30 July 2013

Not long now to the start of the season.

Not long now to the start of the 2013 Season. Round 1 is on Wednesday 14th Aug @ Hetton Lyons Country Park, Hetton Le Hole. Ive been busy this week sorting out all the final paperwork / admin for the series and everything is ready to rock. John from Springboard is hopefully going to cut back some of the singletrack sections that we normally use at the bottom end of the course. The main tracks are in perfect condition. The race equipment is all ready and just need to get the refreshments sorted nearer the time. The Series will be similar set up to previous years with three races on the night, first U10's on a shorter course for 10mins - all get some goodies at the end. Second race is the U12/14/16 on the main course for approx 20+mins, again all get some goodies after. Main race is at 7pm on the main course for approx 50mins (depending upon weather). It will be your best three from four rounds to count for overall league position and the presentation will take place after the main race @ Rd4 on the 4th Sept. All riders who complete the series will be presented with a goodie bag regardless of position. All i ask is that you turn up in plenty of time to get signed on and get ready for your start time. We hold a tight schedule on the night due to fading light each week. If you are a member dont forget to bring your current 2014 licence otherwise you will have to pay the day member fee. If you are a non member can you complete the Day membership form (see section to the top right of this web page) and bring along on the day, that will help reduce the waiting time at signing on. The races are open to all ages and abilities from complete novice to expert, you dont have to be a member of any club either. You can enter on any type of bike suitable for offroad use inc mountain bikes etc, all you need is a helmet. Can you hand your numbers in when you help yourself to the free refreshments afterwards. Enjoy and have a good time. There will hoefully be a gallery of photos each week which are free to download. Results for each round and an updated league table. The course will be set of the hill side of the Country Park which has a great mix of all types of terrain from climbs, descents, singletrack, open sections. The course length will be in the region of approx 1.2-1.5mile laps. More updates will be posted as and when.

Its the Final round of the Nutcracker 2013 Series @ Fremington on Saturday 10th Aug. Its different to all the other rounds as its a mass neutral start from the Dales Bike Centre up ontpo the course. The edge is beast to climb each lap then followed by open moorland riding (just pray there is no wind) and a technical descent back down through the quarry. Full details are here

I have found the ultimate fat bike below ;-)

28 July 2013

Motorsport Weekend

Today was the 19th Bikewise and we have been to nearly everyone. Its a great event for all to come and see / do things. With very heavy overnight rain and still raining when they started at 10am we didnt think the 4x4 offroad experience would not be running but it was. Both lads set off in the Landrover and didnt return for sometime! they got stuck in a gulley at the bottom of the venue. What a laugh and they were covered in mud. Dave Coates was the show stopper yet again and the way he handles the bikes is just unreal. Here is video clip of him
The Police helicoper was there, armed response unit, speed camera van !, Police motorbikes inc there offroad ones, 3 sixty stunt team, dog section demonstration etc. Here are some pics of todays action here

Saturday was Rd6 of the NETT Quad Bike Championship up @ Wooley Grange. I knew it was going to be dusty but you could not see a thing. The dust was unreal even when the course had been watered down. You could not see or breath when they were belting around the circuit. We watched all the age cat races and there was even a motorcross race mixed in as well. Great afternoons free entertainment but we were up the eyes when we came away. More info on there website . Didnt get any pics as you would not have seen anything in them apart from dust clouds.

27 July 2013

Salsa Beargrease Alu v Carbon version

With more spec coming through now on the new 2014 carbon version and looking back at when i built my alu version i am surprised at what little difference there is in weight between the two. My current set up is 2 x 9 speed on a Large frame and standard alu forks. I have looked at upgrading the forks to Carver but there is very little weight difference buy the time I add in the Carver spacer kit, Hope disc brake mount adaptor and larger rotor for my current brakes. Below are the figures -

2013 alu  frame 1410g Large
2014 carbon frame 1275g (salsa's claimed weight, no size stated so can assume they used a small)

2013 alu forks 728g uncut
2014 carbon forks 700g (salsa's claimed weight)

2013 Alu Large just under 26lbs (my own build)
2014 Carbon X9 Medium 29.18lbs (actual weight)
2014 Carbon XX1 Medium 26.18lbs (actual weight)

But the frame and forks have been redesigned with new race geometry and updated ready for suspension! Alternator dropouts. The hubs are specific for the frame that is why the frameset option inc the hubs. This dosent appeal to me as you cannot use other wheels / hope hubs unless HOPE come out with a conversion kit. Might as well wear my current groupset out and save up and updated it with 1 x 11 speed.
More test reports here and the best one yet is on bikerumor

Well its time to go and get a few more miles in before going to watch some Quad bike racing at Wooley Grange. Now that is going to be a dust bowl up there.

