Category Archives: News

Hippety Hippety Hop

Danny MacAskill burst onto the mountain bike trials scene a few years ago with some homemade videos appearing on youtube and a wee stint on BBC Scotland’s Adventure Show. He was going places then and if he isn’t signed up by some mega sponsor after this latest video then he never will. This video is one of the most amazing bits of moving image I’ve ever seen.

He’s totally dedicated, committed and shows what can be achieved when you really set your mind to achieving your dreams. He’s also a pretty nice guy.


Giant Anthem First Impressions

Although, we’re lucky enough as a team to have a sponsorship deal with Marin, we’ve had the bad news that the much anticipated Alchemist short travel full suss has been delayed until probably September 2009. In the meantime I’ve been busy on eBay and found a bargain Giant Anthem frame and here’s it’s first pic below.

Giant Anthem Side Shot
Giant Anthem Side Shot

It had its first decent ride last night and first impressions certainly match up with all the incredible reviews it’s received. The rear suspension wasn’t quite as plush as I expected, however, I think new bushings and spacers just need a little time to settle in and I’m sure it’ll be swinging free. I may have a little too much air pressure in the shock as Giant’s recommendation to put the same pressure as my weight in pounds, seems to stiffen it up a bit too much and with the efficient pedalling design of the Maestro links, then it should enable me to soften it a little and increase small bump sensitivity. It only has a Fox RP2 fitted which is probably in need of a service too, so not going to expect miracles in small bump sensitivity.

The Anthem is really designed for an 80mm travel fork so the 100mm Reba I have fitted has kicked the head angle back by half a degree, which is probably a good thing. The Anthem is known for its super sharp steering and that little bit of layback will help take the edge off a bit which is probably a good thing for epic racing and training rides.

I still have an Xlite carbon riser fitted to a Race Face Deus stem and I’m thinking seriously about altering this setup. I find the Deus to be a bit lacking in torsional stiffness when I really pump on the bars on a steep climb and I’m on the lookout for a suitable alternative. I would like to try an oversize bar and stem and see how that feels. On the bar front I’m thinking it might be a good idea to go back to a flat bar with bar ends, particularly with Explore Sweden on the horizon. The sweep angle on the Xlite bars isn’t quite to my liking and I think having the muliple hand positions offered by bar ends may be of benefit to my wrists on the long Swedish bike sections. I had a little lower back pain at the start of the ride and I need to figure out whether that’s to do with my position or just because it’s been so long since I’ve been on the bike. I think the latter and I just need to do some more hamstring stretching. Can’t wait to be able to start back at yoga now that my knee is getting stronger!

Ride on!

Helly Hansen Adventure X

I had a great weekend at the end of March down in the Lakes supporting the team as they competed in the first Helly Hansen Adventure X. Bruce, Nick and Tom worked really hard all weekend and I worked as their ‘pit bitch’, fetching, fixing, planning, recceing, photographing and generally shouting abuse. The result was the first race victory of the season and a bumper cheque for £2500, large in size figuratively and literally…

Bumper Cheque Time!
Bumper Cheque Time!

A full report is on the team website

Tips on Training, Boats and Paddles for Endurance Paddling Races

It’s been a difficult time recently as I’ve struggled with a knee injury that has randomly changed in severity and has more or less sidelined me for the past few months. I think I’ve managed about 4 runs since October as some days it would feel fine and the next I wouldn’t be able to walk down the stairs. It managed to last long enough with appropriate ibuprofen use to last me through the IGWA race in Guadeloupe in November, but since then only a few sporadic runs and zero time on the bike, have meant that my left is wasting away to nothing! :o(

So in the meantime I’ve been sat on the kayak ergo trying to really build up strength in what is undoubtedly my, and most British adventure racer’s, worst discipline. (Actually inline skating may be even less successful!). Getting proper paddle training advice and guidance on technique and training is invaluable and this weblog with links to a whole bunch of articles has been really useful, I hope others find the same.

Tips on Training, Boats and Paddles for Endurance Paddling Races

Stay strong!


Captured on Google Maps

A few months back I was intrigued to be driving behind a car that looked like it was mutant hybrid of a sales repmobile and a nuclear submarine. Coincidentally a news report that day tipped me off to the fact that it was a Google Earth Camera car, going around town photographing the streets for the new Street View feature. Well, it launched today and wouldn’t you know, guess who’s been captured on film…Captured on Street View– Google Maps.

I wonder how long it will be before the first criminal is convicted after being caught on camera…

Self Catering Accommodation in Andalucia

Am just putting the finishing touches to a website I’ve put together for some friends in Spain. If you’re looking for some walking, mountain biking, road biking, birdwatching or just generally chilled out self catering accommodation in Andalucia then have a look at Cortijo La Calera

Really must get back to updating this blog a bit more often..have been off the hills and bike for far too long with a knee injury so not a lot to report on the adventure front…

The Turas in reflection

The Turas Adventure Race in Ireland that we competed in during June has been thrown out of the World Series because of financial difficulties, so says a statement on the AR World Series website. This comes as a disappointment but not really as a huge surprise. We finished 6th and were thankful of just finishing inside the prize money as reward for some hard effort, but alas the prize money has not been forthcoming and, so it seems, we are not the only team to have been let down on this. As the race slipped further into the memory it seemed more and more unlikely that any money would appear and with the ever deepening financial hole that is the Irish economy it was presumed that the Irish tourist board, who were presumably putting up the prize fund, had blown their budget on prawn sandwiches and were scraping the whisky barrel for shavings to keep the fires going.

It seems that local businesses involved in the race haven’t been paid either, which makes it all the more likely that a bitter taste will be left in the area and the likelihood of it going ahead in 2009 is probably waining, so thoughts of a 2010 World Champs there should be far from the mind.

At the time, our own feelings on the race were a bit mixed. We’d mostly had a great time and really enjoyed (most of) the course, which was pretty well planned and executed on the whole. There were mistakes, some big, some small, but none serious enough to really harm the race and as far as I am aware most of the teams had a great time. The most obvious failing with the race course was a late start time for the rowing section which was clear from the start was going to mean all the top teams would reach it long before it opened, negating any need to push hard for the first two days, as all the teams would restart on an equal footing on the Thursday. Arriving earlier than Thursday morning just gave time to sleep and eat and on restart it was essentially a 30 hour blast to the finish, so not a true expedition race.

On the plus side the hospitality was phenomenal, the value for money from the entry fee was superb, the race course sections were pretty much all interesting and of good length and the scenery was amazing. The organisers had taken a lot on in staging such a big race in such a short space of time and we did have fears before we arrived that it would all work out, however, most of the niggles were minor – like issuing a specific kit list that was repeatedly altered right up to the race start, that wasn’t actually adhered to in kit checks anyway. Then there was the much publicised but, it seems, never actually confirmed (or even properly recc’ed) zip line across the Gap of Dunloe, which never happened because it simply wasn’t practically possible to do and the repositioning of the activity caused a whole bunch of problems for some teams. They worked hard to include the zip line and fair play to them for making it happen, but promoting something that wasn’t going to happen just to generate media interest was pretty poor form.

Niggles aside the race was good fun and was a great chance to mix it up alongside some top teams, but whether the race goes ahead again and whether any top teams would actually sign on we’ll just have to wait and see.

(P.S. If anyone found all my kayaking gear at the hostel at the end of the race then I’d really like to hear from you, there was some quite distinctive stuff in there…)