Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Singletrack Archive Updated
July 30th, 2005

Singletrack Archive finally updated with a listing for Issue 22. IMBA membership renewal in the post. Shopping and beer drinking to follow. 2006 Specialized here and here – it’s looking carbontastic. Trying to be retro is getting an expensive habit.

Biking tomorrow in the mountains.

Sinking
July 27th, 2005

It’s been a long time since I had time to sit down and write an update for the site and the fact that the desk around me still looks like a bombsite is testament to the fact that I’m still not really back on top of things and the honest answer is that things will probably get worse before they get better. So maybe around October I’ll get back around to doing normal updates. Maybe. Normal updates and riding bikes by October. Sounds good. Not sure if I can wait until then though.

So what’s new in the world in the last two and a bit weeks? Probably the most important bit of news is that to celebrate the arrival of Archie who will be keeping an eye on Simon and Christina from now on. It’s a cracking bit of news and by far eclipses the fact that some guy called Lance has won a bike race in France. Not that the latter really comes as a shock to anyone I suppose, well possibly other than to Mr Armstrong. The rest of the pack will probably be glad he’s going and will have their fingers crossed that he doesn’t do a Cipolini. I’m going. No I’m not [cue return and world championship victory]. Right this time I’m REALLY going. No I’m not. Yes I am, no I’m not [cue fade into obscurity with loss of form]…

So what else has been happening? Well after years of being blown up because political policy was of deep dissatisfaction to certain paramilitary political elements in Northern Ireland, London and other major UK population centres are now once again the targets of bombers disgruntled by current foreign policy and treatment of people they relate too. Isn’t it strange that when you do things like this in the name of war then try and sweep it under the carpet and gloss over it as “an unavoidable part of the hideous nature of war”, that at some point you’ve killed the relative of someone who is actually going to seek revenge in a way that you might not actually like. Blair is far from reality if he truly believes there is no scope for comparison.

Whatever Blair says about this not being related to the war in Iraq, it doesn’t take a degree in politics to work out that there is an apparent relationship here. Maybe they’ll set up an inquiry – because they’ve been proven to be a successful wy of getting to the bottom of things in the past haven’t they? Remember WMD? The fact is this. The UK wasn’t not being bombed by apparent Muslim extremists before invading Iraq, but we are now. the Spanish seemed to get the message fairly quickly, so how many more innocent people have to die before the message gets through? You have to wonder, are we really becoming so American in our attitudes that we shoot first and ask questions later?

Enough politick. Check this from Jed: Are you still riding that dull looking Titanium frame? Maybe you need to brighten it up a bit…

Now there used to be a regular section on the site a couple of years ago where I used to say what was on the stereo. Well after watching Live 8 and seeing The Who perform, i have to say I thought that they stole the show. After that I, like many thousands of others, suddenly realised what they’d been missing and kitted themselves out with some classic rock and it was only after watching the Live 8 performance that I realised that it’s actually ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again” that forms the iconic theme to CSI. Doh! It’s been great to see many of the bands sharing the benefits of participating in the event – it won’t satisfy everyone but it’s a gesture in the right direction.

Also flowing out the speakers is some classic St Germain, a bit of the Man in Black, Johnny Cash and some revival from the collection of Kieran Hebden’s alias Fourtet. Word is that he is coming to the capital of the North soon. Sweet.

I think this is a fair way to finish, because whatever you do I’m sure you can relate to this:

A cowboy was herding his herd in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

The cowboy looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure. Why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his AT&T cell phone and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to
get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop
and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry, and after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says the cowboy. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then the cowboy says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?” The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a consultant.” says the cowboy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required,” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew; to a question I never asked; and you don’t know anything about my business. Now give me back my DOG.”

Scorchio!
July 12th, 2005

For some inexplicable reason I forgot to mention just how hot it is here at the moment yesterday. I can only assume the head addled my brain. It’s hot, damn hot and it’s proper mediterranean heat too, but with that horrible stuffy humidity that only Manchester seems capable of.

Lance let them share around his Jersey for a while then he pounced today in the mountains. Armstrong is back in Yellow after a cracking ride up to Courchevel. To be honest he seems to have made his mark now and barring disaster I can’t see anyone else taking this final Tour from him. I know it’s early days, but you do get that feeling that he has it all planned out.

It was interesting to note that the final stage of Saturday’s stage finished in Gérardmer, a mountain town that Biker and I cruised through in out trans France epic. I imagine that it wasn’t quite the same slogging up the climb on a 45lb laden mountain bike as it must have been for the Tour riders on their 18lb race bikes.

Here’s a load of timekillers from the team over at teagames. Oh and this is an absolute classic – I imagine the error message generator has been used to great effect in businesses across the globe. Just thing of the potential for a screen shot, a bit of photoshopping and a new desktop wallpaper…

And finally check out this bizarre Powerpoint presentation about big earth movers.

The Dales
July 11th, 2005

Yesterday things all went to plan and an escape from the heat, pollution and repetition of the city was achieved. After a lot of time on call recently, it was great to be able to hand over the phone and not have to be within shouting distance of home. So with a rather shiny bike it was time to find some dusty trails in a part of England with which I have a growing affinity – the beautiful rolling hills and limestone valleys of the Derbyshire Dales. There’s a gallery of photos up here.

It’s been a fairly busy time in these parts recently and this evening I’ve had to spend time patching up the security on the ifrider.com guestbook and doing some other admin. it hasn’t lefy time for much else. In other news by now Wee Ben has probably upped and left and headed North of the border. Check out his riding and other stuff here. Hopefully I’ll get my act together and get up to the wilds of western Scotland one day and, if I can put the memories of Dog Soldiers behind me, I might actually enjoy it.

More soon(ish).

Reading the ‘Rag
July 7th, 2005

Today is a day that will never be forgotten. May those responsible be brought to justice and may those that have lost their lives today be remembered for generations as the unwilling martyrs in a global situation driven by capitalist greed and it’s associated developed world politics, democratic systems motivated by a protectionist theory and put into practice and exercised through poorly thought out and heavy handed power plays. History was made today for all the wrong reasons. The world’s greatest news service has the details.

If you’ve come here to take your mind of things, I don’t have much else to say today, but luckily there’s a new issue of Dirt Rag online, so check out the following:

Living the Life: Making it as a Pro Downhill Mountain Biker By Kyle Boelte

Places to Ride: the McKenzie River Trail By Noah Koerper

The Inside Line: Cane Creek’s Shotgun Shock By Michael Browne

Bike Review: Fuel EX 9 By Sue George

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides