Wednesday, 11 January 2017

it's all gone a bit John Wyndham

i pedalled today into Midwich and heard the cuckoos, thankfully they couldn't read my thoughts and all was well if just a little spooky
ride 2
27 miles
total 33

mid week delight

cold but dry solo pedal around the lanes and canals of the local area. sometime solo is the best, gives you time to reflect and plan. i reflected a lot but future planning took a back seat today
ride 2
27 miles
total 33

Monday, 2 January 2017

1 down....

Ist ride of the year and I hope the rest aren't this cold!. the over night rain froze and made conditions very tricky. It was safer off road than on. ice cream headaches on descents were the order of the day as was sideways motion on roots and anything off camber.
not the fastest ride and not the longest but a solid base to build on
ride 1
11 miles

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 ends

So this is the last ride of 2016 and the saddest ride of the year and my life, family bereavement is not good at anytime but seems amplified in the festive period. tears don't freeze by the way.
so riding this year has overall been disappointing, the first half of the year was affected by the time constraints and lack of commuting opportunities of my old job. the second half has been better as I've changed jobs which has given me more time but a knee injury in the middle of the summer stopped me riding for over three weeks which was very frustrating and knocked my mileage down considerably.
highlights of the year were the 24-12 24 hour race near Plymouth in July and the Global fat bike day in Surrey in December. In both the riding was good but it was made outstanding by the friends I rode with and I want to make this a theme of my riding in 2017. Quality and to not stress about lack of quantity, to ride when I want to rather than because i think i need to.
Also I've been lucky enough to be asked to be an ambassador for Pearl Izumi clothing and Rad8 MTB glasses in 2017. I'm also pleased to be supported again by Mudhugger mudguards and Beerbabe.co.uk who have gone the extra mile for me in 2016 and also a special mention to MTBBatteries who also look after me when they have no other reason to other than being really cool people.
ride 119
19 miles
total 2510

and so to the totals for 2016. this is the first year I've logged every ride on strava so can accurately measure both fun and commuting rides
Rides: 230
Fun: 2510 miles
Commute: 1494 miles
Total: 4004 miles

Thursday, 29 December 2016

post Christmas excess ride

It seems ages since i last threw a leg over my bike, it's actually only been two days but those two days have been full of food, drink and laziness and that really showed on this ride. I'm also the heaviest I've been for three years which also doesn't help on the climbs. I'm going to do something about that from now on. I need to because I seem to be riding with younger people these days, at least 21 years younger! this isn't giving my ego any sort of boost but I hope it'll improve my fitness I suppose i should point out that they were on regular mountain bikes and i was on my my fat bike but I don't want to use that as an excuse as it hasn't been a factor in the past.
It all sounds very depressing reading that back but in fact it was a very enjoyable ride and we showed our trails off to a couple of riders who haven't seen them before, i think they enjoyed it.
so it's coming to the end of another year of doing this blog, there are going to be a few life changes in the coming weeks, some bad and some good and I'm going to try and keep positive whatever happens.
ride 118
15 miles
total 2491

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Howard's way

Picture By Liz Monk via Howard's phone

This was the ride after the night before. A few of us visited the Frankfurt christmas market in Birmingham yesterday and were feeling a little worse for wear as we met for today's ride. a few head aches and dodgy tums made the climb up too the church with less than the normal enthusiasm. we thought it best to "session" some trails instead of go for a long ride but even that didn't help the queasiness. so inevitably we made our way to Lizzie's for tea, cake and maybe some sympathy for being middle aged and not being able to recover like we did in our 20's
the calories somehow worked and we left with renewed vigor (ok, a massive sugar rush) and howard said he new of a "prettier" way to get back to the top of the hill so he lead the way via the Chadwick estate. we had to negotiate some bulls a couple of styles and joined up with the stoney sunken bridleway which leads to Waseley visitor centre. much better than the steep tarmac climb! on strava this segment is called "Howards way", now as there are no boat designers on this route (google it kids) I'm wondering if Howard had named it in his own honour? it's fitting though as he did show us the way!
back over waseley and then the steep climb back to the top of Lickey and everyone seemed to have shuck off the lethargy of the night before...or maybe it was because it was all downhill to the finish? whatever, it was a great ride and the nest hangover cure out there.
ride 117
13 miles
total 2476

