Sunday 31 August 2008

Revenge on brambles

Not only are they feeding me, but i'm stopping them breeding! That's revenge for all the scratches and pain they cause me.

Saturday 30 August 2008

This is why we ride

Sunshine, a couple of hours off road, followed by bbq leftovers, cake and beer. That's Darren in his transrockies top.

Sunday 24 August 2008

Trail centre fatigue

The Wales trip took in three trail centres in the end - Afan, Brechfa and Coed y Brenin. And I'm not really sure I like them, or the concept. I've done mostly natural riding in the past so this was a bit of a change for me.

What I liked:
  • The lack of having to think about where I was going. It was just ride, ride, ride.
  • The facilities (at Afan and Coedy)
  • Something else (which I'll cover at the end...)

What I disliked:

  • The lack of having to think about where I was going. I enjoy the navigation, the getting lost, the feeling of being "out there" in the country. Following handy sign posts took all this away.
  • The facilities closing early, so when I wanted cake there was no cake to be had.
  • Riding a route that felt "built", rather than evolved. You know, that big rock is there because the trail builders thought it would be a good place to put it - not because that's where it's always been. Coedy was particularly annoying for this reason - "hey, lets put in 100 yards of medium slabby rocks contouring down the hill, not too steep, not too varied". Yes, but very very dull after the first 10 yards. I can ride the 10 yards fine, it wasn't fun or exciting, why continue for another 90?
  • Big gangs of people being out, who all disappeared when it started raining. Thinking about it, the cafe was packed at about 1pm. We did a shortish trail 1.30 - 2.30 (where there were loads of people about), then a longer one 2.30 - 4. We didn't see anyone on the second trail, apart from one bloke taking a short cut back because his leg was leaking. Where did everyone go? Did they, and their bikes disolve? Were they really made of sugar?

Now, the "something else" that I liked is sort of against what I said about not liking the "built" feel of the trails. I liked Brechfa Blue - and this was the most obviously man-made trail we did. It was to mountain biking what a velodrome is to road cycling. Surfaced, swoopy, jumpy and not trying to be "natural" or "blend in". Jon called it a big BMX track, and that's a great description. It was all the better for not pretending to be something it wasn't.

Plus the little shop in Brechfa sold brilliant cheese.

So, if you are going to Wales, go to Brechfa - buy a picnic from the little shop and ride the big BMX track.

Saturday 16 August 2008

After last nights curry...

I'm going have to have something vaguely healthy for breakfast. Although it appears the pic is upside down. Bit rainy today and my bike is a bit broken, so there is a plan to possibly sit in the cafe while bike is getting fixed. And watch the lympics.

Friday 15 August 2008

Best shop in the world

Little shop, brechfa. Amazing selection for the self assembly picnic.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Trail food

Two trails down, lunch time now. Jacket served the correct way, beans then cheese.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Since 24/12 I have been mostly cycling

I sort of promised myself some time off after 24/12, to have a bit of a play on the bike and generally relax a bit. Thing is, I've entered another 12 hour solo so it was back to crating and following a training plan again. I had a hard week last week, including being back in the garage on the turbo trainer. It still hurts so much more than riding a real bike in real life. I managed to cram seven bike rides and three gym sessions in to seven days. Yesterday was a well deserved rest day (so only a gym session), and today I'm saving myself... for Wales.

That's right, off to wet wet wet Wales for four days of riding trail centres. I thought it was about time I visited some and managed to convince a couple of other to come along. I'm looking forward to it, with a minor amount of trepidation about falling off and trying to remember to treat it as a holiday rather than a race.

On the subject of races, Darren is now in Canada, two stages down on the Transrockies... best of luck for the rest of the race!