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

July 30, 2008


Filed under: bikes — dgpowell @ 2:23 pm

went out for a road ride yesterday afternoon and ended up feeling as sick as i have the last few times i’ve raced.

i was down on power right from the off and losing time (against my “normal” times) over the nice hilly first 50 miles. in fact after 52 miles i had to stop and just sit on a wall at the side of the road feeling miserable while trying to decide whether to carry on round a reduced route or just roll straight home.

i decided to carry on, slowly, mostly because it was a lovely afternoon and i was in the middle of properly nice countryside when i’d normally be sat at work, so it seemed a shame to give up.

i ended up getting home 6hrs 21mins after i set off (i spent 31 mins stood/sat still), which was 29 mins off my average time for that loop, and still don’t feel right even now. Bah. getting kind of fed up with this whole illness thing now.

July 28, 2008

the griplessness of lakeland rock

Filed under: bikes,food/booze — dgpowell @ 11:02 am

yesterday seemed to = summer, so a quick trip to ride somewhere different and new seemed in order…or at least it did on friday afternoon after an aborted road ride due to tyres popping off rims.
wayne said he was up for it so i spent a nice hour or so on friday evening crawling over OS maps laid out on the living room floor, surrounded by lakeland route guides ripped from various mtb magazines (thanks to matt for giving them to me), working out what would be fun without being too taxing.

I settled on a short route from keswick round lonscale fell – along the ace singletrack that clings to the side of the fell which meant we could also nip over to whinlatter and test out the new altura trail up there.
Sunday morning arrived looking rather dull and cloudy, but full of hope we shot off up the quiet motorway and got to keswick in about an hour and a half to find it bathed in sunshine…and full of tourists.

After a good few minutes doing laps of the town to find somwhere to park wayne spotted a gap in the double yellow lines big enough to fit the berlingo in and we were away!
A nice warm up to the ride along the route of the old keswick railway got us clear of the rambling hordes and the dappled sunlight and glinting rivers set the laid back tone for the day, before giving way to a tarmac climb out from civilisation and into the hills proper.
A few becks to ford on the well surfaced path round blease fell provided opportunity to “accidentally” mess up riding through and stick feet into the cool flowing water and pose for photographs before rounding the head of the valley and (after a little more climbing and sweating) and heading back on the opposing valley wall.

nice wheels there ;)
Serious at all times

Neither of us had ridden the path before, despite it being possibly one of the most photographed and talked about stretches of singletrack in the lakes, I’m glad we finally got round to it though, it was great fun. Neither of us actually cleaned it, but decided that it was totally rideable and vowed to try again sometime.

swoopy, fast, scenic, ace
wayne enjoys the summer

After a slight, erm, ‘navigational issue’ on my part we dropped down the final descent into keswick from mallen dodd and latrigg, swooping round the corners, skipping off the gently sloping drainage channels and generally messing about like you’re supposed to do on a warm summers afternoon, arriving back in keswick with huge grins and surprisingly mud splattered bikes.

We loaded up the berlingo again and drove the short distance up to whinlatter visitor centre to find the newly built trail (lazy i know). wayne hired himself a bike as his BB was playing up and we headed off once again to see how the man made singletrack compared to ‘natures’ finest.

TBH i was slightly under whelmed at first. The still-damp track through the trees was greasier than a very greasy thing..not in an “ooh this is exciting and tricky to control” kind of way either, more a “oh this is just annoying now” sort of affair. I’ve no doubt that with a few laps and some very low pressures in your tyres it’d be all rideable, but i imagine most people would turn up, ride it once, get annoyed and find somewhere else to go instead. Oh and it was (as most trail centres are) shockingly generic, I went from being sure i was at coed y brenin at one point to being sure i was at glentress a few minutes later!
Despite it being pretty much brand new several sections of the track were looking quite cut up and rutted, I think it’ll need quite a lot of looking after come the winter – the ruts weren’t of the “natural line appearing” sort, they were definitely “big hole round the bermed corner” sort.

