I don’t normally do kit reviews, but considering my recent rides have been unremarkable apart from being grim, wet, dark and cold affairs on the road bike, I might as well tell you about my jacket. My bright orange Gore Xenon Windstopper jacket is pretty bloody expensive for a garment that’s not got any pockets or a hood, but it has got an extremely dropped tail and a very high waist at the front. A bit like a coat worn by an Edwardian MP. It’s got huge reflective panels on the arms. It’s got really long arms, so this and the long tail make it ideal for riding with my hands in the drops – arse in the air, head down, you know what I mean.
It’s windproof, but not so windproof that it gets hot. In fact, it has to be worn with a good base layer if the temperature is really cold. It’s reasonably water-resistant.
For long rides on the road, especially at night, it’s ideal. Almost perfect in fact.

Warren’s been doing some work recently on the Industrial Fell Biking site. It’s had a facelift plus there’s an RSS feed from this site – so you can read this from there if you want and catch all the other goings-on such as Simon’s great photos and Martin’s obscure (and sometimes cheeky) routes. There are ride announcements on there too, if you’re a bit of a Billy No Mates.
It’s a work in progress at the moment, but see what you think.

wot no biscuits?

Andrew and I attended a meeting last night hosted by British Cycling, held at the Velodrome. We had to sit on the table with the coffee machine which was a bit uncomfortable after a bit but it was a pretty interesting session.

The aim is to establish a mountain bike racing series in the North of England and to promote some cooperation between race organisers. There’s some really interesting stuff in the pipeline already – regular races at Lee Quarry from April 09, some interesting stuff regarding quarries up in the hills that could be used for racing (a bloke who had the contacts for using the quarries and another bloke with the ideas but no venue was a match made in heaven) and loads of other great ideas including some demystifying of kids racing and availability of training for people like us who pretty much make it up as we go along.

I’ve always wanted to see kids racing on the course that we use for Hit The North (well some of it anyway) and it seems that there’s no need to worry about it. Just line ‘em up and shout GO!

Chipps is also resurrecting cyclocross racing in Todmorden early in the New Year. I know this cos he handed me a flyer. That’s going to be ace. I’ve already worked out a corking route to it 😉


We were due to set off at 8:30 this morning to meet up with Rich, Dave and others at Penmachno. Great trails, rocky singletrack aplenty. Unfortunately there was a problem at the stables which meant that Deb was late getting back so me and Michael didn’t set off until 9:15.
The new plan was to get there, jump on the bikes and catch the guys up. Why I thought for a second we’d be able to catch them up with a 30 minute start I’ll never know; it was never going to happen.
We had to be back by 3 as well, so our “window” was already getting quite narrow.
We had a decent enough ride, the singletrack at Penmachno really is up there with the best in the country and there’s a lot of it,  but Michael was obviously not enjoying himself (all of a sudden lost all his new-found confidence with clipless pedals) and was almost sick at the top of the last climb before we called it a day. There’s only so much moaning I can take, after all 😉

We got back to the car just in time to put some dry clothes on, eat a butty and say hello to Rich and Dave who were just finishing the ride.

It was the first time I’d ridden anywhere outside local trails on the Salsa singlespeed. It’s certainly nimble. Maybe a bit lively in fact. With a small drop of “handful” thrown in.

right. that’s it.

I can’t remember the ice being this bad last winter. Offroad last night was almost suicidal and riding on the road had its moments. When I say “moments” I mean the kind when you’re tanking along and all of a sudden the tyres fall silent. There’s a glitteryness about the tarmac and one’s bottom clenches. I didn’t fall off thankfully but I ended up with very little confidence, not enough to ride properly anyway. It’s just not fun.
Still, I managed a 30 mile loop so that wasn’t a complete waste, although I was probably being so careful at times that a lot of those miles were “junk miles” where I simply wasn’t working hard enough for there to be any training effect at all.
I got home and my gloves were frozen to the hoods and I had an almighty Ice Cream Headache.
I think I’ll concentrate on running for the time being.