Sunday, 31 October 2010

Project Gnarr's first outing - Swaledale with gears and boinginess

He'll Be Coming Down The Mountain

I had my first ride on Project Gnarr (my SS Inbred, rebuilt with 1x9 gearing and suspension forks) on Friday. About 30km in Swaledale: along the valley bottom from Dales Bike Centre, up the valley side from somewhere between Gunnerside and Low Row onto Great Pinseat, then down Surrender Moor and over Low Moor. Swaledale is still awesome.

Day 302 - The Tangerine Dream!

This was my first ever ride with both gears and suspension (only my second ever ride with suspension and first with gears in a couple of years). What I learned: gears make it easier to ride up hills; suspension makes it easier to ride down hills. So, they really are strength compensators and skill compensators

32:32 is plenty low enough as a bottom gear. It's the same ratio I rode round there as a beginning MTBer 18 years ago (28:28 in them days), and that was on on a heavier bike with weaker legs. 32:12 is plenty tall enough for a top gear. 1x9 is definitely the way forward.

The fork isn't set up properly yet, but I quite liked it not doing too much until I hit something bigger/harder and it doesn't bob about too much when climbing. It'd be interesting to have a go on a modern fork with clever lockout things as a comparison.

I think I like it. But, it's heavier and complicated, so I think I'll be sticking with rigid forks and non-variable gears for proper rides and save boing and variable gears for shorter/group rides.

I think I might even have done a little bit of a jump. Stoked, dude!

Distance: 31km?
Time: 4 hours?
Surface: off-road
Weather: Warm and dry for the time of year - so, a bit drizzly and very windy
Bike: Geared Inbred (1x9, with suspension fork and 2.4" tyres)

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Kielder 100 2010


Distance: 103 miles
Time: 13 hours
Surface: off-road
Weather: Warm and dry
Bike: Ragley TD-1 SS (32:18 and 2.1" 29er tyres)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Darlington - Hamsterley - Darlington

Spin up to Hamsterley, picnic and walk with family, spin back. Lost GPS thingummy, but remember it being my fastest ever trip each way.

Distance: 47.5 miles
Time: sub-4 hours ish
Surface: on-road
Weather: Warm and dry
Bike: Ragley TD-1 SS (32:18 and 2.1" 29er tyres)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Darlington - Swaledale - Darlington

Another ride in Swaledale - big hills and big views.

Swaledale yesterday

Road to Hurst. Fremington Edge, Low Moor, Surrender to Great Pinseat, Gunnerside. Dales Bike Centre. Road home.

It were reet hot.

Hot and sweaty

My bike sounded like the bag of spanners that it is.

New chainstay 'sticker'

Distance: 105km (maps: to Dales Bike Centre and from Dales Bike Centre)
Time: 9 hours 45 minutes
Surface: road - off-road - road
Weather: Warm, dry
Bike: SS Inbred (32:17, with 2.4″ tyres)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hit The North 2010

Hit The North 2, the fourth Hit The North, was an 8 hour laps race.

For this race I borrowed an awesome Ragley TD-1, the demo bike of Hotlines.

Lap1 (00:54:40) started with a run, in which I did my usual saunter from the back. I spent the first part of the lap overtaking people, then stopped to lend my pump to someone and watched them all overtake me again. So I overtook them again. At the end of the lap I wandered off to refill my bottle.

In laps 2, 3, 4 and 5 (00:45:25, 00:47:05, 00:54:04, 01:01:18) I kept riding at a steady pace and keeping out of the way of fast people, with a wander back to the tent at the end of each lap for more fluids.

Getting back at the end of lap 6 (00:50:21), Ragley rider and HTN co-organiser Jase was manning the timing station. He took a look at my water bottle and told me I had plenty of juice and to get our for another lap. So I did (00:43:54). And then another one (00:43:14). On these, I actually felt like I was racing as I caught a few people and people were actually moving aside for me!

I did then refill my bottles before going out for two more laps (00:52:31 and 00:53:28).

