Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MTBing trips for 2013



MTBing TRIP IDEAS FOR 2013


After the success of our recent Bloggers outing to Coed-Y-Brenin I volunteered to pen a few suggestions for next year and if the response is favourable I'm happy to organise. The concept is simple... agree and schedule two MTB Blogger MTB trips. I assume we will target the first in Spring 2013 and the second in Autumn 2013.

Fortunately Uphiller provided me with some great location ideas and as a result I'm proposing the following two destinations for consideration:

1) The Lake District:

Proposed Accommodation: TBC Keswick

Riding: Whinlatter Trail Centre + natural route/routes to be planned and proposed by Uphiller


Comments: I've gone with this suggestion for two reasons, Whinlatter looks very interesting and claims 15k of single track. For the natural routes here are Uphiller's comments 'The natural route was a whole different kettle of fish – despite being wet and windy and on my own I have not enjoyed a ride so much for ages – I now ‘get’ the Lakes and can’t wait to go back. Hard to explain, but a mix of the scenery, variety of trails and challenge. There were also plenty of possible refreshment stops.' 

2) North Wales - Betws-Y-Coed and Coed-Y-Brenin

Proposed accommodation: TBC Betws-Y-Coed

Riding: Penmachno Trail, Marin Trail with option to re-visit The Beast at Coed-Y Brenin on the way home 

Comments: I think we all enjoyed North Wales and The Beast. Riding two new trails is a great excuse to go back!

Please post your comments and give me feedback on the suggested riding, best time of year, preferred accommodation or any other riding location preferences that you may have. If we get enough support for an alternative location I will add it to the list. 

R2 




Monday, September 03, 2012

Anyone for Coed-y-Brenin

Hi everyone,
Les, Darren, Sicknote and myself are planning a sneaky weekend in Wales 20-21st Oct. I think Farqui will be joining us as well

We will probably do a very early Saturday morning start and get there around 10.00.

I think we will be camping at:
http://www.caegwynfarm.co.uk/contact.htm

they also do B&B. Their bunk house is already booked out :-(

I know Farqui has stayed up the road at :
 http://www.oldmillfarmhouse.co.uk/

Let me know if you are interested.... Dozer


Friday, July 13, 2012

Devinci Dixon


Well, my Canyon Nerve XC was 5 years old in April and from its original incarnation of 100mm front and 115 rear travel it had gradually been transformed into a 130mm front travel bike with wider bars, shorter stem and resulting geometry. It has served me well but it was very apparent in Spain (two years ago) that the low XC BB height was very prone to rock and pedal strikes and that the resulting changes had actually rendered the bike slightly too small for me and lacking a little stability. In addition to this the frame had taken a few hits and was looking quite 'tired'. The final impetus for change was the pending Alps trip booked late last year. The Canyon was still delivering lots of fun on my local XC circuits but I new I really needed something more capable of dealing with the terrain I'd find in the alps. More to the point, something that would help me and my limited riding skills deal with the
alps.


My choice was determined by a number of factors:

1) Budget. Whilst I planned to use as many parts as possible from the Canyon and re-cycle the Canyon frame, fork and wheels on ebay I had a very specific budget to stick within. This immediately ruled out a fair number of the premium and better known brands.
2) I really wanted to test ride my new frame before buying it. That included testing riding one that was the right size because I was aware that my sizing often fell between a small and medium frame.
3) I wanted a bike that I could use for local XC trail bashing And at Aston Hill as well as more hard core alps riding on the few occasions that I'm lucky to get access to such riding.
4) My Canyon weighed in at around 28lb and I wanted my new bike to be of a similar weight.

After lots of research I chose the Banshee/Mythic Spitfire as the bike I'd like to try. I contacted Freeborn, the Mythic UK agent to enquire about a test ride and I mailed the UK designer (Keith Scott) to ask some questions.
It was a this point that things became a little tricky. Freeborn were very reluctant to talk to
me about the bike... odd for a business with exclusive rights to sell it? A little more digging on the internet and questions to both the designer and Freeborn helped me determine that the Spitfire had been suffering from some serious QC issues associated with the suspension bushing and resulting in a very high returns rate for frame replacement. In many cases Freeborn had been replacing the frame with an alternative...the Devinci Dixon.
Freeborn finally confirmed that they would no longer be selling 'bikes with suspension bushing' and the QC issues killed my interest in the Spitfire. Out of curiosity I undertook a little research on the Devinci Dixon.

