Monday, March 31, 2008

Apocalypse miaow.

Andy cathcart's study involves riding a 64.35 km time trial using a compu trainer - £1500 of machine dedicated to providing power, cadence, speed distance and various other figures.

I was undergeared for the course set, so ended up spinning faster than i wanted to. As such i have a wee bitty sore ass. Still, with a bigger chainring, it'll be fine. Took 2+ hours (average speed 30.3 kmph, at 175 watt output, with a max of 529 watts. Interesting. Maybe!

Next one on thursday...

There it is.

So, friday on the rollers sandwiched between work and joining dave-no-chops and heather-no-chops-either for dinner and a beer or 2. Feeling pretty weary: a busy few days. Too much good stuff to do.

Then through to edinburgh on saturday. Itinerary:- haircut, ride and then dinner with nick and kirstie and the lovely sylvie. We got half way to edinburgh and for some reason i looked into the back of the car. 2 wheels, bike bag with lid, shoes and clothing. No frame. Bugger.

So after i was shorn i slipped back to the west to grab the bike, arrived at my parents to see the irrepressible cavendish and wiggins take the madison in the last few laps and then hoy storm the keirin. The stage was set for a ride on hallowed ground up stoorie b slip sliding around in the mud and rain. Ace.

Awakening with a half bowl of jambalaya beside me, it was time to batter down to glentress in the rain on sunday morning and finish this thing off. Marty, dave and adrian were already there and starting on new to me trails with a fair old climb, the morning fug was soon banished. We climbed for an hour then ripped down the hill in the most direct fashion, with arses way, way behind the saddle. Up the traditional cross country course on the otherside of the tweed, climbing forever to the high point then roaring down a new section (with one rock lip jump that came out of nowhere and was too big really) before hitting the code-black rock strewn section featured previously. I made all the sections, but had to re-do one move due to indecision. The sun warm on our sweaty backs.

4 hours of pain and smiling finished off the 30 from 30. Both me and martin were tired but happy and now, well, i have a 2 hour time trial to do today to test out electrolyte replacements.

I love riding.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Martyn Bennett

Tonight we joined martin and susan at "aye - an affirmation of martyn bennett". I first heard his fusion of dance, drum and bass, traditional scottish folk music and, well, passion thumping out of the back of martins car at a cross race. Something about the music hit home, and his story is both tragic and fascinating. "aye -" is a tribute of sorts, by Mcfall's chamber who play some of his music and a medley of some of his compositions for theatre. Fantastic - life affirming and joyous music. Check it.

Yesterday, an urban ride, 1.10 ish in cold dreich. But fine. Today, a quick (?) hour on the rollers.

Part of me is sad this 30/30 is coming to a close, part of me is not. I like riding, and have had only 2 days when i felt that i didn't *want* to ride. That is not bad. But, i do feel its been tougher to empty myself into a ride one day with the prospect of gym, work, and a ride the next day. As a boost to early season fitness it has been great: totally broken down the nihilistic outlook i tend to have at this time of year.

I suspect i will be repeating next year.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kit bag.

Ive been fettling a little bit with kit, trying to work out what/how to take lifes essentials (and no more...ok, maybe a hip flask) on the bike. My tent (TNF mountain marathon is bothering me. Its light, a solid design and easy to put up. But, it is a little long once packed (46cm), and could be described as a little heavy by modern standards (1.7kg).

There are basically 2 options.

1) bivi bags. If i am going this route, i want a single hoop bivi with a fly net. This is essential for the midge. It also needs to be highly water proof. Terra nova jupiter and the rab ridge raider are the choices here.

2) ultralight tent. Ideally double wall (scotland is wet) with the inner being a closed micromesh. The MSR microzoid at 1.3kg and 40x10cm is winning here. With my current tent, or the msr zoid 1 (1.5kg, 46cmx15cm packed) close behind.

