Friday, October 31, 2008

Week wrap up

Trying to take it easy this week - did the big spin on Monday, then went out on a fast road spin on Wednesday night. Still managed to do568km's in OCT.
Won't be out this evening (really should have cycled to work!!!).

I've got stuff on tomorrow, so may or may not be out. Sunday will be a long spin starting in Crone. The weather is looking cold and dry - perfect for biking (as long as you don't stop too often!). Will take it easy for the next week or two before starting up the training.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2009 bike

OK, missed out on the Giant XTC C0 (some guy bought the last 2!), so better get a plan together on what I'll be racing on in 09...
I've been casually looking at a couple of bikes over the last 3 or 4 months but time to get serious. To make this a little easier I'm going to set out some guidelines...

  1. It has to be a hardtail

  2. It has to weight less than 9.5Kgs (roughly)

  3. It has to cost approx €2,500 (less ideally!)

  4. I don't want to upgrade any components for a year (apart from general wear and tear)

  5. It would be nice if it came with UST tyres/wheels already setup

  6. It has to look good (ok, this is a low priority, but important non the less)

So what types of bikes match that criteria? Well the XTC C0 did, but no point in crying over spilt milk.
There's a couple of Canyon CF's which fit the bill, but its very difficult getting bikes of them this time of year as they are preparing next years stock and I don't have any prices on them right now.
Cube's HPC range is quite nice, but I don't have full bike weights, so won't know for sure if they fit (they paint scheme does though!) the criteria. They are a little on the expensive side though.
There is a Giant XTC C1 going cheap, but to be honest it just does not blow me away.

Decisions Decisions :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend spins

Good weekend of cycling. On Saturday I led a beginners spin around Three Rock which was good craic. We were out for 4 hours or so. Everyone had a good time I think. The only problem we had was with the wind, which was incredible. We were being blasted off the bike every time we got out in the open. At the end my hamstrings were getting fairly tight. Down to the road spin the previous day. The pain was also on the outside of the legs down the IBT Bands. I did a little bit of stretching that evening, but on Sunday the felt worse, so queue more stretching. Kept off the bikes on Sunday.

Monday a group of us headed out to Cloon via 3 Rock, Fairy Castle and Prince Willies. It was a really good spin. Nice and fast, with few stops. It was 40km, with about 29 off road. My legs were still stiff and hurting at times, so more stretching tonight, and I'll keep off the bike tomorrow. I was thinking about taking a break for the rest of the week, but I don't think thats a runner! Will probably do a road spin on Wednesday and play it by ear after that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

If its good enough for Lancie...

Bike Radar did a review of Armstrongs Trek Top Fuel 9.8. Really interesting bike - and what do you know? ODI Rogue grips!

Friday spin

Did not turn out exactly as planned. Basically I dragged myself out of bed in the dark, got my gear and bits together and headed off. I was 20 mins into the spin to work (past the point when you're asking yourself 'why am I doing this?') when I realised I left my bottles in the kitchen. Without those I was not doing any long spin home. So I turned around got home and had a quick shower before heading into work in the motor.
Pegged it back and was out on the road at 2pm. I basically did the usual big spin, but in reverse - Blessington, Laragh, Sally Gap, Glencree, Tallaght, Rathcoole and home. Did it non stop this time which was nice. In total it was 112kms with almost 1000 metres of climbing in 4 hours 10 mins. I spent almost half the spin at 80 % max heart rate or greater. The weather was perfect - some sunshine and cool. There was a breeze but it was nothing to write home about.

I did the spin with 2 400ml bottles filled with a Torq engery/Glucose mix, one Torq bar and a Torq gel (I only used it as they have a best before end date of December!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Night spinning

Good spin in Glending last night. The trails had dried out a treat so were only a bit soggy :) . It was cool but not cold and not a breath of wind - perfect. Got a few fast laps in, but because we started later than usual (8pm) we had to head home with an urge for a few more laps. Still, an hour of moving time was better than nothing. Today is rotten - wind and rain, so the trails will probably be off limits until middle of next week.

