Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I gots some Bruno knickers.

If you haven't visited the Yard Sale, you should do now...I admit to cracking a wide smile as i opened a box from Swobo HQ to find a tin of Bud & Clamato inside. Definitely not a drink for the feint hearted, but it is high on my list for containing 'some-of-the-best-stuff-ever'. Muchos gracias, steve!

What else? been poking around the internet looking at wheel stuff. The camp bike should be arriving at some point shortly and once my wallet has stopped vibrating, its going to need some wheels. So far the rims from the Bontrager rhythm wheel, in an aftermarket 32 hole, with DT comps and prolock nips to DT 240 s is the thing that is making me go ooooo! If the 29er version of the mud x arrives before the dusty (ha!) scottish summer, so much the better.

Also, we watched the ipcress file the other day. We like michael caine, oh yes, we do...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buster collar...


Strathpuffer images are up here. Some of the usual suspects and a good indication of conditions...and yes i'll be buying some!

Persephone is walking backwards.

She cant seem to get used to the collar preventing her pulling out the stitches. Wants to back out the tunnel. Its sad, she looks pleadingly at me to do something. But she'll be fine...

I lost my wallet last night. Bah! always bad. Except this was a special wallet. The contents much less important than the person (trina) who gave it to me. It was a Vivienne Westwood pirate themed wallet, and anybody who knows me knows how stoked i was to get such a thing...Viv is a classic, tartan and anarchy and an impish sense of fun.

Oddly, 2 minutes after finishing cancelling my cards, i had a phone call from a police station a wee way away, and someone had handed it in.

It was a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. A day when a 14 year old girl was stabbed to death and left for dead with 30 wounds, including 1 to her neck. Perhaps, my faith in humanity was restored, a little.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Up and at em. A top week end. Summary: friday, chris manfully drove a bunch of folk up to Strathpeffer, on the information provided by mel and shaggy that the campsite wasn't going to open as it was a mud bath. Fortunately, we found a spot by the Victorian Station in the spa town and set up the camper vans with the just riding along crew and the minx kittens all there.

A few beers were drunk then all of a sudden we were being towed into the campsite by a tractor. Needless to say the start was delayed to 11 am, and as i was last up i had the pleasure of our teams first lap. Wow - ice. I reckon 20% of the course needed to be walked initially as there were huges sheets of boiler plate ice all over the fire roads. The course was ace though with new technical singletrack sections added, slabby rock decents and very little mud, at this stage anyway. The race continued and the minxes and TSPC rolled out a few laps. The ice was breaking up as the studded tire mob and the walkers shattered the surface enough to create some traction. As this happened the sun shone and the mud began to form. Shaggy and phil were steadily amassing laps in the solo compo as was chris duncan despite a brake issue.

Into the latter part of the evening, emily went down hard and pulled her knee, off to Raigmore Hospital for her, and our teams were both down to three. The girls struggled 'manfully' through the night and ended up second, whereas the lure of sleeping bags and beer led to the TSPC taking longer and longer to change over until we folded around midnight.

Phil raged into first place singlespeed solo and Shaggy did the right thing and pulled before his knee tore up too much...he was in 4th overall and maintaining a good pace...respect to all.

The pics will no doubt start arriving and i have borrowed one from him up north which i think is beautiful and summed up the amazing conditions at this years event.

On a slightly more sober note, the organisers weren't sure whether they will do another strathpuffer. I am not surprised, the stress levels must have been pretty high as they fought to find some way to get the folk to the race and wondered whether there would be any race course access for the inevitable crashes, which on ice are quick and always sore. Kudos for doing it at all...

The Claw

Lobster Johnson, a Hellboy offshoot, made a new appearance. Looking forward to the collection, if it ever comes...

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Its strathpuffer tomorrow.

Here is the forecast.

Wish us luck...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fight the bulge

The new year saw me with a pretty bad cold, out of which pit i am finally crawling. I have been using my rollers (not for the hair: for the bike) and trying to get back into the kettlebells. My back has been a mess, and some massages have been helping, but all in all, its not the corner i thought i'd be coming out of, swinging and punching. Oh well.

