It barely seems possible that it’s now a year since my team mates finished the last great expedition adventure race on Earth – The Wenger Patagonia Expedition Race. Not only did they finish, they finished first by a margin of 19 hours after 6 and 1/2 days racing. The same Helly Hansen Prunesco team of Bruce Duncan, Nicola MacLeod, Mark Humphrey and Andy Wilson are now back in Southern Chile within touching distance of Antarctica ready to go through it all again in order to retain their title.
This time the race will start with an 8km paddle across the (in)famous Magellan Straits and then head onwards over land for 600km across the island of Tierra del Fuego using nothing better than satellite imagery to navigate by. They face epic legs totalling 330km on bike, 220km on foot and 60km of paddling, hopefully finishing first in around 6 days. The Patagonian wind is legendary and is already blowing relentlessly, which can be so mentally frustrating when heading into it for days on end, but the guys are tough and they know what they need to do to win so they’ll be giving it their all as always. Just wish I was there! Hopefully there’ll be updates up on the team Facebook page or website during or soon after the race so we can all see what adventures they have been getting up to in the wilds. I’ll report on Twitter when I get any updates too so keep an eye out.
When you think about it, jackets for adventure racing have a pretty tough set of criteria to meet. For the most critical buyers, they must protect from torrential rain, keep you comfortable when you’re working hard and standing still, be Challenger tank durable, weigh less than a sparrow’s fart and cost virtually nothing. Enough freedom of movement to do some gymnastics wouldn’t be a bad thing either! Of course, life’s about compromises and although a bin bag may be 100% waterproof it offers zero breathability, whilst a tissue-thin, highly breathable, ‘waterproof’ may yield to anything more than fog. Accepting that you can’t get everything for nothing is wise. Light, cheap, and fully functional – pick two.
Sometimes racers that love their gear and gadgets get carried away with features, but it’s worth considering what exactly the jacket will be used for. Mostly competing in sprint races? Well it’s unlikely that you’ll be plodding along with your hands in your pockets, so why do you need them? When the race lasts only a few hours and you’re working hard all the time, do you really need ultimate waterproof protection when light weight, packability and breathability are more relevant? If expedition racing is your thing then it’s key to have trust in the ability of your jacket to cope with the worst weather and be durable enough to survive a tumble or scrapes against rocks. If you’re into both sorts of racing, as well as other outdoor sports, you’ll already realise that you probably need to look at more than one jacket to fit your needs.
Aside from the key factors (weight, price, fabric etc), key things to look for are:
- arms that are long enough to keep wrists covered when stretched on bike or scrambling
- body length short at front for leg mobility and long at the rear to cover your bum on the bike
- close fitting or adjustable hood that moves with your head
A series of reviews from the Autumn edition of UK Adventure Sports Magazine will follow including, Rab Momentum, OMM Kamleika Smock, Haglofs Oz, Helly Hansen Volt, Paramo Velez Adventure Light, Montane Halo Stretch, Gore Running Wear Axis II, and Berghaus Paclite Jacket.
Have to make a quick blatant plug for Mrs L’s new website that we’ve got up and running. So if you need physiotherapy treatment in the Swansea area at all – whether sports related or general aches and pains, she can sort you out. She’s a particular specialist on pelvis, lower back and pregnancy pain, but amazing at most things )
Have a look at Swansea Physiotherapy for further details
50 pure dead giveaways that you are Scottish
1. Scattered showers with outbreaks of sunshine and a cold northerly
wind, is your idea of good weather.
2. The only sausage you like is square.
3. You were forced to do Scottish country dancing every year at high
4. You have a wide knowledge of local words, and know: Numpty is an
idiot, Aye is yes, Aye right is No, Auldjin is someone over 40, and
Baltic is cold.
5. You have an irrational need to eat anything from the chippy, as
long as its deep fried – Haggis, pizza, white pudding, sausage, fish,
chicken and battered Mars Bars.