The detractors say why go to the expense of a loop bivi when an ultralight tent is the same or less weight, and offers more inner space. Those in favour cite generally smaller pack sizes and weights (something like 40x13 cm for the terra nova jupter at 900g) and fast "roll out and ready" time. They are harder to get into than some of the micro tents though, some of which (the microzoid for example) have side entry.

Its close, and in some ways only use of both would actually lead to any sort of informed decision. Anybody need testing done? Hmmmm?

Stile style.

Today, 6.27pm to 7.30pm urban ride. Slow but legs spinning. Mixed city-and- by-the-clyde ride. Got it done. I'm pooped to be honest, so there wasnt much dingadingdang my dangalonglinglong. There you go.

Why so pooped. Poor sleep*, a late night after a long day. Blah blah. The long day was exceptionally good fun. We (dave-no-chops) headed over to the marty savalas hq, where chris was already in position. We headed out on a technofest for 3 and a half hours in varied places near B to the I. Excellent fun, all in all. Many scrapes, bruises and one or two sore baw bags after some serious OTB steep stuff down steps, root infested slopes and a jump area built by local kids.

I suspect one reason for my poor sleep* was my rather impetuous attempt at a 6-7 foot high skinny wood bridge with a steep drop at the end. Seems that it was slightly shonky. Kind of elvis presley legged ifyouknowwhatimean, and im not that good at thin ladder bridge stuff. So at the bottom, was a rather unceremonious skid into a pile of off cuts. No serious damage done (unless my carbon fibre wonder fork has some microcracks now....) and a rather more sobre lesson in attempting man made stuff. At least go and walk on the things first to see if they move. Could have been worse, though dave reckoned i was on my front wheel only for most of it...

After some great chat with susan the ever gracious host, cake and the obligatory pig fest, we headed home and i joined trina and sarita at the cinema for the diving bell and the butterfly. This is the story of the Elle magazine editor who suffered a stroke, which caused him to develop locked in syndrome. Brutal. His book about his life during and after this period by the same name is incredibly profound and moving. The film probably could never match this, but it is well worth seeing.

So, where are we now? Day 25 is done, and day 24 was one of the best rides in living memory. Day 23 was errrr, sunday right? thats it. I spent it rolling the road rat along the river Kelvin, then on to the clyde canal and home. something like 1.10hrs i think, sunny, super crispy and joyous.

Claws out, teeth gritted, guns flexing. 5 days to go.

Note the anti whatMTB rotation on that photo. Nifty, eh?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The things you see part two.

As the more astute spotted i was an asstoot yesterday. Got my days wrong. Today is saturday and i sped about on the road rat along the clyde and south west to braehead, where i stopped in at evans for a clif bar and i found a cargo net for the pink bike - webbed stretchy stuff with plastic hooks. Perfect. 3.37pm to 5 something pm.

Having repaired the tubes i punctured yesterday i inspected the tyre - for a light tyre it held up remarkably well to the abuse of being ridden flat for 45 minutes or so. There is the protection weave on the sidewalls, and maybe this is why, but there is hardly a mark on em. amazing. 90 psi and away we go.

The road rat is a nice bike to ride. still cant quite get over my fear of the juddering that road forks give you when you brake, but im sure its fine. Whilst out i saw the glasgow-to-oban float-plane. I think its something like £90 to fly to oban. You land near lismore and glide into the harbour. Ace! i must do it satisfy my curiosity of the aerial `view of the west coast, not to look like a millionaire...

I also went through the clyde cycle tunnel. Apart from some youffs mucking about and being latently threatening, it was a weird claustrophobic experience. Going down was fine, the climb up a wee bit of a struggle....the clyde is a deep old river!

Checked out some bivis in cotswold. I like the weight of the Rab Alpine bivi, but i think the ridge raider is more my thing...i like head space. When there are midge about a fly net will be essential. Maybe i could get away with the assault....dunno yet.