A few favourable reviews later and with a better understanding of the DW Pivot suspension design + a video explanation by DW himself, I decided to give it a test ride.

My 1/2 day with Freeborn was very productive. The service I received from Jo and Michael at Freeborn was very good. The bike test was essentially an accompanied ride with Jo. We drove to the North Downs and preceded to ride relatively steep and rooty single track. Although the weather was wet and muddy, a few hours riding was more then enough to convince me that the Dixon had a lot to offer. In simple terms these were my key observations:

a) The suspension delivered lots of rear wheel traction ... far more then I expected.
b) The rear suspension was very plush. It just seemed endless and soaked up what ever was throw at it. For me, it was very confidence inspiring especially on gnarly terrain that I would have previously 'clenched' on.
c) Although very plush, the bike seemed to climb very well
d) The test bike was surprisingly light (about 26.5lb)
e) I generally felt much more confident and faster on anything downhill.

Not long after... I took the plunge: Final spec as follows:

1) Devinci Dixon Frame 2011 145mm rear travel FOX RP23 - Aluminium size Medium. New from Freeborn. Frame weight with headset & seatpost collar 7.0lb
2) Fox Float RLT 150mm Travel Taper/15mm. New from Freeborn.weight 3.9lb
3) Stan ZTR Crest on Hope Evo hubs. Front 15mm bolt thru/Rear 142mm bolt thru. New from Freeborn weight 3.5lb
4) Specialized Purgatory tyres, replaced with Maxxis High Roller DH for the Alps.
5) Sram Xo rear mech medium cage and X9 shifters. SRAM front mech 2x9 speed. Taken from my Canyon
6) XT Chainset 22/36 with Raceface bash guard. Cassette XT 11-34. Taken from my Canyon
7) Formula Oro brakes. Taken from my Canyon. Weight incl disks 2.2lb
8) Easton Haven Bars. New from Freeborn
9) Easton Haven post. New from Freeborn
10) Crank Bros Candy pedals Taken from my Canyon , replaced with Crank Bros Mallet for the Alps
11) SDG Bel Air Ti Saddle Taken from my Canyon
12) Stem Thomson 70mm Taken from my Canyon

Weight: with Purgatory Tyres and Crank Bros Candy: 28.5lb
Weight with Maxxis DH Dual Ply High Roller and Crank Bros Mallet: 31lb

I've now had the bike a good few months and more significantly it accompanied me to the Alps... I thought I'd wait and scribe my review after I'd really tested the bike in the Alps.

Feedback so far:

Cons:
1)From the reviews that I've read there were a few potential issues identified. The first was the relatively high BB height. I have the bike set on the slackest geometry position and the BB height is 347mm. Firstly, it's crossed my mind that a higher BB height might effect the bikes switchback performance. However, I really think I need to put that down to poor technique on my part. When i do get it right the bike is very responsive and the rear end really whips round.In addition to this, I had enough glancing pedal strikes in the Alps to quickly conclude that I really wouldn't want a much lower BB.
2) Secondly it was suggested that the bike was not so good at retaining chains. As a precaution I took a Blackspire Stinger with me to the Alps. I never needed it and the chain was fine for the duriation of the trip. I've sent it back to CRC for a refund.
3) I've noticed on aggressive terrain that occasionally the bike blows through its rear travel and drops the shock sag o ring onto the bushing. I spoke to Freeborn about this and they plan to send me a Fox air volume spacer kit (FOC) which has the effect of adding more progressive compression to the shock. However, this is fine tuning and I really don't see it as a big deal. Fox are currently out of stock.

