Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bike lights & thermals ON

I have good news and not so good news.
The good news is that I have acquired a new bicycle…A friend of mine has sold me his Giant Trance (the red bike I’m on in a few pictures in the Gallery) and its absolutely fantastic! With all this talk about the new and developing craze of “enduro” riding I believe now is the best time to get your hands on an all mountain bike. They are so much fun – being able to descend any downhill track AND to enjoy climbing back up is a great combo!  In other good news I am heading home this weekend to see family and to check out an old road racing bike my mum has…my project over the Christmas period is going to be to try and revive this bicycle so I can start smashing out the miles and chain-ganging with the other road cyclists at uni. 
yeahh boi
The bad news is that I appear to have developed coeliac disease which means I have a gluten allergy. So, pasta, bread, biscuits, cakes, pizza…all off the cards now. It’s not serious and pretty common however making the change to a gluten free diet is going to be tough but I’ll manage fine! Might even help me reduce my 21.6% body fat! (Which is normal guys don’t judge me…)

High over the roots. ALWAYS.

My family and I

On a more happy note training is going well as always, with winter fast approaching thermals and seal skin socks are out every day! (Everyone get your bike lights and reflective jackets on please!) Days are getting shorter so downhilling is confined to weekends only now but the week is being packed with spinning, road riding, roller sessions, running, weights and core work. Went to stay with a friend - Rory Brown Kerr – up and coming university American football player ;) - in Edinburgh so hit up Innerleithen again with the big bike and yesterday I met some mates from racing at one of my local tracks which was a good laugh.  Having the trance now means lots of hike and bikes in remote, steep, rocky Scottish hill sides. I have a new plan to add to 2013, as well as returning to downhill racing, I’d like to try out a couple of duathlons, enduro races and road time trials, it shall be a busy summer!

Race dates are out for the Scottish Downhill Association series 2013.  CANNOT WAIT! Dates are in the diary, goals are set…roll on 2013 (after gluten free Christmas dinner…)

Happy Haloween everyone!

Monday, 15 October 2012

"YOU.SHALL.NOT.PASS." ~ Gandalf the Grey

Just back from a weekend in the lake district...still buzzing so thought id update things now! So much shaving foam, so many lord of the rings quotes, so many people, so many bikes, so many mountains = best weekend this semester by far!

DUMRC club took a minibus down on the Friday evening, quite a long drive but the tunes were blasting the whole way. Eventually we arrived in Bassenthwaite at the village hall we were all staying in with sleeping bags, made some dinner and got the uni banter going! Things got a bit crazy and one lad – Aidan, managed to fall into a bush and get the biggest thorn ever jammed right through his finger (it was sticking out the other side!!!) But all was well as we had a medical student with us who kept things under control and in the morning Aidan went off to hospital to get fixed up. Unfortunately he was unable to ride HOWEVER this led to me using his bike (Giant Trance) instead of my hard tail which I was super happy about but would have preferred it if we had all been able to ride together.


On the Saturday we hit up a local trail centre with fast swoopy tracks, some technical rocks and tree sections too. Some ascents were pretty brutal but all so worth it. Saturday night was excellent, got a full nine hours sleep and a good meal, woke up feeling great on the Sunday. We headed out to Helvellyn and did a massive “Hike and Bike”. Five hours of riding and carrying our bikes up this MASSIVE mountain where we got incredible views and great banter, we were joined by some people from the Orange Mountain Bike company who added to the hilarious quotes of the weekend so thanks guys :). The decent got pretty crazy in places and there were a few nasty crashes and I ended up having to ride down with no seat post as we couldn’t put it down low enough which was a bit...dodgy... but everyone survived...somehow and it was amazing fun.

Myself  and the boys descending Helvellyn 

Hike and Bike

Drove back up to Dundee last night, weekend went by far too fast. Can't wait to have some free time, maybe next summer and get down there for some more nuts riding. Thanks everyone involved for such a good weekend!

After trying Aidan's full suspension bike I’m dying to get a new one myself. The hard tail is fantastic for cross country and its done well but it is getting on a bit now and things are breaking that shouldn't break. Having an “enduro” style bike that I can climb on as well as hit up some crazy downhill would be fantastic from a training point of view. I'll have to starve myself for the next few months and scrape up some pennies and invest in something.

About to begin the descent

Before the insane weekend trip I was riding the new track up at Dunkeld again on the big bike (a regular training venue for us as it's only a half hour drive) . The 2013 season cannot come quick enough for me! The 224 is feeling fast and I just can't wait to be on the start line again.

Next few weeks are still looking busy! No chilling out time yet but “study” week is approaching where I get a week off classes to ride my bike and relax...and revise I suppose! Lots of spinning, running and gym work this week while I work out what I'm going to do about an endurance bike then travelling down to Edinburgh this weekend to tear up Innerleithen with Rory (a good friend from racing). Check out the gallery for Lake District pictures and also see the new section “Video gallery” where I'll start putting up some good riding footage.  
Downhill training at Dunkeld

Monday, 1 October 2012

October time!

Another crazy week gone by already! University is so busy and cramming all the course work in with training is leaving me with little time to “chill” but still loving it all!

Last Wednesday I experienced the most challenging cross country ride I have encountered so far...20 km of straight up and back down on the steepest, rockiest mountain path I have ever ridden! A lot of it had to be walked – cyclo cross style carrying the bikes over our shoulders of course! We had pretty good weather although it turned very cold and a bit wet towards the summit but this resulted in some lovely rainbows looking back down the valley. I would love to go back to that track with a downhill bike, the descents were insane however the cycle to the bottom of the steep section and push up would probably take close to a full day. The gallery page has some really cool pictures Jamie took of the ride and rainbows! Check it out!

Local track session
Keeping the cardio system in good condition by maintaining running has been great fun, the university athletics club has started up proper training again which includes really tough new sessions with the Dundee Hill Runners but definitely worth all the sweat and pain!

Exploring the local tracks again led to finding some newly built stuff, a short tight and off camber trail and a really fast flowing track with lots of jumps (almost like riding out in Europe – just much shorter, several pine trees and a lot of rain!).

Riding at Innerleithen on Saturday brought back all my memories of racing SDA (Scottish Downhill Association) races and got me even more excited for next season! The old tracks are all still there with a couple new lines and although they have been mega washed out by the rain they are still brilliant! Managing full runs without uplift is a bit challenging and time consuming but pushing up and sectioning is still improving my riding as well as my strength.

LOADS planned for the next couple of weeks - a weekend trip to the Lakes for some tough cross country riding followed by another trip to Innerleithen and then my first uplift weekend at Dunkeld with the Diva Decent girls at which I will be pushing for a heap of full runs. I shall also be having a go on a proper road bike tomorrow night for the first time...really want to get one myself however being a student some things just aren't financially possible these days...will be heading out with the Dundee University Roadies and joining the Dundee Thistle Cycling club for some " chainganging"  - can't wait!!!