Food last night was nice: chicken soaked in pedro ximenez and pan fried with garlic, fennel seed bay leaves and lots of salt and pepper. This was served with mashed potatoe and broc' - the worlds best superfood...yuh meee... some nice rioja with it, especially a bottle gifted to use from chris...cheers mate!

Now. Did telly savalas ever dress in a mango ninja suit?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fat not flat.

Fat Tire Ale... yummmmmmmmm.

Thursday: i went out on the road rat and scored an hour from 6 something pm to 7 something pm and had a huge smile on my face...a crispy evening, whipping around on the precinct area at high speed, everything a dream.

Friday: the motivation was absent. Totally gone. Trina hit me with the HTFU and I watched the rest of chopper and some of escape from new york ( was Kurt Russell ever young? ) on the rollers. Gah! messy. A few beers and i spent the latter part of the evening looking at my archive of pictures and info of bike packing/camping stuff. I am thinking i am going to make some changes and use the 3 bottle cages on the pink bike rather than the frame bag initially. That way it gets the relatively dense and heavy fluid off my back and onto the bike, and allows me to go for softer bulky things elsewhere. Sounds like a plan. May invest in some jandd handlebar bags and perhaps a larger saddle pack depending on how it all goes together.

Saturday: we are floating , wind bound, in a sea of 5-7 years of papers and stuff in boxes. We are determined to go through it all before we put anything on our mahoosive new shelving system. That way we will clear some of the crap sitting on our shoulders (metaphorically speaking) and attain a higher level of fen shui. Oh yeah. But it also meant i had to complete one and build another wardrobe today and go to the dump to take an entire passat's load of stuff to be recycled, and there is still more. Always more. Decided to squeeze an hour or so out and as soon as i went outside it started snowing. It stopped soon enough and i enjoyed a tail wind south until i hit Queen's Park. A quick zip around and then i spotted a singletrack. Always too curious about trails for my own good, i followed it. Needless to say, 25c conti gator skins are not the tyre of choice for mud and roots. At one point i was sliding, pedaling and body englishing down a hill side and smack! pshhhhhhhhh....a flat. So 5 mins spent changing and then the worst thing ever...nipping the new tube seating the tyre. Shit. A 45 minute ride back home on a flat front tyre.

Ironically enough i could damn near see in the funks window when i punctured. But it is a lonely, noble thing to be thiddyinthiddying. So outside assistance went the same way as Jan.

Anyways. I had meant to attach the rear rack and send the pics to cy from cotic as he is building a tourer for someone, so it would be useful as that bike will have a rohloff. But i simply ran out of time. Its sierra nevada o clock and g funk is coming for off to steep some chicken in Pedro Ximenez..

Bon Appetit...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day whatever.

Interesting. The motivation was low initially. but it is still dry and crispy so i jumped on the road rat with several layers of fleece and soft shell (see: i learn from my mistakes, at least for 48 hours or so) and pedalled ff into the sunset. Sweet. 6.38pm to (oddly exactly 7.38pm.

The it was food time. Turkey steaks which had marinated in cinnamon, cloves, orange juice grapefruit juice and garlic, with a red pepper and green onion slaw in huges flowery tortillas with mango sauce and green chillies. Yummy.

Managed a quick chat with stevil who is as busy as ever but also as good to hear as ever. Swobo are the real thing.

Now? well, we found a copy of the cartoon link up between starwars 2 and 3 - the clone wars, and so its going to get slapped onto the computer and an anchor steam is in my grasp.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Seems hard to make a bad record if you have the word "black" in your band's name.

Black sabbath, black keys, god speed you black emporor, black flag and the black crowes to name 5.

We got tickets courtesy of the funk for the upcoming Black keys gig. Oh yeah.


They say blue and green should never be seen. What about blue and pink? is that rinky dink?