Pros:
1)Without doubt the rear suspension works very well. My confidence has improved significantly and the bike just soaks up the trail.
2) Does the DW Pivot eliminate brake jack?? All I can say is that no mater what or how I rode the bike in the Alps, the rear suspension seemed to be doing its thing very well. There is no doubt that I used my brakes a lot. However, it was sensory and trail overload and I'm not a good enough rider to be certain especially under such testing conditions.
3) The Geometry of the bike is a big improvement over the Canyon. So much better downhill and with so few compromises uphill.
4) The frame is very robust compared to my XC Canyon and seems to have stood up very well to crash damage (more so then me!). Its noteworthy that Devinci claim to xray every frame as part of their QC process and they claim to provide a lifetime guarantee for the frame. The frame is also finished to a very high quality.
5) The Fox Float has performed fantastically well. Very easy to set up and very predictable to use.

Conclusion: Is it a good bike?? Well, its much better then I am a rider! That's all it needs to be to keep me very happy. There is no doubt its responsible for me riding a lot faster and with a lot more confidence. Right now I'm loving it.

R2








Sunday, July 08, 2012

WhiteRoom Chalet MTB 2012


Previous posts reveal that Paul and I had chosen an alternative Alps trip .... Not too far from the posse in Meribel but arranged with the WhiteRoom Chalet providing a fully guided MTB holiday experience. Here is a brief summary of our 'adventures' during the first week of July 2012:



We arrived at the WhiteRoom Chalet around 7pm on Saturday June 30th and were immediately introduced to the other guests who split into three separate groups.

Jon, Laurence and his brother Nick, Piers and Louise, Daz and Jon. The groups age profile ranged from 20's thru to late 40's. Geographically the group was drawn from across the UK including the South/South West, London and the home counties, South Yorkshire and the North East.

Our hosts for the week were Stevo and Iona, guides and founders of the WhiteRoom and accompanied by Yvan a local French guide. Last but far from least, the Chalet catering team James and Mel who delivered fantastic breakfast, afternoon cakes and a 3 course evening dinner for the duration of our stay.


Day 1 (Sunday)
Our first days riding was to start with a van uplift to the upper slopes of Saint Foy. From here the group split into two. The more accomplished riders rode with Yvan and the remainder of the group followed at a slower pace accompanied by Stevo. This riding format was to be the theme for the remainder of the week.
We were immediately introduced to great forest single track, fast, flowing with roots,rocks and switchbacks.
We rode trail after trail until we reached the valley bottom at

Bourge-Saint-Maurice. From here we used the funicular and cable cars to work our way up to Les Arcs. The afternoon was a
continuation from the morning with more forest single track riding

Weather: Warm, cloudy and a little mid afternoon rain. Generally dry and fast riding conditions


Incident of the day: My front somersault (incl bike) having messed up trail rock!


Day 2 (Monday)
Heavy and persistent rain greeted us on day two. As a result Stevo decided that we should ride locally. We drove to the top of Saint Foy and set off on now familiar but very wet forest descents.
By now we had adopted a group riding order to ensure that we generally rode in order of speed. As we set off I followed Paul over a very steep but straight initial descent made harder
by two troublesome rocks in the middle of the trail. We negotiated these safely and as we reached the bottom and prepared for the next corner Paul caught his front wheel and fell. Unfortunately, what looked like a relatively minor crash resulted in a broken left clavical, Doh!

Game over for Paul and we spent the rest of the day at the hospital waiting for a diagnosis and treatment plan. I'm told the days riding was very good with lots more flowing forest single track


Weather: Wet turning to very wet!

Incident of the Day: Paul's broken Clavical!!
Paul under the knife for some Clavical plate and screws to be inserted!!




Day 3: (Tuesday)


The weather outlook was very good. Stevo decided to take the full group for their first full on back country ride. We started the day at Tignes bike park for a warm up on some of the man made trails (The riding was free courtesy of sponsorship by Canyon Bikes).
From here we set about traversing the valley side in a general descent before we were uplifted again.


The afternoon ride in

particular was Epic! We initially had a van uplift to enable us to once again traverse a high mountain pass. As the photo's reveal the riding and views were simply stunning!






Thanks
to Stevo 'selling' us the final uphill climb of the day... I think he said it was
just a 15min ride to the top.... it was a
tough climb with an
even tougher bike carry to the top.

However, all was forgiven as this allowed us to access some of the best trails I've ever ridden!!

Great weather, unbelievable views and absolutely fantastic single track. What a day!


Weather: Sun and broken cloud!


