Monday, 30 September 2013

You can go quite far on a Wispa bar!

This is what fuelled our trip today

That there hill is where we're heading for....

The rather small pathetic cairn at the summit of Black Hill!

The rather grander cairn at the summit of Allermuir!

Fueled by a couple of Wispa bars, Baz and me set off on an epic today to do the ABC of the Pentlands, that is, Allermuir, Black Hill and Castlelaw, though not in that order! By the time we'd finished energy levels were rather on the low side as we'd done 28.5 miles and over 3900 feet of climbing with the odd hike a bike thrown in as well. Next time we're taking emergency rations of jelly babies!! 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Young Marc's off on his new bike.......and then Marc's off his new bike!!

Ready to set off, bike pristine clean!

Rocky part of the track up past the Howe.

Top of the podium at Harlaw.

Ouch!! Cut knee, the result of the bike's maiden crash!

Off out with Dougie and his son Marc, with Marc's new Giant Anthem 29er on its maiden voyage up the Pentlands. The bike and Marc acquitted themselves really well until the descent down Maidens Cleugh where he chose the wrong line through a technical bit and the next thing I saw was a flurry of legs, arms, biking glasses and a new bike as he went down like a factory chimney being demolished! However apart from being winded and having a cut on his knee he survived his bike's maiden(sorry couldn't resist that pun) crash and lives to ride another day, and if he's like me, to crash again (frequently!).

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Mishaps at the Tour de Ben Nevis (but not by me!)

1st mishap, Dougie's rear derailleur hanger broke, and guess what...he didn't have a spare one! 

Mark lookin slightly the worse for wear nearing the end of the ride.

A great picture of Mad Max in full flow!

Our two intrepid heroes, Dougie and Mark were both doing the Tour de Ben Nevis at the weekend and for chaos and mishaps they took a bit of beating! Dougie missed last year's event due to breaking a thumb a few weeks before so was granted a free entry into this years race. It looks like there's a curse on him as he'd only gone 6 miles when his hanger snapped for no apparent reason and with no spare that was him out and faced with the walk back to Fort William. Mark's ride was filled, as usual, with chaos! 2 or was it 3 punctures, a damaged back wheel, he managed to lose his timing chip, his Garmin got switched off accidentally and of course the odd twinge of cramp. But Mad Max managed to complete the course despite these setbacks and lives to ride another day!! As for Dougie, he must wonder what next year has in store for him if he enters again.....
Edit to this post.......Mark reminded me that his rear shock packed in as well!!!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Baz sleeps in!!

Baz still with a guilty look on his face at Threipmuir Reservoir

A big running/walking charity event on up the Pentlands today, this was the start (obviously!!)

An over confident Baz met his Waterloo on this greasy bit of track going round Black Hill!

After being told that he'd be along early so wed get a bigger than normal ride in, Baz failed to show up and I had to phone him only to discover he was still in bed! His excuse was a malfunctioning alarm, which I refused to swallow, and he was warned as to his future conduct!!! However, give him his due and he was along within half an hour looking a bit dishevelled but ready to go! 26.6 miles this morning and the highlight for me was Baz coming off twice on a relatively easy section of track round Black Hill! 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The calm before the storm?

7.30am at the foot of Black Hill

8.30am at the top of West Kip

Looking down on the farm at the bottom of West Kip

Boldly going where no man has gone before (not) cycling along the top of West Kip!

With gale force winds and heavy rain forecast for Sunday, Baz and me did our weekend cycle this morning, Saturday, in perfect weather, though to be honest it was a bit nippy to at 6am with the temperature just a couple of degrees above freezing. We did the hike a bike up West Kip and the along to Scald Law before the terrific descent back down to the Howe on wet grass, that can get the blood pumping at times!
Over 29 miles this morning and ready for the bacon rolls by the time we'd finished!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Isle of Man End2End, a race to remember!