I finished my tenth lap in 8:26:00, which was good enough for 25th solo in a field of 59 (results).

Mid-table mediocrity.

Distance: 105km
Time: 8 hours 29 minutes
Surface: off-road
Weather: Reasonable (for HTN)
Bike: SS Ragley TD-1 (32:18, with 2.2" tyres)

Pic: riding the rocks down to the stream crossing
Pic: Wondering whether to pass out or puke while waiting for food afterward

Monday, 21 June 2010

Joining the end of the last century

Got me some of them there new fangled sunspendered bicycle forks.

Inbred with new forks

Just to see if there's owt in this new fad.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Darlington - Hamsterley Group Ride - Darlington

Another group ride at Hamsterley. The rain stopped for the group ride, and it was even a little bit warm.

It tipped it down for the ride there and back though.

The group ride was very stop-start, as they always are, but was on some great trails. Kiwi Matt was leading, so there was quite a lot of off-piste stuff - I really like the vague slightly-different-colour-of-leaf-mulch tracks.

Felt okay, despite the cold. My left knee felt a bit sore on the ride back, but that was probably due to the insect bite next to it that was me go to A&E the following night.

Distance: 106km (maps: 38km home to Hamsterley, 25km group ride (start of ride only - phone crashed - distance based on average speed on first part), 38km Hamsterley to home)
Time: 8 hours (2:15 out, 3:30 (very stop-start) for club ride, 2:15 home)
Surface: road - off-road - road
Weather: Cold, wet
Bike: SS Inbred (32:17, with 2.4″ tyres)

Monday, 24 May 2010

Darlington - Swaledale - Darlington

On a scorching hot day, I headed out to Swaledale.

I took my 'usual' route out to Swaledale, down Fremington edge to Langthwaite and then to Dales Bike Centre. I ran out of water on the way there, but bought some Lucozade Sport at the pub in Langthwaite.


From there, I rode back up Arkengarthdale, to ride over Low Moor, before climbing to Great Pinseat over Surrender Moor and then down Hard Level Gill. I thought the other way round might have been a better climb/descent, so rode over it again and then back to Reeth before riding home.

Knackered on Great Pinseat, Swaledale

It's always great to be riding in Swaledale again. This is where I first rode MTBs, but even without sentiment it's a brilliant place to ride. Plus you get to pretend you're on the moon by riding over Great Pinseat.

Inbred on Great Pinseat, Swaledale

I ran out of fluid again on over Great Pinseat, and again on the way home. Not great when the temperature is in the mid- to high-twenties. Usually, when riding to/at/from Hamsterley, two bottles is enough for each section but Swaledale makes each section 50% longer. Luckily, I'd been trying out High-5 Zero tablets in the water, which seems to have staved off the worst of the effects of dehydration.

Reeth - 26degrees and sunny

A great day out and I was still spinning along at 20kmph on the way home. Felt knackered at times, but I think that was the heat and dehydration. Legs feel fine two days later.

Distance: 125km (50km from home to Dales Bike Centre, 30km off-road ride (first 5km lost in phone crash), 45km from Reeth to home)
Time: out of the house for 10 1/2 hours, riding for 9 1/2 (3:30 out, 3:00, 3:00 home)
Surface: road - off-road - road
Weather: Sunny, very hot
Bike: SS Inbred (32:17, with 2.4" tyres)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Darlington - Hamsterley Group Ride - Darlington

Rode the Inbred out to Hamsterley to join the monthly Trailblazers group ride. I seem to be able to manage 20kmph fairly consistently on the 50" gear (even riding home into a pig of a head wind with big, draggy tyres), which bodes well for 'races' like the Kielder 100 and Hit The North.

