Monday, 30 July 2007

Just typical

Following on from my last post I did order some new, heavier duty rims....and on Sunday buckled the front wheel so I was pretty glad when they turned up this morning! I will try and get my wheels stripped tonight so I can re-build them tomorrow morning and get out in the afternoon.

I have also ordered some Oury grips, these are chunky, grippy and sticky MTB grips that you can wrestle onto the lower section of drop-bars and gives more comfort than even double bartape wrap. Only a little tape is then needed round the brake hoods and up to the top corner (as I don't use the flats and the bar bag gets in the way!)

The fundraising is going really well and I am almost at the £200 mark! Keep sending the cash in people and thanks to all those who have already donated.

Later

Alex

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Storage sorted...



The carradice saddle bag worked really well on Tuesdays 50km / lots of climbing ride. The extra weight did feel like a flat rear tyre but because it was centred under my CoG and not over the rear axle it rode really well. The two side pockets were really good for tools / tubes / money and keys and the main compartment held the bulk of the other stuff.

I managed to pack all the clothes, 1st aid kit and spares into the saddle bag with only the camera, arm-warmers, jacket and food in the bar bag. Total weight was 1Kg for the bar bag and 4Kg for the saddle bag which is pretty good considering the weight of the bags and amount of kit. I plan to thin down on a couple of things and try different packing arrangements plus a way of carrying my camera so I can get to it easier (and so it does not sway about round my neck!)

One option is a small camelbak which would also allow a little more H2O and things like the camera could be attached to the shoulder straps (did I say I was a BIG fan of gaffer tape? :) ) and allow easier (and cleaner) drinking with bottles only being used for re-fills (and I plan on bottles with spout covers anyway!) I am really weary of carrying stuff on my back but I think in this case it might be the best way.

My next big choice is whether to re-build my wheels with beefier rims or stick with the MA3's which have held up really well over the last 3years...

Monday, 23 July 2007

Now I am legal

My visa arrived today, and contrary to what I thought I was going to receive all I got was a small sheet glued in my passport...but as long as it gets me in and out the country! I guess I had a big ornate certificate with gold edging, but ohh well.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, I am off to a great start but I am still a way off my target!

As a equipment geek who works in a bike shop I am trying out a Carradice Barley saddle bag (with my Crud Raceguard as a support!) that on a test-pack held everything I needed with my jacket, camera, gloves and a few other essentials in my Carradice ZippedRoll on the handlebars.

I will use my ride tomorrow as a test for the stability and get used to riding with the weight in a different place. The bike looks real old-skool with the green cotton duck and honey leather straps :)

With all the floods and disruption in Gloucestershire we have escaped with 5mm of water in the cellar and none in the pipes (but plenty of bottles) and so far the power is still on :)

Alex

Thursday, 19 July 2007

I want your money!

Well, only so I can pass it on to the Leonard Cheshire Homes :) Follow the link to see what they do and then pop back here and donate via the JustGiving sponsorship widget thingy over there ----->

I was interviewed live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire today about the trip and I think I freaked the guy out. He was an ex road cyclist and time-trialer so he knew a bit about bikes but really didn't get why I was doing it :) It went really well and I hope I didn't come off as a cocky git, I did make it clear that it was going to hurt and I would consider throwing in the towel several times a day...but I won't have that option with all the sponsorship you are going to give me!

I am still trying to sort out payment for the entry fee, I have the £££ but they want either $UD draft payable on an Indian Bank (HSBC say "No") or a bank transfer...except their bank is not on the SWIFT system. Any international bank experts out there please feel free to contact me with ideas! Only other way is to send a bank draft for the Indian Rupees equivalent of US$500 and keep my fingers crossed!

Made it over to Glos in under 30mins today and back in only slightly longer, pretty good for a 55"gear and 2" tyres on tarmac.

Over and out

Alex

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

The publicity machine kicks up a gear...

I have a meeting with Laura from Leonard Cheshire Homes tomorrow to sort out how I am going to raise money for them. Check out the website and the work they do...they do some really good work and I am happy to use my silly adventure for something more than breaking my self!

Traing has gone well with 4-5good rides a week at the moment and plenty of hills thrown in. Rode up to the Bontager 24/12 at Guiting on Saturday night to have a look round. It seemed a really chilled event although people were bitiching on the forums about the mud (well duh! 3 weeks of rain on clay soil....)

Still playing about with how to carry my kit, Carousel Design Bags are one option as a partial or complete frame pack and/or h-bar mounted bottles....or a wingnut gear hydropack combo. I have a little while to finalise my selection and try it all out.

On Thursday at 10:30am I will be live on air at BBC Radio Gloucestershire about my trip, all good coverage. There is also talk about an audio training diary.

Moore+Large / Kenda have sponsored me with some Kenda Small Block 8 tyres in 29". Really fast rolling (like a CX tyre) but loads of grip on dry / dusty / hard surfaces, and not bad on grass / loose gravel etc. Most definately NOT a mud tyre though, even so it does clear pretty well once you hit tarmac! Looks like a winner for the conditions I will encounter.

OK, over n out.

Alex

Monday, 9 July 2007

New kit and (shock-horror) some riding at last!

Yep, finally back on the bike after a 3 week hiatus (bar a session on the turbo!) Felt good to get out on the bike and ride...quit stressing about work, kit, visas etc... My new BBB prescription glasses are working well with no steam issues on climbs and the grey lenses take off the glare but don't blind me when the sun goes behind a cloud.

My trip to Brum was only partially useful (got to see Chris, Nigel and the accountant) but the Indian High Commission was a loss. If you don't start queing at 7am you have NO chance of getting a vias that day. They are open for 3hrs and its a take a ticket and wait system. They only hand out 200 visas a day and the screen was showing "Now Serving 415" I waited for a bit but the lines were not moving and midday was approaching so I relented and posted the application instead :)

Kenda (and the UK importers Moore+Large) are sponsoring me some Kenda Small Block 8's for the race. The small, close spaced tread should be great on the dry dusty forest roads and tarmac that I will be on 95% of the time. I have a spare too incase I trash one too bad for the tyre-boot to fix.

I am also going to be trying a Wingnut Hyper 2.5 hydration pack. The Wingnut low-rider system sits the weight low on your back, has side pockets that you can access with out taking it off (2 zipped, 2 mesh pockets) plus room for a 2.5l bladder. Light weight sail-cloth and waterproof zips are the main construction with mesh straps for low weight and comfort. All the reviews I have read are great and as a "Hydration-hater" I am sure the lower c-o-g will solve the neck and shoulder problems that all the other hydration packs out there.

Subject to a long test I will carry the bulky but light stuff in the Wingnut (clothes, food etc..) and pack the tools+tubes in the Jandd frame pack.

My friend Phil is coming down tomorrow so I can show him some local trails, although given the rain today I think the FoD might be the best bet!

More later,

Alex