There's been an increase in motocrossers up there in the past month or so, and in the last couple of weeks the damage they've done is very noticeable. To such an extent the land owners have blocked up the entrances with large stakes so only walkers (and bikers!) can now access. Now I don't want to start any aggro :) and I'm not saying that mountain biking is a perfect example of a leave no trace activity, but it’s a damn site better than MX. Also, the chances of us hitting a walker are much slimmer. But I'm sure once the damage the MX'rs caused has disappeared people will see the tyre tracks we're leaving, then that'll be the end of that.

My new Blackburn rear light arrived today. Its pretty damn bright (1 watt ultra bright led), so I'll feel a lot better on the road spins at night.

Tomorrow is looking ok weather wise, so big road spin on the cards. Still not 100% sure of the route. could head to Enniskerry and on towards Roundwood / Laragh, but might just do the Wicklow 200 route, so turning right outside Enniskerry, up to Glencee, hang a left over Kippure, left at the Sally Gap and over Luggla then into Roundwood, Laragh, Wicklow Gap and finally onto Blessington and Naas. To be safe I'm going to check how long that section took in the Wicklow 200 - don't want to get caught out in the dark. If its too long, I'll just do a spin over Cruagh, Glencree, Sally Gap, Laragh, Wicklow gap etc.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mid weeks goings on

Monday did the 35km road sprint-thing around Naas. Actually, it was not a sprint , just a good pace. Just did 2 intervals - one of which took a good minute to get my breathing back to normal - must do more of those.

Last night my plan was to get the BeOne on the turbo trainer, but started to have problems keeping traction on the fly wheel. So today I bombed down to Halfords to buy the cheapest grippest road tyre there. Will fit it tonight and give it a whirl. To be honest though, I don't think I'm cut out to be a turbo trainer type person - its just so boring. Ryan's got a good post on it here.

While I was in Halfords I got myself a high vis jacket too. That and the new rear light will make me feel a lot safer on the roads at night.

Tonight I'm out to Glending for a night spin. We've had a good few dry days so it should be in good shape.

Friday I'm still planning on the long spin home from work - but the forecast is not super so I'll play it by ear.

Saturday I'm leading a club spin around 3 Rock.

Might sneak in a few hours on the road bike early on Sunday morning.

Monday is a savage spin to Cloon and back.

Busy bank holiday weekend coming up!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday spin

Short and sweet. 1 hour long and 35kms done! There was a very strong wind which was a dream on your back - tapping along at 50kph without any effort on the flat, and hell when it became a headwind. But it was good to get it in. It was an extended loop around Naas which brought me half way up Saggart hill before hanging a right back towards Eadestown.

My left hamstring feels a bit tight right now. Its been a bit off since Thursday and the intervals. I stupidly did the first one without warming up, so my own fault. Its not a big deal and should be back on track in the coming few days.

Starting to get the head into serious training mode now. I plan on kicking things of around mid-November. The first couple of weeks will be handy enough (one 100+km road spin, two 30km speed sessions and a couple of 2 hour off road sessions a week, but December and Jan will be full on, and I'll be watching my diet this time.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blessed :)

Great spin today out in Djouce. The trails were in perfect condition, and the weather was cool and dry. Myself and Conor arrived early and got in half a loop of the NPS course. The rest of the group arrived at 10 and we belted around the best trails for the next couple of hours. Even managed a cup of tea and cake down at the water fall.

After the beginners course finished some of us headed out again, XTC, Benchcut (best ever run - only one dab!), and up to GC which was super. After that it was back up to the cars. Great day all in all.

After I got home I unpacked the car, only to NOT find my Garmin. I went through all the bike gear and then the car, but no sign. I was convinced I left it on the boot, or the bike rack when I was packing up, and it fell off on the way home. I was gutted, but decided it might be worth the drive back (40kms or so) on the off chance it was still in the car park. So I got the bike off the rack and stuck it in the back garden. As I was walking out, this is what I saw on the bonnet.
Yes, it was the Garmin sitting between the top of the bonnet and wiper! I could not believe it! It had managed to stay in there the whole trip home. And I drove back via the Sally Gap - not exactly a smooth ride...

