Sunday, 31 January 2010

Road ride today

Only a road ride to report today as all off road riding at Glentress, Innerleithen and the Pentlands is still too snowy or icebound. The morning started well with Baz discovering his rear brake was non existent so any fast descents were out of the question. As it was sections of the side roads we used had icy patches on them as well so we had to be pretty careful anyway. Apart from meeting a werewolf and discovering a previously unknown Scottish glacier it was an uneventful morning's ride.

Wolfman cyclist spotted (or is it Heilan Coo?)

This gentleman met up with us today at Roslin Glen and denied he was a werewolf, stating instead his head gear was in fact meant to resemble a Highland cow.........I'm not so sure, there's something sinister in that smile................! He did express an interest in how Andy Murray was doing however, which does seem strange for a half beast/half human, or does it?

Baz performs a bit of track standing while Clive looks on suitably unimpressed!

Yet another sign that global warming is a myth, this huge newly formed glacier at the top of Roslin Glen......... or was it just snow that had been dumped by the council on an unused stretch of road, the mystery continues..........

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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ice and slick tyres don't mix!

A lesson learned tonight. Don't be lazy and leave your slicks on if there's a remote chance you might hit ice. I did just that tonight on an exploratory ride on the local tracks to see if they were clear of ice. The answer was NO! Only about 10 yards or so mind you but enough to turn me upside down and into a fence with an almighty thump. Thank goodness for helmets. I'm too embarrassed to actually admit to anyone back home what happened but I've learned from it..........(I hope).

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The lonliness of the long distance (winter) cyclist!

Posted by PicasaAs the cycle tracks along my way are still ice and snowbound it was off to Baz's neck of the woods this morning for the first real ride of any length since the Strathpuffer. From Boness we went over the hill to Linlithgow then a fairly hard climb up past Beecraigs Park until we eventually came out at Bathgate. The higher we went the more snow we came across and one of the descents was decidedly slippy. After a succession of side roads that had me completely lost we eventually arrived back in Linlithgow and retraced our route back to Boness. Just over 24 miles and a good work out after last weeks efforts.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

How the Strathpuffer went for us.

Baz as usual drew the short straw and did the first lap, which is always the toughest, especially this year as a lot of the track still had quite deep soft snow on it. There was the traditional Strathpuffer Le Mans style sprint start to the bikes though Baz's sprint looked more of an amble as our plan was to take it easy and see how things went. When he came in after the first lap he advised me to go on his bike with the ice tyres but halfway round I was regretting this as I narrowly avoided going over the bars on one of the rocky sections. I did the next 3 laps on my trusty Trek and , much to Baz's disgust, notched up the 2 fastest lap times! Darkness seemed to arrive before we knew it and things began to get more difficult as the wee sma' hours approached, what with trying to change clothes in the car and the fact that we weren't really eating enough, (there wasn't enough time), so we eventually called a halt about 3 am.

We felt pretty low at this point but after an attempt at sleeping for about an hour and a half or so we wandered down to the event marquee where there was food available at all times and reinforced with some food and a cup of tea containing a shovelful of sugar I did another lap and felt quite good again. By this time my bike was playing up with chain suck so I had to use Baz's Trance with the ice tyres, which really came into their own as the track had now become very icy. We kept going for near enough the 24 hours and maybe could have squeezed in another lap but by this time we were both pretty knackered and called it quits.

Baz ended up doing 8 laps and I managed 7 (with the 2 fastest ones !!!!).

Don't think I'll do it again, too much organisation really needed to do it properly, but it was a fantastic experience and something I'm glad I've managed to do.

These are actually steps covered in ice and snow we had to negotiate near the end of the lap.

The 24 hours are up and the final riders are coming in.

Us at the finish trying to look bright and alert after 24 hours biking!

Posted by PicasaA set of home made spike tyres, which like most of the homemade ones failed miserably in that they contrived to puncture, usually as far away as possible!