The lead up to the Isle of Man End2End started for us on the Saturday morning at 5.30 am when Baz arrived at my door and we loaded up for the drive to Carlops and Mark's house where the bikes etc. were transferred onto his Landrover for the journey to the ferry at Heysham. And what a journey, the Landrover gave a fairish impression of a vehicle with a dose of the flu, frequently threatening to run out of steam and then picking up speed again (if you can call 40mph on the motorway "speed")! We eventually reached Heysham with over 2 hours to spare however and by the time we eventually reached the Isle of Man we'd been on the go for over 12 hours. Next stop was to register for the race and the pasta meal that came with the entry fee and then off to find our beds for the weekend. Though the rooms we'd booked were far from luxurious they were heaven compared to our first choice which had been to camp for the weekend, thank god that was dropped from the plans! Sunday morning and we were up at 6am and breakfasting on porridge or coco pops, (the choice of the professional mountain biker!!) and off on the bikes to catch the lorry for the bikes and the bus for the riders to take us to the north of the island for the start. One very small complaint was the time spent waiting for the start, one hour forty minutes, in a cold occasionally drizzly wind, but at last the race got going. The first 12 miles or so was on flattish road which stretched the field out and Mark caught Baz and me out by sneaking ahead up the pack before the start to be able to make a quicker start than us. He took a bit of hunting down but we eventually caught him at about 7 miles out. The first off road hill stretched the field out as well and the Pentland climbs really helped us here.
The course was a cracker, not overly technical but a lot of long hard climbs followed by some fast flowing descents and the fact that I managed to average 10 mph for the 45 miles says a lot about the condition of the off road tracks.
Baz's time was 4 hours 37 minutes
My time was 4 hours 43 minutes
Mark's time was 5 hours 42 minutes (pretty good for someone who'd spent the previous week consuming a fairish bit of beer while on holiday!!)

A great event on a great island, definitely recommend it!!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Isle of Man End 2 End, talk about mishaps......

It's 6am and it's lift off from Mark's house in Carlops in heavy rain for the journey to the ferry at Heysham, what could go wrong?!!

We eventually reach Heysham ferry terminal after the Landrover has numerous coughing fits coming down the M6, at times we nearly drove down the hard shoulder we were going so slowly!

Safely aboard the ferry for the 3.5 hour crossing to the Isle of Man with a woman in the seat in front of us attempting to cough her lungs up nearly the entire journey!

A seat beside the Isle of Mans most famous former resident, Norman Wisdom, there must be more photographs taken here than anywhere else on the island.

We were transported to the start at the north end of the island in luxury coaches and then at the finish, back to Douglas again at the end of the race when we were caked in about an inch of muck, bet the cleaners did a bit of moaning valeting the coaches out after that!

The bikes arrived at the start in articulated lorries, a really well organised event. 

Lining up before the start of the event, the only criticism of the entire event was the 1.5 hour wait in the cold wind at the start.

A bit of a mishap on the way home, a puncture on the M6, being parked on the hard shoulder trying to change a tyre is an experience I wouldn't  like to repeat.

Mark took it all in his stride, this guy is just totally unflappable!

More on the event itself later, I'm still knackered !

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Recycling to repair a cycle!

Back together and working again!

The old Trek's had an unfortunate time lately with back derailleurs falling to bits causing the hanger to snap and the resulting cycle home on a short chain destroying two of the front chain rings. It looked like an expensive repair job but after I'd bought a new hanger and installed it the natural thriftiness of my nationality came into play. As someone who very rarely throws anything away I have an amazing amount of junk in my garage, but if you  look hard enough you can usually find something that'll do a trick! And so it turned out, I found not only one old derailleur but three, admittedly some of them had bits missing but one seemed in reasonable nick. Then I found a middle and outer chain ring of all things, where they came from is anybodies guess and inevitably there was an old chain (or two) to finish the job off. When this lot was all assembled the bike actually went better (touch wood) than it has for some time and survived a fairly stiff test run. Is there a motto to this tale of tight fistedness, probably not, but at least the junk heap's been slightly reduced!