26 July 2013

Bikewise Bike Show 2013 & many more lmiles on the Fat Bikes.

Its a great day out, been going to the event for many years now. Starts at 10am and theres plenty to do and see inc loads of things for the kids. Dave Coates is the highlight of the day with his stunts on various bikes inc quad bike. He normally pops his back tyre at the end of the second show. More info here only £2 in per Adult, kids are free and all monies go to local charities. Make the most of it as it might be the last year of the show as they are knocking the old Headquaters down.
Still no heay rain, still red hot & sunny. Four days of riding my FAT bike with the kids on local trails in and around Durham. Its great to ride tracks that are just too muddy during the winter months and the disadvantage in the summer that some are over grown! You can never win but enjoying it whilst it is still bone dry & dusty out there.

24 July 2013

More 2014 Carbon Beargrease Pics + Sala 2014 Fat range, no flooding either

Got a message today from my local bike shop that they have been speaking to the lads from Ison and both complete bikes are due into the uk hopefully end of Sept / Oct. Provisional prices for XX1 £4200 and the lower spec Sram X9 model £2800. The frameset inc hubs option is looking like its going to come in later. Below are some more pics from ukfatbikes of the 2014 Salsa Fat Range
This is the £2800ish model. Probably going to be the best seller / value for money.

See the underside of the down tube colour scheme.

This is the daddy, check out the underside of the down tube. Green hubs as well !

Mukluk 2, similar colour to last years 3

Mukluk 3 in red

Mukluk 3 in black

Ti Mukluk - check out the paint job on the front end, dont know if im keen on Ti frames sprayed but it stands out
Back to the weather, four days of local flooding was forecast at the start of week but only had two light rain showers, back to too bloody hot again. Been out again this afternnon for a ride and was nearly 30degrees by the time we got back in and the trails are still powder dry & overgrown. Not the best time of year to go looking for new singletrack with shorts on.  

23 July 2013

Yet more 2014 FAT BIKES

No Salsa Beargrease Alu  this year but two full carbon version models & frame / forks inc hubs set. The top end XX1 will be around £4800, lower spec Sram model around £2800 and frameset around £1600. Full details will be released late Summer. Nice looking machine ;-)

Next up is Specialized - three models but not sure if all three are going to be imported into the UK. No prices etc at the mo but the top end model has been sent to the press for testing. Running 5" tyres and weights 30.4lbs. Here is a report and another one here

Then there is Trek Farley, they are taking out one model priced at £1700, again with Surly tyres, rims & hubs. Nice looking machine but not sure the spec is worth the full price tag.

Last but not least On One are doing a Baby Fatty, 24" wheels / 12" frame. Complete bike around £800 and frameset inc wheels £500. Kids are just going to love this.

21 July 2013

Well thats summer over back to normal now

Well the NE is the coldest place in the UK today, 16 degrees out on the bike this am and 30 degrees down South- they can keep it. It was nice to go for a ride without sweating like a pig on the first climb. Local ride today around the outskirts of Durham with my two lads to chill out after a very busy week at work and red hot temperatures. We took the camera along as i dont normally take mnay pics as the time i have to ride is limited and try and get as many miles in as i can. Me and Angus were on our Salsa Fat bikes and Arran on his Scott Carbon Scale. Here are the pics of the ride and the route here. Great ride and finished with icecream in Durham before a ride uphill all the way home. Watching the final stage of TDF now, not seen much of it this year but did watch yesterdays stage after doing jobs round the house all day.

