Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Blaze of Glory

A little something arrived in the post just before Christmas, and it was quite a surprise!

I've been using the Flash and the Flare for a few years, and have always found them super easy to use, charge, position at multiple angles and on multiple things, and never lose sight of that which I like to keep an eye on in the darkness.

Take, for example, my dogs. I strap a flare to each of them, and you can't miss them, so it's easy to let them off the lead and know that they are safe and nearby. It looks a bit (well, exactly) like this.

I'm also keen to use a back light during the day, especially when it's new, to see what people's reaction is: If they can see it, it's bright.

With the Flare, people said, "That's a good light."

But with the Blaze, people reacted like I'd blinded them at night, only during the daylight. Lots of "jeffing" and "Oooh!" and Ahhh's!"

So that night I tried it on one of my dogs. I haven't filmed it yet as I was basking in the elation brought on by something akin to a Red Dwarf hanging off of my dog's neck. We actually had to turn it off when he was on the lead as we couldn't see anything past his neck.


Next I tried it on my bike, at night. It lit up the whole of my bike and most of the turning circle in front of Buchanan towers. Lateral visibility is NOT a weakspot of this or the flare.

Personally, I prefer it on Flashing mode and on full power, as it's so easy to charge and maintain and I would guess at it being double as bright as the Flare. But you can of course program it for various power outputs.

It's another amazing (and I mean it) offering from Exposure. Go try one and see if you go as slacked jawed as I did.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Another wee review, and fun days

I must admit that I fell prey to the sometimes inaccurate views you see in magazine reviews, with this piece of loveliness.

Some mags have said that it's a warm jacket, for use only on the coolest of winter days...

...I believed them, and left it in the kit bag or drawer and used my other Endura kit.

I'm kicking myself now.

Up steps the 2013 green Stealth II jacket

It's waterproof, for starters and it's warm when all zipped up. So this softshell will keep you cosy on those freezing days, with perhaps a long sleeved Baa-Baa merino as a base layer. Hmmm. Merino. Hmmm.


But, and here's the rub, if you open the zips up on the sleeves, under the arms, on the sides, and maybe even let the full length front zip down a bit and you have air conditioning. This is a multi-use jacket that fits late summer through to early spring; if it's sunny; but the whole year if it's wet.

It has waterproof zips all over the place and is fully ultrasonically welded...

...And it's hard wearing.

I can't believe I listened, as it's proper lush and comfortable.

It's 3d reflective, so you'll be seen, and it has a proper, rigid, rear light mount.

This is a superb jacket, and mixed with the Baa Baa long sleeved top, and maybe an MT500 Burner Waterproof jacket, you'll be able to cycle in any weather that is thrown at you, without getting all "boiled in a bag."

This happened last weekend as I was out on a freezing cold day whilst out filming with Rough Riderz and their crazy 4 wheeled downhill bikes.Channels 4's Keme Nzerem ran the day as we did a wee piece for Channel 4 News.

This was the result. The video should be up by the time you read this.

What a day!!

It was freezing, and as we were filming, we spent a lot of the day faffing. See if you can guess how many layers I've got on. All are Endura, mind you. :)

I'm hoping to remain involved in the project, as my professional qualities seem to suit it nicely. It's a fantastic aim that could turn things around for lots of people.

A few days later, I went out with my friends from the halfwayup mountain bike club for some fun around Cwmcarn. We had managed to blag a day with Blake Samson and Martyn Ashton courtesy of Euro Commercials in Cardiff.

It was another day of filming, but it was sunny this time!!

As I got out of the van with my Hope kit on; it was like two women had turned up to a party in the same dress: Martin was wearing the same kit!

He was even more crestfallen when I rode off and showed him my skills...

...Actually, I got on my bike and rode off like I always do: slowly and a bit wobbly.

He then couldn't decide what wheel he wanted to use, and Blake just kept skying it off of the jumps, whilst Robin did his filmy magic, and the HWU boys followed along and played in the fantastic banter that our hosts provided.

