Sunday, 27 January 2019

Trying out flats to try and regain my confidence

After my big off I lost a fair bit of confidence in my ability to get a foot down when things get a bit tricky, so in an effort to counter this I've bought a pair of flats to see if this will help.So far I've not invested in a pair of matching shoes relying instead on an old pair of tatty trainers to do the job. I've not had an occasion to really find out if they'll do the business yet, but who knows, it might happen on the next ride!

A slight covering of snow when I was out on Monday, just look at that sky!

A great view from the top of Capelaw of the Pentland Skyline

In contrast yesterday could only be described as DREICH!!
A strong wind and rain the whole way round the Winter Loop!

A bit of illegal wild flower snaffling today! I like to think I'm saving them from probable global warming for future generations to view in my garden!!

Monday, 21 January 2019

The Strathpuffer from a support crew perspective

Dougie's been training for the Strathpuffer 24 hour race which is held in mid winter near Strathpeffer in the north of Scotland ever since he entered at the beginning of July 2018. This is rated in the top 10 endurance mtb races in the world and he entered the solo category which meant a bit of help during the race was more or less essential whether it be help to keep the bike wheels turning, having food read when he passed or merely to offer encouragement throughout the race. Dylan and I offered to be pit crew and while it hardly rates with formula one expertise it is quite important especially for a soloist.We probably weren't the most professional pit crew there as we were fast asleep two times when he came round but  our excuse was it was so cold outside the van, nearly -9C, that sitting waiting for his next visit in the middle of a very long night in a comfy heated van, it was quite difficult to avoid grabbing forty winks!

A break in the journey north near Newtonmore and a Highland Cow made out of metal shakes its head in disbelief  about the conditions that Dougie's going to be racing in.

After arriving at the race venue the next step was to pick a suitable spot on the fire road on the first climb as our pit stop, so this was deemed about as good as it was going to get, all the plum spots had alread been occupied by earlier arrivals

They're off and Dougie is in there somewhere in the 400 odd starters in the different categories, solo, pairs, quads, and u16 school teams made up of 8 riders.

Dougie's first lap completed in glorious sunshine but the temperature remained below freezing throughout the day, the course itself was reckoned to be one of the hardest ever with ice from start to finish a constant hazard.

The final descent before dibbing at the time check at the bottom of the course before the next lap was started.

An essential addition to any pit crew is a good source of external heat and Dylan had brought his trusty fire pit with him as well as what remained of his upgraded house bathroom as fuel!

Some of the racers pits were decorated with flashing fairy lights, ours was pretty basic in comparison!

2.30am, it was going to be a long, long night, daylight wouldn't be till around 8.30 am

Dougie finishes his final lap and I nearly missed it with the camera, numerous crashes, a very sore body but a fantastic achievement, 24 hours of virtually non stop pedalling on a treacherous icy track competing against some of the top endurance bikers in Britain and a few from abroad.

Proudly wearing his Strathpuffer T shirt, (and probably freezing as well now) along side his pit crew  more sensibly dressed in about 10 layers of clothing!! A tremendous result for Dougie, 10th out of 123 solo riders with 19 laps on what was considered to be one of the toughest Puffer races ever, is this the start of an endurance race career? He wouldn't commit to that yesterday but in a few days time......who knows!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

How far, how much climbing and how long will my ebike battery last?

Barrie's been keen ever since I got the ebike to see how much we could get out the battery, or actually to see if he could manage to drain it completely and make me cycle a very heavy bicycle with no electrical assistance. So on Saturday morning we set off to discover if it could manage to do the climb to the top of Glentress then cycle to Innerleithen, bike up to Minch Moor and round the cross country track there and return to Peebles on a single 500W battery.
My theory was if I did as much possible in the lowest mode (eco) I'd manage to preserve as much life as possible and avoid the dreaded un-assist bike back to the car!

One of the steepest climbs at Glentress and I scooted ahead to save time and power and enjoyed seeing Barrie struggle up on manual power!

Time for a quick worried looking selfie at the mast at the top of Glentress and I was 2 bars out of 5 energy bars down on the ebike display!

Most of the trip to Innerleithen was downhill so very little battery energy was used up on the journey, this was a luxurious country house we biked past which has been converted into a retreat for the ultra rich. Don't think we'll be spending a holiday here somehow....

Another enjoyable moment for me watching Barrie struggle up another steep climb, this time on the way up to Minch Moor!

We reached the summit at Innerleithe and I was down to 2 bars left on the display but at least on the descent back down I wouldn't  use too much ebike energy up so by the time we got back down for the ride along the side of the River Tweed to Peebles I still had one bar left and felt confident enough to enjoy the final 6 miles into a headwind on a higher assistance mode! 
We managed nearly 35 miles and over 4000 feet of climbing with probably about another 5ish miles left in the battery, an interesting experiment and good to know what the ebike's capable of. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

He's back!!! Clive's return to mountain biking......

We began to think Clive had gone into hibernation or had forgotten how to ride his bike but like the phoenix he's come back to climb the hills again! Admittedly he's been busy with work these last few months and the weather's not been the best either, but it was good to get out in the hills with him today and I think he even surprised himself with how well he did considering his recent lack of biking, it'll only be a matter of time till he's wanting to add on additional bits to our weekend rides!

Look... he's already photo bombed me in this picture!!