This is the grass at Meadowfield - the only green stuff is the plastic grass on the MUGA pitch

19 July 2013

What a Bloody Heat

Well we complain about the cold and snowy winters of late, now we are complaining about the hot summer. Not a drop of rain in Durham now for well over two weeks and the grass is burnt yellow and tinder dry. The old railway lines are a dust bowl and the climbs are a killer in the midday sun. Thursday my Garmin hit 32 degress on the top of a climb with the sweat pouring from under my helmet and many other places.
Monday - was a rest day after Nutcracker and League2000 on the evening. Great nights racing and some very close battles. We even got back in the house at 9.30pm compaired to after 10.15pm the previous round.
Tuesday - was my gentle ride to Bishop & back along the lines 17 miles
Wednesday - loop upto Stanley Crook 15miles
Thursday - was the killer heat and not much time so a quick loop up to and around old Esh 14 miles
Friday - much cooler with a breeze so i did my SE Loop around Croxdale, Bowburn, Shincliffe etc 17 miles. Alot of wooded sections so was much more pleasant a ride
All on my Beargrease. This week i swapped the 45Nrth tyres around - front to back etc as the rear is starting to show signs of wear. Greased up the bottom bracket as well, i will be surprised if i get the winter out of the bearings. Come on Sram get your 100mm fat chainsets in the uk. Oiled up the chain with some Finishline dry lube, normally use xc green lube but its that dry the red lube works perfect.
Good new news my mum is out of hospital and back home and feeling much better so might make it upto the Autumn Series to watch.

Check out the Roller Comp times from Stockton Cycling Festival. 11th on the day - not bad time considering it was the first time and i have even used rollers or done that type of competition before. Very close times - if its back next year im going to give it another bash.

15 July 2013

Nutcracker Rd5 Aske Estate - Mad dogs & English men

Christ what a bloody heat, us British are just not used to this as we havent had a summer for a couple of years. It was boiling hot and the 2nd steep climb in the sun was just a killer, the only shade was in the woods but you could not relax as a tree stump or rock would have you straight over the bars. The course was the same as last time but with two new sections in inc the return of the steep drop offs in the woods. For me my legs were not in it on the practice lap so knew it was going to be a killer. My weight and not liking heat just finished me off at the end of the second lap. I just had enough strength to pop a small wheelie over the line as i do but that was it. Over the bars three times during the race didnt help and just as well that i forgot my Garmin as the Heart Rate monitor would have blown up! Angus did ok but got some bush wrapped in his rear mech and lost four places but managed to claw a few back and lost a place on the finishing line by three seconds. Full results are here and some photos here
The Sweat monsters was fantastic as we were in the last section of woods and was cooler. Great competion in all three age cat's U8, U10 & U12. First up was a one lap time trial - as quick as they could go, then onto the main race. In the U8's there was some serious battles going on and the parent's were getting more excited than the kids. Arran led from the start in the U10 to take the win with the rest of the riders very close until the last lap. U12's had a clear winner but again the rest of the field were very close and having some great fun. Results are below

13 July 2013

Durham Miners Gala + some riding

What a week it has been but the weather has been fantastic. Today is the Durham Miners Gala so the roads around Durham are closed to traffic for the parades of Banners etc. What a turn out of local banners and bands, Durham was rammed and could not get near the maket place / old elvet. Got some photos of the mornings action. Durham's Police were fantastic and were joing in and talking to spectators etc.

Friday i took a day off work to get a few hours riding in. It was the hottest day in Durham of the year and the GArmin was reading 30 degress but there was a cooling breeze on the tops. I did a local loop of 33+miles on the dusty lines and paths. Here is the route of yesterdays baking hot ride.
Also yesterday was the NE XC Series Rd 7 @ Bedlington. We left home in the sun and its was 29 degress, got up there and had dropped to 24 degress and overcast, much more pleasant. The course was a real mix off all types of terrain inc some new downhill singletrack that is getting built through the plantation. It was done dry /dusty and very fact going under tyre. Arran had a cracking race and really liked the smaller course, he came overall 2nd and 1st U10. Angus did the full sen course had had a couple of good climbs in. He came overall 3rd & 2nd U14. Not many in the main race of sen.vet/lady/jun & u16. Many thanks to the rider who found./ handed in my camera. Your pic is in the gallery of the nights action here