Wednesday, 31 December 2008



I dunno. Yesterday I managed to get out into the forest. My car temp gauge said minus 2 and if proof were needed it came in the frozen ruts that I had to negotiate on my rigid bike. At one point I took a digger and flew over the front. It seems I have been involved long enough in mtbland to come full circle. From rigid, through full susser to full on DH, back to full susser and now rigid. It's like going back to the future! Anyways, I put a little video I made up on one of my sites, just as an inspiration for the New Year (not that any of you fit guys need it!) click the pic of The King to view.

Happy New Year and keep the faith

Uncle G

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The 484 is born

Well I've been out of the loop for the last 3 or 4 weeks due to same major ISP issues which I wont bore you with but thats me back on the interweb finally.


The 484 you ask?


Up until now the VCM secret DH test facility has been nameless but over the Xmas break Dougie and I have been doing some major touch up work on the secret trail, fixing 2 crucial berms on the wee hill to allow you to carry more speed. So Christams Eve day the VCM dh crew got together for a Winter BBQ and the first timed runs on the hill. The BBQ was to help with my homesickness as I'm use to baking in the sun this time of year eating BBQed prawns and the like for my chistmas dinner.


I am happy to anounce that Dougie set the time for all challengers to better with a sizzling time of 48.4 seconds hence the name 484. I think we should have a VCM memebers only DH race and BBQ on the 484 for a bit of fun. We could even use my DH rig for all to use as a control bike bike. Would be a great laugh.

Dougie in action, nice work mate.




Hope you all had a great Xmas and have a sticky new years eve! Hope to see you all in the new year



Well done to the whole team for an awesome 08.



Cya



M

To get 484 directions for VCMers only, text or email me.

We will be there tomorrow for some New years eve DH fun and another BBQ if anyone is in the Pitlochry area.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

LBROTY



It's not been a great year for knocking out new routes in proper hills, so thought I'd return to an old faithful for the Last Big Ride of The Year - Beinn a Ghlo.

Sue's been on night shift this week, so it was a quick swap of car keys for a warm bed and I was out of the door right on schedule - the church bells chimed 0830 just as a slammed the boot shut.

Quick roll and sausage + a pint of stove top espresso in the car and I'm in tip-top shape for the bitch of a climb from Old Bridge of Tilt up towards Loch Moraig. Lots of ginger squirrels, hares and some frisky bullocks to keep me company on the way up. A couple of hillwalkers are parking their car as I reach the end of the tarmac - it's the last I see of humankind for a few hours - all the trails belong to me.

Landrover track gives way to quad track and a crossing of the Allt Coire Lagain. I'd been bracing myself for wet feet, but the water is low enough to use some rocks to cross it. A quick portage to meet the path that comes up from Shinagag and I'm back on the bike. No. Wrong path. Another quick portage to meet the right path that comes up from Shinagag and I'm back on the bike.

Lots of singletrack and distant deer brings me to Daldhu where the big climb begins. The landrover track gets whiter and whiter as I gain altitude. By the time I top out at 700m there are patches of hard icy snow on the ground. Which is a bit of a bummer, as what should be an elbows-in plummet down the other side is a full on mince-fest. Is that good snow or bad snow? Still manage to go arse over tit despite slowing to a crawl at points. Icy landing hurt, they really do.

No sign of life at Fealar Lodge, but the devildogs still have a right good bark and I have a couple of nervous looks at the kennels just in case they've worked out how to pick the lock. Memories of my uncle's mental sheepdogs are still fresh enough - always one nice one that would be let in the house to have it's tummy tickled and one completely nuts one that you were sure would break in during the night and rip you to pieces. Perhaps that's how they played it with the sheep - good dog, bad dog.

From Fealar things get interesting again - the boggy stuff was well frozen, so it was lovely riding. Then time to meet my nemesis on the way down to cross the Allt Garbh Buidhe. Not a technical feature by any stretch, but the hillside drops away from the trail's left edge and a slip would put you in the water 30m+ down fairly rapidly. I'm determined to make it today, so I session it. OK, I chicken out three times and make it on my fourth go. I'm so elated I smack into a rock 10m down the trail and mash my genitals into the back of the saddle. Nice.

The Allt Garbh Buidhe crossing is a piece of cake. One slightly damp foot is a much better outcome than a previous trip when the burn was in spate and I "enjoyed" a waist deep wade.

Last of the nice stuff and I'm over the bridge at the Falls of Tarf and on towards the landrover track back to civilisation. Those that have ridden down Glen Tilt might have noticed two things - the river must be running up hill and there is *always* a headwind. Today is no different, despite the wind blowing from the SE. Slightly regret having dropped a couple of teeth off the front for my US trip, so it's seems like slow progress. Manage to overtake a couple of hill runners and dog walkers on the run in to the car park, so I must be race ready...

Back at the car in 4.5 hours. Big smiles, car park nekkidness and another sausage in a roll and I'm rolling for home.

