Saturday, 31 August 2013

One week to go till the Isle of Man End to End.....

Wednesday night and it's starting to get dark at the top of Maidens Cleugh Descent. 

Today, Saturday, and its bright and breezy as we head off for the Black Hill track.

One week to go and what can go wrong? Something usually does before an event and in the last week I've had a few mishaps but fortunately all with the Trek not the Anthem which is the bike I'm taking to the Isle of  Man. Four times in a row I've done the full Castlelaw climb this week and today it was beginning to tell on the legs a bit. I think this next week there'll be a bit of easing off to recover! Baz was in great form today getting a few Strava  KOMs on descents proving that you don't need a long travel heavy bike to get quick times. 28 miles this morning and over 3000 feet of climbing mostly into a fierce wind, roll on next week!

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Trek's on its last warning......

Yesterday it was the gear cable, admittedly I should have changed that as I had noticed it was looking the worse for wear, but tonight there was absolutely no excuse for the  hanger breaking and the rear derailleur jamming the back wheel solid, especially as I was doing a fair rate of knots down the Shelter Belt when it happened. There was a crack and the next thing I knew the back wheel was locked solid and I was attempting to hang on to the handlebars and avoid headbutting the fir trees that line the path. To the guys that stopped and offered sympathy as we removed the derailleur and went single speed, and one in particular who reads this blog, we did make it home, though not at any great speed. By the time we did get home the chain had destroyed the two outer front chain rings because it was so tight and my legs have never spun so fast for so little forward speed! However we made it, and it may be a while till the Trek make another trek up the Pentlands!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Over the hills to Glentress, round the Red, then back over the hills again!

Mark and I set off from Carlops at 9 am but first Mark had a phone call to make.

After meeting up with Dougie on the road over the Melvins we eventually arrived at the pitch black old railway tunnel that leads through to Haylodge Park in Peebles where we stopped for a pie (or two!) at the local bakers. With this excellent piece of mountain biking sustenance inside us we biked out of Peebles and up Janet's Brae to tackle the Red Route at Glentress!

Dougie in front of Mark as we neared the top of the Spooky Wood descent.

Marks problem with his deflating tubeless tyre started just before this rough bumpy descent at the bottom of Andy's fume which has cut up really badly since the last time I rode it.

Dougie at the bottom of Andy's Flume just after Mark had come down, I managed an over the bars moment further up but escaped with only a damaged ego.

Back down at the cafe it was decided that rather than keeping blowing up the tubeless tyre only for it to go soft the best thing to do was put a tube in it. It was then I discovered I had a puncture as well, bollocks!!!!

The end of the ride back at Marks house and he treated us to a Mad Max barbecue, though by the look of the smoke the house appeared to be on fire!
A great days riding with 53 miles covered and over 5000 feet of climbing to keep the training going for the Isle of Man End to End race!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Isle of Man End to End training in full swing now!

The top of the Shelter Belt descent

Mark manages to keep ahead of Bob on the climb.

With the Isle of Man End to End mountain bike race only just over 2 weeks away we're upping the ante in our training, with longer rides involving more climbing in the probably mistaken belief that the actual event itself will be easier than what we've been doing! The Wednesday night runs are now finishing in darkness and the numbers taking part are rising, last night there were 6 of us. Whether this will continue through the winter remains to be seen, when only the insane among us venture out in the sleet and rain to arrive home frostbitten and soaked. 25.5 miles last night and still waiting for everything to go wrong before an usually does in the last few days.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Mishaps nearly every mile!

A pretty cheesed off Baz, walks back after his bike packs up in the first 200 yards!

A rest after the hard climb up from the pump house.

Two bandits get together for a talk about riding conditions and how they're treated!!

A catalogue of mishaps today which got underway within 200 yards of the start of the ride when Baz discovered his bike was falling to bits. Naturally there was no sympathy shown to him in his moment of grief but after a quick return to base he climbed on Clive's old Kona and managed to grumble his way round the ride to everyone else's amusement! My brakes were the next to feel the strain after a particularly fast descent down Castlelaw north and played up for the rest of the ride. On the climb back up to the saddle Clive got in on the act with a pinch puncture and then had the misfortune of the valve breaking off on the spare tube, however he had another and eventually we got on our way again. The original plan was to do the Pentland Skyline but with time running short we aborted this plan and instead went hell for leather on the West Kip to the Howe descent. Amazingly nobody was injured in this mad race and good times were recorded on this Strava segment all round. Baz's legs were beginning to feel the pace on the ride back down to Flotterstone so to shouts of  derision he and Dougie, who had to be home by 1pm, went back, leaving Clive, Mark and me to do another 6 or so miles with some more hard climbs before we got back. Over 35 miles done and according to Marks Garmin, though not my one, over 6000 feet of climbing. The good news was that after we got back and had dinner I had a rummage in the garage and found a spare part to fix Baz's bike, so he went home with a smile on his face!!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Lost my biking mojo but managed to hunt it down and regain it!

I lost my biking lust for nearly two weeks due to the fact that my daughter in law in Cardiff developed a very serious neurological condition that left her paralysed down one side and the family call to drive down and help out was stronger than any desire to go out on a bike. the condition appears to have stabilised although recovery is going to be a long slow process, up to a year a specialist said, but at least a start has been made.
So back up the road to chilly Scotland we drove, it's certainly a good few degrees warmer in the south of Britain, and on Sunday night I went out for a 13 miler to see how I felt. Even though I got caught in a heavy shower of rain it felt quite good so I arranged with Clive, who's on holiday for a week, to go out the next day. We started off with no particular plan of action but the old desire to push myself returned and we ended up doing 25.5 miles with me finding my mojo and Clive nearly losing a testicle when he came off on a particularly steep descent!!
Clive at the bottom of West Kip, still in one piece.......