I can't bring myself to describe the feeling in the pit of my stomach as Martin had a go on my bike. He still couldn't decide what wheel to use.

All of the club said in unison (LOUDLY), "You said 29ers couldn't wheelie or endo, Dave!?"


The thing is, I might have said that, but can't remember.

I did reasonably well on the skid competition, though. Blake was laughing his arse off at me in my "sat on the bars" position, although I have to admit to doing myself a bit of damage...

...The steerer has been left long on my new forks for one of next years bikes.


I need a Vito now. It's just a case of persuading Jo that she wants one.

We're off to Cardiff later this week.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A wee review of my kit for the year.

Given my lack of ability to Blog lately, I thought I would tell about the kit I've been using for 2012. It'll take a few weeks but hopefully I'll manage it.

Remember that I only approach people and use their equipment after I've used it in anger for myself and found it to be good (or brilliant!).

My link with Endura has been fantastic for me (selfishly) on a couple of levels. First off, everyone knows Endura and it's fabled warranty and high quality innovation in kit design.

Secondly, I can use my Hope green kit and matching Hope Clothing whenever I like, as it's all Endura! So whenever I'm on or off the bike and likely to be looking at or talking bikes; or doing an after dinner or presentation; I'm in Endura.


SingleTrack II shorts/pants

These have been my "Goto" options throughout this summer depending on where I've been riding, and the weather.

If it's been wet then I've worn my singletrack II pants, as I've found that they keep the elements off of you, and also protect you from this years' burgeoning population of ticks in areas with long grass and heather. They have nice pre-shaped flexible knees and long leg zips with velcro adjusters that allow you to tighten the leg up for use on the bike, or leave them baggy when bumming around. You will almost certainly end up spending non-bike time in these, as they are so comfortable. They are also very flattering in the way they are cut, which is not to be overlooked. Well, not by me at any rate.

If it's been dry, then I've generally worn the Singletrack II shorts, which share the same features as the pants, above the knee. They are tough, very tough, but soft to the touch and very comfortable. I think that a lot of this is gained via the wicking stretch panel across the back of the waistband and thighs. Mate this to a belt of your choice or just use the through loop velcro waistband and positive double popper for a secure fit.

If it's really wet then I wear my MT500 shorts or 3/4's, with multi-tights, but I'll tell you about those another time.

There are plenty of pockets to choose from too, depending on where you want to hide your wallet, keys, or multi-tool. The front pockets are magnetised shut, and the left one hides a secret zipped pocket; whilst the back two are massive.

If you get hot, just undo the thigh vent zips for a noticeable increase in airflow.

These are great bits of kit, and you should really consider them for your next pair.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

We could have died!! ;)

Halfwayupmtb continued to pound the hills around our hometowns, as they had two days of solid riding over this weekend. I went along for a giggle.

On Saturday we ventured over to some dry trails: dry because they are too steep to hold water. I nearly had some mutiny on my hands as I took the crew up one of the hills that I practice my hill repeats on.

Some guys threatened me whilst Andrew Bray did no handed wheelies up the hill.

I offered to show one of them, Sean, how to do hill repeats. I couldn't possibly repeat what he said.

The ride finished, the jibes started. I'm a bad man apparently.

Sunday, and we all met at the local pub for 9:00, or maybe 9:30. We threw bikes around, in and out of cars so that we all had company for the journey to Glyncorrwg. Someone had to put up with Tinks, so it might as well have been me...

...Little did we know that I'd get my own back on him later.

Tinks, Ian, Phil, Simon, Tris, Gerraint, Darren, Leon, Paul and I banged and bashed around August on the Skyline Trail in a two day weather window. We actually found some dry stuff, too!

Ian kept feigning punctures, for a rest, whilst Leon was powering up the hill as we had upset him somewhere along the way. Bishop moaned that his gears were all to pot and Darren complained that he needed a shave. But we all stayed as a social group and the patter was nice, gentle, supportive, and awfully creative as we fought to find each others' weakspots.

Tinks has a proper weakspot and Daz got his shave. Bish's gears kept playing up.