Incidents of the day: Jon (Barnsley) over the bars into a river crossing. Very Wet!
Yvan snapping his rear triangle into two pieces on the first downhill of the day (crap French bike lol) Stevo gave him an Orange Alpine 160 to ride for the rest of the day.


Day 4: (Wednesday) Day off. Lazy day with a little bit of White Water rafting thrown
in for good measure. However, Jon, Laurence & Nick used their day off to find some suitably technical rock sections to ride.....









Day 5: (Thursday)

Stevo suggested another Epic day for our group while Yvan's group (Laurence, Nick & Jon) would continue to find supper technical challenging riding somewhere else... After Tuesday's success the group response was very enthusiastic!


We set of in the van and drove for an hour until was had passed through Bourge-Saint-Maurice and quite some distance along the valley. We then proceeded to drive up the mountain side, switch back after switchback, until we reached an altitude of around 1800 metres. It was at this point that Steve indicated that we had a 'short' ride and carry to the top of the peak at 2300 metres.
Well over an hour later having pedaled, pushed and finally carried our bikes along a narrow ridgeline we reached the summit. We were greeted by a fantastic view of single track descending from the very top
and far into the distance.


Our task was to spend the next 3 - 4 hours descending to the valley bottom, initially following the ridgeline in open country side and eventually entering the forest for a now familiar pine needle, rock and switch back decent. Another fantastic day!


Weather: initially damp to wet drying quickly for a sunny afternoon descent

Incident of the day: The very stylish Piers crashing (very rare occurrence!) for apparently no reason at all!


Day 6: (Friday)

For the final day the whole group headed off for some Italian riding at La Thuile. Initially we took a high mountain pass down into the resort and then accessed the chairlift system to enable us to ride some of the steepest terrain of the week. Mostly natural trails with a little bit of man

made intervention. Unfortunately I managed to pull/strain a stomach muscle on the first descent of the day and had to spend the rest of my time in the village soaking up the sun and eating Italian ice cream. Such a shame!




Weather: Warm sunshine
Incident of the day: spilling cherry ice cream on my shorts!




General Thanks:
Firstly, Thanks Paul for supporting me on this one. I feel especially guilty as you spent most of the week in hospital. At least it gives us a good excuse to go back!
Thanks to the Chalet posse for being such a decent group all blessed with an appropriate sense of humour!
Thanks to the WhiteRoom for providing an excellent MTB experience
Finally, a big thanks to Nick, Piers and Jon for contributing such great photo's!


Mechanicals...

For my bike:
Formula Oro brake levers popped out on both side due to crash... really must buy a decent set of brakes!
Rear mech cable ferrel split due to crash...thanks Daz for the new cable!

For the Rest of the Chalet:
Daz's front brake (Hope Mono) dumping fluid from master cyclinder..... thanks to Paul for providing a bike for spares!
Louise's Formula K18 front brake master cyclinder dying on the last day.... I managed to lend her my K24 while I finished my ice cream.
Jon required the use of Paul's front wheel and 2.2 Rubber Queen to assist with grip...thanks to Paul for providing a bike for spares!
Jon, Nick and Laurence hammered their bikes to the point of failure every day. Their bikes were testament to what a Mountain bike will take before it dies. They managed to survive with a small amount of help from the rest of the chalet helping to replace and bodge such items as cables, cable outers, burred crankset splines, broken rear mechs, broken front brakes, worn suspension bushes and countless pinch flats. Needless to say all three of them were great riders!

Notes to self:
1a) I must practice my switchback technique! If I can master steep tight switchback turns my riding in the Alps will benefit significantly. Nearly all of my falls and incidents were associated with poor switchback technique
1) I must get a decent set of brakes! When I do fall off the Oro's nearly always break. The lever pulls the piston out of the master cylinder. I'm told that New brakes avoid this issue by using a cam activation system on the lever.
2) A dropper seat post would make a huge difference in the Alps. By the end of the week a few of us were just fed up with constantly raising and lowering our saddles.
3) I'm so pleased I took advice on tyres. My DH 2.35 Dual Ply Maxxis High Roller supper tacky (front) and 60a (back) were the perfect choice.
4) Going tubeless worked very well...no turning back now.
5) My new frame and forks worked very well and were only limited by the rider sat on top! Bike Blog review coming soon......
6) I'd love to go again!!