Blessed I tells ya!

Epic Blast - the movie

Here's a trailer for the epic blast movie/documentary... looks great.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Uh oh....

Did not make it out tonight - went out for an early dinner - and then scoffed one of these babies...Only it was about 3 time the size of this...

Going to do and extra hour before the beginners spin tomorrow!

Week round up

Not a lot really - eating and drinking too much, but I don't mind :)

Wednesday was a pretty unfulfilling trip to Glending. Its like a bloody big sponge up there. Even the sections which are normally not as wet were soaking. We stuck to a short loop of the dry sections, but after a couple of laps they were getting cut up. So we've decided that there will be no trips to Glending unless we've had 3-4 days of good dry weather. We did less than an hour, but it as ridiculously technical due to the mud n' schlomp.

Thursday night was a bit more fun on the road bikes. Did about 35kms at an average 30km/hr. That's no great shakes, but we stopped a few times. We did 4 or 5 intervals where we pushed for 60 seconds. These coincided with any hills we came across. It was good fun and found the legs going to jelly towards the end, which I've not felt in a while. Its a great feeling to push to almost the limit, and when your brain and lungs are telling to to ease off, you get in 4 or 5 big stomps on the pedals :). We were out for about an hour in total.

The weekend will be busy. Myself and Gene plan on doing a session on the road tonight, Saturday will be Djouce, and Sunday I'll be up at the crack of dawn for a spin around Wicklow (may just be around Blessington lake, but might try further afield).

Monday, October 13, 2008

3 rules of Mountain biking

OK, the guy is a little funky, but what he says is true! And funnily enough it can be applied to a lot of things in life...
Based on his presentation, I think there are 4 though...

You will go where you look
You will do what you believe
Keep your wheels rolling
Relax, dammit

Alternatively you can just add 'Relax, dammit’ to the first 3 rules and Bobs yer Uncle.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend roundup

Busy weekend all round...

Saturday myself and Gene did the Blessington Lake loop. We did not do it in lightening fast time, but was still respectable. The weather was super, and I was half tempted to do a second loop when we got to Blessington - but heavy traffic distracted me so ended up back in Naas before I knew it. We took an hours break and heading out on the mountain bikes to Glending. Its still fairly schlompy on the switchback descent so we focused on the boulder run, while trying to avoid motocross bikes. Decided that untill we get 4-5 days of dry weather, there's no point in trying the descent, so we'll still with doing fast loops around the boulder section.

Sunday up bright and early to help out with the MAD beginners spin being held up in Ticknock. It was good fun - the guys n' gals I was leading we up for anything so we took the hardest route up and then attacked rock n' roll, some downhill stuff and the old club course. Again, the weather was perfect, but the ground was a little dodgy under wheel.

I also fitted my new ODI Rouge grips, which are super. All in all a great weekend of biking!

Next week is a bit scketchy. The weather is mixed, so might try a night spin or 2 in Glending, and possibly a road spin on Friday evening.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wicklow spin

After cycling back from dropping the car in for service (17km), myself and Gene hit the road for Blessington. It was a nice old spin, the only problem was a tough side/head wind, and spitting rain. Otherwise a nice few hours. Stopped in Laragh for soup and sambo. Met Mel, who was supporting Ryan on his attempt to break the record for travelling the Wicklow way on Mountain bike (which he did by hours I think).

Leaving Glendalough, we heading back up via Glenmacnass water fall (cheered on by a couple of tourists). Left at Sally Gap and back down to Kilbride/Blessington. All in all about 120kms.

I've decided to get a shorter stem for the Giant. Its a 100mm right now, but I think a 90mm would make me feel a little less stretched on it. Update on that later

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MTB Feedback needed!

A clubmate has created this survey to guage the feeling of mtb'rs - both racers and non-racers - on events of 2008. Well worth participating in.