As we got to the end of our outward journey and arrived at the top of The Rhigos, the rocks started. Rocks are fun. They sort out those that can float a bike or want to plough through them.

They also cause trouble, via the vagueries of adrenaline.

There's a long deviation on The Skyline at the moment. It's a trail we've ridden many times with friends, and it's basically one long baby rock garden after another.

Simon started to get "that look" as he realised what was coming. He's trouble, too, you know. Tinks followed me along the rocky trails as I tried to show him techniques that I read about last night. Never been much for techniques, me. :)

Riding vicariously is a strangely empowering thing, when someone does something you suggest, without ostensibly thinking about the risks...

...Yip...It was Tinks.

"Try this!" says I.


"Ooo! That worked! Maybe I'll try it myself some day."

So Tinks started carving turns, and applied it in the middle of a baby rock garden at speed. Good lad. Energy conservation and giggles.

More punctures followed along this part of the trail, and we ended up having time to chat between us as someone else had a rest at the top of the hill. We were having loads of fun on the temporary trail. The weather was perfect and the company was good.

But we got bored with each other after a bit, so off we set again, and Simon's "look" turned to despicable action. The git.

He rode past me, and another pair of unconnected mountainbikers, timing his approach to a MASSIVE puddle to perfection...

...As he performed a perfect bunnyhop into said puddle, I closed my eyes ready for the muddy and smelly deluge that was to follow from the side swiping adversary. But the other cyclists didn't see it coming. The first they knew of what was coming was when it splatted them, full force, with stinky essence of Resolven Ridge.

One of them muttered something, and it wasn't very charitable.

So Simon was chased down, and buzzed for a bit, until we got near to Tinks, on a rocky downhill with a couple of big ruts in it. It's a good thing that some of us are well beyond the infantile practice of succumbing to Adrenaline overload, and trying to force their way past two riders, at plenty of miles an hour and where there is no room to do so.

It would be even worse if that person (devoid of blame as he's too grown up) was wearing full Hope and Endura Kit, with a Pro Specced bike and bespoke everything on it. (Just for you Simon). Imagine how stupid he would look if he tried something like that, in those circumstances?

Especially, if the rest of us had Club Shirts on!

And right in front of the guys that Simon had soaked, too? They would have thought we were trying to kill them!


I had a chance to mull this over, as Tinks and I rolled down the trail; me with my knees in his chest; him slowing me down with his body, and using his ribs to bend my bars and snap the matchmakers on my brakes. (edit. and my forks)


After the guys waited for some idiot to rebuild his bike, we were off again. Just as fast. We disappeared into a few mahoosive puddles, and arrived at the top of the Skyline contour and descent. Bish's gears were bouncing on and off of the cassette as his cables kept drifting through his frame mounts, but this made it possible to keep up with him in the twisty stuff, as we arrived at the top of the steps.

This is where Darren decided that he really needed a shave, and used the steps (all five of them) to remove some facial hair, elbow skin and opposable thumbs. He was actually in a bit of a state when we next saw him at the start of the final section of the descent, but he's tough.

As we hit the fast rocky bit near the bottom I wondered if it was possible to ride the next section without braking. Tinks was just behind me...

...More vicarious riding...

..."Tinks, try riding this next bit without touching your brakes. Put a death grip on the bars so you can't use them!"


He didn't die, but he could have!

Maybe next time.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Has it been so long?

This seems to be my first blog in a loooooong while.

I blame work, touring around the country, living in hotels and teaching/consulting at strange hours of the day...

...But the bike riding is going well, even though it's also been hampered slightly by the planning of next year's (and 2014) rides, and fulfilling media commitments for a few things.

Next year's ride needs a media mogul to manage it, so I'll have some news on him soon.

We're in the Guinness Book, 2013 edition. 22 million people buy that!

There are only two pages in the book related to cycling, and The Hobbit's Tale is in there!!

There was a recent interview with What MTB for a small part in an article on long distance riding, and there is another due in a couple of issues time, in another magazine.

