Sunday, 30 May 2010

A slight touch of amnesia today!

Twice today we lost our way on the Pentland Hills. The first time there was no excuse as we'd done the route at least three times before but somehow or other we managed to go astray on the journey over to Nine Mile Burn. After a bit of scrabbling about we did eventually get back on course and arrived there. The next part of the route back over was a first time and was up by Spittall Farm. The climb from the farm up over was a killer and Clive's chain fell victim to the tough going (as well as Baz's stomach!) but after two enforced pit stops we got on our way again. The second time we lost our way was down to me forgetting where I'd been last Tuesday night with a riding buddy who showed me some new tracks to try. We went down a couple of wrong tracks before we resorted to looking at a map and figuring out the correct direction. Much derision was heaped on me but I pleaded insanity (or was it old age) . The climbs and descents were well worth the wait and even if time ruled out a final climb today we still managed nearly 40 miles. An epic day's riding!

This is the start of one very tough climb over the Pentlands.

It's hard going on a sheep track!!

A stunning view over Edinburgh on the final descent of the Pentlands today.

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Culross and the Kincardine Bridges.

Over to West Fife and Culross today for a spin on the Fife Coastal Path. When we arrived the heavens opened and it looked like the journey had been in vain. However after eating all the sandwiches in the car the rain stopped and it dried up. We cycled round Preston Island first, which surprisingly is no longer an island having been joined up to the shore with ash from the nearby Longannet power station. See here.

We then went west on the cycle path to Kincardine and cycled over the old bridge to the south side of the Forth before returning to the north side again by the new bridge and then back east along a path to Kincardine once again. By this time we were regretting having eaten all the grub and were glad to eventually arrive back at the car in Culross!

The day was finished off with a fish supper at Alari's in Dunfermline, I sure know how to treat a lady!!!

The start at the south end of the newest bridge over the River Forth at Kincardine, rather un-originally named the Clackmannanshire Bridge!

A view of the new bridge with one of the gigantic pylon in the background which carries thr power cables over the Forth.

The old Kincardine Bridge, originally a swing bridge, which now carries only a fraction of the traffic it used to.

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One of the plaques on Preston Island.

The remains of the salt panning works on Preston Island.

The plaque showing how the buildings used to be.

The plaque explaining the method of obtaining the salt.

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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Four times and 50 miles over the Pentland Hills today.

We set off at 5.20 am this morning to try our ambitious (for us!) attempt at crossing back and forward over the Pentland Hills four times and still be back home in time for breakfast! Well we did manage though breakfast was a little later than usual at 11.15 am but conditions couldn't have been better. The ground was firm and dry, unlike Fort William last week, and the temperature hadn't really risen too high that early in the morning. The final ride down to Flotterstone and from there to Penicuik was welcome though after all the climbing and we finished off by taking my new route home through Bilston Wood with its tree houses which are still inhabited by a motley bunch who originally built them when there was a threat the woods were to be cut down. A steep chute more or less finishes off the route though we had to bike around a bit to get the final mileage up to 50!!!

The 2nd crossing of the Pentlands today.

The lonely road to nowhere!

Baz fords the burn.

One of the tree houses in Bilston Woods.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Ten under the Ben, looking back on it........

The Ten under the Ben race started with a Le Mans style sprint to the bikes for the first lap this year, the contenders for the fastest teams going for glory while the rest ran at a more leisurely pace! Baz did the first lap as my days of 100 metre sprints have long passed and did a quick first lap. When he came in and we swapped the timing chip I set off and did what was to be my fastest lap of the day as the weather slowly deteriorated with heavy rain and even sleet at one point making the single track through the wooded sections cut up really badly. One thing we have to get right for our next event is the food we eat through the day of the race! Drinking canned vanilla flavoured, vitamin and protein enriched milk may be all right for a weightlifter but it does your stomach no favours on a rough cross country bike track! In fact Baz, after over dozing on a couple of the cans, had spent a good twenty minutes of his lap off seated on a portaloo!!