The club ride was really good. Great group of people of all abilities, some nice long climbs and some technical stuff too. Got a good pounding from the rocks and roots now that I'm getting a bit faster, and actually had a hand cramping on the ride home. Group rides are always stop-start, but they give me a chance to ride stuff that's much more technical than I'd ride alone, and are good fun so well worth going on. We rode up to the top of Black Hill, then down Dangerous Descent before following the Red route backwards for a while before riding a really steep descent that almost had me over the bars and then heading to the end of the Black from the DH huts.

Had a couple of mystery punctures. Think they were caused by running 'normal' size tubes in 2.4" tyres, at low pressure while braking hard.

Distance: 106km (maps: home to Hamsterley, group ride, Hamsterley to Woodland, Woodland to home (phone crashed, so two tracks))
Time: out of the house for 9 hours, riding for just over 8 (2:11 out, 3:45 (very stop-start) for club ride, 2:15 home)
Surface: road - off-road - road
Weather: Sunny, warm
Bike: SS Inbred (32:17, with 2.4" tyres)

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Darlington - Dales Bike Centre - Barnard Castle - Darlington

Rode the Solitude out to Dales Bike Centre, then home via (almost) Tan Hill and Barnard Castle. My original plan was to go via Hamsterley too, to get to 100 miles, but I couldn't feel my feet at Barnard Castle after the hail-filled puddles on the track to Bowes.

Sheltering from the hail

Once I'd warmed up at home, I felt fine. Sure I could manage the Hamsterley bit too.

Distance: 115km (maps: 44km from home to Dales Bike Centre, 39km from DBC to Barnard Castle and 32km from Barnard Castle to Home)
Time: 7:50 (2:36 out, 50 mins for coffee, 2:40 to B'd Castle, 1:40 home)
Surface: Mainly road, with bits of easy off-road
Weather: Sunny, wet, hail...
Bike: SS Solitude monstercross (34:18, with 1.6″ tyres)

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Hit The North 1.5v2

Two years ago I went down to Manchester for Hit The North, a 12 hour MTB race. My chain skipped and it was really muddy, but I had a great time.

Last weekend I went down to Manchester for Hit The North 1.5v2, a 2 hour MTB/CX race. My chain skipped and it was really muddy, but I had a great time.

My chain doesn't skip like that anywhere else. Weird mud in Phillips Park, Manchester!

The course was a great mix of MTB-type riding on singletrack, with some CX boggy fields and steep climbs thrown in to the mix. 600 feet of climbing in each 3km lap, with 100 feet of that being up steps.

I did my usual of heading for the back of the group at the start, then queueing for most of the first part of the first lap meaning my first lap took almost half an hour, almost ten minutes longer than my second lap.

It took me about an hour to feel like I was warmed up, but my slipping chain meant that I couldn't really power up the climbs, leading to lots of pushing the bike and running.

I managed 5 laps, compared to the 8 laps of the winner and 2nd place rider, and finished in 2:05. I think I'd have got 6 laps without the skipping chain, which would have put me right into mid-pack mediocrity.

This was my first event as a Ragley Bikes rider and it was good to meet team mates Dave and Jason (they're the fast part of the team) and also designer Brant, who was marshalling/heckling. Also good to meet and remeet lots of others too; the best bit of travelling to events and races really.

Evidence: too fast to photograph and checking my brakes work.

Distance: 15km (5 laps of 3km)
Time: 2:05
Surface: Off-road
Weather: Coldish, but dry. Very muddy.
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.4" tyres)

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Popped out for a coffee (fixing Swaledale)

Popped out to Dales Bike Centre for a coffee and a panini.

I'd planned to ride on my Inbred, but found that the bottom bracket was bust the day before, so had to do a fixietwat ride instead. It's a long time since I've ridden a fixie a decent distance so, like all the best rides, I wasn't sure I'd manage it. It was fine though, though I could get out there a lot faster on the MTB.

Distance: 90km (maps: 45km out and 45km back)
Time: 3 hours out, 90 mins for coffee, 3 hours back
Surface: Mainly off-road
Weather: Cold but dry and sunny
Bike: Fixed Solitude monstercross (34:16, with 1.6″ tyres)