6. You used to love destroying your teeth with – Penny Dainties,
Wham Bars, Cola Cubes, and Soor Plooms.
7. You always greet people by talking about the weather.
8. Even if you normally hate the Proclaimers, Runrig, Caledonia,
Deacon Blue, Big Country, etc, you still love it when they are played in a
club abroad. (in fact you’ll probably ask the DJ to play it)
9. You have an enormous feeling of dread, even when Scotland play a
10. You are proud that Scotland has the highest number of alcohol and
smoking deaths in Europe.
11. You used to watch Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade on a Sunday
Afternoon with his lamp Paladdin.
12. You got Oor Wullie and The Broons books Every Christmas.
13. You only enjoy Weir’s Way on the telly, when you are pissed.
14. You are able to recognise the regional dilect, (Glasgow) ‘Awright
pal, gonie gies a wee swatcha yir paper nat, Cheers, magic pal.
(Aberdeen) Fitlike Loon? Furryboots ya bin up tae? fair few quines in the
night, min. (Inverness) Ah-eee right enuffff! How’s you keeeepeeeen?
15. You know the police are about to arrive when you hear someone
16. You have witnessed a ‘Square Go’
17. You know that when you are asked which School you attended they
really mean, ‘Are you Catholic or Proddy?’
18. You have eaten the following: Mince and Tatties, Cullen Skink,
Tunnock’s Teacakes, Snowballs and Caramel Wafers, Porage, Macaroon Bar,
Baxters Soup, Scotch Pie, Oatcakes.
19. A Jakey has ask you for 10p for a cuppa tea.
20. You wait at the shop counter for 1p change.
21. You know that the right response to ‘you dancing?’ is ‘you askin?’
followed by ‘am askin’ and finally ‘then am dancin’.
22. You associated sawdust with vomit, coz the ‘jannie’ always, used to
pour it over sick in school.
23. You lose all respect for a groom who doesn’t wear a kilt.
24. You don’t do shopping, you ‘go for the messages.’
25. You’re on a bus and the drunk picks you to sit next to.
26. You are able to conduct a 20 minute phone call using three words
only,– Awright, aye, and naw.
27. When you refuse the offer of a drink, you hear, ‘ You no well?’
28. You have heard the following:
You canny fling pieces oot a 20 storey flat,
700 hungry weans’ll testify to that,
If its butter, cheese or jelly,
If the breed is plain or pan,
The chances o’ it reachin earth,
Are ninety nine tae wan.
29. You know that going to a party means bringin a Kerry oot.
30. Your holiday in Benidorm is ruined when you hear there is a heatwave
31. Scotland go 2-0 up against the French, and you immediately think,
getting beat 3-2 was ‘no a bad result’.
32. You can pronounce: McConnochie, Ecclefechan, Milngavie, and
33. You love deep fried Pizza.
34. You can’t pass a Kebab shop after being at the pub.
35. You are used to four seasons in one day. (winter, winter, autumn,
36. You can fall when drunk and not spill your drink.
37. You see people wearing shellsuits with Burberry accessories, and
think ‘thats class’.
38. You measure distance in minutes.
39. You understand Rab C. Nesbitt.
40. You go to Saltcoats because you think its abroad.
41. You can make a whole sentence using only swear words.
42. You know what haggis is made with, but you still enjoy it.
43. You know someone who planned their wedding around the football
44. You have been to a wedding and the football results have been
announced in church.
45. You are not surprised to find one shop selling ALL of the following:
Pizzas, Nappies, Fags, Curries, Milk, Paint, Shoes etc.
46. Your seaside home has Calor gas under it.
47. You know that Irn-Bru is a good hang over cure.
48. You could swear before you could count.
49. You would ‘nut’ a terrorist if they tried to bomb your Airport.
50. You are not only Scottish but Glaswegian when you understand the
following- How’s it hingin’, clatty, boggin’, cludgie, Ba’heid, bawbag,
and double nougat.
