Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween night ride at Glentress

Okay so it wasn't really Halloween till Thursday night but last night we opted for Glentress in the darkness, at least it would have been if we hadn't had lights! We parked in the car park next to the Tweed in Peebles and used the track along the side of the river to Glentress as a warm up before tackling the climbs. It's been some time since I've done Glentress and it's amazing just how different everything seems in the dark even with a good set of lights. This could become a monthly event down there, its totally different doing a trail centre to the more natural stuff we usually do in the Pentland Hills. No records set by me, I think I'm beginning to qualify for Captain Slow when riding at night!

Monday, 28 October 2013

The "Nettle Rash" Strava segment!

Near the beginning of the Strava segment known as the "nettle rash" which was named for obvious reasons if you biked through it in the summer when the nettles were at their strongest.

This final part of the segment was just a nettle fest, they're actually dieing back a bit now.

The summers definitely gone now, I know that from the fact that the nettles that I cycled through on the aptly named Strava segment called the nettle rash have died back with only the occasional sting now if I deviate slightly off the narrow track. At one stage when they were at their strongest it was almost impossible to see the track which made it all the more interesting (and more painful)! 

Friday, 25 October 2013

The trials of going tubeless!!

The newly converted to tubeless Giant Anthem.

I always been a bit old fashioned about my wheels, preferring to run tubes instead of going tubeless but last winter I was having as many as 3 punctures a day courtesy of the local agricultural contractor who cuts all the hawthorn hedges that line the tracks I ride on my way over to the Pentlands. Dougie, who's been tubeless, or at least his bike is, for a couple of years has no such problems, just bikes through them, gets thorns in his tyres and they never seem to deflate, at least not a lot, and then he just blows them up again. So, sod it, I decided as thorn cutting time was approaching it was time to upgrade. I already had a tubeless ready front wheel and the odd old tubeless ready tyre so with the aid of some "green gunge" for lack of a better word to describe the anti puncture slime I managed to get for nothing the front wheel was reasonably easily converted. Not having a suitable back wheel, and wanting a lighter one anyway I bit the very expensive bullet (not like me) and bought a Stans No Tubes rim with a Hope hub (for the clicky effect). This was where the fun started as the tape on the rim was faulty but I never discovered this until I resembled the Incredible Hulk and my garage floor was awash with green slimy gunge. Eventually realising the problem I removed the faulty tape and re-taped it with some new rim tape. The new tyre went on and inflated straight away without sealant and held pressure no problem as I did a 20 mile ride up in the hills, though I was a bit nervous!
Once back home as a precaution against thorns did put some sealant in (just to be on the safe side), so here's hope for a puncture free winter (fingers crossed!!)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

From summer to winter in one fell swoop

Taken at the top of one of the enduro tracks above Kinlochleven on Saturday

This was Saturday as well in one of the most picturesque spots of Scotland

On Saturday the weather couldn't have been better, barely a cloud in the sky, a perfect mountain biking day. Last night, the complete opposite. We were warned by the weather forecasters that there would be rain but it cunningly arrived just after we went out and waited till we were as far away as possible before starting to tip it down. By the time I got back to base my shoes had about half a pint of water in each one and my hands were frozen stiff, due mainly to my so called waterproof gloves proving to be completely un-waterproof. Scottish never bores you!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Devils Staircase.....and beyond...

A week-end of riding at Glencoe and the Nevis Range at Fort William, this was the start of our climb in Glencoe up the Devils Staircase.

Halfway up the Devils Staircase and already having to shed clothes, hells teeth it's October, and we're in Scotland, for Gods sake.....

This stone on a cairn at the summit had "like me on facebook" written on it, cant even escape the social media in the heart of the Highlands!

Bob has the first puncture of five that were suffered between him and Mark!

Blackwater dam and a flagrant breach of the law...but how the hell else were we gonna get to the other side?

Baz doing his mountain bike magazine pose for a picturesque photo

Slightly knackered before the next big climb.

2nd last puncture of the day about a mile from the car on the final descent, Mark managed another one with about 400 yards to go but walked the final bit!

A terrific week-end biking in Glencoe and then at Fort William in unbelievable weather, Scotland at its best, why cant we have more of this?!!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The value of a cycle helmet

The helmet before it goes into the bin!

The two worst injuries I've suffered have both been low speed crashes, the first when the bike slid on spilt diesel on a wet surface as I slowly took a corner and deposited me onto tarmac with an almighty thump to leave my collar bone sticking up at an acute angle and again yesterday when I failed to see a small dark tree stump at the side of a track in a wood. The fact that I was wearing sunglasses didn't help the vision side of things, but the bike just stood right on its front wheel and catapulted me face first into of all things a convenient root. The front of the the helmet, and my nose, took the full force of this sudden close interest in what attaches trees to the ground and after a quick feel to see if my head was still attached to the rest of my body I discovered a fairish bit of blood coming from said nose. I now know what it must have been like to have been punched straight in the face by Mike Tyson at the height of his powers, and its scary.However the helmet saved me from serious injury and possible brain damage (if that's possible in my case) so its into the bin with it with a quick thanks for a good job done! Back out again at night with Mark, Neil, Dougie and young Marc to do a 24 miler in the dark. Highlight was meeting up with 3 girl riders, one of whom referred to young Marc as "the wee shredder", I can see that name sticking for a while!  

Sunday, 6 October 2013

To go tubeless or not to go tubeless, that is the question....

The thin latex layer that was as much use as an ashtray on a microlight

Clive and Baz repair the "tubeless tyre" with!

Baz's journey into the world of tubeless tyres has so far not been a roaring success, more a roar of distress. Today he pulled up with a soft rear tyre and after an unsuccessful attempt to re inflate it ended up putting a tube in. This was accompanied with the usual oaths about the quality of sealant the bike shop that did his tubeless had used. The upshot was that once we'd got back to base we did a quick jaunt into a local bike shop and discovered they had no Stans No Tubes but had some Specialised Tire Sealant. he bought this but described it later in similar terms, which I cant repeat, to the original rubbish that was in the tyre. He's now ordered the Stans from the internet so until that arrives (and works) I'll remain unconvinced about the efficiency of tubeless bike tyres!