Today it was 5 degrees c before wind chill, and there was a stiff breeze. Fired out to the mustard loop at Aberfoyle, as there was some unfinished business from yesterday. Took a few detours i have never been on (that place really is a maze) and put in 3 hours of fine riding in the dry on the pink bike. It is a nice ride. Super responsive, willing to push cornering traction whilst maintaining a super solid feel and an ability to plow through chop like no other. It doesnt have the seated climbing my ti one has and it isn't as comfortable on the arms, but it wasnt designed to be exactly the same: i am entirely happy with it. The addition of the RWS quick release sized skewers (rather than the thru axle ones - to facilitate changes to the QR's needed for the racks, has certainly tightened up the lateral rigidity too. 12.12pm to 315pm.

Almost managed to distract me from the fact that i only had a wool top to ride in as i forgot my wind proof...

Yesterday i did a simple mustard loop, 2.38pm to 5.08pm. The climb up the back side of that loop is always a strain in a 34:18, but it went in the end. I also found one or two side loops i have never done before, which were errr, a little cheeky? But well worth it...and obviously mossed over from lack of use.

We all seem to be going well, steve, marty, the minxes, grant and simon are all in the game. And cris! Trev, not so sure, havent seen an update...but i reckon he'll be grand.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Clyde built.

Todays ride (9.43am to 10.50am) was wet, but not too bad and seemed to be devilled by a perma-headwind. In addition, my legs felt like lead for 20 minutes. But, it showed me another hidden nook of Glasgow. I followed the Clyde out towards Cambuslang. The Clyde is the river Glasgow was built around. Ship building made Glasgow what it is today, and the river was the conduit and the life blood of the city. So many signs of a now forgotten era still exist, from old, dilapidated buildings, to signs, rail links and collapsed bridges. A fine ride.

Friday, March 14, 2008


An hour on the rollers watching Chopper ("'ello!"). 6.58pm to 8.00pm. Soft though, no pressure on the pedals. Tired. Old man...

Why is this on my mind?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sin city

Frank Miller is a legend. I was on the rollers last night, looking out at the pile driving rain and watching sin city on my lap top on the window sill. A great film. 5.58pm to 6.59pm.

Today, i decided i was going out regardless. Sure enough, pile driving rain and high winds. Instantly soaked, and cold. My fingers were swollen and sore for 30 minutes after i warmed up. Satisfying though. 6.58pm to 8.05pm

Monday, March 10, 2008

Day X.

So we are a third of the way through thirdy in thirdy. I was desperate to get out into the hills today. Desperate. I was going to do what chris, marty and myself refer to as the mustard route. So named because of the yellow way marks dotted here and there, and the mustard you can occasionally get on a hot dog at the end of said route. It is of varying lengths depending on how many of the pinched off loops you take and how many laps you do. Generally, i do either 2 basic mustards, or mustard to red loop to green loop. both end up around 40 miles ( i think, ish, maybe, possibly). None are super stimulating, but they are a good test of fitness. There is another loop that ups the ante significantly off the mustard, but its way too early in spring for that...far, far too wet.

Instead, due to nonstop - as in it never stopped even for a second - rain i decided to hit the rollers. Again. Now dont get me wrong, i dont dislike rollers. Indeed today i managed 4 complete rotations no handed and one footed - a minor victory. Buuuuuuuuut, compared to being outside its poor. 3.11pm to 4.31pm. The exact length of cut chemist and shadows latest offering...

Riding outside? The trails are just soaked. The water table is a foot above ground level and its still raining. Sheeeesh...meanwhile brian vernor of pure, sweet hell sent a link to the story of his trip to africa.

What i did achieve was emptying 6-7 boxes of crap that have gathered dust for probably 4 years in the flat. When we emptied everything so rooms could be painted, we decided nothing would just go straight back on a shelf. This is the long term view as it means in the meantime, the flat is an absolute coup.

Some new king spacers arrived from aspire velotech, so the spacers above the stem on the pink beast are neater. I saw some new knickers from swobo and i'm wondering how many pairs i need...and i finally replaced the brake pads on the town bike...which were down to the metal.

