Saturday, 22 October 2011

MuleBar Girl Lou gets a podium!

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Crowds @ Muddy Hell

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Let's get out of here!

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Joker! Aka Claire Beaumont

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V prepares for the Muddy Hell CX race

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Strudels training on The Downs

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Friday, 21 October 2011

Climb night at Newcastle

Happy Birthday Climb Newcastle, 3 years old today

Suppers up!

Right now at Climb Newcastle!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Message on the hoof

Message on the hoof

Message on the hoof


Message on the hoof

1 k to go

Message on the hoof

There she blows..

Message on the hoof

TriPort 2011 Olympic Distance

Pippa Tanner, from Team Endurance, took 2nd in the recent TriPort 2011 Olympic Distance in Australia "and managed 2nd Female, 11th overall. A really great race, but blooming hard work. They started it at midday to make it a little more challenging! 30+ and sweltering hot"

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Scott Cornish's report of the 2011 Ritchey Oktoberfest

They have done it again, the Bikefest team have put on another successful event. The 2nd Ritchey Oktoberfest powered by Merecedes Benz Vito Sport was a great day’s racing on Bristol’s brand new trails at Ashton Court estate. Paul Newman’s lucky flip flops worked their magic once more as the skies were again dry and sunny, racing in shorts and jersey in the middle of October, an odd but a most welcome feeling. Only recently completed, this was the first time that the full trail network has been used for any of the Bike Fest events. Only the lower and upper quarry trails had been completed in time for this past summer’s Bike Fest, so this would be a good test of how the trails would hold up being ridden over a few thousand times. Phil Saxena, the man behind Architrail was racing too, enjoying the fruits of his labour.

Entry numbers had swelled from last year, almost doubling to some 1000 riders with very limited entries available on the day. The atmosphere was buzzing as riders lined up for the now infamous run up the grassy hill to waiting supporters and team members holding bikes. At 9am Paul Newman called the start. It’s always an amusing sight as a few hundred cyclists trying to run in cleated cycling shoes, head for their bikes. It’s elbows out, every rider for themselves as they scrabble to grab bikes and attempt to ride through a chaotic mass of competitors and supporters, some still running, some trying to jump on bikes, others already riding. It pays to put in a good run, to be out ahead on the bike as the trail quickly narrows down to the first section of singletrack.

Knowing what’s coming up, every rider is scrambling to get ahead, making a beeline for any inclining of a gap, no courtesy is extended here or race etiquette adhered to in those first 5 to 10 minutes, as riders just focus on the quickly approaching narrow trail, as the next available passing place is not until the trail’s end, some 1.6km away. Despite the relatively short distance, getting caught here is time lost, and that can be a lot of time if you are in the running for a podium spot.

Riding for Cadence Bike Shop, my partner in the hotly contested pairs category was Dan Sampson, an up an coming junior rider. We pitched up with Gary Lake, my Executive Editor at Cyclist No.1, who was soloing the 8 hour event on the alloy version of the Santa Cuz Tallboy. Previously a 29er sceptic, yet 29er curious, the few practice rides he’s had on those big wheels have brought a huge grin to his face. Interesting to see his verdict after 8 hours straight. I was on my faithful Niner Air 9 Carbon.

Mine and Dan’s strategy was 1 lap on, 1 off which would give us about 28 minutes rest each. With a bag of MuleBar gels and other easily digestible goodies at the ready this was going to be a tough day in the saddle. Mentioning to Dan that I do ‘a bit’ of running sealed my fate to be the one lining up at the bottom of the grassy hill. Taking my place amongst the crowd, it was great to see so many familiar faces, local and not so local. Friendly banter ensued, but as the start grew closer, the crowd silenced, waiting for Paul (Newman’s) signal. Rides were so eager to get started that Paul didn’t quite manage to utter ‘Go!’’ before everyone started to run!

My previous ‘bit’ of running wasn’t enough to get ahead of the masses. I had to be content with sitting in the train of riders as we headed along that first trail. It was tail to tail riders, constantly on and off the brakes, tyres occasionally touching as riders became impatient. This was no time for heroics though, a risky move here would only mean the difference between 1 or 2 places, or wrapping bars around a tree. Hard efforts would have to be left to the double track sections, the climbs essentially.

Knowing these trails well, I prepared myself as we came to the trail exit. I wound up the speed and dropped a couple of gears. The legs and lungs were already starting to complain as I hit the bottom of the first climb, a loose, gravel track which led into the next, lengthy section of singketrack. The red mist was well and truly down by the time I topped out, but the 200m double track descent before the trailhead was no time to rest as there were still opportunities to take some places as other riders took a moment to rest.The ensuing 1km of singletrack would be a chance to rest the legs a little.

Blockages were still occurring on the singletrack, but the risks to gain a place or 2 were still too high, so I sat back and just enjoyed the rolling trails at slower speeds. Sprinting out of the trail exit, the route headed down the zig-zag double track then back up the other side, a short, sharp section of hurt. Back onto the singletrack, but there is no rest on the lower quarry trail winds its way gradually upwards through the trees. As it exits a quick sprint and a shout ‘on your right’ can be the difference between getting caught behind a slower rider or not, as the upper quarry is a fast, swooping slightly downhill section. Loose focus here and it’s a date with a tree.