Plus Russ

As Russ is still without MTB after his was stolen, i lent him the Cotic. I think it was his first time on a fully plus bike having only ridden a converted hybrid before. He seemed to take to it like a duck to water. I did have to remind him that it has a dropper post though as he's so used to a normal post. conditions were best described as "greasy" but the fatter tyres and Russ coped well with it, even "bus stop" proved a breeze. we rewarded ourselves with cake of course. i hope i haven't spoiled Russ's future bike by initiating him into the way of the chubby
ride 116

13 miles
total 2463

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

what not to do

when your colleague tells you he's carved some new trails don't head into them at full speed fully committed, trusting his skills as a builder as inevitably there will be a slimy shiny root across the steepest and tightest of the corners and not even the normally awesome grip of the fat tyre will safe you from an embarrasing dive into the loam which will always be captured by the guy who is riding with you!

Only kidding Alex, it's a great trail with lots of potential, thanks for all your hard work so far....if you could sort that root though :-)
ride 115
11 miles
total 2450

Trek Fuel EX8 2017

i was lucky enough to have a test ride on a brand new 2017 Trek Fuel EX8 today. this is Treks "trail" bike with 130mm of travel from front and rear Fox suspension, 29" wheels, Shimano XT gearing and a KS dropper post.
the alloy frame isn't the lightest compared to a carbon frame but compared to the fat bike i'm used to riding it's a skinny light weight. Also skinny are the rims and tyres, again in comparison to a fat bike. I'm sure anyone riding a normal bike wouldn't find the 2.4" Bontrager tyres skinny at all but it was disconcerting looking down at the front wheel at what looked like a road tyre compared to the plus rubber I'm used to.
After the ride i recently did at Cannock chase and commented on the braking bumps and how they had battered me on a HT with rigid forks i thought the ideal way to test this bike would be to do the same ride again and see if the suspension made that much of a difference.
well, i have to say it did, but not in the way i was expecting. Yes, i got over 15 personal records (PR's) on strava, mostly on the downhills but it was the transitional stages, the flatter bits between the climbs and descents that are stoney and rough enough for me to need to stand up on my normal bike and absorb the roughness through my legs and arms that made the biggest difference for me. i was able to sit down, let the bike smooth this out and pedal a lot faster than before. I was able to carry this speed into the little rises along the trails and the whole thing flowed a lot better. by the end of the ride there was non of the usual back ache and this and of course the downhill performance would be why I'd recommend this bike. it's probably the best riding full suspension bike i've ridden to date and i've had my fair share.
ride 114
21 miles
total 2439

Global Fat bike Day


once again Dan and I made our way down to the Surrey hills to Meet with Judy and Roy from beerbabe.co.uk/ who had organised the event.
Last year was quite low key, fat bikes were popular but they hadn't really gone mainstream and the choice of bike being ridden was limited to the few niche or enlightened companies who were producing one at the time. This year there were twice the amount of riders (maybe more actually) some of who were riding last year. You can certainly tell that fat biking has got more popular as there were a lot more pimpier bikes than last time, gone were the entry level bikes for the majority and they were replaced with lightweight alloy and carbon exotica. there is always an exception to the rule though with the stand out bike being the hand build bamboo fatty. there was also a throw back to the past with a guy riding one of the very first fat bikes ever, a frame built by wildfire bikes which he used onthe Alaska Ultra race which was very interesting to look at and see the evolution since the early 2000's
this years route was a lot more sandy and we started at Frensham Ponds, there was some sweet singletrack, a few small hills, lots more sand. ford and river crossings and the obligatory visit to Frensham Brewerry for a pint and a sausage roll.
this years weather couldn't have been better and a marked contrast to last years high winds, all in all another very enjoyable day
ride 113
25 miles
total 2418