September was meant to be about two things in my mind. Firstly there was the Manx End to End and secondly was me getting some serious miles into my legs for the Bearbones200.
The End to End went quite well although not completely to plan due to a crash the day before. You can read up all the detail in the Isle of Man End to End 2013 – Race Report I wrote a few weeks ago. I have had a few weeks now to reflect a little more. One thing I neglected to mention previously was how great the Manx people were in terms of their support of this race. It clearly causes a bunch of disruption due to the closed roads etc. but it also seems like this is a pretty big event for the island. There were so many spectators out cheering you on it was actually quite amazing. Mountain biking is pretty niche as a spectator sport so for there to be so many people out enjoying the spectacle on a day of not great weather was great. The other point I have been considering is if I will do it again next year. I’m still not sure but for a number of reasons I’m thinking I probably won’t. Firstly I’m interested in doing the Manx100 next year and due to the general cost and ball ache I think I would probably only go over for one event during the year. There are lots of events I would like to try next season and you can’t do them all. I would like to do the Tour of Ben Nevis next year which although doesn’t directly clash, is in the same month and I don’t think I could do both. Financially and domestically it could be a strain. Anyway I would like to say a big thank you again to Chris and Ruth who put me up for the weekend.
So after a rest week it had been my goal to be munching through the miles for the next 3-4 weeks in preparation for the Bearbones200. This is a 200km unsupported ITT style event in mid Wales. Some have labelled it one of the toughest MTB events in the UK and so I thought I really need to be training hard for it if I want to complete the goal of finishing in under 24 hours. Unfortunately I just haven’t been able to get the miles in that I had aimed to. It seems like almost every weekend I was busy with the rest of life and I couldn’t get out riding. I have also had a dose of the man flu which has lingered on and I have struggled to totally shake off. It has been annoying as it hasn’t quite stopped me going riding in the first instance but once out it’s certainly effected how I have been riding, sucking my energy and not really letting me get the hours in. Anyway I’m not going to complain to much as you are where you are and I will just see on the day if 24hours is going to be a realistic target or not.
One of the things that “got in my way” this month was that I had quite a lot of driving lessons. This was because last week I had my driving test which happily I passed. Huzzah! This will hopefully mean that it opens up a lot more possibilities in terms of places for me to ride now, so there will be some more variation for me in future. I think this should encourage me to ride more as I had started to become a bit bored with my local routes.
The Lurcher build has been progressing fast this month. I took the plunge and started hanging everything off the frame and it’s starting to look like a bike now. The rims arrived from China and my first impressions are very positive. I have the spokes and nipple washers on order so just waiting for them to arrive before I build the wheels, which is the last big job to do. I still have to seat the crown race which I was hoping to do last week. Unfortunately Birmingham Bike Foundry only had a “persuader” suitable for 1 1/8″ forks but they have ordered in the 1 1/2″ tool so hopefully that will be in this week and I can get it done on Thursday. Once that’s complete I can then get the steerer cut and I should be on my way. Really looking forwards to getting this finished although it’s a shame that it probably won’t be quite in time for the BB200.
I didn’t get round to ordering a frame bag for the Lurcher yet but I have found somewhere else to try out instead of Alpkit called No Logo Bikepacking. The price I have been quoted for a frame bag is the cheapest so far, but they are a little bit of an unknown quantity. I have been looking for a top tube bag so I have placed an ordered with them for one to see what the finish is like. If everything turns out good and the bag is strong and sturdy then I might give Graham a go for the frame bag as well. He has products that cover most of the bikepacking standard luggage options, with everything being customisable to your exact spec. and all very reasonably priced.
October will be about the BB200 and maybe trying to get in a bivvy trip towards the end of the month before the winter arrives in earnest.
- Distance: 520.5 mi
- Elevation Gain: 35,960 ft
- Time: 43hours
2013 Stats (Feb – September)
- Distance: 3,697 mi
- Elevation Gain: 239,875 ft
- Time: 289hours