Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

July 31, 2006

Selkirk Merida: Disaster and Delight

Filed under: bikes,lunacy - mine — dgpowell @ 11:01 am

Being an optimist (ha!) I’ll begin with the good points from yesterdays race:

  • My main aim was to finish in a decent time without feeling at all tired, as part of my preperation for SITS solo

This I did, with a finishing time of 4hrs 50summat minutes being fast enough (not super fast, but I’ll explain why that was in a minute). At the end of it I didn’t feel like i’d done anything! I didn’t need to stop at any of the feed stations and hardly ate anything while riding, I just cruised round the course without ever having to dig deep…or dig at all on the climbs or flat sections.

  • The course just plain rocked

Yes, it did rock! I knew that the bit of the Traqblahblahblah trail at Innerleithen was good and that the merida route took some of it in, but the rest of the route also rocked, with fast moorland singletrack, woodsy stuff, big (for this country) climbs…that i just span up easily, top notch scenery, crazy steep “off piste” descents through the trees and lots of technical fun!

There were lots of other good points too, like the friendly people racing, the laidback atmosphere, the cracking weather (with no midgies, oddly), the marshalling and general organisation and the idea of giving spot prizes to random finishers as they crossed the line, rather than just giving money to the scrawny whippets (I didn’t get anything, but ho hum)

Right, lets do the bad stuff and explain my fairly lowly position:

  • I snapped my bars 10 miles in

My first crash of the day, on some fast singletrack while being cocky and trying to overtake someone to catch back up to steve, saw me hurtle over the bars at such pace, and hit the ground head first with such force that the bloke behind me stopped and offered to carry me to the marshall at the end of the track so I could be whisked away in an ambulance (a big thankyou to you, sorry i didn’t get your name). After a short time suffering dejavu (i’m presuming this was just my brain going a bit fuzzy) i picked up the bike only to discover that the right bar end was dangling limpy off the end of the bars. “Oh crap” i thought, “carbon bars don’t take kindly to being snapped like that”. I had a sit down and eventually decided to carry on, gingerly, trying to not put any weght on remainder of the bars in case they failed. After a few miles i’d come to the conclusion that they had snapped on the reinforced end section (designed to enable the bars to be cut down) and that they’d be OK for the rest of the race, provided i didn’t hammer them over rough stuff.
Yes i know this was, in fact, a stupid and dangerous thing to do (i realised it even more last night when i squeezed the broken end of the bars between my fingers and the fibres collapsed!) but i survived.

  • I nearly broke my leg and bent my brake lever

I’d lost my bottle after the big bar snapping crash earlier, and had little faith in the bars lasting the Caddon Bank descent at Innerleithen if I flew off all the drops, so I intended to just roll down the chicken runs and ride calmly, rather than ride “all out”. Unfortunately at the first drop I was so busy remembering riding down the track last year on a big full susser that i hit the “fly off the drop” line by mistake, realised what i was doing as i left the lip of the drop, panicked and tried to throw my weight right back so no pressure would go through the bars on landing. This, of course, is basically what you do to do a “no hander” jump…and if you managed to also land no handed you have pulled off what is know by jumpy types as a “suicide”. What an apt name. I hit the ground completely out of control and broadsided the bike at full pelt, slamming my right leg into a rock so hard I had to sit at the side of the track for a few minutes clutching it with tears pouring out of my eyes.
I came within about an inch of dropping out, but my desire to not quit any more races if it was at all possible to continue (and my tightwad-iness at paying £30 to ride!) saw me hobble over to where the bike had ended up and get back on, albeit looking rather pitiful.
My leg hurt so much that i couldn’t stand up or put any real presure through it, making lots of the technical trails a nightmare of poor balance and sharp pain whenever a bit of power had to be put down to get over an obstical or move the bike around underneath me.

Oh, my computer died less than 3 miles into the race as well, which sucked.

Despite all this i finished, like i said at the top, in just under 5hrs and the bits of me that weren’t bruised to f-k (or swollen to “Mr Stay Puft” style proportions as my leg has now become) didn’t feel like i’d put a hard ride through them. I fact, i would go as far as to say that i didn’t feel like i’d done anything at all! Seriously!