With the amount of riders on the course, the singletrack was still laden with riders, but the slower speeds at least allowed me time to work out the best passing places if needed on future laps. The 3rd climb is short, sharp and loose, get out of the saddle here and the rear wheel will be skipping around. Dropping into Barn Wood, a brand new section of trail, it’s full of tight, bermed turns, rollers and small table tops, no place normally for a 29er, yet the Niner didn’t feel too out of its depth. Coming out of Barn Wood led to a short rocky descent with a couple of drop offs to catch out the unwary, followed by 3 sharp, tight consecutive berms leading to more open trails and the chance to pass again. The final 1.5kms was a chance to pick up the speed once more with a slight incline on double track before the home straight back to the start. My partner Dan was waiting in the change over area eager to get going. 30 minutes for that first lap including the run and the tail backs, I was ok with that knowing that I hadn’t raced since July.

Lap times became more consistent with enough time to down a MuleBar gel or two in the pits. With the limited passing places on the singletrack, every opportunity had to be made on the open sections of trail, every lap now felt like interval training! Resting ish on the singletrack then going flat out on the climbs. The trails were more open now as the field had spread out. Being able to ride the new trails at speed was so much fun. They were fast and undulating, twisting their way through the trees with little kickers and dropoffs adding to the mix. They just flowed so well.

4 hours in and we were in 4th place by only a minute or so, spurring us on for a possible podium position. The fight was on. An hour later and we had overhauled the team in front putting us in 3rd by only a narrow margin. A couple of laps later Dan was taking a little longer than expected, he eventually came in, an errant branch having bent his mech hanger limiting gear choice. I went out on my lap anticipating that I had to ride 2 so that he could get the problem sorted. With this I rode conservatively, but coming back through Dan had managed to borrow one of the demo Specialized Epic 29ers. Had his mechanical and my slower lap put back into 4th? We didn’t know and just had to pedal hard for the final few laps.

Dan went out on his final lap at 4.05, with all laps having to be completed by 5 pm on the dot to count, I went to the changeover area at 4.30, wondering if I would get a last lap in and if it was needed to secure 3rd. With my laps averaging around 27 minutes it was going to be close. Paul Newman was counting down the minutes, 29 to go, 28, 27....Dan came in at a few seconds past 4.33 and I just went. The legs complained bitterly at the effort. This was not going to be pleasant, but I was on a mission. Willing the legs to push through on the climbs, the singletrack was fairly clear, riders being courteous in moving over when possible to my shouts of ‘rider behind!’ through gritted teeth. I could feel my calves on the edge of cramping up at each pedal stroke, the climbs were just agony. Coming of that last section of singletrack, I just gave what I had left, a spectator shouting out that I had 3 minutes to cut off. Coming off that last rise I knew that I had made it, but by only 40 seconds as I came over the line. Coming to a halt by our pit, the cramp hit as I got off the bike, quads, hamstrings, but oddly enough not the calves, immobilising me for 5 minutes. I had to ask one of the pit crew to grab me a Mule recovery bar even though it was only 2 metres away! Had we done enough to secure 3rd though? The crowd surrounding the results screen was 3 or 4 deep waiting for confirmation of placings as the lists slowly scrolled past. It finally got to the male open pairs, we got 3rd. Job done.

Gay Lake had done enough on the Tallboy to get in the top 10 in the tough solo open male category. And his 29er scepticism has well and truly ebbed away. Fi, our Features Ed got the top spot in open female solo 8 hour and Richard, our technical contributor came in 21st on his first outing as solo racer. Top effort. He did just miss out however having his last lap count, coming in 4 seconds after the cut off, his legs just couldn’t pedal any faster. Give him a month and he’ll have forgotten how much it hurt and he’ll be eager to go solo again! It happens to us all. A great day for Cyclist No.1. Every other rider I got a chance to speak to just had huge, all-be-it, pained grins on their faces, having enjoying the new trails. A resounding thumbs up for Architrail’s efforts. A huge thanks to the BikeFest crew for putting on another superb event. Long may it continue.

EdUKaid 10k - 10km Dash for Desks

Since 2003, EdUKaid has been supporting some of the poorest communities in Tanzania to improve the access and quality of education.

EdUKaid’s 10km Dash for Desks is set in the stunning natural scenery of the New Forest National Park. Enjoy this scenic, challenging and multi-terrain course and help raise money to buy desks for children in Tanzania.

Anyone for SuperCross?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Salisbury high life

Message on the hoof

And more

Message on the hoof

More adventure

Message on the hoof

Monday, 17 October 2011

We Leave for the Great White South - www.

"Today, the six of us depart UK bound for Punta Arenas in Chile where we will meet up with our freighted kit and equipment.
Next week will be spent repacking and receiving final briefings prior to our flight onto the Antarctic scheduled for 22 October – but of course the weather will have a vote in that as well. The prospect of the journey South is very exciting but there are many stages to go through yet so patience will be required, of that I am certain.
I intend to send our first audio broadcast back from Punta Arenas tomorrow.
Best wishes from us all and please continue to spread the word of our project.
Thank you."

Pumpkin on Mulebars?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Run 2

Message on the hoof

Quarry jump?

Message on the hoof

Grand Vets

Message on the hoof

On top of the world..

Message on the hoof

Message on the hoof

Pina's are out

Message on the hoof

Gold at Moelfre..

Message on the hoof