Mountain Bike Shenanigans

New Specialized
August 14th, 2003

New Specialized bikes have finally be previewed, find our more here. Look very interesting and if anything like previous years, they will look even better in the flesh.

I’m on the boat tomorrow. Back in a couple of weeks. Over and out. Cherie!

Guernsey, Channel Islands

For a regular mounatin biking fix have a look at:

blog ring | busted spoke | eastside freeride | speed metal | 20-24-26 | stumphunters

More from SITS
August 13th, 2003

More photos from Sleepless in the Saddle have been posted up and about on the internet, a few even featured the team. I haven’t thanked our support team yet, so this is a big thanks to Jo for being there. Nick B was riding in the pairs category too, he and his team mate were the numbers preceeding us and he had this to say:

From: Nick B
Subject: Sleepless in the Saddle

I know how hot it was out there, that heat wasn’t funny at all. I drank my 2 litre Camelbak dry after a lap and a half, just trying to wash the dust out of my throat. Was going at what I thought was a comfortable speed for the first couple of laps, but by lap four I slowed right down because I felt so shaky. Couldn’t believe I felt so bad after just 30 odd miles, it was quite depressing. Started to pick up again once things got cooler though, but really for a long long time it was more about surviving than enjoying the thing. Hard bloody event…

I think that pairs was an evil category to be in with those conditions… a lot of the pairs riders, myself included, started off at a pace closer to what they’d have ridden at in a team rather than solo speed, if you know what I mean. Really hard to judge things right when your brain has started melting!

jed on the loud pedal... _ jed picking his line.... _ really fast bit...

I’m getting ready to head off to the Channel Islands on Friday at the moment. There’s not going to be much happening on the site until I get back, so don’t be expecting any updates for a while. This is where I’m going.

If I ever manage to get over to British Colombia, this site could be damn useful. Loads of trails mapped out and plenty of local knowledge on offer. Seems to be pretty up-to-date too. The Numplumz team were out in force at Sleepless last weekend, this is where you can find them lurking.

And following news of the recent rejiggling at Titec, more news reports of the loss of what had been a rising star within the British component manufacturing scene. Forge’s mountain bike parts arm has been folded following the loss of their product developer. That is a bit of a bugger, because they were doing some really nice kit.

SITS Takes Me Out
August 12th, 2003

Sleepless in the Saddle proved to be my nemesis this year. I don’t want to complain about the weather too much because it was fantastic, but just a bit too hot. We were sweating just standing around in the campsite, let alone out on the course. It was damn hot. Results can be found here.

Jed and I had a plan, to ride two on, two off until about 8pm and then start doing three on three off night laps, to maximise the burn time from the lights. I still stand by this plan as a good one, but I now have to admit it might not have been suitable given the heat.

The course was fantastic with a mix of fast track roads, single track, climbs and descents. There was enough technical content to keep people occupied and enough fast bits to make up time if you were caught in an early bottleneck. Having arrived after sunset on Friday night, my first chance to ride the course came just after 9am on Saturday and I clocked a 39 minute recce lap and rode the entire course. The start and finish area allowed the sponsors to do a bit of advertising. and there were plenty of trade tents (more here).

After a bit of fettling and preparation, the rider briefing was soon upon us and we stood and sweated in the heat while we were read the riot act and told to expect to drink 15 litres of fluid a day I this heat. We didn’t need to be told, we were drinking like fish already. The new race kit was donned in preparation.

The Le Mans run from the start seemed to last forever, but was a reasonable way to spread the field out over the course, the run through the single track sections certainly narrowed the running field down to single file at times. Having picked the bike, camelbak and radio up from Jed back at the transition area, I set off on two laps.

The first was incredibly dusty with a high concentration of riders on the loose gravel road tracks kicking up the dirt. There was plenty of opportunity to pass slower riders and those that had gone off too fast in the run and were now paying the price. The heat was stifling and the humidity in the wooded sections was stifling. A few people rode in a fashion unbefitting of the spirit of the event, with one guy running into the back of my bike on three occasions on the same single track section where I was being held up by a queue of riders in front. Words were said.

I turned down Jed’s radio offer of a change over and stayed out for another lap and rode at a steadier pace managing to clean a lot more of the course which had earlier been clogged with riders. By the end of my first stint I was quite happy to hand over. Jed managed a good couple of laps but picked up a puncture on the curb of doom at the top of the campsite early on.

