Singletrack Nation

I love it when a plan comes together..
July 30, 2008, 1:04 pm
Filed under: Bike Rides

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 30.5 miles

So the plan was to attempt a double loop of the forest with 2 aims in mind, to try and get over 30 miles off-road and more importantly get over 3 hours of saddle to kick the endurance up another gear, by the smile on my face and the stats on the GPS the goal was achieved, even felt quite good at the end!

There was quite a bit of rain overnight after what was about a weeks worth of lovely hot dry weather, just my luck, so I delayed starting until a bit later in the morning, this actually worked out well as I was able to fuel up properly for the ride, the rain stopped by the time I started the ride, although I did keep the nice new Gore jacket on in sleeveless mode just in case – what an awesome jacket by the way!

It was just one of those great rides where everything kinda fell into place, took nice lines down the sketchy stuff, the legs felt good on the climbs, doesn’t happen too often but when it does it sure feels good.

Why is it the jumps look so small when you catch them in photos?

A weird ride in one respect though, I didn’t see another living creature apart from a small newt which whizzed across the rode in front of me as I sat chewing on an energy bar, just me and the Meta, alone and pedalling – couldn’t be better!


That was a bad idea….
July 27, 2008, 10:11 am
Filed under: Bike Rides

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 36.8 miles

Due to a variety of reasons:-

– sleeping in
– desire to ride the mountain bike
– need for miles and saddle time on the mountain bike

I made in the end the wrong decision and decided to torture myself my doing a few hours on the roads on the Meta – bad idea, 2.35 Kenda Nevegal tyres are not made for tarmac riding, in the end I did nearly 37 miles in about 2.5 hours, my legs felt like they had been on a 70 mile ride so something must have worked the muscles….was it enjoyable? that I am struggling to answer.

The cloud has a silver lining though, 2 days off work, 1 of those days will be a long ride on the bike in a forest on the trails.

A quick blast..
July 25, 2008, 1:07 pm
Filed under: Bike Rides, Talk the talk

Nothing special, nothing clever, just a quick blast around a local loop of forest fire roads and pavement, why can’t the legs feel this good every day I go out.

Also wanted to test the new SRAM PG990 cassette that was fitted this week, between that and Dave kindly assisting with the gear indexing the bike for shifting smooth as butter on this ride, after a few weeks of frustration it was a joy to behold, eating the few million midges that accumulate in the pine forests at this time of year was not such a joy though..

In other scintillating news the new Team Dicky jerseys are ready to roll..

My favourite magazine issue of the year
July 23, 2008, 10:55 am
Filed under: Bikes, Talk the talk

Always nice to home to this one arriving from the States…

Bike Magazine Photo issue

The images are an inspiration to ride, on those days then the mind for some reason is fighting against the idea of a ride then a quick flick through those photos always makes me head out the door.

The sun shone eventually
July 21, 2008, 9:20 am
Filed under: Bike Rides

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 25.6 miles

At the start of the ride it was 12 degrees, raining and a 20mph headwind, needless to say my enthusiasm was not the greatest but I plugged away and decided to plough on up the road to the forest.

Not a bad ride, punished my legs by doing the big climb twice, trails were very wet, Car Wash was a bog and I came back thinking my speed was well down and was beginning to get despondent about my fitness appearing to me to be in regression instead of progression, until I plugged in the GPS and though and behold the figures tell a different story!

My fastest average moving speed yet on this route, nearly 3000 feet of climbing and out there pedalling for over 2.5 hours, next aim is to push this beyond the three hours to get the endurance fitness up a notch or two.

At the start of the ride I was hurting bad from the workout the day before, after reading this I got inspired to take my training and fitness to a different level, so devised a nice circuit workout to do following a 45 minute session on the turbo, will see if this helps at all, first one certainly felt like it did! To start with I am aiming to get to 100 reps using a maximum of 5 sets for 8 different exercises.

A mix of rides
July 16, 2008, 8:56 am
Filed under: Bike Rides

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 34.4 miles (2 rides)

Bike: Cotic Roadrat
Distance: 24.75 miles

So the long weekend did not disappoint, managed to squeeze in 3 rides of varying degrees, plus the weather was great apart from the howling wind yesterday on my road ride – what is it with the wind, there always seems to be one these days!

Saturday was just a quick out and about on the Meta around the local small forest and park, nothing special but at least it was out on a mountain bike, didn’t have time for much else.

Sunday I headed out early to Davagh Forest for a nice long ride by myself, a bit of soul time on the bike, weather was great consdiering how much rain has fallen recently, sunny and dry, the climb up on the tarmac was painful on the legs (that’ll be the wine and beer from the night before!).

Once I hit the forest the legs picked up and the ride was great, had my best run down the Stream Trail in a long time, line was perfect, kept my speed up, the Car Wash was starting to get a bit bogged with all the recent rain but still rideable, just and then my recent drivetrain issues were coming back to haunt me, gears slipping and sliding everywhere, I think this haunts back to an attempt to move the front mech just slightly to allow the 2.35 Kenda tyres clearance, they haven’t been right since, so something added to the todo list to sort out!

The big climb up to the top was hard on the legs and lungs, but a brief pause to take some photos helped me out, the Top Run was seriously overgrown and my arms looked like a pin cushion afterwards, it is still a nice singletrack run but I need to invest in some sleeves!!

Then I hit the Deer Trail and the Middle Run as hard as I could, still struggling with the technical climb out of the Deer Trail, wrong gearing again, could challenge though….Middle Run was as perfect as ever but starting to get a few over hanging branches that are painful when hit at speed, then a needful rest in the car park.

Couldn’t decide whether to hit the singletrack all the way back out again or take the tarmac route and hit the Stream Trail another couple of times, went with the latter as the legs were feeling 4 days in a row of pedalling, next run down the Stream Trail was bad, wrong line choices and a near wipeout I decided to call it quits and head back down again.

Tuesday the sun was out but the wind was out as well, couldn’t decide what to do in the end I went for the tarmac and the rat, managed 25 miles and decided enough was enough, I was overgeared for that headwind and headed back home.

It finally stopped raining…
July 9, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Bike Rides, Talk the talk

Bike: Cotic Roadrat
Miles: 17.5 miles

Sound the alarm and blow some trumpets it finally stopped raining, so with a small window of opportunity available I jumped at the chance to get out for a ride on dry roads, the weekend was a complete washout and with working all weekend and the past two completely annoyingly stressful days at work (my new mantra is “It’s only a f**king job), I needed a ride.

Just did the nice 18 mile loop I have, took my trusty rat with me and managed my fastest time and average speed yet at 17.7mph, not quite the 18 I am after but at 0.6 faster than anything before and with an annoying headwind for most of the way at least I know those early morning turbo sessions are having some dividend.  With onlyt 10 weeks to go until the Merida then I need to get some serious mileage into my legs, time to sort a few priorities out, there is a nice 4 day weekend coming, planning to get at least 3 rides in, each one at least 2 hours in duration.

If I ever needed any inspiration on just getting on with the training and stopping the procrastination then Jenn Hopkins can sure as hell provide it.  She is doing the Great Divide Race across the States on a singlespeed, her blog updates make great reading, let’s hope she recovers from illness to finish the darn thing!  One of the other competitors David Blaine has some photos up on Flickr of his 9 days in the race before he had to pull out due to illness…

Jenn Hopkins