Sunday, December 29, 2013

A wee mess about pre-work

As I was working this afternoon, and it was a nice crisp day, I decided to take the new bike up to some wee local trails and see how it felt after making some adjustments to the suspension and cockpit set up. What a difference, although I'm looking forward to getting the right rear wheel fitted after it comes back form the shop. I'll have to do a bit of tinkering with the shock set up yet, but the bike was far, far better than it was last time at North Third. 

Looks better with a bit of mud on it, too!.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A wet, wild struggle

Today was the only day I could ride this week, as it's been family time over Christmas, and work calls tomorrow and Sunday, so face the weather we did. Robin and myself met up with Aron and Charlie at cambusbarron to ride the trails at North third reservoir. It was pretty wild all day, with a Robin nearly being blown off his bike at one point, whilst we were crossing the dam wall at the head of the reservoir, indeed, the reservoir was more like a raging sea than an inland water.

I had the new bike out for its first outing, and as there was an issue with my back wheel, I borrowed a wheel from young Lloyd, and I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but Jesus! Those minion dhf dual ply tyres are unbelievably draggy and slow, I felt as if I was towing Des along behind me the whole way. My rear brake was dragging a little too, so I understandably struggled to keep up with the others. I've not really looked at shock and fork settings and pressures yet, so I'll need to get on with that as it felt incredibly slack. Not enough air in the rear and too much in the forks, aligned to a massive front tyre meant I was too far back for the whole ride. I've a feeling the hans dampf tyres may be swapped out, but I'll give them another chance, once I get the rear wheel sorted.

Going down hill was a different matter, very confidence inspiring and I'm looking forward to some big days in the mountains on it!.

We have friends coming for dinner and drinks on Saturday night, but I may try and get a sneaky morning ride in before work on sunday...

Monday, December 23, 2013


When I was a wee lad, I always enjoyed Christmas Eve more than the day itself, as I always thought it was a more magical day. I think this was down to the anticipation, what would santa bring?, would I see his sleigh?, all these things were very exciting for a young lad.

Well, anticipation is still a magical thing, even as I creep toward my 39th year!. As some of you may know, I've waited over 10 months for a certain big bouncy bike frame to come. Last month, I gave up the chase, a man can only wait so long...

So, I went for something else, something I hadn't even really considered before, indeed I even surprised myself a little. I got the phone call today, from the local bike shop 'Big fella! your frame is here! come and get it'. I had the Christmas food shopping to do first, so I flew round and got everything we needed, and headed up the A77 to the shop. You can imagine the disbelief when Dave told me that they'd sent the wrong one, the 29" wheeled version instead.... Oops.

So, I thought this was going to be like Christmas Day today, only to be disappointed by a wee clerical error, but not to worry, the replacement has been dispatched and I'm assured it will arrive tomorrow.

I've been given another Christmas Eve, I can feel the anticipation building, like a young 5 year old Bowser, waiting for the big day....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

This is the path?


After Robin and I getting a wee bit lost in the Carrick hills last time, I decided to head up and stick to the path this time. Robin had called off, as his cat was unwell, and Des is in the middle of his winter hibernation, so I was on my tod again.

The 10 miles out to Fisherton was into a right bugger of a headwind, so it was a relief to climb up to the forest with a sidewind for a change. The trails were a wee bit muddier than a fortnight ago, and I was on and off the bike quite a bit at some of the bogs, slow going. I finally came to the fork that Robin and I had turned the wrong way at, and although the trail looked nice then, the cattle have made a right mess of it now. Bloody farmers. For the next mile and a half it was pretty grim, and I eventually got fed up of following the 'path' and blasted down through some fields when the road was in sight.

What looked like a firm, fast grassy field, turned out to be a muddy quagmire, but not until I was battering down at warp speed, how I stayed on the bike I'll never know. By the time I got to the bottom, I was head to toe in mud, so that was my plan for a soup and coffee stop hit on the head. Onward and upward, I climbed back up toward the mast, turned off to head over the open moorland leading to nether auchindrain, but this was pretty poor too, and dark skies were gathering. I bailed across more fields, and eventually down through balig farm, and back through Ayr to home.

I think I'll give the Carricks a miss from now on.



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Burning the midnight oil

I had the bright idea to get a training run for the puffer in, straight off my backshift at 11pm on Thursday night. It was a really mild night, into double figures degC, so the odd rain shower wasn't too bad. I took some back roads to tarbolton where the plan was to pick up some new trails I'd found recently and then hit the trails on the river Ayr way, and stay out into the wee small hours.

All was going fine until I was heading through the new trails, 12 miles from home, and I rode over a stick that snapped and ripped a bloody great gash in the side of my tyre. It was my own fault really, as I had pretty much wrecked this tyre the last weekend we had in the lakes, as it's a fairly thin walled mud tyre, not meant for the rocky abuse that Lakeland trails dish out.

So, I managed to bodge the tyre with an inner tube and an energy gel packet, and limped home at 2am. Pretty disappointed, as I was feeling okay and was just getting to the good bits. A close escape I suppose, as the only inner tube I had was one that Julie had fixed in the back of the car on the way to the cobbler! (I say fixed, I checked it the day after, and it was predictably flat).

I'm feeling okay about the puffer, as I'm getting decent miles in, and spin classes help too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dark, cold, wet and long...

In preparation for the puffer in January, klaus and I decided to get a longer nightride in last night, although I don't know if you can ever really prepare for what this event can possibly bring to the table. I left in the dark, and got home in the dark. 45 miles, mostly on road, but a ride up on the moor in the middle to break the monotony. We got royally soaked early on, the tailwind turned to become a headwind, and our feet were like blocks of ice, but it's more miserable miles in the bank.


Here's hoping it helps.