…the Agony of my Feet.
I recently finished reading an interesting and amusing Adventure Racing book which is basically a collection of short essays on racing experiences. It includes tales from pioneers and prominent racers in the sport over the past two decades through to marshals, first timers and consistent back of the packers. It’s definitely worth looking out on Amazon from the link below.
The introduction has the following manifesto that I really liked. Apologies to the author, I can’t recall your name!
If you’re not hungry, you’re carrying too much food
If you’re not thirsty, you’re carrying too much water
If you are warm, you have too many clothes
If you’re not wet, scratched and bruised, you took the long way
If you’re not frightened, you have too much gear
If you’re not tired, you’re going too slowly
If you’re not drop down sleepy, you’re getting too much rest
And if you finish the race on schedule, it was too easy anyway!
I’m testing a batch of waterproof jackets for UK Adventure Sports Magazine this week from Paramo, Haglofs, Rab, and Berghaus. Hopefully a few more will show up, but I wasn’t expecting the little surprise that arrived with Mr UPS from Germany. Seems I was sent a Gore Running Wear Air System Gilet to review alongside the other jackets, but this one is a little bit different so I’m not sure it really fits in. Will probably have to look at it separately and in more detail.
It’s constructed from a mixture of different Gore fabrics, Performance Shell and Paclite along their Comfort Mapping theme – putting tougher fabrics in higher wear spots and lighter, more breathable fabrics where they can get away with it. You might spot the unusual looking matrix across the front, which continues on around the lower back. This is an air chamber that can be inflated by blowing in the black valve on the chest, creating a web of small compartments on the inside. These trap warm air next to the skin, in the same way as down or synthetic insulation does, however, being Gore, the outer fabric is waterproof, making this a pretty interesting piece. So its a waterproof gilet with adjustable insulation, that won’t stop performing if it gets wet like down, or becoming sodden like Primaloft etc. I’ve yet to try it in anger, but I can see it being quite versatile meaning days on the hills with a windproof need only be augmented by the gilet if the weather turns shit. Keeping the core dry is clearly the most important point, which this will do. Still getting chilly or stopped at a belay point midway up a climb? Just blow in the valve for some instant insulation. Ready to move again? Just release the valve and be on your way!
I’m keen to see how it works out and about on the hills, but in the short term I quite like this, but that’s maybe just because its different and I welcome Gore’s attempts to bring something different to the market. My only niggle at the moment is a lack of handwarmer pockets, but hey it is designed for runners and who runs with their hands in their pockets?
Sometimes motorway journeys can be the strangest of things. Today I saw a hearse, driving at 80mph on the M74 – unusual in itself, being that these black behemoths barely manage anything more than a crawl from day to day. However, to add to the sight, behind the hearse was an ambulance racing with blue lights on, clearly attending a callout but being held up by the hearse. Tucked in behind the ambulance, unbelievably drafting at a distance of about 4feet was a motorbiker (or organ donor as they’re also known), clearly keen to get a move on past the ambulance. The whole scene just seemed to be arse about tit and made me chuckle. Hope Mr Biker didn’t get 5ft closer to that ambulance, or worse, the hearse…
The summer edition of the UK Adventure Sports Magazine is out now with articles from some of my teammates and friends. Nick Gracie profiles the Original Mountain Marathon, Tom Gibbs talks about race strategy and Carrick Armer reports on the Bimbache AR World Series event. I reviewed one day AR packs around the 20 litre mark and was most impressed by the Terra Nova Laser 20, OMM Adventure Light 20 and Inov 8 Race Pro 18.
I’ll post up the extended reviews here when the magazine has been in publication a bit longer, as they had to be drastically shortened to fit tight space in the mag.
I’ve just had to replace the suspension pivot bearings on my Giant Anthem frame and really had to have a good look around before I found any decent instructions. Thankfully LyNx on mtbr.com has put together a handy guide here
Also, here’s a useful Giant Anthem assembly guide