Saturday, 30 June 2007

Finding inspiration...

...In the strangest places, well not that strange considering the amazing standard of the music. Relaxing in the bath after my crash at SSUK I listened to "A Sun That Never Sets" by Neurosis and I was struck by one of the lyrics in "Falling Unknown"

"You dream of a mountain, the peaks rise to the sky,
Will you answer their call?

Lie in wait, I will lie awake
Falling through a world unknown"


Pretty much sums up what I am thinking about the whole trip, eager to be tested but humbled by the uncertainties.

I will train and plan for what I can conceive, and hope that I am up to the task of any other hurdle I might encounter.

Enough moping,

Alex

Friday, 29 June 2007

Star FM (Cheltenham) today 11:20 and 13:20

I had an interview about my trip at Star FM in Cheltenham yesterday, all the normal questions except that I had to be prompted to say that I was doing it on a singlespeed...gears are just not on my radar anymore so I kind of forget! That was the good part of the day, the bad part was the crab+prawn salad with a side of food poisoning :( Kicked in yesterday at 4pm and still going today at 10am...lost a lot of fluids and food but can't keep too much down. I'm that ill that I am off work (for the first time in ages) and bored senseless (hence the post!) Hopefully I can manage some lunch and be back at work tomorrow as Saturdays are manic!

I have been asked back to Star FM for a follow up interview with Elle (I have to write her name somewhere as I will forget otherwise and sound a dumbass when I phone up!) once the training and fund raising is in full effect (injury and illness allowing!)

I did a test pack of my gear on Tuesday and it all fits in my Jandd rack duffel with space to spare (I don't currently have a spare tyre and some other small bits and bobs so excess space is good) Pack weight was not too bad and I did consider carrying the lighter stuff in my Alpkit bag but it only half filled it so would shift about and there are no compression straps on the pack to clinch it down (as its a super light design!) and I think I would have regretted it in the long run. Still have to decide what to pack in the frame bag and if I should take a bar bag (probably my Carradice zipped roll) for food / essentials. I plan to use long training rides to fine tune that aspect of the kit.

Water carrying is another factor that I need to look at, I have 3 bottle mounts on the frame (DT, ST and under the DT) so I can carry 2l (0.75l x2 and 0.5l) but I might also fit a bottle cage to my bars if there is space amongst the light and GPS. SJS have a double bottle holder that fits to the bars or I might make a holder out of parts and spares....either of which would preclude a barbag...argh!

That's about all for now, hopefully I will be back to full health over the weekend and can at least get some time on the turbo trainer!

Alex

Monday, 25 June 2007

Read all about it! Nutter to ride Himalayas on singlespeed!

Yep, I have appeared in the local rag (with obligatory dodgy photo, thankfully not visible on-line!) and they got all the facts correct...a relief to say the least! Only 30mins after it went on the website I was rung up by a charity asking if I would use the trip to raise money for them. I should be meeting with them later in the week to thrash out details so look out for more info on who it is and how to donate to them :)

Tyres should be sorted thanks to Simon at M+L who import Kenda, I think a pair of Small Block 8's in 29x2.2" should do the trick nicely...as long as the monsoon is over by then!

I am off to Brum tomorrow to the Indian High Commission to get my visa. Two dodgy photos and £30 are all you need, oh, and really small hand writing to get all the info on the form! As its a "first come, first served" system I plan to be there early to avoid wasting half the day.

EDIT: B'ham will have to wait until next week as Becca is oop north today so I am in Cheltenham sorting other stuff! Registering with a Dr, getting some prescription riding glasses and a test-pack are on the list.

Due to the weather I will be fitting a slick to the back of my bike and riding intervals all this week, with luck the weekend should be better so a trip to the FoD should be on the cards (as it drains better down there than on the Cotswold clay!) My shoulder is not 95-98% OK and only really hurts when I press on it in one small place so I can get back on the bike and actually steer ;)

More photos of the 2005 MTB Himanchal race can be found HERE thanks to Cass from Out There Biking who runs tours of the area if you don't fancy racing :)

Over n out

Alex

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Scottish shorts...

To cover and protect my behind :) Chris at Endura has kindly agreed to kit me out with some of the great Endura shorts for my trip. I would say that shorts are the biggest comfort factor on a bike (with shoes a close second!) so its great to have a company like Endura who consistently win "best in test" kit me out with arse-pads :)

Fine details will be sorted out next week as Chris is currently at Mountain Mayhem 24hr riding round a muddy course...rather him than me!

I should be back on the bike tomorrow 2 weeks after my fall at SSUK. I might do a local ride or possibly head over to Ledbury for the end of the MM 24hr if I fancy a long-ish road ride...depends on the weather and my motivation levels which are a little flat from lack of riding. I also plan to do a test packing of the kit I plan to carry in the race for a rough weight and method of packing. A good job to do if the weather is s#!t.

Amanda at CF has sent a Tshirt for me to try for size, the medium fits like a treat. Plenty long enough in the body but not too baggy that it is "sports wear only" Plus the sleeves are short enough to show off my tatts (and skinny arms!) The merino feels much softer than the previous batch and the moss green goes with anything with out clashing. I am also looking forward to a 300-something gram long sleeve zip-neck top that should make a great winter top / mid-layer for cold nights on the mountain.

Pictures soon...

Over n out

Alex

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

I am naked no more!

Amanda from Chocloate Fish has stepped up and offered to kit me out with Merino clothing for the trip. Merino will be great in the wide range of conditions that I will encounter, it keeps you warm when its cold, cool and wicking when its hot and even works when wet! Plus it does not stink after a couple of days like synthetics due to the lack of good breeding grounds for bacteria (and any that do cling on wash of easily and the garment will dry PDQ)

I have some CF clothing already but I am looking forward to the new stuff coming on line with a longer body and sleeve cut and slightly more fitted (being tall and lanky!) I plan on using a couple of T's, a long sleeve zip-neck, socks, boxers and leggings (hey, it can get damn cold up in the hills!) with only my cycling shorts, trousers and a formal shirt being the only non-wool items!

I have been using the new MTB Socks and love the dual thickness construction, L and R specific fit and very flat seams that don't rub even when you tighten up your shoes silly tight! They work in everything from damn cold to hot n sweaty while keeping my feet feeling and smelling pretty good. Also good for busy days in the shop running about after customers.

Later

Alex

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Now a reason to post

Having had this site for a while I finally have a use for this blog and the site of the same name.

I have signed up for a 9 day, 700km stage race in the Himalayan foothills this October...on a singlespeed.

Yep, fixed will be well and truely fucked on the 14km descents so I will be taking a freewheel for those crazy downs but I will keep the fixed side for the climbs...and there will be plenty of that!

I will be keeping people sad enough to follow my ramblings up to date with my training, kit selection and other logistics involved with doing a race in some damn big hills thousands of miles from home.

The local paper have already been in touch for an interview and a photographer will be round for the cheesy shot of me and the bike. I am hoping that I can pick up some sort of sponsorship to help out with the cost as it is totally self-funded at the moment.

My alter-ego / weekend job Solitude Cycles is running a comp to win a custom frame, only £10 a ticket and you can enter as many times as you want...all the correct answers will go into a hat. See the full info HERE.

As its been a busy day I am signing off now...more to follow.

Alex