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.

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