R2

Here is a link to see a selection of photos full size:







Meribel Day 6

Lee’s mate Dom, joined us today for another planned epic ride from the top of La Saulire at over 2700m down to Bride Les Bains at 600m.

The Tougnete gondola took us to our familiar mid station, then a slightly different downhill section of single track to pick up the Pas du Lac. This time we stayed on the gondola all the way
to the top, with the fantastic view down in to the Courchevel valley. Pockets of snow could still be seen even at this time of year along with a very nervous, vertigo suffering Darren. Some rocky loose single track took us down past a family marmots and then a section of fast double track down to Courchevel 1850. More tracks took us down to the lake at Bozel.

We then did a bit of climbing on narrow roads through some pretty villages to pick up a narrow single track that ran up above the back of Brides Les Bains. After a mile or so I just lost it on this
narrow track with the steep, wooded drop on one side. I reckon I couldn’t have managed a straight line on a dual carriageway at this point! I came round another bend to find our host Lee having a little lie down, having tried to clear a rocky stream. A little shaken but still in one piece, unfortunately his bike was not so lucky. A bent hangar and rear mech and jammed chain took some fettling. We managed to get Lee rolling again but without the full range of gears. This only lasted for a mile or so before his rear mech got ripped off and jammed in back the wheel. Fortunately it was just a short walk to get a very quick beer and the bus back up to Meribel (see pic for how not to stack bikes in a bus!).

After a bit of lunch and a check on Sicknote, we headed back out for our final riding of the week, with the plan to take a few more pics and some video footage. Going up on the Tougnette 1, Darren convinced me to have another go on black 7, which I struggled on, on day 2. I cleared most sections this time but had a little lie down again at the same point as on day 2, but very minor. I blamed Les for stopping in front of me!

Back up the Tougnette, with a quick decent down the usual new ski slope they are working on. Darren took the right hand line across a muddy stream that crossed the track, only for his front wheel to top dead in about 1ft of cement like mud and throw him off. With his hands and knees stuck in the mud we tried to check he was ok, before bursting out laughing (sorry mate, but that
one would have earned us some money if we had caught it on video).

So down the start of the nice burmy black 5, then cut across to the unofficial track that joins the bottom of the black 4. We had to navigate round a herd of cows that were being milked and their pats. I got carried away on a little rise, peddled a little too hard while leaning over and the bike just slid out from under me, I thought I had got away without any damage, but then found I had broken my rear brake lever. I cycled what I could with just a front brake with some walking, much to the amusement of Les and Darren :-)

Then our final run down the ‘Trout’ to the waiting bar and bike wash.

End of a great weeks riding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Route:
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1658445
Pics
https://picasaweb.google.com/105844637282308272543/MeribelDay6?authkey=Gv1sRgCO-p7rah-77YkgE#

Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler), Lee (SC Nomad), Dom

Dinner – Chicken castolet.
Weather; Sunny, attempt at rain.
Mechanicals; Lee rear mech and hanger. Dozer broken brake lever.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Meribel Day 5

Lee’s mate, Lee the builder, joined us for the day for what was promised to be a day to remember. A simple warm up ride followed by the ridge and a descent to remember.

Tougnete gondola took us to our familiar first stop where we dropped down to the play park via a short section of sweeping berms. The seesaw and switchbacks prepared us for Pas du Lac 1 gondola to the Black 5 and more cow shit than you could shake a stick at. Black 5’s tight berms and rapid descent merged into Red 2 rocky sweeping fast single-track back to Pas du Lac where the mornings warm up was completed
with a speed run down the Blue 5, nicknamed ‘The Trout’ which mixes berms, north shore and fast sweeping moguls with loose surfaces and play park obstacles and the warm up was complete.

Tougnete 1 led into the chair lift Tougnete 2 and we dropped off at 2434m, 1000m above our start point. Fast flowing rocky double track with a view to die for on both sides quickly changed with the rolling in of a cloud into a cross wind ridge ride to Lee’s nemesis. The loose surface turned rocky and pointed towards a switchback at 2100m with a sheer drop from which you could base jump.