FBROTY anyone?

more photos here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Simple

This is well overdue. It's been a busy time since the Mull rounds, what with Christmas and everything, and an office relocation and shift to London thrown into the mix, I've haven't been on the bike and had zero time to catch up on correspondence. Mull was ace. Simple as that. Geoff caught the essence of it on film (or solid state memory or whatever it is these days) and its been widely viewed on youtube and various virtual places. And it has to be said, it was fantastic. The best end to a season of the best racing, with the best people, in the best place that I've known.

The recipe for the success that is is straightforward; A few antics, good cycling and great company, a brilliant course, a generous land owner, a devoted organiser and Jammy. Simple really.

i was extra stoked to be receive the trophy for the most combatant rider, accompanied by a couple of bottles of Monteiths' finest. A sweet way to round off the season.

I hope I'm back next year it. It was simply the best.


Monday, 22 December 2008

When will i learn?


Just had a lovely ride down to see Rory at USE about lights and stuff for Strathsuffer.

But when will I learn that even if I have just eaten if I still feel hungry eat more before trying to ride otherwsie it makes things alot harder! Fortunately Rory had grapes and Tea. I Stopped in Cranleigh on the way home and with my £2.50 funds purchased a pack of Jelly Tots, Tooti Fruiti and a tin of halved pears in syrup mixed the syrup with the water i my bottle for extra sugar rush action and that diet of champions along with a tot of whisky from my trusty hip flask got me home the remaining 20 odd miles :-)

And in response to my own question I dont think I will ever learn!

Riding bikes is ace

Monday, 15 December 2008

racing, watching, giggling

Throughly enjoyed Mull. Fantastic to meet other VCM folk and friends, race bikes and have a giggle. Well done and thank you to Davie and all the crew.


It felt strange being on the other side of the tape on Sunday, not racing but cheering instead. It really hit home what a spectacle cyclocross racing is, especially in those conditions. Bravo to everyone who rode and toughed it out.

My biggest giggle of the weekend was Marty handing up the poond primes!


First hand to hand..



then hand straight to mouth!


A very well done to Anja for winning both days and taking the Series overall - flying the VCM flag in fine style. I don't think the Scottish CX Series has ever before seen such an awesome set of performances and such big smiles.

I'm sad the series is over...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Mull callin'

Cross at the Castle is nearly upon us. Fantastique!

Relive the glory of last year's event including a seminal moment in Scottish Cyclocross history - our very own director sportif completing a rarely caught on camera, mudhole induced endo avoiding a face plant on video 2. I challenge you not to have a little giggle!

To rideout that endo must have taken some skill. Bravo!

Sweet Success

With last weekend's Scottish Champs, it feels almost like 2008's cross season is all but over. I'm, looking forwards to the wind up in Mull. However. Back to the Scottish Champs...

Three Velo Club Mouliners made it out for the day. Word has it that Mr Savallas may have been under the weather. Other sources may say he was ashamed of his clean-shavenness with the threat of the moustache challenge at hand, and chose instead to stay indoors. So as it was Jac, John and myself were there to hold the VCM torch.

It was cold (And Dr Jon again insisted on sporting an unseasonably summery Magnum PI inspired number), and the course was good, despite the organisers having to make a last minute change of location due to the intended course being ice bound. Unpredictable and changeable between frozen solid and slidey mud with a lung bursting stair climb in the mix for good measure.

Ross Creber is your new Men's Champ and a well deserving one too. I almost got sucked off my bike in his wake because he passed me so quickly. Jac finished 5th in the Women's league. John, well, I'm not sure where he finished up. After valiantly offering me a tow (As I'd dropped off Eileen's wheel), I yelled at him to 'Go! JUST GO!'. Damned if I was going to accept assistance from anyone and in my stubborn and indignant manner, I pedalled on to catch up. Shortly after that, John lost traction on a slidey off camber corner and for his gentlemanly efforts, i thanked him by not running him over.

After leading the first lap, Eileen caught me, spent a few laps ahead of me and I was almost resigned to letting the race go... But not quite. I managed to chase and I caught her wheel, taking a break for half a lap, before putting down the hammer and riding away for the last 3 laps. Sweet success, and a third National Title (of three different nations in 3 different disciplines) was added to my wee collection.


Photos courtesy of Trina Ritchie

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A rare sighting..

This weekend I had the rare experience of slinging my leg back over a downhill bike, testing the tasty new Trek Session 88 for Descent-World. We headed down to Innerleithen where I don't think it reached over freezing all day. As we had a photographer in tow, naturally I used the opportunity to don the Moulin kit and represent! Review will be on the site in the New Year though I thought this was a good opportunity to give evidence that I still do ride a bike!
Thanks to James Porteous (www.porteousphoto.com) for the snaps.





can it be that is was all so simple then?

tell me?

would we?

could we ?

