Sunday, 29 April 2012's getting colder!

Clive bites the dust at his nemesis, "the 2 mile log!)

We'd just come through a mini snowstorm at this point!

6am start this morning and when we left the house things didn't seem too cold. How wrong can you be?!! As    
soon as we gained a bit of altitude and lost any protection from the easterly wind the temperature at one point dropped below freezing and into the bargain we had a few flurry's of snow as well. After declaring himself the "Mud Master" Baz proceeded to have more offs on a muddy section than he had in the whole of the winter and I was able to announce myself as the "Mud Maestro" as I somehow or other more or less cleaned the same bit!! (That wont last long!!)  27.5 miles today and boy was I glad to get back to the house and under a hot shower!  

Thursday, 26 April 2012

This weather is diabolical!! (still a good ride though)

Four of us set off from Carlops last night with a cold east wind in our backs, went along the Roman road to West Linton and turned south into the hills that lie there (don't know their names). The weather alternated between hellish and hellishly hellish with rain that at times threatened to drill holes into our faces and parts of the tracks with nearly a foot of freezing water in places. The Garmin later showed the temperature to be just above freezing point and where this leaves the Global Warming advocates I'm buggered if I know. Anyway quite apart from that it was a bloody good 20 mile ride even if I'd have been warmer sitting at home in the fridge.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Muckmedden, if ever an event was well named it was this one!!

Shiny and clean before the start!

For a first time event it was well supported.

Baz approaching the finish line

Will the Anthem ever be the same again?!

Our first event of the year and the first time this event had been held. The venue was Pitmeddon Forest in Fife and the event was called the Muckmeddon (we should have known better with a name like that) and mucky it certainly was! Baz and I had entered the two lap race which went under the name of the "Mental Muckers", two laps of roughly nine miles each, which seems a dawdle saw the tracks!!
They started of muddy and degenerated into thick gluey muck which caused my bike to suffer severe chain suck, as did most folks, and more or less jammed the wheels as the Trek doesn't have the best of tyre clearances. After struggling round one lap and holding Baz back I retired and he bravely (or foolishly) continued on and did the two!  He said the last two hundred yards he was starting to cramp so he judged it pretty fine!
The tracks themselves are terrific and we're definitely going back to ride them............when they dry up!  

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The west end of the Pentland Hills

Roger gets ready for the maiden voyage

He's past the point of no return!

How the hell did he get through there without falling off?

Mark was less successful crossing a small ditch!

A night's riding in the west end of the Pentland Hills with Mark who stays in Carlops. Roger and I drove along there and met up with Mark who knows the tracks there and while it's not got the same energy sapping climbs of the eastern end of the hills it had its moments, like the river crossings! Mark and I opted out of an early bath and carried our bikes across but the bold Roger decided he could cycle through. After getting myself into a good position for what I thought would be a great picture of Roger coming to grief mid-stream we were a bit disappointed that he made it to the other side still upright! Mark, on the other hand had an unfortunate come off when his front wheel sank in the mud crossing a ditch and he couldn't unclip in time to fall over into the mud like a tree being felled. This was greeted with much hilarity (even by Mark) as its a badge of honour to take home with you!
17.5 miles completed and we just made it back before the heavens opened!   

Sunday, 15 April 2012

A bit of mountain biking throughout Scotland this week

Fife on Monday

Just north of Oban midweek

The Pentland Hills near Edinburgh at the weekend

Not many miles covered on the bike this week but a fair bit of travelling involved with the various locations I cycled this week. The start of the week was in Fife in the East of Scotland, by midweek we were on holiday in the West of Scotland near Oban and by the weekend I was back home and up the Pentland Hills outside Edinburgh for a final ride. Just short of 50 miles in total (I'll treat this as a rest week!) so I'll better step it up a bit this week as there's a race in Pittmedden Forest next Sunday!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Lomond Hills of Fife (and how to get slightly lost in them)

Slightly lost at this point

Mid-day meal while we contemplate where we are

Ah!!! There's West Lomond (we think)

Baz andI decided on an Easter Monday trip to Fife to do the Lomond Hills there. We found the starting point at East Lomond easily enough and soon reached the summit there. The descent back down to the track heading westwards was a bit hairy but with a bit of hike-a-bike we made it OK. We could see West Lomond in the distance through the rain, thank goodness we'd put on the rain jackets, and after a bit reached it to find ourselves in low cloud which made things a bit tricky. The next hour was spent biking over rough tussocky grass, through heather and over semi bogs till we eventually came on a track which led us to Bishop Hill. We could see where we had to get to to return but two reservoirs were in the way so a detour through a forest was the next obstacle with trees down from the New Year storms this made biking dodgy and it was some time till we came out the other side. From there it was relatively easy to get back to the car park though a final shower of hail added to the fun (?). One mishap for me was the back wheel skidding on a metal drainage channel on a climb on a rough track and going down onto the stones with a thump. Apart from a cut knee and a bruised ego there was no damage and luckily no-one to hear the colourful language that accompanied the crash.
Just over 13 miles and a route we'll try again in better weather.  

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The things you see when out on the bike!

Met these two guys out with their harrier hawks, not everyday you bump into this scenario!

Baz suffers chain suck (not haemorrhoids!!)

A Saturday ride this weekend and a meeting in the woods with two young guys out training their hawks, followed shortly afterwards with the disgusting sight of human faeces and rubbish next to a gypsy's caravan that had been parked on a bit of our route. We'll be giving that part a wide berth for a while! A couple of mishaps today, Baz had a spot of bother with chain suck and Clive lost it on a greasy, grassy descent and came off. He wasn't hurt but was a bit miffed that neither Baz or me had seen his crash, we were too busy with self preservation at the time! A 28 miler was done and the nights continue to stay lighter a bit longer.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The snow returns!

Dougie pushing through the snow

No way for me through this snowdrift!
Just Dougie and me last night (not a night for the softies!!) and the 21 miles we did consisted of a fair bit of hike-a-bike! As soon as we reached about 1000 feet altitude the snow was too deep in places to cycle but the fun bit was the descending, you just could not tell where there was a hollow or a rut making things very interesting! While this was a fun night I'll be glad to see it all away for the weekend and back to normality!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Winter aint over yet!

Demonstrating how to lift  a bike over a barbed wire fence!!

Baz manualing over an open drain. 

Clive about to go over the bars!

With snow forecast in the next few days, winter isn't over yet and when we set off at 6am this morning it was baltic with the temperature at 28 Fahrenheit. An epic was on the cards again this Sunday but we probably fell a bit short of what Baz had planned. He did the climb up Ben Lomond on Saturday which involved pushing more or less all the way to the summit and even some of the descent wasn't rideable (or so he said!).
Apart from a few minor spills things went pretty well today with just over 30 miles in total and over 3600 feet of climbing. The Kenda small block 8s were back on today and though they're pretty worn they held up well on the dry ground we've got at the moment, things could be very different by next weekend!