Wednesday, 30 December 2015

What a year that was!

2nd last ride of 2015 and I'd manage to reach 5500 miles for the year and Kathy produced some numbered candles to mark the occasion, I can now reveal that when she handed me the number 5, I thought it was a cake and nearly took a bite out of it!

Baz getting back into some mountain biking again after snapping both achilles back in June, it's been a long haul but he's getting there.

This photo was taken just a day or so before Baz had his accident, good job you don't know what's just round the corner sometimes.

Stolen in September by some slime bag from my garage, a lot of good rides and memories on this bike which I'd built up myself.

Slime bag stole this one at the same time, chained to the other one with a motor bike security chain, I'd done the Strathpuffer on this little beauty!

The theft of my two 26ers had one good result however, I replaced them with an Anthem 29er and never looked back, 29ers were built to ride the Pentland Hills on!

First snow of the winter in November, but it didn't last long

Kathy, who I've done a lot of biking with this year, full of fun, full of energy and going to leave me in her wake before too long, hope to do a lot more in 2016!

One of my favourite bits of track in the Pentland Hills, especially on a day like this.

A long week-end in Northern Ireland with Mark, Dougie, Dylan and Neil and more alcohol consumed than can possibly be good for anyone, but a laugh a minute!

Christmas Day up the Pentlands with Clive Kathy and Graeme, which was very appropriate as I spend nearly every day up there!
2015 has come and nearly gone, if 2016 is half as good it'll be fantastic, what I look forward to next year is Baz back to full fitness, more biking with Clive, Dougie, Mark and Marc and more Pentathons with Kathy! Happy New Year! 

Friday, 25 December 2015

Mountain biking with a bit a bit o' alcohol thrown in, not really recommended, but good fun at Christmas!

Out with Clive on Tuesday afternoon and we refuelled with some mini stollen bites!

Christmas Day and what better way to celebrate than a bike ride up into the hills with Clive, Kathy and Graeme on a crisp December day.

We've reached the snow line, for what it's worth, and our destination is the top of that hill on the right of the photo, so a bit more climbing to do yet!

Nice and toasty after the climb up Castlelaw!

Destination reached, the top of Allermuir and to meet up with members of Carnethy Hill Runners club to celebrate Christmas day.

Kathy and Graeme are both members of Carnethy Hill Runners who apparently celebrate each Christmas Day with a run to Allermuir summit in the |Pentland Hills, so what better way to celebrate with them than biking up instead of running up, anyway my hips aren't into running up hills now!
We actually were the first to arrive but were soon joined with a crowd of fit hill runners some of whom were wearing very short shorts, I'm still shivering thinking about them. There were copious amounts of alcohol being shared around, brandy, whisky,port, mulled wine and what Clive and me,at least voted the best, raspberry vodka, a dangerous combination which makes vodka taste like a soft drink! It took me all my time to stagger back to my bike after sampling each of them, some more than once (especially the raspberry vodka)! The descent back down Allermuir was a bit hazy and I managed to fall off the bike once or twice on the return ride home but put that down to ground conditions rather than over consumption of the demon drink. A great mornings' ride and a great way to celebrate Christmas Day! 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Bazs' fight back to fitness continues

This was Baz 6 months ago, both achilles snapped, sewn back on to his calf muscles again and consigned to wearing moon boots for about 7 weeks, he'd have been better with broken legs!

Friday morning and it's Bazs' first ride back up the Pentlands, admittedly not a tough one but still 1k feet of climbing, we're getting there slowly but surely!

This morning, Sunday, and we go a little further but not too far! Don't want the same thing to happen again!
It's been a long 6 months for Baz since he somehow or other managed to snap both achilles simultaneously while playing badminton, quite an achievement apparently doing both at the same time. Now he's back on the bike again, the badminton racquets having been binned and slowly trying to build up his calf muscles which presently resemble a pair of water filled balloons. Another 2 months should see a big difference and we'll start to go off road and on to the harder stuff again.  

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Years target reached!

The Forth Road Bridge which is currently being stitched back together again with Meccano and Lego. Just this side of it is the new bridge which should be open in 2016 as long as it doesn't develop any faults before then! Maybe we should start on another bridge in a couple of years just in case. The old railway bridge has now been working away for about 150 years which just goes to show how the builders then failed to realise that a new bridge every few years could help to solve the unemployment problem in Scotland.....

Sunday morning and its -4 C but the view is stunning from the top of the shelter belt

Clive and me trying to look warm (and failing)

Baz casts his engineers eye over the car less Forth Road Bridge as he tries to come up with a solution to its problem that wont cost any more than £3 trillion.

Kathy looks down at what appears to be molten marmalade but is in fact the overflow from Threapmuir Reservoir as a result of last weekends torrential rain.

The years target of 5200 miles has come and gone, passed last Wednesday afternoon. Mishap of the week has to be the Garmin starting to play up and refusing to upload its data, that's going to get a serious talking to or it's in the bin!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Best ride for weeks, thanks to Storm Desmond!

After a day and a half of heavy rain courtesy of a storm rather politely named "Desmond" (Dirty Dick would have been more apt in my opinion) the usually mild mannered stream coming down the valley up from the Howe had been transformed into a raging torrent threatening to carry away the bridge Clive was rather dangerously posing on!

We can usually bike across at this point but today we decided on the "up round the side" option.

The waterfall down from the moor where the stream/river originates was at its most spectacular today.

This is the overflow from Threapmuir Reservoir where we normally cycle through at the most, about 3 inches of water, it was nearer 3 feet deep today!

The waterfall just up from Flotterstone was doing a mini Niagra impersonation today, complete with spray haze! 

One of the best rides we've ever done for shear interest today, with floods, rapids, waterfalls and good weather as well for a change. After a lot of photo stops it was never going to be a fast one but maybe now the weather will dry up a bit, the last week or two's been a bit OTT on the rainy side. The 100 mile target was met again this week with just over 3 miles to spare, at one stage it looked a bit dodgy!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Made the 5K miles for the year, now for the 5.2K.....

For the second week running Kathy and I met these two ladies on their horses, last week the camera battery was flat so I had to get a picture this time. Seems just too easy to sit on a horse and get carried around and it must be colder as well, at least in the cold weather some hard biking keeps you warm, but they both looked happy on their magnificent steeds!

Coming up the valley from the Howe is more like cycling up a river at present!

The top of Maidens Cleugh and there's a bit of wet snow lying, but by this time the sun was shining and the views were terrific.

Kathy took this photo of me trying my best to replicate the standard pictures printed in mountain bike magazines, the bike tipped to one side and a crazy grin on the riders face!

The 5K miles target has been passed now so its the last 200 miles for the weekly average of 100 miles for 2015 that's now on the agenda, barring any major mishaps or serious snowfall that should be achieved before the end of December, but as Robert Burns warned:- "The best laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley" or in English, don't count your chickens etc.!