upcoming rides

October  2014
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The Chatel Reunion Ride – October 2014

Seven riders arrived at Cannock, ready to take on the off piste sections. After a tardy start (ZQ timing?), with most of us turning up around twenty minutes late for a pre-ride coffee, we finally got ready to ride. It didn’t take long before we lost Steve (damaged front sprocket) and Rich (dodgy Crank Brothers pedal) to mechanicals. In fact it happened at the bottom of the first hill!

Many hands make light work

read the rest of The Chatel Reunion Ride – October 2014 »

2014 challenge – september

topping out on the burma road

topping out on the burma road

September saw the lowest monthly total so far in 2014 which is in no small part down to starting a new job and no longer commuting by bike! So the brave new world of non-commuting kicked off with a couple of rides in the Caigngorms which included Laggan and Glenlivet. Both of these purpose built trails were great but the highlight was the natural Burma Road. Nothing overly technical but a good old skool ride in some big hills on a fantastic sunny day.

read the rest of 2014 challenge – september »

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain’d

Rounding a corner“Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast Brought Death into the World, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed”  –  John Milton 1667 –

It was a day of exploration, adventure and culture. As Charles and Charles ventured north to the North Yorkshire Moors, to ride the Paradise Trails.

read the rest of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain’d »

Aidy’s 40th/Leith Hill return

Blueberry Bakewell Tart and real plates

As a small celebration of Mr.Banks turning forty he decided he wanted to have a bash at mountain biking, handily living in Dorking this gave me an ideal excuse  to have a look at the new trails at the top of Leith Hill.

With this in mind we gathered a small but merry band together: Me(in charge of directions!), Ledger(in charge of claiming he’d always followed someone else so had no idea where we were) and Aidy(birthday boy and first time on a mountain bike for a number of years).

We met at Head for the Hills in Dorking High Street to collect Aidys bike, the two of them pretty organised and me getting dropped off in a pet shop car park to change my shoes and get ready, we picked up Aidy’s demo bike (not a hire bike as they don’t hire them out but Aidy charmed them his honesty and they gave us one anyway). A lovely Trek  Fuel was adjusted and fettled a little bit before we set up off Coldharbour Lane to the top of Leith Hill.

Unfortunately not knowing anyway to get to the top offroad we had to endure  a reasonably nasty road climb for most of the hill before finally hitting dirt just before the cricket pitch and up a very nasty steep little climb, little spin along the top to peer at some of the new stuff before the final last little evil climb to the top of the hill and a quick breather to take stock and pretend we didn’t need to catch our breath. One day I shall conquer hat steep little climb but gravity and traction were unkind to us all.

read the rest of Aidy’s 40th/Leith Hill return »

2014 challenge – august

big cake

big cake

In the words of Iain Dowie I feel like I put “in a good shift” in August. With the finishing of the Commonwealth Games at the start of the month and the move to a more regular working pattern there was a bit more time for getting out on the bike. To mark being able to get out on the bike again the first ride in August had to be finished off with a “small” piece of cake. Start how you mean to go on and all that. read the rest of 2014 challenge – august »

laggan and fort bill weekender

view from red/black split at laggan

view from red/black split at laggan

So the date had been in the diary for a good long while but with recent variances in weather we were a bit unsure of what was going to in store for this trip. It was decided to ignore the weather forecast and head to Laggan first so as not have to make the trip north at crazy o’clock to make the most of the uplift.

read the rest of laggan and fort bill weekender »

Ride Surrey 100 (well 86)

After entering the ballot for this event over a year ago and failing to get in both me and Karen decided to take part anyway, Karen through a place in her work ballot and me via a charity place. After we received confirmation training started in earnest. Even though we both had road bikes we had never used them for much apart from quick local loops so it was quite nice to discover the wealth of riding on our doorsteps, Box Hill, Leith Hill and various short sharp climbs slowly revealed themselves over the months as we ventured further afield, a local cycling cafe came into the picture a the start of the summer and soon weekly group rides were the order of the day, leading us to new routes and challenges. Eventually after a fair amount of training and becoming comfortable with rides of 70 miles+ we approached the event itself.

read the rest of Ride Surrey 100 (well 86) »

report: tour o the borders 2014

ian  cakeriders

ian cakeriders

After the deluge that was Tour O’ The Borders 2013 hopes were high that the move to August would prevent such a thing happening again in 2014. Unfortunately the weather gods didn’t seem to agree and the forecast was for heavy rain and wind (very much like the previous day).

read the rest of report: tour o the borders 2014 »

last minute glentress/inners

glentress tea and cake

glentress tea and cake

So with Alex and El being both ashore at the same time and with a wedding to go to north of the border they have decided to fit in a cheeky little weekend at Glentress.

Start Date: 16 august

End Date: 17 august

read the rest of last minute glentress/inners »




Having resisted a return to 24 hour events following the last drenching at MM, it was with a little trepidation I entered as part of a Mixed RNRM Team to 24:12 at Newnham, Plymouth, an event famous for always being wet. As it turned out I needn’t have worried as the only drenching was of the self variety as temperatures soared into the low 30s.

Having not been before, the first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the event. I always assumed MM was by far the biggest, but 24:12 certainly matches it in terms of campers as a large number of riders brought their families along to cheer. The course itself was a really good 24 hour course with approx 300m of climbing in a 7.5 mile lap. Most of this was on the aptly named Clif Climb (after the nutrition bar sponsors of said hill) and the following tractor trail and single track climb up to Bluebell Wood. This was where the fun begun with some really flowy but technical singletrack through the wood before a short sharp climb to the top of the course where it plunged away firstly down rooty, loose forest trail and then the rock, rooty and loose Cottage Return. This was a real opportunity for flat out descending that a trail centre would be proud to own. A switchback through the camping area, a river crossing to cool down and then a slipery, rooty super fast singletrack spat you out on a final leg sapping climb on gravel, up into the woods, fast grassy descent at nearly 30mph (try that at four in the morning with dew given it finished in a solid wood fence), back down into the camping area with a switch back through the carriage racing obstacles and into transition. For the elite riders it was taking 30-34 minutes a lap whilst the mere mortals were nearer the 45 minute point. An excellent course, rideable by all but still putting some serious fatigue in the legs.

From my perspective a couple of things hit whilst I was spinning round my 6 laps. Firstly, how well resourced the other Service Cycling Unions are (the RAF turned up with a sports masseur) and secondly how much I enjoy team events like this (the weather always helps!!) Riding at four in the morning is a bit special and I was lucky enough to have the lap as the sun rose above the tree line. But it is the shared experience of team events that make them so good.

Overall, we finished fifth out of twenty teams with the only dampener being that the Army and RAF finished first and second. I loved my laps and actually felt a bit guilty I didn’t volunteer for the last lap as I still had something left in the legs. But then again, there is always next year!

Apologies for the lack of photos. I still seem unable to upload anything to the site.