Titus sold!

Sob! Yes, its true. I sold it last week to a club mate. I had the fork and shock serviced by TFTuned. When the race season is finished, its nice to have a full suss bike to fool around on, but all proceeds from the sale will be going to the 2009 bike...

The search continues....

Next - The Giant XTC C Zero from Pauls cycles. Great spec. Not sure about weight, but ain't a bad old price.

I think I might swap out the Fox fork with the Magura Durin. I've got a Fox F80 RL on the Cube and think they are super. The only reason is that the Magura is a little lighter.

Grippy grips

My factory Cube grips have given up the ghost. The end's have been cut up from leaning again walls and them landing on rocks. So time to upgrade to the ODI Rouge. I would have gone for the Yeti's but they are not in stock right now... booo...

Spins for the week

I helped out on the MAD Beginners spin on Saturday. There was a great turn out - roughly 20 new people out. We went to Kindlestown / Glen of the Downs. Because of its location I don't get out there that often, so it was nice to get out there and remember how much fun it is.

We did a couple of loops of Kindlestown before heading off to GOD, where we had a lot of fun beating about the place and also trying out some of the more fun drops. No one got hurt and everyone had fun (I think).

I was out on Saturday night so was a little worse for wear on Sunday. Managed to head up to Slade valley to check out the trails. It was a waste of time as most of them are now covered by felled trees, golf course, or just over grown. So I just did one loop and headed off to Glending. As usual, it was fun, although I managed to wallop my knee off the handle bar at one point - leaving me with a huge bump on it. The base of the switchback descent is getting cut up by motocross riders, which ain't very nice, but not much you can do about that.

Tonight, its back to Glending for a night spin with Gene. I hope its dried out a little...

I've got tomorrow off, so myself and Gene are going to do a long road spin - probably heading to Glendalough and onwards.

Friday - weather permitting, I'll cycle to work and cycle home via Sally Gap

Saturday - a road spin, or a good spin in Glending

Sunday - Beginners spin, but might do a longer spin afterwards.

So a lot happening. I think I need it as definitely feeling a few pounds creeping on :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Week wrapup

This won't take long :)

Its been a quite week cycling-wise. Down to work and some things going on at home. Got up to Glending on Monday night with Gene for an hour or so. And then an hour on the road bike tonight!

Tomorrow is a beginners spin in Kindlestown. I plan on heading to Slade on Sunday for a bit. A couple of night spins in Glending early in the week, followed by a big road spin on Thursday (got the day off!).

The official club training is not kicking off until late November, so will need to keep ticking over till then...

Exposure Joystick Maxx

I've been looking for a replacement for my Light and Motion Solo for the past couple of months - something light, not too expensive and easy to fit and remove from my helmet. After some research I plumped for the Exposure Joystick Maxx. The next problem was finding somewhere that actually had them in stock! Both CRC and Wiggle had on their sites you'd be waiting at least a month for them. So I went with Wiggle as they only had a wait time till mid-October. So I was ove the moon when it arrived this week!
So, first off it comes in a really nice case, with each component fitted snugly into the sponge inlay. The next thing you notice is how small the light is - literally the size of a whiteboard marker! OK, it's a little heavier, but not nothing to write home about. The helmet fitting is very simple - a hard plastic half loop which you snap the light into.

Once fitted I was up in Glending with the exposure on the helmet and the MiNewt on the bars (totally blown away by the exposure). It gives off a crisp white light and good spread, which works well at a moderate speed. I certainly had no problems seeing anything anyways, but when Gene was in front with the Light and Motion he could not see a thing because of the shadow which the joystick created! Its got a 4 hour charge and you get 3 hours run time on Max settings. But the best thing about the light is its size and lack of wires! Its so much less hassle not having to worry about where to put the battery or having the annoyance of wires trailing all over the place. Overall a great light for the price (€180). I would definitely look at the Maxx or Maxx D when I decide to upgrade the MiNewt!