Friday, 5 December 2008

Run to the hills










For me working for my self usually forfeit's me the right to a summer holiday so I take mine at the beginning of winter. This year we went as far afield from Pitlochry as Dulnain Bridge 7 miles north of Aviemore in the highlands of Scotland. Just my way of helping us out of the economic down turn and spending the holiday pound in Scotland.


On Wednesday before all the snow arrived Frankencrosser (My converted 1993 cadex MTB)convinced me to throw a leg over the old girl and head out into the wildernes for some CX mini epic action in the northern Cairngorms. I started from our holiday let in Dulnain bridge on the tarmac as all good CX rides should heading south from Dulnain Bridge over the River dee thats carves it way west to east across the highlands of Scotland emptying itself in the north sea at its terminus in Aberdeen. From hear I stopped in a Spar convenience store in Nethy bridge having realised I'd forgotten any form of liquid refreshment in my hast to make the most of the ever decreasing daylight at this time year. From here it was all dirt and some really lovely Landrover paths through Abernethy Forest. The path undulates through some lovely natural old wood forest rather than plantation pines the gradually climbing to the highest point of the ride at Rynettin with spectacular views across the Cairngorm Massif.





Abernethy Forest.






Rynettin Lodge.



From Rynettin lodge it was a fast decent down grassy paths and back into the the forest for a few miles then the views and surrounding land opened up into open hill side and the mini pass that is Ryvoan pass that takes you into Glenmore and the trail network that is Rothiemuchus forest.







Ryvoan Pass.


At the saddle of the Ryvoan pass is Ryvoan Bothy. A small modest Bothy with not a lot of room especially when it is full of Corporate white collared workers team building there way around the bleak winter hills. Although full it was a welcome relief to be out of the cold and wind for a wee bit to enjoy a banana and energy cake whilst try to answer questions about the integrity of my road bike with knobby tires. Even one comment of disbelief that I didn't have rear suspension in these tuff condition they were even more shocked when they realised it didn't have front suspension either and that it was basically a road bike.



Ryvoan Bothy.



From Ryvoan bothy the trail descends down to Glenmore Lodge for some fast hard pack riding heading around Loch Morlich to the head of the Lairig Ghru. Once hear I knew it wasn't far to get to Inverdruie and the Rothiemurchus visitors centre and my waiting wife and son for Coffee and scones. Oh and a Burger and a Coke!!! Yes I'm a large lad who needs to keep the tank full.



Only taking 3 hours to complete this ride it makes for the perfect winter mini epic made all the more pleasurable using the CX bike. If you up that way give it a go.

Cheers

Mark

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Show & Tell of the Plean Park SCX

It was cold but that made it very pretty. Here's Trina's pretty picture of Carolyn taking a pretty picture


It was cold and the ground was frozen and very hard when you hit it which made for a perpetually white knuckled ride. Did I mention it was very hard when you hit it?




Despite the cold, Dr Jon went without shirt sleeves. Here's me trying to stay warm in his vapors of embrocation. He also had a fan club chanting a chorus of Fu Manchu's "Weird Beard" as he battled on lap after bone chilling lap (although Jon will tell you he was actually quite warm)

Monday, 1 December 2008

fast lads

Getting the excuses in

Sunday was Round 11 of the London 'cross league hosted By VC Etoile with a venue change from Lancing college to Deers Leap Park in East Grinstead (The website said the venue change was due to there not being enough parking space for 'cross competitors. Cross id have been Livid)

However on Saturday I set out on a mission to the Fens of Lincolnshire to collect my new girl Rosie. So at lunchtime I jumped on the train with my trusty Langster and headed northeast to Newark were it turned out to be damp, misty and thankfully not windy! (I have a mental image of Lincolnshire always being windy) and began the second part of my journey to a small village by the name of Rowston where i was to pay for and collect Rosie.

Now the mission began, Rosie may be Female (as all mechanical things are) but she is no girl. She Happens to be my new race wagon an ex military Land Rover 101 forward control ambulance which has been lovingly converted into a camper/mission vehicle. I say mission as I had foolishly assumed that being based on a Land Rover she would be like my current Land Rovers to drive. Hmmm not quiteshe is getting on for twice the weight and a wide load. It was only when myself and Richard, Rosies creator went for a spin round the block that reality set in and I had a moment of pucker as her full dimensions sunk in. This lessened the more I drove her and started to find the right gears in the gearbox rather than Neutral or the wrong gear.

5 hours later I arrived back in London and nearly home. But before I could get Home National Rescue came to may rescue as the battery had lost its charge whilst playing with the flood lights without the engine running. So 1 jump start later and I was Home with my new girl and feeling very happy but shattered.

With no food left in the fridge and the prospect of sleeping on sunday morning, Playing with my new toy and buying food for the week or racing I took the lightweight option and slept!

So excuses in and no races on the cards 'til Mull I will continue to entertain myself with Rosie and just riding my bikes.

Ladies and Gentlemen may I introduce to you all Rosie Das Brick.