Time for some bordeaux and a snooze i think.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lots of shelves.


Spent this morning building and truing the new wheels, whilst the joiner built shelves for us in various rooms. The wheels went together very easily and the rims were a joy to build with. Slotted tyres on them, which was a bit of a job - i presume because they are intended for tubeless, so a tight fit is preferred.

Headed out to mugdock, just for an hour and picked up some meat for tea: lamb with garlic, lemon and rosemary for me, steak and thyme for trina...

A good ride. 4.30pm to 5.40pm. Still on target after a rather hurried hour on the rollers (11.58am to 12.59pm) yesterday prior to dashing out to see the rugby. Good games, for different reasons. Wales and ireland are always a joy to watch and the calcutta cup went to scotland, a shock to say the least...

So, collapsed in bed and drinking some vino tinto. Tomorrow im going to head for the hills again, but its going to be gale force winds and heavy rain, so we'll see how it goes.

The pink bike is a very fun bike to ride. It isnt better than my ti if, but it is different. The raked out front end is amazing in technical stuff, not perfect for seated climbing if its steep, and is lovely in corners...all good. First chip as well, so its 'used' now. No doubt it wont be its much as it upsets me!

Friday, March 07, 2008

One eyed snake.

Hit the rollers after work for a 6.35pm to 738pm block. Fine, stretching the hams helped. I need to tilt the saddle back a touch, and the bars forward, then im there. Managed to start from standing, again not pretty, but better.

Picked up the rims from dave at alpine bikes, and also the new dt24o front hub. I have a small collection of spokes and what not, so ill build em up over the week end. The rear is going to be the dt24o singlespeed centre lock which is currently wearing an open pro ceramic and the bolt on system. That was my second '29"er' rear wheel. It served me well enough, especially as a cross wheel. Those rims weigh around 450 g and are tough to boot. However, at 19mm wide, they mean i need to run too high a pressure to keep the tyres on them. That and a slight fear of overall robustness means retirement. Its in reasonable nick so i may build it up for the town bike, as that bike's deore front hub and open sport rim are dying from a winter of salt water and being ignored. It also desperately (as in down to the posts) needs new pads...i cant really stop it at all.

The bonty rims really are quite the thing. 28-29 mm wide, a measured 490 g tubeless ready (with a £1 valve, £6 strip and some spooch) Offset, eyeletted spoke holes and a nice clean finish. I have a feeling they are going to be my go to rim for a while...Once the wheels are built and the bolt ends are swapped in favour of QR ends on the hub, i can fit the rear rack. Once thats done, its ready to go as a light off road tourer. Part of me is erring towards getting some pannier bags, but they seem to offer little more than additional weight over dry bags and compression straps. we'll see...

Oh, the one eyed snake? Well the p-phone decided to have at it, and out of the me~lee an eye ball did pop.

Kit notes.

I sometimes use this blog to archive bits of kit i notice that i like. So far in the last 7 days 3 items.

Rab ridge runner bivi, an alternative to the terra nova jupiter.

This from MSR, n/a yet but it is what i am looking for.

And, taken from outside, the brewmug.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Stop, hammer time...

A busy old day today. Workworkwork. And a full moon too. Then went off to get some underlay and put a carpet down in trina's 'dressing' room. More of a cupboard with enough space to swing a to speak. Then made some chili, had a beer and jumped on the rollers. Literally.

A casual youtube search will show people doing roller 'tricks'. Obviously there are those with otherworldly balance doing odd things, but the basics seem to be starting without holding onto anything, no handed, sprinting, jumping the bike off the rollers and one footed/no handed.

I had a wee go at starting without holding on and managed a very unconvincing effort. I can do one footed pretty easily with hands on, but the concept of doing this no handed scares the shit out of me. My pedal stroke is actually pretty smooth, and thats with 177.5 cranks, which im now not used to, but it sends a shiver down my spine. Jumping off? thats for another day.