After negotiating a few climbs and earth movers we hit the point at which it was all going to be downhill from here, we dropped our saddles, fed our faces and queued behind Lee our host anticipating what was to come. Technical rocky single track quickly changed to forest switchbacks, with speed and confidence growing the group started burning brakes and hugging the inside edge, pine cones and standing water made the ‘Rooty bits’ more exciting, switchbacks and technical rocky, Rooty descents eventually dropped us back to the road with a short spin
to Brides Les Bain.

The 50 minutes descent left us with burnt brake pads, burning thighs and the biggest grins this side of the Three Valleys. Several local drinks were consumed whilst waiting for the bus back to
Meribel where stories of drops and near misses were traded.

A bike wash and more local drinks rounded the day off, roll on tomorrow.

Route:
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1657271

More Pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105844637282308272543/MeribelDay5?authkey=Gv1sRgCK6BhPmX3YynpAE



Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler), Lee (SC Nomad), Justyna (Boardman 120mm), Lee (Lee’s friend, Kona Hardtail)

Dinner – Pork, leeks, white wine and mustard.

Weather; Sunny, attempt at rain.

Mechanicals; Lee’s friend Lee, pinch puncture.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Meribel Day 4


No Sicknote, no host (bikes not very well), so Les, Darren and Dozer off trailblazing. We took the usual lift and route to
Mottaret, then the Pas du Lac1 to pick up our favourite black 5 (lovely single track). Freshly strimmed, hiding the
rocks but still good fun, until we were hassled from behind by a couple of mad Scots men. We managed to stay on the correct track this time round the altiport, but then lost the black 5 signs, picking up the coming weekends Rando VTT signs, for a while. We came out on some very steep 1.5? rocky track, which soon fried my brakes so I bailed out to the side to let them cool. I caught up with Les and Darren but had a little lie down to the side as I stopped and couldn’t unclip. We came out in some ones backyard and then kept on the road for the last ½ mile to ensure we got to the correct place in Les Allues, to get the bus back up. Les thought he had a broken spoke, only to find out his tyre was bulging and about to go bang, luckily it survived the bus journey back.

Back to the apartment to say hi to Sicknote, change tyre, then out again for some local tracks above Mottaret, with Justyna as our guide. We found some nice tracks, but not the ones we planned, probably a mix of cycle routes and accidental footpaths (NB don’t bother doing the double track, pad burning black 4!). Then back up to the 5 and return down to the
apartments.

A quick rest and another hi to Sicknote, before heading out for the final short run of the day, only to find I had a puncture in the garage (not a pinch???). Quick fix, up the lift with a plan to race down the lovely blue ‘trout’. Darren was struggling with fatigue at this point, has Les shot off. Darren had a little lie down and scuffed his knee (having refused the loan of Sicknotes elbow pads :-)).

Another greats days riding, with just a few scuffs and more brake pads to replace in the morning? Ready for our epic 1800m descent plan for tomorrow!

Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler), Justyna (pm only, Boardman 120mm).

Dinner – Lasagne.

Weather; Hot and sunny :-)

No route, sorry I didn’t press record.

Pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105844637282308272543/MeribelDay4?authkey=Gv1sRgCML1jfnrkZ7KNA

Mechanicals; Dozer puncture and GPS not well after being dropped on floor outside apartment, Les bulging tyre (on his bike!).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Meribel Day 3

Very tall chair lift into the mist before crapping my pants at 2400m on a ridge. Down we came with broad beems and special mud spattered teeth. Nothing rivals the taste of the piste.

Second.ascent and the mood was.raw, red 8, you bet bring it on. Boring pad burning fire roads left us un impressed. Les raced off with me hot in pursuit fast fire road, where's Dozer and Sicknote? Never leave a fallen soldier, even if it's Dozer and.Sicknote. Turn and face the mountain. Les has gone. Cycle up, Dozer walking around, Sicknote's down. Blooded floor, soldier down. French.interest in the pommes discomfort was unabated. A teenage girl cycle passed, Sicknote realised the error of his ways. A calm descent to a waiting rescue van with Dozer in the lead, we were all safe.

