleon, with the only new bits being the seatpost (different dia.), grips and cables.









The Ride

This bike is one of those rare bikes where you get on it, pedal it down the hill, get it in the air, and it just fits. No funny quirks. Oh, and did mention the grip it has in corners? Well I haven’t found the limit of that grip yet, it just does not want to drift, and I haven’t had the balls to go any faster yet. It can get a bit slack up front with 140mm of travel, as it was only designed for 110mm, but not unreasonably so. I also got used to descending as fast as I used to on the Chameleon, if not faster with just over 4” of travel out front, I still picked the hardtail smooth lines, but had the back up when I balsed it up. The back end is nice and stiff (laterally) and is quite happy to be flicked out over hips and just for the hell of it. I found myself hipping over some of the corners on that first short downhill after the climb on Dalby Red, being amazed I’d pulled it off.

Overall, I’m very happy I with my additional 4” of skill adjustment.






Spec List

  • Frame: 2008 Commencal Meta 4x VIP
  • Fork: 2008 Rockshox Pike 454 Air Uturn – Rubbish these are being “binned” as soon as I’ve finished respraying my Marz All Mountains
  • Cockpit: Easton EA70 Midrise 3.18 Bars on Thomson X4 stem, Sunline grips
  • Drivetrain: X.0 Shifer, X.0 Medium cage rear mech, XT 11-34 cassette/HG50 12-23 cassette PC971 chain
  • Pedals/Cranks: CrankBros 50/50XX or Shimano M647’s rotating on new style Shimano XT cranks. TA Specialities 36th Chainring, all kept in check by an e-13 LG1 with a white TACO.
  • Wheels: Mavic EX721 and a spare set of XM819’s both sets on Hope Bulbs
  • Other: SDG I-beam seatpost/saddle, Chris King Headset, urm that’s it I think!



Chain Lube - Purple Extreme

After spending many years using Finish Line XC wet lube I got fed up with it's magnetic like qualities for keeping hold of grit, especially the sand of my local trails. It also has a nasty habit of causing the dreaded chain suck in the rain, almost like the lube washes off after a few damp miles. I've never got on with their dry summer lube either.

Many moons ago I tried a wax based lube and found that the links got clogged up...I suspect I was over applying the stuff.

I then decided to give T9 Boeshield a try after getting recommendations from our stateside pal, Chaybo. This dry lube is much thinner than a wet'un and doesn't attract grit anywhere near as well :thumbu However I didn't find it so good in the wet with light rusting of the links and chains wearing out/stretching quicker.

So last year I changed again, this time opting to try the "lube of the moment" Purple Extreme, which has performed well over a winters worth of crankin'. It's another runny lube and applying a couple of coats (leaving each to dry) are recommended. Once dry it leaves a light waxy feelin' and after many miles of sandy, wet, dry and rocky trails the chain repels dirt with hardly any of the destructive grit lingerin' around. What little dirt adheres can easily be wiped off with a rag and the smooth feelin' links can then just be re-lubed without the mandatory chain bath of a wet lube. It also hands on well in the wet too - as seen on last Sunday's damp'n'gritty blat.

The manufacturers claim of 400miles between applications hasn't been realised (even on my commuter) but it does go a long way before the chain starts making itself vocal.

As with all dry/light lubes they aren't as quiet as chains that have been doused in motor oil but I'm happy to ignore a little mechanical noise if my chain is easier to clean and lasts longer. So I'll be keeping this colourful bottle in my toolkit for a while longer :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rosedale Killer

Opening the curtains and being greeted with drizzle wasn't the ideal way to start the last days riding in north Yorkshire but to everyone's credit we all loaded up and headed over to Rosedale for a "wilderness" ride.

Uphila had pulled this option together and it promised much although many of the posse had other commitments or simply weren't committed ;-) and didn't opt for a full loop.

After a few km's of road climbing we plunged off onto the soggy moorland and off up into the low cloud. With dodgy conditions and/or poor line choices several of the posse took a nap on the soft springy terrain. Rob#3 executed a particularly "awesome" roll that generated more than a few :lol

To reach a short road section most of the posse (the nesh'uns) stopped line a stern at a large(ish) puddle which Jenni was already steaming towards. Down shifting I cranked onto her 6 and dived ankle deep into the surprisingly warm, shimmering obstacle. Just the ticket !

After a quiet section of quiet black top we heaved off down a stunning hillside drop with a trail that gave a myriad of options and obstacles. Whist watchin' the rest of the crew make their way down Baggy entertained us with a goof on the slippery grass.