September 15th saw a team of us race in the Dusky Valleys 12hr, as a 4 "man" team, in the male team event. Jo, my female lover was in there too, as there were no other mixed teams to race.

We won!

So Loco Racing Jo, Mark Deacon, Andrew James and myself hammered ourselves for the race and came away with the win!

It's a fantastic event and should be on everyone's end of season blast list!!

Then this last weekend I came third in the halfwayupmtb Avalanche style Enduro--on my Tallboy!

I even managed to get the fastest descent on one of the sections, against nutjob Andrew Bray; no handed wheelies maester. He doesn't even pull up on the bars to start the wheelie.

On my wee xc bike. Poor bike.

All I did was put some USE carbon risers and Flow rimmed Hope green Pro2 Evo SP hubs. The bike is transformed into a monster.

Photos to follow, once I can get my iphone to work as it's deep in the woes of ios6 update failure.

After the event. the club auctioned off a load of my old kit. We made nearly £350!

They are NOT getting their hands on my Endura kit tho. 'Nuff said.

What a weekend.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Don't move!

A couple of weeks ago was the point at which I was able to say thanks to a group of friends who have supported me through all of the riding I've done to date.

It's not often I get to say thanks, so just so that nobody denied I had done it, I took an impartial observer in the form of Joe Whitaker. He's the nutter that wheelied across Scotland and completed the first West Highland Way double; plus many other things.

We rode "4 Days of Mordor."

It was tough but it was fun. I especially liked the bit where Simon tumbled off of his bike towards a cliff and ravine. It ended with me saying, calmly, "Don't move," as I lifted the bike off of him and directed him away from a big old drop.

Joe kept pulling wheelies past us on the road, so I did my one and only trick: a no handed trackstand. I apologised to the guys that this was all I could do (as Joe pulled wheelies, like a crazy Springer Spaniel running around in the background). Matt looked at me emotionally and said, "At least you have a trick."

I'm sure I heard him sniffle and saw him dry his eye.

Scotland has got some superb riding and, if you pick your route, you can avoid lots of mud and hike a bike.

Matt, Mark, Joe, Steve and Simon along with myself, blasted around the hills of...

...Can't say.

Just wait 'til you see the article that we're working on. You might get the idea of what we're doing.

Awesome trails.

My Tallboy, with it's new Hope Green livery and Lezyne add-ons, lapped it up.
It's not often that my fork travel is consistently used to the max...

...And saddle bags don't last me long without ripping, in general xc riding and racing. But the little green monster you see on my bike is showing no signs of stress after 4 days of all mountain+ and everything else since.

This was also the first outing for my new Endura kit as supplied by the premiere cycling apparel manufacturers. Lucky boy.

Jo hates me now.

You know you've got a favourite bit of cycling kit that you save for the times when you need something that won't let you down.

I bet it's Endura, too!

I'll be doing some reviews of the new Stealth jacket soon.

Let's just say I haven't taken it off yet.

The MT500 kit is my favourite though, allied to singletrack2 trousers. It's built to last, cuts a dashing line, and works hard too.

I may have a little something up my sleeve that will try and show this off at some point.

Too many cryptic bits, sorry.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Provelo, Bristol Bike Fest and a School

I've had two busy weeks in Germany this month.

The last one was where I went with friends and colleagues, from Strathclyde and Salford Universities, to show them the sights of Berlin and teach their students about technical stuff and things.

I did ok, as nobody fell asleep but that may have had something to do with the "Laser of shame."

If someone nodded off, I would point my laser at their body, and one of the stoods would throw something (light) at them to wake'em up. :) I didn't need to use it!

Shame, really.

The aftermath of being a Torchbearer hasn't quite blown over yet either. In fact, it's turned out that it's made me a busy boy! Nobody, bar friends, seems worried about the person carrying it, but they all want to see or touch the Olympic Torch.

I get it, and I think I'd be exactly the same!

So I'm going to use it to "my" advantage, in a way.

A world renowned supporter of "stupid sports"; purveyor of pain, suffering, sweaty bodies and overall elation (maybe that's why we do what we do?) has recently invested lots of time and effort to help me do what I like doing when I'm not racing or riding...