Strathpuffer is the first of this years offerings, and it is next week end. Half heartedly, i have been gathering the stuff i'll need to survive the super wet, super gritty, super dark horrid thing that it is. It'll be fine. Dave, Chipps and Chris are the team, and there are a couple of others we know in a girly girl team (jac, jenn, emily and 1 other...?) and shaggy is solo-ing. Mel will be team smile for us all and the camper van will be in full effect.

Went out today, as i put the dambala together for the race as your bike does tend to get, well, destroyed up it is the most expendable, and i kind of enjoyed sliding around on the super wet flooded out trails, with every root and rock a challenge. Again, if you are in any doubt BUY SOME ENDURA eVENT 3/4's. They rock harder than Eddie Van Halen.

It was a beautiful thing actually, I rarely head out if it is raining heavily, but dont mind if im out, prepared and wearing enough clothes for it...oh and im not aiming to do distance. For the last month i have been concentrating on the technical stuff, and it is beginning to skills are back to the (low) level i like. The dambala was good today, the kit on it all held (including the new wheel shaggy christened) and the gear feels nice...its going to be a 36:18 for strathpuffer. Not quite as stout as it sounds as im running the vapors, so the diameter is a little less, and hence the gear a little lower...should be 56" .

What else? well, Persephone is looking mad bad and dangerous to know, now that she has got her glossy coat back after a mammoth 2 week lick fest to get all the charcoal off after the chimney escapade. Good work. She will be visiting the vet soon also, as her undercarriage needs trimming. Or something. She's a bonny wee thing to pop home to after work though, alleviating the razor blade mood that january always holds.

Off to Spain soon, Andalucia, so food and wine are upmost in my mind. As such we have mostly been cooking from Moro East and Gennaro Contaldo's Italian year cook book. Both tops.

I was saddened to hear of the unfortunate death of a minneapolis CRC cafe barista. The story is on how to avoid the bummer life. Im sure we are all sparing a thought for friends and family.

Ok. This next week? kit organisation and gentle exercise. To the Black Isle i tell you!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


So, in a weird coincidence, the disestablishment of the Church of England was put forward as motion number 666 in the House of Commons. While the house was debating blasphemy.


Sunday, January 06, 2008


So i'm poking around the internet looking at 'endurance racing' bikes and how folk stick all the crap they take along with them to the bike and i come across Lynda Wallenfels bike as set up for thats a lot of stuff....

Saturday, January 05, 2008




Black Cat

black cat bicycles

The end of everything

The end of the year was dominated by the untimely passing of a friend. Nothing can prepare or insulate us from the cruelty of a young, vivacious lady being taken so suddenly from her family and friends. The service was attended by many and the outpouring of love will hopefully give some support to the family over the coming months and years.


Riding has gone on a back burner. Mel and john were here for the new year and we slotted a nice ride in at the local trails, even finding the beginning of a winding technical shoulder clipping slidey and engrossing trail i have been exploring over the last few weeks.

Then the cold hit. Both meteorologically and virally.

For the last few days i have barely been able to move. I have been a zombie at work and sleeping at all other times, living off fruit juice and paracetamol. The sweats have left me swimming out of consciousness at 4 and 5 am, unable to even get up to feed the cat. Today is perhaps the only day i have felt remotely human. Ironic as in the back of the car i have a set of rollers to aid the early season training. Strathpuffer approaches and thereafter i desperately want to set a plan for some long rides, and races, this year. So far i cannot see myself doing any other 24 hour race either solo or in a team, other than perhaps 24:12. The others i think are 'done'. Shenandoah 100 is after the worlds in Napa, and i intend to help chris put on a pretty beefy 4-5 day across scotland ride, self supported, with a 300mile expected route it looks tough. After plotting it on maps the other day we were half way out chris' living room to the kitchen before we were anywhere near the end.

So. The end of the year, but more importantly, the beginning of the next.