At this point 3/4's of the posse headed off along a more gentle trail while those with less sense slithered down boggy double track to a gate. The only option to the left was a complete hoot of a descent on grass and mud that offered absolutely NO traction. With Darren perched on the ground we all sighed relief after clocking the near vertical 40-50ft drop he opted not to plunge down. Around the corner we were greeted with a farm yard "stench" and ankle deep, toxic green goo.

A few cranks along a lane found us strugglin' for traction on a long technical climb where we eventually met up with the "easy option" posse ;-) After rotating maps for a while we decided to blast back down the climb which turned out to be a complete hoot.

With the posse snaking their way back to Rosedale I found myself at the back (with Checkov and Dozer) about to negotiate a damp and slightly muddy looking right hander. On the brakes in a straight line I scrubbed off speed, set up for the turn, leaned in only to find the back starting to slide around the turn. I'm not sure what happened next but I think I caught the back before the front plunged into the asphalt. Fortunately my inside leg was now unclipped and as I heaved the slidin' rig half back up as momentum faded to a stop. Turning around I clocked my wide eyed pals wondering how they hadn't ridden over me - phew !

Back at the car park the posse dwindled to just 2 (Dozer and myself) who would now take on the southern loop that Dom/Zena rode on Friday. Personally I could have quite easily removed my damp clobber and eaten cake with the others but Dozer was riding this afternoon and that was that. Thanks for the motivation dude.

The southern loop soon had us winching up wet, slippery tracks that gradually dwindled from asphalt to double track, to single track and heath before closing on the top around Ana's Cross. The brakes then began grinding as mud, glorious mud was flung from our rapidly spinning knobbly's as we steadily descended "sarf".

I've learnt the hard way that when Dozer says "the flat bit"that's is gonna be far from FLAT and true to his word the final leg to the car park was a long and steady rise over tracks that soon deteriorated into boulder strewn obstacles. On a fresh pair of pins, a dry day and with a rear tyre that offered some traction this would be a great section. But today was far from perfect and it's been a long while since I've been so happy to feel easy pedaling on asphalt.

What a great weekend but boy oh boy do my legs know that they've cranked over 100km's.

Tracklog and pic's and pic's.

Posse: yup plenty of 'em, minus 3 from yesterday
Weather: Drizzle all ride long. Oh wait it did stop raining as we got back to the car !
Mechanicals: pads, the wet ate our brakes
Injuries: Do wrinkled fingers and toes count ! I managed to twist my left knee after misjudging soggy ruts.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dalby Red - Round Two

With relatively clear sky's the posse snaked it's way from the car park and up into the switchback loveliness of the woods.

With the snake of riders following it wasn't long before the fitter / rested riders were heading the queue and chasing tyre's up down and around the first few km's of the Red route.

As Rob and I cranked past Dixon's Hollow (where the others stopped for a play) we soon found ourselves waiting around and getting cold. So with Rob gaining in confidence (after his leg op) we dived down a short Black graded gully and had a nice challenging slime covered rock climb back up to the Red. We didn't take every additional challenge around the Red, however we did select what turned out to be a beltin' north shore section towards the end of the northern Black bits. It wasn't just long (thankfully not too tall or narrow) but had plenty of steep drops, rises and cross camber woodwork to negotiate. This was rapidly followed by a long, algae covered, narrow rocky canyon which twisted and turned it's way to a mighty difficult climb. Rob gave it a good shot and I'm thankful that my suddenly skipping gears gave me the perfect excuse to hike a bike ;-) It transpires that my inner cassette sprocket now had a substantial "ding" effectively wiping out the bottom gears. Rob pushed and grunted it straight enough to not give any further problems, a top fix mister.

Instead of myself pulling Dozer along (as per loop#1) the tables were turned as Rob hammered on and on with my now wobbly legs in steady pursuit. With just a section or two to go he even suggested I could take a bail out option back to the start and in return he got abuse and a knobbly to chew :)

On the final descent I summoned my remaining reserves and whooped my way back to a thoroughly well earned coffee, panni-whats-it and moosive slice of cake: thumbu After a quick re-charge t'was time for me to source a replacement cassette from the lbs.

With some 65km's cranked, I did wonder if my pins would be up for the 100km challenge I'd set myself for wkend...

Tracklog.

Posse: yup, loads of 'em
Weather: Dry, warm with a light breeze.
Mechanicals: Roger had skipping gears rectified by removing the plastic sprocket guard. Jenni's crank arm kept parting company with her crankset. My buckled cassette.
Injuries; Paul acquired himself a bloody leg and I'd be surprised if a few of the others didn't have a few xtra lumps at the finish ;-)

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