Charidee, Mate!

Patrick Adams of Provelo Support has very kindly arranged that I attend Thunder Run 24 and Mountain Mayhem to help fulfil a love of his...

Charidee, Mate!

He drops money left right and centre so this has been (and seemed to be) a very natural thing for him to do for the sport, for charity, for us all, really.

The plan is to help a friend of the Mountain Biking World and an amazing inspiration in himselfMark Fradgley aka BULLHEART to fill his coffers in support of Sarcoma UK.

So, if you want a photo with the Olympic Torch, please come along to these events and listen out for the tannoy announcements.


I was asked along by St Julians Primary School to do some talks this week. Keri of theHalfway Up Mountain Bike Club asked if I would mind talking about sports, prosthetics, and the golden wand.

How could I say "no"?

Me, stood, looking scared, in front of loads of kids?

Yip, they terrified me.

I did a series of talks to all of the kids in the school. Their ages ranged from 4 to 11, so each talk had to be done in a different way.

The older kids wanted to know about Prosthetics, and Sports, and the ottobock prosthetic limbs and videos that I took along...

...Until I showed them the torch.

I could have been a martian with million pound notes hanging from my neck and a cute puppy in my arms and they wouldn't have cared. It was all about the torch.

In fact, the younger kids asked LOTS of interesting questions about the torch, the relay and carrying it. So after a short little talk about how I ended up with the honour, I let them rip with their questions.

I could have been there all day. They just didn't stop!

The older kids listened as I told them about friendship being what got me going on Training, Academia and Racing. My (considerable?) mental toughness comes from my friends and always has. They got it. Friendship is the most inspiring part of my life, and probably most other people's.

Then the torch came out!

Hundreds of photos later, I came out of the school to go home. I was knackered!

The teachers were just like the kids, when the torch came out. Hopefully the kids won't read this and wind them up about it. :)


Jo comes second at Bike Fest 12hour

Bristol Bike fest was on last weekend. Paul and Mike always put their all into this event, but it nearly killed them this year as they had to run around organising tracking to fix the flooded fields at Ashton Court.

It nearly didn't happen either, and I imagine they made a loss this year because that tracking stuff costs a FORTUNE, especially when it has to be called in at 10am for use at 5pm.

Being the Pros that they are, and wanting to provide the best event possible they spent the money, where others might not have, and prevented the event being cancelled.


Everyone saw and appreciated the effort you went to.

The event went ahead, despite the atrocious weather on the week before, the track bore up perfectly, and Jo came 2nd in the Womens' 12 hour solo! Huw Thomas came 2nd in the Male Solo 12 too, so his run of top efforts is continuing.

Endurance racing is getting so much faster...

We all pitted out of the Loco pit

I was happy for Jo in all ways, as she had a nice Loco T-shirt, but one...

...I'd just spent the week getting used to my new Tallboy, with it's Q-Rotor Rings and wide USE1 bars, with Ergon grips. Remember that Jo has her own Tallboy which she loves.

"Your bike seems smoother than mine, can I ride it first?"

It was her spare for the race anyway, so I said yes, even though she hadn't acclimated to the rotor rings. We figured out afterwards that it's the smoothness of the pedal stroke that she found appealing.

She rode MY BIKE for the whole 12 hours, without stopping or swapping bikes. At least she got acclimated to the pedal stroke, in one ride. Sheesh.

I'm sure she did it to wind me up, and now she wants Q-Rotor cranks and rings too!

Is nothing sacred?

Her form was ace! She's close to a fitness peak, although it's not a cycling one, as she's doing an Offroad Ironman in a few weeks time.

She's brill.

The Halfway Up Club came too, ensconced themselves in Camp HWU, and proceeded to eat their bodyweight in Burgers and Beers with the odd fruit juice thrown in for good measure. This was their first ever event, and I was nervous as they were there because I (and Keri of HWU) had waxed lyrical about the event and it's fun but highly competitive nature.