So, 9.04pm to 10.08pm day 7 here we come...


In the rather small other-news department, my Bonty dusters and 240 centre lock are in...yay alpine bikes! New wheels for the bikepackbike. Ive been thinking on that too. I have an idea for some packs, sort of small 'n' shaped in cross section, with sets of compression straps underneath the downward protruding sections to hold dry bags stuffed with thermarest, tent or fuel bottles...we'll see. Im also beginning to think that in honesty if i want to see how it all works, and im keen to do the WHW in one push, maybe with a dive across east to the callender side, then why not do it out and back? with a bivi in fort bill? we'll see...

Also if you arent following iditasport and curiak's unsupported effort, you should be.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Another one in the bag.

15 minutes to the gym.

1 hour of kettle bells.

1.05 hr then a stop off to buy dirt, which is about (gasp) hardtails. It includes a fantastic picture of jeff, and a review of Peaty's old kona hardtail he used to race downhill on back in the day.

2o minutes home.

5 minutes to work, 5 minutes home.

It is one of the stranger things i have noticed with the 30/30 that there is a lot of hidden mileage made up of commuting, popping to the shops and other message and hunter gathering missions.

What that does not lesson is the impact physically of doing an hour of kettlebells then riding in the wind and dreich. Im pooped.

So, off to bed.

Ill leave you with this. If you spot him, beat him around the head for a prolonged period..

I want that poster...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

There will be mud.

The planets were aligned today. I know this not because i, like hitler and the british secret service, utilise astrologers, but because i:
a) finished work early, as in 4pm
b) had no other things to do
and it:
a) wasnt snowing, raining or indeed precipitating in any way whatsoever
b) was, on the other hand, sunny

So, i popped out to mugdock for a ride. Its good to get outside if you are doing a 30/30 it seems, it makes sense.

A technical ride ensued, in the recent snow-melt squelchy conditions, slip slidin' around over gnarly, rooty trails. Ace. Power climbs, laying it over through mud pit corners, up and over rocks, dicing though tightly packed trees.

5pm to 6.30pm, finishing in the gloaming, with the lights of glasgow in the distance...


Sometimes, if i am honest, i see a bike and wonder if the owner deserves to be hung, drawn and quartered...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Half the number of the beast.

Just managed to get an hour in today on the rollers...snow deep outside, and a mystery nausea thing yet again. I think i am about to set a record for the most viral nausea bugs in the first 2 months of a year. It seems to have been the temporary self limiting infection de jour at the surgery, so maybe i shouldnt be surprised...

Anyway. Roll on (hahahaha!) tomorrow.

Snowing has snowed....looks like rollers again....

See simon's daily musings...

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Thoidy thoidy toidy

Day 2. 10.44 am to 11.45 am. Urban ride on the ro sham bo...nice now its got the kelly fork back on and the pauls brakes feel so much better than the xtr...good modulation...

Rode to glasgow green and then down the side of the clyde. Saw the broken squinty bridge. I had never really thought about how the cable that was supporting the road must have swung when it broke. Ouch. Still it was only £16 million eh?

Although i dont mind rollers at all, its so much better to be out and about.

Then sunday brunch at the stravaigan with both sets parents, my sis and elisabeth. This allowed us to celebrate trina's birthday and mothers day with bacon, maple and french toast and bloody mary's, eggs benedict and much chat. All good.

Tomorrow we're bringing the p'phone back from edinburgh. She wont recognise the house as its had so much decoration done...hopefully she wont zoom up the chimney again.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Thiddythiddy one.

So we started today, marty and me at least. 1 hour on the rollers...wet and windy in a stormy sort of way outside, so indoors for an ignominious start.

Still got it done, 10.03 am to 11.04 am. Windows open to counteract the sweating and some good tunes on the ipod.

Then at 10.50 am, a good thought. Bacon as a reward *every time* i do the hour. Yes folks, in the same week that brought me the bacon basket, comes the bacon reward. Perfect.