Sunday 28 September 2008

Friday 26 September 2008

Why is bike DIY better than house DIY?

I really, really find house DIY tedious, stressful and pointless. It does nothing for me. My total DIY efforts in 5 years have been

  • Fixing some concealed bolts on the door between the house and garage
  • Putting up some shelves in the garage
  • Putting up lots of hooks in the garage
  • Fixing the back gate
  • Fixing the front door lock
  • Filling a few cracks in the plaster

Now, half of those relate to the garage - where bike fettling takes place. So if I find house DIY so difficult to get started, how can I spends hours in the garage stripping and servicing hubs, tweaking derailieurs, lining up brake hoses, replacing suspension linkages....? Maybe I'm addicted to the smell of GT85 in the morning.

Thursday 25 September 2008

This time next year I'd like to be...

...a vaguely qualified MTB guide. I've started by registering with Scottish Cycling on the SMBLA scheme, and I've read some of the manual. I've even got three friends who are interested too, and someone (who isn't me) to pay for the first course. Next is to assemble 20 logged rides (i.e. rides that I've written down), book on a course and go along. Oh, and I'm already a qualified first aider, paid for by work, which is nice.

On a completely different note I spent today visiting a call centre. As well as being astounded by how knowledgable and skillful these people were, I noticed that there were lots of large people. I'm not sure if this is because

  • they spend most of their working lives sitting down


  • it was an area of the country that has "larger" people

All I can say is the restaurant attached to the hotel was and "all you could eat" and packed out on a Wednesday night.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Sunday 14 September 2008

Saturday 13 September 2008

Wednesday 10 September 2008

And it was...

The Friday before the event it rained and rained and rained. Proper "lead item on the news" kind of rain. This didn't fill me with hope, and I changed my plans from camping from the Friday to driving down on the Saturday. I'd heard that the course would hold up relatively well to the rain (compared to say, a giant sandcastle) but I still wan't brimming with keenness.

Saturday morning was slightly better and I arrived about 8am to meet Jackie and Nick (pit bitch #1). We soon had the super-gazebo up and there was a fairly relaxed pre-race few hours, with a bit of a test ride. The course was rideable, we did the first couple of singletrack sections which turned out to be the hardest of the whole lap.

Then the rest arrived - Jon and Phill riding as a pair, Caroline riding solo and Caroline's assistant Tessa (I'm not sure if it's quite correct to call a girl a pit bitch). Start time came around and off we went.

Things started reasonably, I was going too fast as usual at the beginning and rode round with Jackie for a lap or so - not deliberately, we were just doing the same speed. I stopped on the first lap to help Jon, who had a puncture and had forgotten how to use a bicycle pump. The were the usual chats with the usual people, including one guy on a singlespeed who I've only ever spoken to at events, mainly whilst riding. The track was just starting to dry... and then it rained. All got a bit gloopy then, especially in a couple of sections which were total slurry pits. I'm sure I saw the top of some guy's helmet just breaking the surface - he must have hit the deep bit.

About the start of lap 7 (about 7.5 hours in) something went ping. And not in a good way, in a "hmm, that was something fleshy breaking" way. Thing was, it only really hurt under power, just above my left knee. Normal pootling was fine (which was 96% of the time by now) but any kind of burst, e.g. getting out of a dangerously deep slurry pit, caused some real "oweeeee" moments. I was really in two minds whether to carry on, but my natural cowardliness won in the end and I quit at the end of the seventh lap (about 8.5 hours in).

It was a really brutal course in the end - no real respite because it was fairly flat, so no long downhills. There were a few people who just keeled over in the woods for a bit of a sleep, and a few more who were still moving but had lost all sense of reality. Great atmosphere though - I was even asked if I was OK when I stopped for a piss. Fine thanks, I'm quite good at it by now.

Jackie ran out of gas at 7 laps too (considering she did the Transrockies a couple of weeks before, I'm not surprised), Phill and Jon managed 11 laps between them, and Caroline did brilliantly, keeping riding til the end and putting in 8 laps. All in all - a tough, worthwhile event.

My next challenge will be a 13 hour blindfolded singlespeed ride.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Another event

Another attempt at 12 hours... Could be rainy.