Monday, 8 December 2008

Rule the Trail

OK, I know three bloggs in three days is going it a bit. But I need to share my new bike plans. Basically, at the moment I have a problem in the form of two aluminium hardtails. Aluminium is fine for a road bike, but really its not practical for anything bumpy and rocky...

...Wales is the epitome of bumpy and rocky.

So basically, the frames have to go. That is sad because I love both my mountain bikes and have become dearly attached to them. But you can't live in the past like a history student. The MsIsle (being already pretty much where I want it in terms of kit) is just being replaced with a hardcore 853 steel frame in the form of a 16" Cotic BFe. This will enahnce my jump / smooth-trail weapon. But the XC bike is a slightly more complex beast.

Basically, in its current encarnation the XC bike dosn't get much use. I ride the jump bike for trail centers because they are short enough and I have taken to using it for epics too because its fun and I can still keep up (just!) So the XC bike gets maybe two outings per year for the odd race here and there. The little bike does practically everything I want. But what it isn't much good for is the bumpy stuff. The really big steep technical sections that require a bit of give in the frame. So that will be replaced with a full-bouncer! My first ever at that.

The bike will cease to be an XC bike and become more of a technical-trail / alpine-light machine for conquoring all the stuff that the little rig can't and have bit more speed and range too for when I want to do the occasional race.

So to decrease the reading and make this more fun i've outlined what I want to do in pictures.

To start off, one of these in an 18" (which is a size
down from my 'textbook' size to help the handling but keep it usable
as a distance machine). Only maybe in a different colour.

Some of these plugged into the front. No, not from the little
bike. I like them so much I want another set.

Spinning on these. Zero dish for strong wheels, allmost instant pickup and just 5 sprockets to keep things simple.

36 spokes for uber strong wheels and the wide rims stop the
tyres from squirming under cornering.

a 32-26t setup with an e.13 bash-ring.

Short stem for snappy handling. As much rise as possible on the bars!

Finally, a short cage mech for a tight chain!.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Riding and Rallying

A week ago last Wednesday, Jake was holding his real-ale social and the majority of the mountain bike club were getting steadily intoxicated. Including, it has to be said, your's truely. For some time now I have wanted to visit Afan forest in south wales to ride "the Wall" which is a well known trail that I have never had the opportunity to ride. So, in my merryment, I took the opportunity to gauge interest for a venture. My proposal was met with agreement from many members and at about 2am I posted a thread on the forum to see who was serious and not just drunk. To my surprise many agreed when sober and that is why at 6.45am this morning, I was waiting in Lidl carpark for the epic drive down to South Wales. Unsurprisingly, we didn't actually set off until 7.30am and arrived at Afan at around 10am with a lovely stop on a mountain pass through the Beacons. As Jake pointed out, the sat-nav had excelled itself. We had found what must be one of the finest driving roads in the country with beautiful scenery draped in early-morning misty temperature-inversions.

Upon arrival the seven of us had the usual WI meeting combined with a 'longest ice-skid' compotitioan and then set off for the Wall. Initial impressions were excellent with a quick warm-up section before a long track leading to the initial climb.
On the initial climb Stu powered ahead with myself in hot pursute unil we decided to waste some time waiting for the others playing 'longest gravel-skid'.
Before long the inevitable happened and Chuck snapped a chain ... twice. Jake was suffering from mechanicals too mashing his middle-ring. After a time we came upon a taped off area of the course with martials on patrol. It turned out that I had picked a day to go when the Welsh section of the World Rally Championships were being held in the forest. This presented a dilemma - stay and watch world-class rallying. Or do what we came to and pedal on to a second trail. Eventually, Stu and Sarah decided to go on and ride the second loop with the rest of us opting to stay and watch fast cars! Chuck, Jake and Ben were pretty shagged-out after the climbing and were happy of the rest. But Paul and I were impatient and went ahead to ride further in the hour preceding the sport. We came across an earth tip which we both agreed had immense dirt jump / freeride potential and then the most stunning view point.
Rides like this on clear days are awesome. After sending it down "the graveyard" for a bit we headded back to watch the rally - just comfortably in time to catch the first car.
After about 10 cars and some heckling, we pressed. Chucks chain snapped again and eventually we came to the final descent which eveyone liked, and Jake even praised as the best descent he had ever ridden! (But he was on a full-sus!) The ride was ended with a sossage sandwich at the cafe and a long wait for Stu and Sarah to finish. Back to Aber for a shower, bottle of wine, tea and sleep! (With this blog somwhere in between.)

Friday, 5 December 2008

They call me "Patch"

You know that things have eased off work-wise in my life when I start posting stuff here. So, here goes.

Today I finally got around to repairing my waterproof which has been ripped for about two years after a crash at the Cwm Carn DH one wet uplift day. I think it worked quite well. I sewed the hole up using some needles and thread I had kicking about using a "herring bone" stitch. Now I don't profess to know anything about sewing. It just looked pretty good and I fancied having a stab at it. If anyone knows a better stitch for joining gore-tex then I'm all ears.

After doing that for about an hour I used some vinal tent patches that I got from Cheapey Charlies on both the inside and outside to create a good seal. I was impressed at the quality of the patches. I had expected something that would fall apart after 30 seconds for the £1.50 they cost, but these actually have a confidence inspiring adhesive to them!

So yeah, jobs a good un.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Tell the World.

Whenever I hear some music that I really like, I just want to tell everyone. Even though i've got odd musical tastes and everyone else will probabbly hate it.

Never mind. Here goes.

Joe Echo - Where We Wanna Be
Los Campisinos - 2007 - The year that punk rock...
Luxenbourg - Single
Röyksopp - Poor Leno