My next two laps were a bit more comfortable, but after them I was pretty iffy and ended up seeing the contents of my stomach, which was a nice touch. Following rehydrating and getting some food I felt much better and recovered enough to do my night laps.

These went well, except for the fact that it was frequently the case that you would get stuck behind a slower rider and not be able to find a safe passing point for some time. The first two laps were dispatched without too much problem, but lap three was the final nail in the coffin. I started feeling ill about a mile it the course, had to stop and lie down for five minutes, managed to get up and keep going and then was ill. What followed was a painful crawl back to transition with a few more sickbag stops on the way.

At the transition Jed and I decided to call it a night and I crawled back to the tent and died a thousand deaths. Heat exhaustion had taken it toll (and a certain energy drink may have been partly responsible). We will be back…

Tubeless Setup
August 5th, 2003

Ordered some Eclipse sealant from Jon over at Just Riding Along. I’m hoping it’s going to do the business for the UST tyres at Sleepless, after my first puncture using UST tyres (took over 500 miles) I’m hoping that this will mean no more punctures for a very long time. Jon is racing in a pair too, so Jed and I have some very strong competition.

This is just typical of this bloody country, during last year’s British round of the World Rally Championship, a large number of the drivers were busted by speed cameras and now are all being prosecuted. I don’t know how many tens of millions the events generates for the local economy and aids the community, but last time I looked South Wales was in need of all the investment it could muster. If this legal action leads to the region losing the competition some heads need knocking together.

Remember that pick of Dave Watson’s jump over the Tour posted last week? Well the word is it’s a fake. The real photos haven’t been published yet. More news as and when.

Following on from yesterday’s post about the Simplon race, the Trans Alp race finished at the end of last month. There’s another Trans Alp report here. That and the Grand Raid Cristalp is also on the way. There’s some good riding out there in Europe and the World Champs are in Lugano. It’s all very Swiss on the mountain bike scene at the moment.

Some disappointing news in the world of road bikes. ONCE have decided to pull out of sponsoring a pro team from the end of this season. It’s going to be a shame to lose a team which has always seemed to be very popular with the followers of the Tour. I’m sure Beloki and the rest of the team will soon get picked up by a new major sponsor.

The chain gang tonight was assisted greatly on the return leg by a fairly strong tail wind. We were cruising back at about 25-28mph. Must admit I’m a bit gutted not to have set any speed cameras off. There were a few opportunities, but I just didn’t have it in my legs.

August 4th, 2003

It’s getting damn hot. Apparently it’s going to get even hotter by midweek. Predictably Britain has been thrown into chaos yet again by the weather. You might think that after several thousands of years our society might have adapted to our maritime climate more effectively. This from Private Eye, continues to remind me that at least we can appreciate the ridiculous state of affairs.

Today I spent the day in the bike shop and the next too days are going to see me stuck inside at home and the office working. Both are hot enough to induce meltdown. Tomorrow night I’m off out on the road bike and out of Manchester, which like London has a geographical position that encourages the formation of high pressure air zones above the city that allow things to get pretty uncomfortable. Up in the Peaks things get a bit cooler.

As Sleepless approaches the surrounding hype is beginning to grow and people are getting set for this weekend. Jed and I are hoping that things will go according to plan, but you never can tell with these things. Preparation has to help. Talking of preparation Biker reports that getting the energy intake sorted definitely helped him in his recent efforts offroad in Switzerland. He rode the Simplon Race, which started in Brig, Switzerland at the weekend and had this to say:

From: Biker
Subject: Simplon Race

Patient beat me by a couple of minutes. I creamed everyone on the descents! Fucking whacked now. Need about a week of sleep. Managed to eat – definitely helped.

I’ve been promised a bit of a race report, if a recollection can be pulled from what was sounds like one hell of a race and undoubtedly caused a mental blur. This is the same race that kiwi Tim Vincent came second in last year. Full results from this year’s event can be found here. By the looks of the map, the course had a fair bit of climbing involved. I want to do that next year, looks like fun.

bad ass mountain bike racing

I reckon there’s about 2000m climbing on that course

I learnt today that a rider was knocked down and killed at the weekend whilst riding a time trial on the A50 and it just reminds you about how susceptible cyclists are to serious and fatal injuries following accidents with other road traffic. You can understand why raging bike is such a popular site. So popular I’m going to make it site of the week.

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