Only beer could save the day, thank god for happy hour.The evening barbeque passed quietly with tails of the days exploits.And then there were 3.

Route (this may include the drive down to A&E in Moutiers)
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1654744

Pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105844637282308272543/MeribelDay3?authkey=Gv1sRgCM-St7P2877VPQ

Author - Darren
Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler), Sicknote (Specialized
Pitch)
Dinner – BBQ, we were cooking!
Weather; Sunny after morning mist cleared.
Mechanicals; Someone sabotaged Darren's tyre with a drawing pin just as we were about to set off!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Meribel Day 2




Monday, July 2nd 2012-07-01

Sicknote fixed his RP2 first thing in the morning by inserting a new Schrader valve from his spare inner tube. He borrowed the tool to do this from a local French garage.


High winds have dropped off and the lifts are running today. Yippee! No massive hill climbs. Unfortunately, the mountains have been covered in cloud today so we were unable to see the lovely views on the way up. We all purchased lift passes for the week at 49 Euro each.
In the four hours of fantastic cycling that we were able to fit in before the heavy rain set in, we manage to do several downhill runs. On the first run, we encountered a group of cows and a
protective bull half way down the mountain.... as you can imagine, this slowed us down a bit as none of us wanted to upset them. They are pretty big when you get up close.


On the final descent, our host Lee decided to put us to the test and lead us down an expert run which proved very interesting half way down through a forest. Sicknote managed to get a puncture from a thorn. Apparently, this is a first. Most of the happy bunch managed to
have little lie downs at points on this section. Dozer’s was the most amusing. Luckily no one was really hurt.... just bumps and bruises.


Baby David (Dozer) was really happy becausehe again managed to plot our routes on his GPS which he has loaded to his laptop. It does look pretty impressive when you go through it.


Route


Pics:




Author - Sicknote
Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler), Sicknote (Specialized
Pitch), Lee – Chalet Host (SC Chameleon, Nomad shock not well), Justyna – Mrs Chalet Host (Boardman 120mm).


Dinner – Salmon on cruet.

Weather; Misty whiteout rain late on.
Mechanicals; Darren swapped break pads prior to expert descent. Host Lee’s
bottom bracket became loose on the final descent. Justyna needed to adjust
handle bars because they moved out of position on her first downhill. As
mentioned before, Sicknote had a puncture in his front wheel from a thorn. He
also needed to top up the air in his RP2 so it is not fully fixed..... but
usable. : )

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Meribel Day 1

Sicknote’s RP2 gave up the ghost before we had even set off, so he had to hire a bike for the day. No lifts due to supposed high winds at the top.

Lots of riding on nice blue singletrack runs between Mottaret 1750m and Les Allues 1100.

Lee took us up the mountain in his minibus
after lunch followed by a long grind uphill on fireroads to pick up the top
section of the black 5, which we cut off half way down to head back to the
chalet after an odd but excellent days riding.


Posse; Dozer (Canyon ESX), Les (Specialized Pitch), Darren (SC Heckler),Sicknote (white hire bike), Lee – Chalet Host (SC Nomad)

Dinner – Moroccan Curry followed by sticky toffee pud.

Route
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1652453

Pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/105844637282308272543/MeribelDay1?authkey=Gv1sRgCPmKreengPyDJw#

Weather; Sunny/Overcast, bit of rain, but still warm.
Mechanicals; Sicknote RP2, lost all air when we tried to pump it, a problem with the Schrader valve. We are going to try replacing it in the morning with one from a tube, hope that will work.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SUMMIT 65

