Thursday, 29 September 2011

More piccys from The Tour de Ben Nevis

As you can see I was pretty knackered by the time this photo was taken!

Baz and I had just finished when there was a heavy shower of rain but despite a frantic search we couldn't find the crock of gold at the rainbow's end, personally I think it's an old wife's tale.........
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Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Tour de Ben Nevis....a competitors biased view!

The camp site we stayed at, The Red Squirrel Campsite, had simply stunning views of Glencoe.

The riders gathering before the start, waiting to be piped along Fort William High street by the local pipe band, no wonder everyone raced up the steep hill on the first stage!

The first stop for a drink after a few miles of continuous climbing.

The view back down from the hard climb up from Kinlochleven was awesome!

The river crossing in roughly the middle of the event was one of the highlights and all thoughts of removing socks etc. were forgotten as our feet were totally soaked by that time anyway!

This sums up the rough track across the highest part of the track, lots of water, lots of bog and lots of rocks!
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The race was an experience not to be missed, whether I'd ever do it again remains to be seen! The first 20 miles were relatively straightforward until we reached the descent to Kinlochleven which is just sheer madness! Whats even more impressive is the fact that quite a few of the riders actually cleaned it, I found even walking some of the sections a challenge trying to hold on to a bike. This was where Baz suffered a puncture and almost blew a gasket when the valve on his replacement tube broke in two. After we eventually managed to repair the pinch puncture in his original tube we'd lost nearly 30 minutes, but a lesson learned, always carry 2 spare tubes on a long event (and keep your cool!!)
The second half of the event was definitely the toughest, with after the river crossing, a 2 mile "hike a bike" over terrain that was difficult enough to walk over without the addition of a bloody bike as well!
The total  climbing amounted to over 5400 feet with one of the highlights for me, at least, being a 3 mile descent back down a fire road at breakneck speed!
One of the final timed stages seemed to have been devised to finally finish off anyone who had survived the rest of the course but somehow we survived and looking back it must be the toughest yet..............but we DID IT!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Less than a week to go to The Tour de Ben Nevis

Wet conditions this morning, ideal training for next weeks' event! 
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With The Tour de Ben Nevis next Saturday today's ride was perfect preparation, wet and cold, exactly what it will probably be like at Fort William next week-end, probably the wettest location in Britain at any time of the year! The event is a loop round Ben Nevis of approximately 70 kilometers with 5 special stages thrown in for good luck. There's also a few water crossings as well and if the rain continues to fall (which it probably will) some of the crossings could be a couple of feet deep or more! Anyway today we did 25 miles over the Pentlands in full wet weather gear and coped reasonably well, so here's hoping it's no worse next week-end! 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Prototype 4 wheeler unveiled!!

James from the Bike Station in Edinburgh demonstrates the 4 wheeler that was built in a couple of hours by a group of kids from two old BMX bikes and various bits of scrap that happened to be lying about! I don't think it's going to take the biking world by storm because when he took it outside it proved to be a bit awkward to steer and he narrowly missed scraping the side of my van! I think there's still a bit of development to be done before it makes it onto Dragons Den!
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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Baz's birthday bike ride!

The birthday boy on his birthday bike!
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Baz's birthday today so what better way to celebrate than a ride over the Pentlands on the bike he gave himself for his birthday! With the weather forecast horrendous for the next few days we went tonight (Saturday) and someone must have been looking down on us from above as we seemed to have the wind in our backs no matter what direction we cycled in!
We managed a creditable 26 miles which included a puncture in the new bike after about 2 miles but apart from that no other mishaps to spoil the ride.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Plenty of mishaps!

Roger and Dougie discuss tactics!
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I'd changed all the drive chain the previous night and not really tested it properly and was well and truly found out when I went out last night with Dougie and Roger. My new back cassette has a 34 tooth sprocket to compensate for my new 26 tooth granny ring, at least thats my theory! Unfortunately when I changed into the lowest of the low, the idlers were catching the cassette and wouldn't change up again! This caused no end of problems climbing Castlelaw and then to make matters worse I had a snake bite puncture crossing one of the ditches. The tube was changed reasonably quickly and we got going down towards Glencorse where first Roger went over the bars and then I managed an even better over the front! After that I was lucky if I stayed upright for 20 yards and came home with half the Pentlands muck either on me or the bike. Not the most skilful ride I've done but one of the best for fun!

PS Just finished a 12 miler tonight and after a few tweaks the gears are now working okay.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tour de Ben Nevis training continues.

                                                                                       The sun begins to rise above the hills at about 7.30 this morning.

Enjoying the view at the Font Stone high above Nine Mile Burn

Baz's new bike presents no problems getting over fences.

What a view!

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A chilly start at 6 am this morning with the temperature at 41 Fahrenheit but the climb to the top of Castlelaw soon got us warmed up and with the sun shining and the heather in bloom it turned out to be a cracking day.
The garmin showed us to have had in total, 3176 feet of climbing and to have covered 34.01 miles.
Mishaps today seemed to be all mine, a broken chain and a couple of over the handlebars, but luckily into soft boggy ground!
By the way I did another 10.5 miles in late afternoon to take my weeks total up to 115 off road miles!