At the time it seemed like misery personified but looking back now it was great fun and the fact we came second in our class and won a small trophy helped as well. Roll on Ten more in Moray in August!!!

The leaders in the Le Mans style sprint start, sadly no sign of Baz!

Some of the crowd at the start of the event, before the rains came down..........

A proud Baz at the finish with the miniatures of whisky each competitor got from main sponsors Benromach.

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Monday, 17 May 2010

The gazebo and the worlds worst toaster

The gazebo was a great success. We managed to erect it between two large metal containers which we anchored it to or it would have taken off . It did actually try to in the middle of the night but I was sleeping in it to escape Bazs' coughing and I managed to grab a leg and pull it back to earth!

A picture of what must be the worlds worst toaster, which even after 20 minutes could only produce a small patch of yellow on each bit of bread, not what I was told when I bought it!
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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ten under The Ben, at last some success!!!!!

Posted by PicasaAt last our team, Half Deid, has achieved success, albeit only partial! Last year in the same race we came third in our class and this year after a magnificent (?) team effort we managed second. The team name certainly reflects the way I feel today, the conditions yesterday could only be described as fairly horrific with a cold gusty wind and frequent sleety/rain showers. The course cut up really badly in the wooded sections and I've never seen so many exposed roots in my life!
More some other night as I'm still too knackered!
(that's the trophy we got by the way, sought after far and wide!!)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Usual pre race mishaps!

Any upcoming event wouldn't be the same for us without the usual bike breakdowns and near disastrous crashes. On Tuesday night I went into a tricky bit of the track through Bluebell Wood just a bit on the fast side the rear wheel went up, the bike stood still and over I went to land on my side/back on a large sharp log of wood. On Wednesday night Baz decided to finish off his ride with a spectacular descent of some wooden logs (the fool), caught his baggy shorts on the front of the saddle with the result he couldn't get his weight over the back of the bike. Needless to say he did a head plant into one of the logs, bust his new helmet, bent his front brake lever and nearly broke his wrist along with numerous other scrapes and bruises! I've no sympathy, I've warned him about these baggy shorts for a long time!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway it's off tomorrow afternoon to Fort William to acquire some more bruises............

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

4000 miles up on the bike computer!

4001 miles to be exact! I actually must have passed the 4k mark a week ago as the computer wasn't working a while back and I must have missed between 50 and 100 miles, but that's it official now and done in just over a year with about 75% of it being off road. One more ride tomorrow night then Baz will come on Thursday night to collect my bike and all my clobber to meet up with me on Friday afternoon near Kinross when we set off for Fort William and the Ten Under the Ben race on Saturday. Fingers crossed, but the bike's going really well!!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Surprises at Glentress

Another go at posting the two pictures I took last night showing the snow still making parts of the Black Route still unrideable high up. The short cut round the fire road to avoid Deliverance and Redemption was well and truly closed as well but this time with fallen trees as a result of last month's storms.

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Thursday, 6 May 2010

New nearly everything!!

Posted by PicasaWhy does my bike fall to bits as soon as an event is imminent? With the Ten Under the Ben only just over a week away, pictured above is everything (I think and hope) that I've had to replace in the last week or two. The cost doesn't bear thinking about, but there's not much point in turning up with a bike that wont go anywhere! If I was an MP I'd put it on expenses but as a mere mortal I'll just have to keep the other half from finding out the true cost!!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The infamous Red Flash!!!!!

Posted by PicasaClive in action before his arms, wrists and hands succumbed to fatigue!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Red Flash makes a comeback!

The three of us, Baz, Clive and myself set off at 5 a.m. this morning for Innerleithen and a slightly different route for a change. Due to Clive's number one bike, a Kona, being out of action due to a front fork under repair, his old work bike the Giant XTC was called into action. It was quickly renamed the Red Flash ( for no real reason!), but performed admirably on the rough track conditions we encountered today, although Clive will probably take a few days to recover any feeling in his arms, wrists and hands as the forks were not really up to it!
With the Ten Under The Ben race only two weeks away my bike as usual before an event manages to come up with one problem after another but a mixture of foul language and ingenuity usually manages to overcome them!