Thursday, 31 May 2012

Out with a biker who falls off more than me!!!!

Ian in the middle of the "bike wash" prior to falling off!

Damn, I missed him falling off, he just managed to get through the water!

Mark, ogling the open water swimmers of the triathlon club!

A 24 miler last night and a bit of an eye-opener in that Ian, who's doubling up with Roger at the Glentress 7 on Saturday, manages to fall off his bike more than I do! He started off falling as he arrived at my house and somehow failed to unclip and continued to provide us with a fair bit of comedy all the way round last night!
Roll on Saturday, this is gonna be fun!!  

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Another trip up over West Kip and also Scald Law this time

Where Dougie met his Waterloo the other day!!

Them peaks in the distance are where we're heading.

On top of the first peak, West Kip.

And up the top of the next one, Scald Law.

That looks left to me.....

29.5 miles this morning for Baz and me, starting at 6am in a bit of mist but before long the sun broke through to give us another perfect day for biking. Getting a bit worried that this wont last till next weekend and the Glentress 7. 
205 miles off-road riding for me this week, time to ease off with the training for next week's event.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Average temperatures in the 70's... almost unheard of in Scotland!

The bike's taking a breather after a bit of climbing....

Clive hunting down the runners up to the summit of West Kip

Cycling the last few yards up to the top of West Kip

Photographic proof we'd made it to the top before the descent.

A week ago we were freezing, today the opposite but thankfully a cooling breeze up the top of West Kip where the the view was fantastic and Clive's vertigo was stretched to breaking point!! Had a terrific descent back down to the Howe and a 28.5 miler under our belts by the time we got home.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Warm weather at last

This guy was in too much of a hurry to stop and talk

Ian, who we met at Harelaw last night, he's doing the Glentress 7 with Mark and was getting a bit of last minute training in!

Last Saturday it was still in the low 40's Fahrenheit but this being Scotland what a difference a few days make.
Last night three of us did the "summer loop" and the temperature didn't fall below 60 Fahrenheit, which in Scotland is positively roasting! A good 26 miler last night with two small mishaps in the shape of punctures for Mark and myself.  

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Roger's new dropper seat post

Roger's bike resplendent with its new dropper seat post

The bike wash going the other way from normal

Baz, Roger and me out yesterday late afternoon with Roger sporting a new dropper seat post on his steed. This is to allegedly contribute to a new record on the descent from Maidens Cleugh to Glencorse but the banter went that if a new record is created it will be tagged with WDS (with dropper seat) as opposed to W/ODS (without dropper seat)!!
My mishap today was a broken chain, which I attempted to put down to raw power but was eventually seen to be old age (the chain not me). Today's job has been renewing the complete drive chain and after a short test ride the difference is fantastic.
We did the winter loop again yesterday and after a week of more or less continual rain halk the time we were either pedalling uphill or downhill in 2 inches of water. Drier weather, at last, forecast for this week and not before time as the Glentress 7 is only 2 weeks away.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The winter loop re-run (in the spring)

The climbing's more or less finished, time for a short break!

Three of us out last night and we decided after all the recent rain to do the winter loop and avoid the worst of the mud (and climbs!). Since I've joined "Strava" it's become a bit of a challenge to try myself out over the various segments that appear on the routes we take and last night it was the Maidens Cleugh descent to Glencorse that took our fancy. The fastest time posted was 3 minutes 8 seconds and while I was nowhere near that, Mark and Roger were pretty close to it. Roger even went as far to say that he believed he could beat 3 minutes! I'm pretty sure there's gonna be some spectacular crashes before long!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Castlelaw north climb....."the road to hell"

Baz and Clive contemplate the Castlelaw north climb, believe me it's much steeper than it looks here!

Off at 6am this morning and the weather for the time of year was its usual crap self, blowing a near gale and hovering around  40 degrees Fahrenheit. The plan was to do the much talked about (by us anyway) Castlelaw figure of eight, which involves cycling up Castlelaw from the south side swinging down round to the bottom of the north climb and cycling back up it to the top again. The north track has been recently resurfaced so on paper it seems possible but I'm beginning to have some doubts about it after today. The surface is still not compacted and on the really steep bits (there's quite a few) the loose stones cause all sorts of problems for both front and rear wheels. Add in today the fact that there was a gale force wind hitting us near face on and it became impossible to stay upright at times. Still good practise for hike a biking at events like the Tour de Ben Nevis though! At one stage on the final descent back down the south side Clive got blown off his bike, damn I never got a photo of that, I was too busy trying to stay upright myself. 25 miles this morning in weather more suitable for December.....but "we'll be back!"  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

It might not be broken but it's bloody sore!

Mark does the "bike wash"

The 2nd finger from the right is swollen to double the size.....ouch!

A good 26 miler last night up the Pentlands with Roger back from holiday over half a stone heavier and badly out of shape suffering on the climbs and even on the descents! I managed to do, what now seems my almost compulsory, over the bars at zero speed. The landing wasn't a perfect three pointer and although I didn't feel it at the time the finger swelled up later at night and throbbed continuously throughout the night.
As I'm more or less forbidden to complain about biking injuries I had to suffer in silence but thank god it's a bit better today! 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Something a bit different today.......

Outside Old Trafford in front of the statues of the three greatest players ever for Manchester United

Posing with the club mascot, "Big Red"

Baz won two tickets for a day of corporate hospitality at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, surely one of the worlds most famous football teams so the choice was.....going mountain biking up the Pentlands or taking this one in a lifetime chance to visit "The field of Dreams" (their words not mine).After about 2 seconds considering the offer we opted for Manchester, the Pentlands would still be there when we got back anyway.
The hospitality was excellent, a three course meal, a free bar which as highly trained athletes(?) we didn't abuse and a close up magician who removed a guys watch without him knowing, I could do with him on my next visit to the bike shop.
The match itself was a bit of a let down, maybe we're too used to only watching highlights on TV and not seeing the boring stuff, but the standard was way short of the Spanish teams we've been seeing lately.
Anyway back down to earth again and back on the bikes tomorrow!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The "mud maestro" comes a cropper!

A week ago I rather foolishly thought my days of coming off in muddy conditions were a thing of the past! How wrong could I be, twice again today I went over the bars into probably the muddiest spots up the Pentlands. In my defence, both times there was a stone cunningly hidden in the muck which stopped the front wheel dead making the bike stand on its head and depositing me into the mire. At least there were no injuries and we live to ride another day. Just over 27 miles today and the weather's getting colder again!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Normal weather resumes

Dougie and Mark at the top of Castlelaw climb last night.

The view today down the repaired track up the north side of Castlelaw.

Three of us went out last night and did 26.5 miles in temperatures approaching normal for the time of year for a change. The tracks are still very muddy and greasy in places and on one of the uphill tracks my front wheel sank nearly up to the axle and propelled me over the bars to Dougie and Marks amusement!
Today with the sun even coming out for about the first time in several weeks I went back up the infamous Castlelaw climb again to investigate whether the track down the north side had been surfaced well enough to make it rideable back up the way. This was answered as on my way down I passed a biker puffing and panting his way up, so next week it could be a two way Castlelaw climb, just the thing to welcome Roger back from his holiday in Mexico!