That’s not to say it wasn’t fun – there were a few nice swoopy sections with well placed berms that kept your speed through the trees fast enough to make you focus pretty hard and some very nice contouring trails – where riding smoothly and pumping the trail to keep your momentum was all important.
The trail finished on a high too; the final descent, out in the open with great views across the valley was grippy enough to allow you to push hard, with nicely placed “mini-bus-stops” to either jump or coast round, a few smaller lumps to either jump or (in my case) sort of awkwardly pump through and some great bermed corners – steeper than most they meant scrubbing off a bit of speed, dropping the front end further down into the middle of the corner than normal (take care not to get distracted by the view) and letting the rear end get caught as you twist round would fire you back out onto another section of swoopy, contouring singletrack.

We finished the trail, both gobsmacked by the speed of a small child hurtling down the final descent and nipped up the cafe to refuel.
Shockingly they didn’t seem to serve beer, which simply wasn’t acceptable so we ducked out of the queue, rolled the car down the road and stopped at a nice pub at the bottom of the hill to end the day with a nice pint…as is the custom on lazy summer afternoons after a nice few hours on the trails 🙂

wayne took a couple of pics, so i’m waiting for him to upload them, then this post will look slightly nicer 😉

July 21, 2008

Hit the North (or just the toilets)

Filed under: bikes,rubbish weather — dgpowell @ 3:32 pm

yeah yeah yeah, once again i get aquainted with some portaloos on a muddy field when everyone else is racing.
i think for SITS i’ll give eating “non sugary” things a go while riding, maybe that’ll help.

me in my inflatable windproof

anyway, the race; it rained, it was extremely muddy, it was still quite good fun, i’ve no idea how i did, rich changed many sets of brake pads for me and hosed down several drivechains, they had Lancaster Bomber on tap in the beer tent, Ed played digeridoo in the woods, someone broke their leg on the chicken run round the bombhole, people remained cheerful through it all, rod changed his socks once, richpips went home to get his bike then came back to ride, brant’s moving into beef jerky territory, timk used his entire family as a pit crew, my car is coated in mud and i can’t get my shorts clean

that about sums it up

oh, and someone asked my if all endurance races were like this, i said “yes, but you learn to love it”

July 15, 2008

Hit the North Weatherwatch

Filed under: bikes,on-one,rubbish weather — dgpowell @ 9:03 am

Yep, only a few days until it all kicks off in a northern field 39 mins* away from my front door.

Lets see what the boffins at the weather centres have to say:

met office

aah, bugger.

met office looks to be the nicest so far, so I’ll believe them.

*AA routefinder claims its 39mins away by car

July 11, 2008


Filed under: bikes — dgpowell @ 9:31 am

Can’t remember the last time that happened!
Riding over the climb from the cross of geet bridge towards Wray and a kinesis rider overtook me! Fair enough he’s an elite roadie and I’m not, but still! Didn’t like that at all!

He said hello as he went past, which was nice and polite (but made the experience no less galling). He and his acomplice – who was the most beanpole like skinny thing i’ve ever seen outside of a morgue – cruised off up the hill at a speed slightly higher than I wanted to go at (while making it look easier than i could) and opened up a gap of about 40 seconds at one point. I managed to claw them back a bit without going too far outside my comfort zone (I was out for 7hrs and wasn’t going to kill myself on one hill), got to the top feeling good and realised they’d disappeared completely.

I have no idea how they got down the descent so quickly, I wasn’t hanging about and was hitting 50 between the corners but when i finally caught sight of them again they were tiny dots in the distance! Impressive stuff.
I managed to claw them back in a bit again over the next couple of miles until they took a different route, but the fact remains they caught and dropped me up a climb. Boo.

The rest of the ride was quite nice, even the ‘diversion from hell’ (the council have closed the nice road following the river past the ‘inn at whitewell’, sending us road users up a massooff hill instead – the one leading up from the hotel on this map…the one with the arrows) 92 miles in was dispatched easily enough. In fact i got home feeling fresh as a daisy…and I’m not ill today, Woo!
Well, I’ve got a tickly cough thing going on, but i think that’s just my lungs going into shock from being used a couple of times this week after weeks of slacking off 😉

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