Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Off tomorrow to do Coast 2 Coast for charity

Off tomorrow afternoon to do a Scottish Coast 2 Coast charity ride from Inverness to Ardnamurchan (try saying that in a hurry if you're not Scottish). Its to raise money for The Russell Hogg Trust, a charity set up in memory of Russell Hogg who tragically died in his mid forties from cancer. Russell was a very talented badminton player, in fact Scotland's 2nd most capped badminton player and a great character as well.The trust is to support both young badminton players and disabled athletes of all ages.
The ride is over 4 days averaging roughly 40 miles a day and while to several of us it should be relatively easy, quite a few of the riders are predominately badminton players and not mountain bikers, it's going to be very interesting and a whole lot of fun.

For anyone who might be interested in this charity the details are:-

                                       The Russell Hogg Trust  (SC043838 Charity Number)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

From mountain biking to microlighting!

Mark and Rab who I was out with today.

How's that for a view?

The microlight getting prepared for take off.

Me in the passenger seat trying to appear casual!

Mountain biking for 3.5 hours in the morning starting from Carlops then the chance to have a flight in Marks microlight and how could I refuse on a day like today, a light wind and bright sunshine, if you're gonna die you might as well pick a nice day to do it! The flight itself was tremendous, it might only have been for about 10 minutes but I now know how a butterfly feels as it flutters along in a breeze. Definitely another thing ticked off in things to do before your dead! Thanks for the experience Mark, don't think I'll be rushing out to buy one but a great way to finish off a mountain bike ride!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Out with a "bandit"

The Transition Bandit 29er dwarfs my 26er Anthem

The two "bandits" toether, bike and rider!

Nothing to beat a bit of homemade cake on a night ride!

Only Mark and me last night but Mark had a demo Transition Bandit out for a ride and ended the night falling deeply in love with it......if his wife finds out it'll all end in tears!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A night at the races......well race!

Dougie, extreme left, in the peleton taking a right hander.

The end of the race and he's given it his all!

Down to Ingilston with Dougie to see him taking part in a race on his road bike. 40 minutes round roughly a 1 kilometre track and then a final 5 laps to sort out the men from the boys! I don't think I would have lasted 4 minutes far less 40 at the pace these guys go at and though Dougie didn't get placed he was pleased to record a 2 mph higher average speed than his last race about a month ago. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Disaster as I tried to cross a flooded bike wash!

Mark, with the red back pack, who we cycled back with to Flotterstone today.

This small lizard had to be rescued from the road up near the Howe.

Fun and games in the mist and mud today. Riding glasses kept steaming or misting up with the fine drizzle and eventually were removed. The tracks which had been so dry were muddy and slidey again after yesterdays downpour and added to the fun. No ride I am involved in ever returns without some bruise or cut and today I think I excelled myself with a bruise on the right shin, a left knee that would win the world knobbly knee championship as a result of a failed attempt to cross the river at the part known as the "bike wash" and a cut elbow, also suffered there! My confidence and ego also took a huge knock as a result of this failure but that will return quick enough!
The attempt to ride through the bike wash was a complete disaster and ended with a belly flop into the river and "nils points" for style.......but at least the bike got a clean.  

Monday, 13 May 2013

After 27 off road miles I crashed mounting a pavement!

A badly swollen finger as a result of a pavement crash!

Clive came perilously close to coming off on the log crossing.

Baz failed to make it over this mud patch and ended up to his left knee in muck!

A varied bit of riding on Sunday morning with the highlights being the number of falls, Clive leading the way with four, Baz with a hilarious one where he narrowly missed going full length into mud patch he attempted to cross and me embarrassingly coming off mounting a pavement half a mile from home and nearly breaking a finger. The weather gods smiled again on us, cold but dry when we were out and rain about 5 minutes after we'd arrived home.Today, Monday, the finger is recovering slowly and I'm busy thinking up some dare devil feat that caused the injury.......I can hardly say it was caused by mounting a pavement.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Boggy climbing from Boghall Farm....

We decided against any heroics on this crossing.

It's a "sair fecht" (hard going for non Scots) pedalling up soft bumpy grass!

A memorial to somebody's wife who snuffed it in the 1890's....

Dougie suggested a different route this morning, one we've never tried before. After cycling through Bilston we went on to a twisty little track and eventually emerged opposite Boghall farm. There was a choice of tracks and we opted for the one to Castlelaw which to be honest was pretty vague at times and consisted of a few rough field crossings but eventually we came to civilisation again! This is a route that's going to be done again as there are a lot of possibilities on it........but only when conditions are dry!! 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

From the flat and easy to the tough and rough!

Mid-day Saturday and it was family time along the canal.....

Late afternoon Saturday and it was high in the Pentlands......

Early Sunday and it was back up the Pentlands again!

A varied weekend of mountain biking from the flat and easy riding alongside the Union Canal from Ratho to Winchburgh and back with a wind that contrived to blow in our faces most of the way, how does it manage that? Then a text from Mark with an invitation for a trip up the Pentlands from Carlops and some virgin routes for me, needless to say this didn't take long to be accepted. Only 11 miles but a lot of climbing on narrow wet and greasy tracks, great fun! Sunday morning and the usual 6 am start or daft o'clock as it's known and after Castlelaw Cottages climb, along and down the shelter belt then up Maidens Cleugh we did the reverse loop round to Carlops I'd done the day before. More hard climbing on soft greasy grass, the stuff to build muscles (hopefully anyway!). One of the highlights of the route was a blast back along the A72 with the wind in our backs so that we got home in time for the bacon rolls at 10 am! Out again on my own at night to get enough miles to rack up 150 for the week!

Friday, 3 May 2013

New tyres make all the difference..........

There weren't many nights with weather like this last year.

Dougie shows the way with a strategically placed log at the ditch crossing!

Mark and his new tyres follow suit!

I thought I'd get an over the bars photo at this ditch but the new tyres came good again!

Mark arrived to meet Dougie and me proudly showing off his new tyres which at first glance appeared to have been nicked off a tractor. However the confidence they gave him was remarkable and he went on to record a KOM on one of the Strava segments and some highly impressive ditch crossings!
The trails just now are about as good as they can get, dry and firm, nothing like the mud and misery we seemed to endure for the whole of last year, maybe after our hard winter we will get a good summer, we can live in hope at least............