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Strathpuffer from my viewpoint

The Strathpuffer eventually arrived after a few months of fairly hard training, the last 2 or 3 weeks being particularly hard because of the deep snow and very low temperatures, but perfect conditions for what turned out to be an epic event! We drove up on the Friday late afternoon and booked into the Conon Bridge Hotel, then up to Dingwall for what can only be described as the worlds worst fish supper. Yeuch!!! Don't ever go to Rinaldis there, I would've been better eating my cycling shoes done in a batter.
After that "delicacy" it was up to Strathpeffer itself to register for the race itself and to meet a fellow contestant from Banchory Bikes who very kindly delivered what must have been about the very last ice spike tyres in the UK for Baz's bike.
After an early breakfast on Saturday morning it was up to the event itself which is actually held near the village of Contin. We had to dig a space in the snow at the side of the first fire road climb to park the car which was to be our headquarters for the extent of the race. Bit of advice here, NEVER, repeat, NEVER, do an event in the far north of Scotland in the depth of winter using a car as a cloakroom, it is possible but only JUST!!!
Anyway the race itself was fantastic. I've just remembered that I forgot to mention that due to various reasons our original four team members now only consisted of Baz and myself. After questioning our sanity for about 2 seconds we got on with it and using the strategy of taking it easy we somehow or other got through the 24 hours and came in 19th out of 42 in the pairs category. Maybe not quite world beaters but when you've originally thought you were going to be in a team of 4 not too bad!
All in we probably had about 90 minutes sleep and not a very good sleep at that!
More later...........

Some Strathpuffer pictures

Baz digs a space, actually I did the digging but for photographic reasons he posed!!
Looking down the icy fire road to the start/finish.
Spot Baz in the Le Mans style sprint start!!
Posted by PicasaThe competitors vehicles parked up the side of the fire road.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Strathpuffer goes ahead!

The news we were all waiting on finally came through, The Strathpuffer is on. An army of hardy helpers have cleared the course, digging through four feet of snow in places, to make the event rideable. The advice is to have ice tyres available as there's ice here and there and Baz has that in hand (I hope!). If conditions are really bad we'll just have to share the bike with the spiky tyres! To celebrate the race being on I went out and did a nine and a half miler in the wet snow tonight........without spikes!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

At last, a brilliant mishap!

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To cries of "Yes, Yes" from Baz, Clive totally misjudged a tight corner in the snow, put his foot down and discovered that there was nothing under the snow and toppled over into a gorse bush which, luckily for him, prevented him from going right through the snow and into a stream! However, he very bravely lay there until I could get the camera out and photograph him in this predicament. We did consider leaving him to his fate but our kindly nature got the better of us and we hauled him out!!
At least there were no punctures today, at least not to the tyres, but maybe to Clive's posterior from the gorse bush!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

1 week till the Strathpuffer (if its still on!)

One week to go till the Strathpuffer, if it's still going ahead. The latest news is there's to be a decision made on Monday. After all my snow training I'll be slightly disappointed, to say the least, if it doesn't go ahead. We went out again, in true Captain Scott style, this morning in a snow flurry. Doing 9 miles just now must be the equivalent to at least double that in the summer! Only mishap was a puncture again, I seem to be plagued with them just now.
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Hard work in the snow

Friday, 8 January 2010

Skywatch Scotland 21

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A typical Scottish winter's sky looking east down the river Forth, is it rain or is it snow? For more skies look here.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

When 7 miles feels like 21 miles.

After a 6 inch snowfall overnight Glentress was out of the question as was the Pentland Hills routes so a local ride was the training session this morning. We did 7 miles and Clive's heart monitor read out 1700 calories burned, it must be the same as cycling through soft sand. The upside was loads of terrific photos in the clear frosty air and a lot of fun just staying upright!
The latest news on the Strathpuffer is that there's over 12 inches of snow on the course and little chance of it being gone by the time of the event which is only 2 weeks away! HEEEEEEEEEELP!!!!!!!!!

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Scenic Sunday , the snowy Pentland Hills

The snowy Pentland Hills just after sunrise this morning, pictured during a very chilly bike ride!
For more Scenic Sundays look here.
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Friday, 1 January 2010

Climate Change house comes on the market.

Posted by PicasaTo continue my derision of our Government and its obsession to tax us to death with foolish "climate change/global warming" taxes, here's a picture of one of the new low cost climate friendly houses at the official opening ceremony in Scotland today.

Hogmany bike ride in the snow

Posted by PicasaWe celebrated the year's cycling with a 19 mile bike ride in the snow along to Penicuik and back on the cycleway. There were a few minor offs and a puncture just to ensure it wasn't entirely trouble free. We got home in time for a quick shower and a visit to the party next door to bring in the New Year.
Happy New Year to anybody who happens to stray onto my blog!