Singletrack Nation

Not quite the summer anymore!
October 27, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: Bike Rides

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 28.8 miles
Time: 2hrs 55mins


It’s been a while since I wrote about a ride, 3 weeks and a few injuries plus stinking head cold has meant not much riding, the cracked ribs are now a lot better, although after this ride I am now nursing a badly bruised hand (yes fell off again!).

Man this was one tough ride, strong winds, pouring rain and mud to match the best gloop anywhere made for an interesting time, for some reason the weather has turned the surface on a few of the trails into stuff that is slippier than ice, I took one corner a little too fast and a slight turn of the front wheel, bang I was off and sliding down the trail, hand must have hit a rock on the way down as it is black and blue today!

As Nietzsche and Metallica say “What don’t kill you, makes you more strong” well Nietzsche’s is slightly better constructed than that but it was one of those rides that felt great when I was back in the car with the heaters on full blast and once the feeling returned to my hands, thank goodness for Merino wool, felt toasty warm all the way round in the upper half of my body anyway.

The ride itself really was an exercise in persistence, difficult under wheel and the wind and rain were enthusiasm sappers, but I still managed the 2 laps I was after and 28 miles under the belt to try and get back some of the fitness I have lost the past few weeks were little to no riding was done.  Some of the trails are getting to near impossible to negotiate especially Car Wash, the exit over the river now is especially hairy, seems since I cracked the ribs that I am really tentative when clipped in over technical bits, I have resisted the urge to go flatties at the minute in the hope that the confidence will return and the fact that it will cost money, will keep persisting and hopefully it will.

The remainder of the trails are still pretty good, a few folks have been trimming off the over hanging trees which makes them flow better than they were, so in the end all told once a big cuppa tea was in my hands it was a great day!


Trip to Ae
October 6, 2008, 11:13 am
Filed under: Bike Rides

Wow what a day, sandwiched between 2 days of complete rain, we had a perfect day of sunshine, weather couldn’t have been any better.

The 4.20am alarm call was painful mind you, no matter what adventure I was headed on that part of the morning just feels all wrong, so a sleepy dress, bags in the car and off to Dave’s to load the bikes, pick up Dale and Ryan and hit the boat to Stranraer.

An hour and half later and we are at the trail carpark, kitted up and on our way round the 25k red route, if I remembered anything about Ae from the last time I was here I know it is a hard earned 25k and I was not about to be proved wrong.  The initial climb is energy sapping and although the sun was shining it was easy to tell the temperature was low as the lungs were filled with cold air, switchback after switchback and eventually you start to hit the first nice parts of the trail, there is a lot of initial climbing until you get to the first truly excellent trail part which is Granny Green Luv, huge berms and tabletops, some nice small drops, so good we had to do it twice, although the final couple of rocky berms down to the bridge are off the back of the seat stuff, so easy to tell that my own confidence in my riding has improved so much as I was happily nailing these parts.

The only really annoying part of the day were the couple of trail diversions that were in place, the main one takes you up through a steep part of the forest, bike on shoulder, ankle deep in bog – great!!

I suppose the one saving grace is the nice 500m long section of wooden ladders that have been built across some marshland, they were sweet to ride, again so good we had to do it twice, although not so good as somehow I managed to let the front wheel slip off near the end and ended up in a pile on the ground, nice, ribs and hand are a tad sore today!!  Probably down to the fact that I lost the front wheel and then couldn’t get unclipped to save myself – might be time for flats!!

We then hit a series of mechanicals which although were time consuming didn’t spoil the day, I managed 5 punctures, those stones are sharp but 5 is a bit overboard and a bit annoying as we were running out of patches and tubes, at least it gave the ribs a rest.

Once we were up and running again it was all systems go and the focus was on getting to the Omega Man, some nice sections in between but at this stage we just wanted to hit those big drops and table tops.  My aim was to ride everything I could and not overcook it and get too confident, I was really pleased with it, managed some air, cleaned everything I tried and the bike just soaked it all up, although I did see that both shocks were at their limits on certain sections!  4 runs of the Omega Man it was time pack up and make the journey back home again, truly great day.

12.01am I entered the house nearly 20 hours after leaving, feeling wrecked I still couldn’t get to sleep as the brain was still buzzing.

Very few photos as I just didn’t want to spoil the flow.

In the end the distance stats are not impressive, 18 miles, 3.5 hours of riding, but the body and bike feel like they have done 3 times that.

Motionbased link here

Dust and bones
October 1, 2008, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Bike Rides, Talk the talk

Bike: Commencal Meta 5.5
Distance: 24.5
Time: 3 hours approx

Ok so there was a distinct lack of bones although I did see the carcass of some form of small bird lying on the side of one of the trails, but there was dust, no not household dust but trail dust, unseen since the month of May, cracking days ride on Saturday, sun and dust, it’ll never last they say.

Dave and myself met up with Ryan and Paul and just did a usual Davagh loop, no matter how many times I ride it, I never get bored with the same trails, there is always a new line to pick or just trying that bit harder to get more speed through the trails and a better line at the same time.

Dave brought his mighty sharp saw with him, so at least we could clear up some of the tree debris that has been spoiling the flow on a few of the trails, they are now crowned a sweet flowing trails once again.

I could tell it was a good ride when I got home and didn’t have to think about turning the hose on the bike, it was clean enough already!

Finally after a long year of waiting we get a Scotland trip this weekend, nice early boat to Stranraer and then off to Ae forest for some good trail riding.