Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Forks
July 31st, 2003

Back to work today and exhausted after a few days in Norfolk. Getting out of bed this morning was a struggle. It’s a good thing that snooze buttons were invented otherwise I’d be stuffed on many occasions. The drive back last night was long, especially with the dense mist over the Pennines. I felt sorry for the poor soul who had rolled their car onto it roof up on the Snake Pass, visibility was about 5 metres when I crossed over about 1am.

There was so much post to be taken today I resorted to the trailer. As the hitch couldn’t be fitted the whole affair was held in place by a toe strap to the back of the singlespeed. It’s probably the most unstable trailer I’ve ever used, the thing has a tendency to roll and keel over at random. Its high centre of gravity and narrow axle just make that thing crash and burn. It did four times. If I ever need one, I’ll be wanting a BOB Yak.

The rothar.com team jerseys are ready and look mighty fine. I’m pretty stoked that they’ve come out so well, given that the design aspect was pretty much scribbles on bits of paper and a few photocopied graphics. Big thanks to the the T-Shirtman printers on Oldham Street.

The quick release and suspension fork saga continues. James Annan doesn’t feel that things are necessarily going in the right direction on Singletrackworld, but in my mind the poor people bouncing ideas around the better and it does seem now that a few people are working on identifying the factors that need to be considered in the situation. There’s more in this article from Phil Osman and this subsequent forum posting.

Talking of postings this was up on the STW forum too. Sad news if the JMC foundation has folded.

Working on a House
July 29th, 2003

Sometimes when I’m back at the family home, I just don’t have time to get out and ride. It’s a bit of an annoyance because there’s loads of places that I want to go and explore on two wheels, but most of the time I just don’t have time to do it, being kept busy with work around the house. This time I was pretty determined to get out and about and so announced my intentions to get out and ride in advance.

Jed and I managed to get a bit of pre-sleepless in the saddle training in down in Thetford and we’d hoped that the Chillmeister might have joined us but when couldn’t make it on the day. So anyway despite the forecast of imminent rain we headed down to the A11 with his Volvo loaded up with bikes and night riding kit. I think the rain dampened our enthusiasm a bit, because we ditched the Stadiums and just headed off without them.

It was pretty wet. I think this year I’ve done more wet rides in Thetford than dry, which by all accounts makes for muddy bikes to be cleaned and at times depressing prospects, that said tonight’s ride was one of the best I’ve ever had on the swoopy singletrack on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Everything just seemed to click and the riding was good (despite a puncture towards the end) – riding the rollercoaster in the fading twilight was the highlight of the evening, it was an edgy, sometimes sketchy and jet propelled blast through one of the best singletrack sections in the UK.

At the end the light wasn’t enough to see by under the forest canopy, but back out on the fire roads we managed to snatch a bit more riding before heading back and sighting a deer on the way.

Update
July 27th, 2003

I stopped at JMC’s shrine on the Woodhead Pass last night on the way across the Pennines. I pass it too often without taking the time to do so. It felt good to have stopped and thought about things. I often wonder how Jason would have done on the modern World Cup circuit. I reckon he’d be up there tussling with Peaty, Garcia and Company.

I picked up the rest of the FSR from Biker’s parents place down in Suffolk tonight. He’s lent me his mountain bike routes guidebook to central Switzerland. It means I can crack on with the Surenenpass write up that’s been lurking in the epic rides section of the site for far too long.

Tour Update
July 25th, 2003

Well there’ve been a few changes on rothar.com over the last few days and there’s more to come once I get my head around some scripts. Trying to simplify things and add some new stuff in at the same time. Hope it’s working.

The Tour is looking no less certain than before. Ullrich took two seconds out of Armstrong through sprint bonuses today. The time trial tomorrow looks like it might decide it, but many people are hoping that it’ll go to a show down in Paris. The rothar.com team are still lurking in the lower rankings hampered by being reduced to five men, van Bon was in the breakaway in yesterday’s stage which probably did something for the overall team status. Might have moved up a place…

Team jerseys and artwork were dropped off at the printers today and by this time next week there’ll be some kit to collect. Pictures when it arrives. Riding in Thetford at some point next week and looking forward to catching up with Jed and Chilly.

Loads of Triathletes kicking around Manchester at the moment getting ready for the World Cup race down at Salford Quays. More about the event here. Most of them are interesting, friendly and good to talk too, but in the same breath their bikes get a hell of a hammering and not much looking after. I wonder how many races are lost due to mechanical failure? I was chatting to Heather Evans who came 4th in the Commonwealth Games last year today and having spoken to people like Michellie Jones in the past, I reckon it’s just that Triathletes spend so much time doing training that they just don’t have time to get kit fixed and serviced.

Johnny Waddell is out of his coma and recovering, Dave Watson has spoken about his Le Tour gap jump over at Velo News and this these are some survival tips for cyclists from our caring government. Just don’t say they never do anything for cyclists, mmm okay?

Road Ride
July 23rd, 2003

Decent ride last night with Corty and AP, out to Whalley Bridge, up Long Hill, before nailing the decent down to the reservoir dam in the Goyt Valley. Goddammit that is one hell of a descent steep and dead straight followed by a sweeping and tightening left hander. You can get up to about 55mph without pedaling, after that it was up to the Cat and Fiddle via the valley road before racing the traffic down to Macclesfield and heading home through the lanes. Good stuff.

This morning’s breakfast ride was a bit of a joke, turning out to be a solo affair. Just call me billy. First outing that’s needed lights this year. It was dark when I left, but the sunrise was pretty spectacular.

What will this Tour produce next? First there’s been the battle between Lance and any one else who fancied a crack at the Yellow Jersey, there’s been Hamilton battling on with a broken collar bone and now the same guy has successfully sustained a lone breakaway to win a stage where earlier in the same day he was falling off the back of the peloton going up a climb. The guy is a legend. That said I reckon that there’s something missing from this years peloton in the Tour.

The familiar sight of the UCI world champ in his rainbow stripes. I remember watching Gianni Bugno, (twice World Champion in the early 90s) in the 1992 tour, getting involved mixing it up with the other big names. It was exciting stuff. This year Mario Cipollini and his Domina Vacanze team have been excluded from this year’s Tour de France. Race organisers said that Cipollini and his teammates were not considered “strong enough mountain climbers” to be consistent throughout the whole race. Cipollini’s team had been hoping for a wildcard entry, but in the end the remaining places were awarded to French teams Brioches La Boulangere, AG2R and Jean Delatour, and Spanish outfit Euskaltel. Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc told Paris reporters “It was a painful decision to make.”

The world champion broke the record of stage wins in the Giro d’Italia early this year and asked Leblanc to reconsider his position. “Jean-Marie Leblanc makes me want to vomit,” said Cipollini when he heard that his team had not been retained by Tour organisers. Days before the beginning of the 2000 Tour Cipollini crashed and was unable to start, but in 1999 the last year he rode the world’s biggest cycling race he briefly held the overall leader’s yellow jersey. In all he has won 12 stages but has never finished any of the seven Tours he entered. I reckon the racing is poorer without him.

Freeriders are in the news. John Waddell is in a serious state following his crash at Mont Ste Anne in Quebec. He overshot a jump by about 20 feet, bailed mid flight and took one hell of a tumble. He’s still comatose. Meanwhile Dave Watson did a gap jump on a mountain stage over the road the peloton were riding as they passed underneath. Although he failed to make the transition and needed to be taken off the mountain in an ambulance, the footage should be appearing in New World Disorder IV. Dave is still in custody in a French jail.

On an all together different note, raging bike is worth a look.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides