Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mules practice at the 1st round British Downhill Series

Roots and rocks....
Mini Mule camp
Mule G ponders lines with Peaty and Brendan....

Woop woop..

Message on the hoof

Friday, 18 March 2011

The moon rises over Nant G - bring on the 'moro

Message on the hoof

Outstanding Contribution to Triathlon

Jon Fearne's latest award...

Keep up the awesome work Jon and glad you got home this morning!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Poised for the commute...

Matt Willis

Sent from my mobile saddle



Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Monday, 14 March 2011

Mule Mike gets a 3rd at Newnham Park yesterday taking him to a glorious 2nd in the series overall...

A sweet pressie from our neighbours...

Matt Willis

Sent from my mobile saddle

Current Score - Arctic 2 Us 0
Sun 13 March 2011

Unfortunately, it is with significant disappointment that we have to write another update detailing bad news so soon after our decision not to attempt to ski to the Geographic North Pole due to the rapidly decreasing time-window. Having re-planned and repacked we departed Resolute Bay on Tuesday 8th March headed for the Magnetic North pole. Despite achieving good daily mileage in an unforgiving environment and feeling both confident and strong, it was with huge disappointment that yesterday morning we had to make the impalpable decision to be extracted from the ice.

This decision was not taken lightly and was made because Jules had sustained cold injuries to his thumb and a number of fingers on his right hand. Although not severe at this stage, if they had refrozen the consequences would have been very different. Medical advice has been sought since we arrived back in Resolute Bay and confirmed that our initial treatment and the decision, due to concerns over the injury worsening, not to continue was supported.

This decision clearly and unfortunately signifies the end of any further activities in Northern Canada for us this year. Although the correct decision was made, the disappointment and dissatisfaction with our circumstances is presently hard to describe.

Our intention is now to return to the UK and start the process of planning and rescheduling another expedition to attempt to ski to the Geographic North Pole either in 2012 or 2013.

We would like to sincerely thank-you for your support to date and hope that this support will continue in the future.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Grand Vets are out there....

Tony Miles at the MIJ TAFF Buggy is leading the MTB DH British Cycling Grand Vets.....

Troll Wall by Pete Rhodes

It began with a surprisingly easy three day drive, leaving Penrith via the Channel Tunnel I stopped near Bruges on the first night. From here a 13 hour push meant that I crossed 3 countries and arrived in Gothemburg around 9 for tea with a friend and night out of the confines of the van. From here the speed dropped slightly on the less populated road but I cruised up Scandanavia and arrived in Romsdal just after the sun had set.

As I pulled in to the lay-by directly under the face my heart sank. A huge illuminated thermometer read 1C at 7pm that night. The drive up had been sunny but I'd assumed it would be colder as I got north. I was expecting the temperature to be between -5 and -10C for the whole trip as is normal for the area in early March. I went to be confused but figured I was just punch drunk from all the driving and could think about it properly in the morning.

Rising early the big screen read -2C and the wind was blowing. It felt cold and that was better. I quickly packed a bag with the first load of ropes and began the hike to the face. The trail crosses the rail bridge before diving into the woods and then emerging at the foot of the face. As I crossed out of the woods and onto the snow field below the face it was obvious conditions were far from perfect. The whole snow field was covered in avalanche debris and rockfall which had obviously come down very recently. The going was tough over the loose and soft debris. I found myself constantly watching the slabs I was traversing under as large spindrift falls ran down the face on top of the melting ice holding it together.

At the base of the route the face looked completely unlike I was expecting. Sat on the snow in a t-shirt I looked at the water running out of the cracks, the unconsolidated snow on the ledges and the amount of debris around the base. My brain was in overdrive. Was I looking for the right excuse or was it actually the right decision? I spent a couple of hours watching the face, the spindrift and the rising temperature before leaving the ropes at the base and hiking back to the van. I wasn't ready to make a big decision so figured another nights waiting and seeing was in order.

In the evening as I made dinner in the van a number of local people drive out to meet me and chat about my plans. Everyone had a theory on how safe the face was, how the temperature was set to change and what the weather was doing. The police drove up to say they'd let the mountina rescue know I was around and that they'd check in on my van while I was climbing. I was blown away by how friendly everyone was and quite suprised that I was really all that interesting.

Having noted a temperature of 13C when I got down from the face I went to bed with a big glowing 7C shining through the windscreen. By this point and with all the information I'd gleaned it seemed that Romsdal was experiencing a freak early spring. The week before I arrived it had be in the negative teens but the previous two days had been around 10C which explained the massive amount of avalanche debris I had been hiking on.

The morning dawned bright but overnight the temperature rose to 8C. I drove into town to get a fuller weather forecast in the hopes that it would drop cold again as quickly as it had got hot. The forecast however promised another ten day of tis balmy spring weather with the threat of rain and a few small storms. Without doubt the perfect opposite of the forecast I was looking for, all the reasons that I had chosen to climb in winter were completely unfulfilled.

I hiked back to the base having made a decision. I was not willing to get on the face in these more dangerous conditions. I had worked so hard over the last 4 months to be as fit as I could, as mentally solid as I could muster and to have all the best equipment available. It seemed, for me, far too cavalier to throw away this margin of safety I had worked so hard to obtain just because of the pressure and desire to climb the route. It will still be there another time, and when all the aspects align it will be a fun climb without doubt.

The hike back to get the ropes was worse than the day before. A heavy heart didn't help but the high temperatures had turned the avalanche debris to knee deep slush and the face was pouring with water and sluff. Eventually I managed to grab all the kit and sat to think for a while. In any other arena in the world these conditions could well have been perfect. I know in Patagoina we'd have loved some positive temperatures and sunny days but I am in no rush to be on the Troll Wall in less than perfect and clod conditions. There is of course the chance that another, perhaps slightly more cavalier then myself could have cruised up the route unimpeded by any objective danger and enjoyed the warmer temperatures for a quick ascent. That chance was not one I am willing to take and I am proud of the decision to wait for another attempt.

The drive home was a longer and much lonelier pursuit than the one to get there. A 5 hour German traffic jam did little to add to the joys but I made it home in 3.5 days bitterly disappointed but ready to move on. I've realised that getting the chance to make these huge decisions is one of the greatest aspects of the pursuit and so I am happy to have made the right one.

I'd like to thank everyone so very much for the help, gear and time that they gave in order for me to get this opportunity.

Cardiganshire boy litters..

Message on the hoof

Kilimanjaro Trek 2011 - Day 6

Day 6

The final day of the trek has arrived and although we have
enjoyed ourselves we are very much looking forward to a hot shower
and a night in a bed. A gentle trek takes us back into the rainforest
where the temperate and humidity once again rises and glimpses
of monkeys litter the route. Eventually after six hours we reach the
Mweka Gate and have finally completed our Trek.

This was a truly magical and unforgettable experience, from the
warm and welcoming guides and porters to the unforgiving but
beautiful landscape of Kilimanjaro. Breathtaking in its entirety and
a trip we would thoroughly recommend to anyone. Thank you to
MuleBar for fuelling us, without you we both would have lost more
than the half a stone that Kili already took out of us!

Final fettle trimming tyres at the MIJ TAFF Buggy

Message on the hoof