Friday, 20 January 2017

hard and soft

wet foggy ride today, decided i needed a reasonable length ride today to blow away some cobwebs and quite a lot of mucus from my sinuses. the snot has now got to that thick unctuous stage where you can get long thick strings of it that makes your head feel amazingly clear after you have ejected it.
the trails have suffered from the recent heavy rain and riding off road is messy and tricky. I've started avoiding many trails as riding them with just destroy them and it'll take longer for them to recover in the string. I'll be sticking to the hard packed routes as much as i can for a while or until the frosts return and firm things up
ride 5
22 miles
total 94

Thursday, 19 January 2017

introducing the Smokestone Henderson

At last some good news, I'm very lucky to have a new fat bike frame to use this year from the top guys at Smokestone Bikes this is their "henderson" frame designed by Graham Foot, the head honcho at Slam69 in Gloucestershire. the frame was designed not to be limited to just snow and sand riding but as a true all rounder. the Forest of Dean is very close to their base and so the geometry and mud clearance reflects the riding there which can entail anything from gently undulating fire roads, way marked public trails to very techy, rooty and occasionally wild boar destroyed natural trails through the woods. 
the frame is also designed around a bluto suspension fork but until funds allow I'm using the carbon forks off my old fat bike. I was a bit concerned that they might make the head angle of the bike a bit too steep but on this maiden ride my fears disappeared as the bike felt just as agile on my local trails as my old bike. it also seems to climb a lot better too without the fairly slack geometry of the old bike which for me is a huge plus.
it usually takes a few rides to dial in the fit of a new bike but i felt right at home almost straight away, a quick adjustment of the seat post height the only change i made.
after saying earlier about the bike not being limited to snow and sand it was slightly ironic that it's first outing involved some snow which remained on top of beacon hill, not much admittedly but myself and the bike loved it!
I was suffering with a heavy cold so this ride was only short, i probably shouldn't have ridden at all but was desperate to get out and try the bike.
so far, i like!
ride 4
7 miles
total 72

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 3
27 miles
total 65

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 38

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