June 17th 2012
A couple of months ago Paul suggested that we ride the Summit 65 as our pre-Alps trip fitness goal. The route as the name suggests is 65 miles (80% off road) and is based in Berks/South Oxfordshire. In simple terms the riding takes in the best the Chilterns has to offer with an abundance of relatively short but steep single track climbs and descents. The area in question has some of my favorite local trails and I new I had to give it a go.
I managed to persuade Nick to ride with us. In has own words he is a ‘diesel engine’. Not necessarily the fastest but he can keep going for mile after mile. Just the sort of person you need around for when the going gets tough to help provide encouragement and inspiration. I’ve ridden 65 miles off road before and I new it would be a tough ride. Paul seemed determined to guarantee a tough ride by attempting it on a single speed (respect!)
The Summit 65 circuit provided for two routes 65k (45m) or 65m. Both consisted of the same 30m outbound route to a feed station at Christmas Common. The 65m route added a 20mile loop on the Ridgeway to Bledlow Ridge and back to the feed station. The final section was 15m back to the start via Ibstone. On closer inspection of the route map it appeared that I’d previously ridden most of the planned route just not altogether or in the intended direct. Total Accent for the 65m route was indicated as 6600ft.
We were blessed with fine weather for the event. Sunshine and cloud and temperatures up to around 18C. After registering at around 8.00am in High Wycombe we started the ride with a group of around 30 rides at around 8.30am. Riders continued to depart until around 10.30am. We were advised that the registration office would stay open until 5.00pm for our completion. Given the length of the ride that provided 8 ½ hours to complete the event.
The first 30 miles to the feed station probably presented the best riding conditions of the day. After the first steep ascent the pack of riders conveniently split and we were left riding with a group size or around 10 riders spaced within a minute of each other. Conditions were surprisingly dry and the riding on offer was fantastic. Manageable climbs and great descent sections. It was a well planned route, every climb rewarded with a great Chiltern descent. We all enjoyed the route immensely. Unexpectedly, the fun was spoilt for me when, at around 27 miles, I was hit by cramp in my legs. It’s not something that I'm used to and it was not pleasant. It took a while and I managed to slowly limp to the feed station. It’s fair to say that I was concerned to be faced with another 35miles when my legs were already demanding that I ease off. Nick and Paul provided great encouragement and we all concluded that my best hope was to consume as much cake and banana as possible before setting off again. For my part I was determined to give it go but realistic enough to conclude that I might have to retire at some point.
Fortunately, the next 10 miles of Ridgeway riding were quite flat and dry. Paul acted as pacemaker and I tried to keep an even pace and not load up my legs enough to set the cramp off. I’m sure the food and fluid I’d taken in helped considerably. We were lucky enough to scale Bledlow ridge on the road. But the resulting and long decent was a complete mud fest and in places we had to push downhill! It was by far the worst section of the ride and we all suffered. Riding or walking just took a lot out of our legs. Latter in the day we established that it had had the same effect on most riders some even being forced to pull out. Not long after the mud Paul also started to suffer from leg cramps. Oddly this came as a relief to me. I no longer felt the odd one out! It became quite amusing as intermittently one of us would yelp, fall off our bike and roll around on the floor cursing until we able to stop the cramp. Paul devised a novel solution which involved walking around in circles. Something akin to a misplaced druid in search of stones!
We made it back to Christmas common feeling tired but optimistic that even if we had to push the remaining hills we could complete the 65mile route. Paul’s single speed performance was immense, Nick was quietly churning out the miles and if anything getting stronger! I was pleased to be there and relieved to be firing on 3 cylinders.
The final 15m to Ibstone and back to Wycombe were no easier then the 50m that had proceeded. A combination of mud and fierce climbs made the going tough. In general Paul and I would ride a hill until cramps made us fall off… we would then push to the top. Nick would hit the granny ring and keep on grinding to the top. All of this resulted in us getting to the top within a minute or so of each other. I’m sure we were all spurred on by the fact that it was the home run although my body failed to respond with the same enthusiasm.
The good news is that we all made it and arrived back at precisely 5.00pm.

Data Taken from my Garmin on the day:
Total distance 65m
Total Accent 6600ft
Average riding speed 9.2mph
Total riding time 7 hours
Total Time to complete 8.5 hours
Highlights of the day:
  • Finishing it
  • Paul completing it on a single speed (respect!)
  • Nick still riding hills with determination and strength after 65m
  • Some great Chiltern descents
  • Great riding company
  • Very well organized and way marked route
Issues on the day:
  • Nick loosing his Garmin 800 (ouch)
  • Cramp for Rob and Paul (ouch)
  • Having to push up some of the accents (slog)
Bikes:
Rob: Cotic Soul with RS revelation.
Paul: Cotic Simple – single speed with carbon fork
Nick: Cannondale Scalpel with funny carbon chain stay and Lefty thing up front.

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