Now I’m off to buy some new bars and lots of Ibuprofen gel for my leg…

July 25, 2006

The Trickle of Holiday Pics continues…

Filed under: bikes,not bikes — dgpowell @ 11:36 am

hidden cove

flat and lumpy

Riding the Selkirk Merida on Sunday (it was a last minute decision). Quite liking having the fitness to just think “oh sod it, I’ll race 100K at the weekend, why not”, rather than having to approach it like all the bike mags suggest (usually they stress the toughness of such an event and make out that only super human types should consider doing the full distance).

It appears (if i can read German properly…which i can’t) that Kate Potter’s team came 2nd overall in the Transalp, and Julia’s team came 9th, which kicks ass! I think Steve P and Eelco’s team came higher than last year too, which also kicks ass.

July 24, 2006

Making the most of summer

Filed under: bikes,not bikes — dgpowell @ 10:12 am

funky greek van
I like that van, I think it looks ace. I don’t want it or anything, and would probably get annoyed if it turned up near my house, but as long as it stays were it is (Greece) it’s ace!

evening rocks
Ooooh, moody…

Anyhoo, I washed the cannondale after yesterday’s ride, not because it was actually dirty (there was a fairly thick layer of dust on it, but hardly any mud) but because i was starting to feel a bit guilty; it’s had several biggish rides without so much as a wipe down of the chain. the road bike is in the same position too, i haven’t washed it yet, but it’s thick with dust from silly large amounts of miles on baked roads in the middle of nowhere.
Hopefully this means i’ve been making the most of summer; every spring I sit around planning how to make the most of the upcoming nice weather, promising myself that i won’t let it slip by and invariably in the late autumn i look back and think “could have done more with all that nice sunny period”. So this year i’m having a ‘proper go’ at being outside more. I think it’s working, my ‘training’ means i’m out after work most days in the eveing sun, which is nice. I’ve been away a few times, ridden new places, actively enjoyed the dustiness of the trails and sat outside numerous pubs drinking ale mid-ride without the risk of hypothermia.

In other news, Steve won the 24/12 race at the weekend, so big congrats go to him and it looks like everyone I know who raced the Transalp this year (lucky gits) finished, although I’m not sure of all their placings yet, so big-up’s go to Julia, Kate, Steve, Eelco, Jerome and all the other GBRers too!

July 21, 2006

The ‘Holiday’ Post…

Filed under: food/booze,not bikes — dgpowell @ 12:52 pm

Well, the annual hols have been and gone, with lots of bright sunshine, heat, swimming in the sea (minus the “eeew, what am i swimming through” that UK seasides bring with them) and eating.
Lots of eating

I am currently wading through the pics to filter out the wheat from the, well, crap really and will stick them up once they’re tidied up.

It’s nice to be back, although I am still tempted to sack off this job, emmigrate to greece and become one of the old blokes who sit on the seafront selling roasted corn on the cob during the evening and ride my bike on deserted dusty tracks all day.

angela at parga castle

July 8, 2006

A Return to The Pain and the Creaking

Filed under: bikes,not bikes — dgpowell @ 2:10 pm

With SITS on the not too distant horizon post SSMM training kicked back in this week, with 15hrs (including last sunday) of slogging away in the heat at a slightly higher rate of knotts than most of the pre-SSMM.
10 of those 15hrs were in Thursday and Friday’s big road rides. All in they were about 155 miles of big hills, silly high temperatures and ego based overly fast hill climbs to get away from persuing roadies. Both rides were done at an average heart rate of 159bpm, the first day being 5hrs 28mins ad the second being 4hrs 32mins and both containing no stops at all, which was nice.
I’ve now got just over 48hrs more to do before the race, to get me back into full on ass kicking shape…

Suffice to say the rude awakening to my legs after a full week off after SSMM has left me with a “good” ache and a reminder that i should really start to think about replacing the saddle on the road bike as it’s creaking has now surpassed “embarrasing” and has moved firmly into “psychological torture”…it’s now at the point where pedestrians actually stop and turn around to see what’s making the noise as i ride past…

In other news, bike insurance renewal time has arrived, leaving me somewhat out of pocket again which sucks and I’m of on holiday tomorrow, which rocks…interval training on a crappy hire bike in the hot greek sun, hurrah!

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