They hammered themselves for the whole day, all five teams of four riders! They couldn't talk when they got in, as oxygen was at a premium, but each and every one had a massive smile on their face within a minute of finishing each lap.

They're going to Oktoberfest!!


Job done.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Posh POC and Porsche

What a busy couple of weeks it's been indeed!

As I write this I'm sat at a triathlon in Cornwall as Jo does a half iron man distance as prep for her big off road thing in a couple of months.

They don't half wear some funny looking kit but form follows function so it must be right for the job.


Jo, on the other hand, is practicing with all the kit she will use for real in the Xman. So she just looks like a mountain biker that really knows what she's on about and is used to the great outdoors.

She looks cool and comfortable.

In other news, my tendo Achilles injury, that has lasted for about ten months, has started to settle...

...only to be replaced with a calf problem.

I was planning to dart between view points on the bike part of today's tri. But instead I changed my plans when my calf blew up after forty five minutes.

Ho hum. We have to be grown up about things like this, eh?

Better news follows...

My POC Trabec helmet arrived, in just the colour I had requested. I must admit to looking forward to a shocked reaction from Jo, when I showed her it but, instead, I got a nod of approval and "Ooo, that's nice!"

Why expect shock?

Because I had ordered a purple helmet.

All of my friends so far like it as it's smartly designed as well as being incredibly distinctive on the trails. So people will see me coming from miles away.

Paradoxically, it also breathes better than the pure racing helmets I've been using for the past few years and it's just as light too. I'm going to need it's elevated protection levels for "Days of Mordor" in the mountains of Scotland, so I'm kind of happy to have it. Comfort is easily achieved with depth and circumference adjustments. It's one to watch: if some of the top trail riders and brand ambassadors are using it in anger...?

I'm also lucky to supported by Shimano this year so it was nice to have a wee parcel drop into my hands via Simon at Loco Tuning, just as the first bike build began.

All has come together just in time for the late late start to my season. Perfect.

It's time to fully update my sponsors page when I can find time in my schedule...

...which included the following, recently.

I saw a nice bike with Crank Brothers finishing kit on it.

"Nothing clever about that." I hear you say?

Except that this was a bespoke carbon frame in a presentation case...

... In the MASSIVE hospitality building and race track at Porsche h.q., Leipzig, Germany.

I was working, honest.

It had Candy3 pedals and Cobalt3 29er wheels. The only bad thing I saw on it was the lack of Hope brakes.

It looked quite exotic, even next to all the ottobock branded Porsche cars displayed around the place and the 2 Panamera S that were flying around the race track...

...which I had a few laps in with my friends, Emma and Simon.

Let's just say that a big, four wheel drive, car sliding sideways around a bend at 100mph+ is kind of good at getting the adrenaline going.

I needed chocolate cake to calm my nerves. It took at least 4 helpings.

Emma used alcohol and the chocolate fountain, where I thought she was going to do a "Vicar of Dibley." But she didnt, unfortunately.

Simon just laughed at us.

Finally, it has taken its time getting here but next weekend is the biggie!
Not sure what to do with myself

At 10:49 approx, I will run with the Olympic Torch in Pontypridd, alongside all of the friends who come to watch me drop it or do something accidental and unfortunate. Details are on my Facebook page but if you can't find it, just drop me an email via my contact page, and I will send you the details if you are that way inclined.

It would be nice to see you, seeing as you are the one that reads my random blogs.

Yes, you!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Another outing for the shirt

Saturday was nearly a waste of a day for me.

I had an appointment in the local private hospital. I'm not posh, but private care keeps delays to a minimum, and I'm getting brittle.

First thing in the morning I had a nerve conduction study to see if the nerves in my wonky arm are working as I still have very little strength, seemingly after a protracted period of immobilisation and doing my physio exercises as prescribed.

My nerves are ok!!!! Although I do have significant lack of sensation in my left arm, the muscles will build back up.

Woo hoo!

If anyone ever offers you nerve conduction studies be careful about accepting them. If you've ever upset them then be wary as its a good way of getting your own back on someone.

They suck.

I like to think I'm quite tough and good at doing what I'm told or what is necessary to get the required outcome...

...I nearly swore LOTS as the needles were pushed into my muscles and electricity coursed between the electrodes.

Horrible, but worth it.

Apparently I was quite tolerant and well behaved? He was obviously ignoring the way I was bouncing about on the plinth and chair.


Strangely enough, my arm and shoulder were kind of sore afterwards so I didn't fancy riding my bike.

Instead, I went for a run up and down the steep footpaths in Cwmcarn whilst Jo walked the pups. I managed to get up to the top and down twice before my legs turned to mush, but I really enjoyed it.

I sort of "forgot" that I hadn't run in a couple of months. Oops.

Jo hadn't, and walked away, shaking her head in disbelief; as physios do when they are trying to get a point across.

Well, she asked where I had been!

I was only being honest.

Walking is hard today (Monday).

I blame Jo. :)

Sunday saw team up with for a reciprocal ride.

It was nice to be guided for a change.

Two thirds of us rode for three hours in a well humoured and nicely paced group as we hammered the trails near Caerphilly until around lunchtime.

Some deserters had to get home for daily living/wife/pub, so that they were allowed out again, next time. So we split about 1pm.

The rest of us kept going for another couple of hours, which included a stop on top of Caerphilly Mountain for a brew and some, err, meaty sustenance.

A quick ride down the teashack descent and a cool down spin saw us back at Castle Bikes for about ten past three in the afternoon.

A good day was had by all, methinks.

I learned three things yesterday.

1. Jo is flying and everyone else can see it.

2. Everyone goes up and cops a feel of Jo's bike. The look of the Tallboy that we built her just makes people gravitate towards it. It's lush and she loves the bike, too!

3. Both clubs have got some great riders and these same riders are as tough as nails as they wipe out over the bars or trying to demolish big trees.

Chris nearly won his fight with a big Birch!

Actually there is a fourth...

4. The club shirt really makes you feel like you belong in a group. Keep an eye out for us at Bristol Bike Fest.

We'll be having fun.

Check out Rich Turner hammering his bike!

And the shirts. Check 'em out!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Hillwalking the Ergon way!

I'm not due to blog and hadn't set the time to do so, but I had one of those epiphanies yesterday and thought you *needed* to know about it!

At the time of writing, it's the end of a 6 week phase of Base Training and I'm knackered. Normally I start in September, as I think I've bleated on about enough already, but as long as I peak for September...

...March is a funny time to start with Long Steady Distance, but luckily I don't just do that. Chris Eatough instilled in me a need to run with quality workouts, so that's what I do. I'm also not abashed at a bit of cross training to spread the stresses, and improve family life *togetherness*, especially in Base Training.

So this Sunday was spent walking in the Brecon Beacons and, in particular, the the Tramway climb from Talybont on Usk to Dol-y-Gaer which is the last and most challenging climb on the Welsh Coast 2 Coast. It goes on forever, but rewards you with great views and an awesome rocky downhill.

But for our walk with the dogs it was chosen for it's mainly sheltered aspect, as the wind was blowing a Hooley! (definition for the non-Scots: strong and gusty).

So, in steps my Ergon BC3 backpack with the "Flink" ball joint system. I've used it on my bike, loads, and love the freedom it allows whilst riding and hike-a-biking. I must admit to only using it on dry days so far, as I need to keep it clean for a job later in the year...

...and I really like it.

So I thought I'd use it for the hill walk with Jo and the pups.

The same mobility, flexibility and comfort prevail in walking for a day out. Now I really love it.

It's big enough for carrying a full hill day's kit, and will easily carry all the stuff we'll need for "the job" later in the year.

The best bit for me? It allows free air circulation around your back, so I won't get as wet.

Link it with my Quantum Pertex top from The North Face, and a TNF merino base layer; and some 15year old 1st generation wicking underpants that are getting a bit holey; and you have the perfect dry and breathable all day walking system.

You're still picturing the pants, aren't you?

They're grey.