Friday, 16 December 2011
Today we went for a final spin before christmas. All was going well in the morning with some nice trails. Then around mid day I was on a trail and got a branch stuck in my chain that ripped the mech hanger off the bike and broke a spoke.As we were on a DH section I took the mech and chain off and free wheeled the DH section to the bottom of the trail.
Ater the DH I decided to Single Speed the bike to get around the other trails. I shortened the chain and hooked up a power link to close the chain. There was enough tension to keep the chain on fixing it by hand.
The chain stayed on and the quick fix got me around another trail and back to the car.
Trek Remedy 8 SINGLE SPEED!!!!
Video Coming Soon.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
The time had finally arrived to test the mount. A beautiful morning with a light dusting of snow and a frozen ground. I went to Cavehill belfast because its a trail with no trees and I wanted to try this somewhere without breaking my neck if it caught on a tree. I took it slow to get some good footage and try and get a feel for the weight on my head. It turned out pretty good I think. The early morning light really helped.
The Video: http://vimeo.com/33449166
Sunday, 27 November 2011
The Battle of Antrim Adventure Race
Round 1 of the 2011/12 Causeway Coast Adventure race series was named the Battle of Antrim. This race was planned by the Legends Tango and Cash. These pair knows a thing or two about racing so this was going to be a brilliant race.
Race HQ was in the athletics grounds behind Antrim forum. We got there around 9 with most teams already registered and doing there last minute checks and warm ups. We strolled in just before 9 the last ones to register. I had forgotten my helmet and had to Borrow Davey’s. Not a great start to the day. This was the biggest adventure race to be held in Northern Ireland with 96 teams lined out for the race briefing. It was great to see so many new comers both young and old and also all the old faces returning for another series of great racing. After the briefing we took our bikes and pedalled the short road section to the lough shore car park for the start.
The race forecast was wet and windy with possible gale force winds. The weather gods didn’t disappoint with Lough Neagh resembling the sea the swell was so big. Ivan got everyone ready at the start with last minute race instructions and told us the Mayor of Antrim would get the race underway. We had our route instructions but no maps at this stage. We would follow the river path until we met the marshals who had the Maps. 96 teams roared of the start line heading out on the first foot section of the race.
We met the marshals handing out the maps and followed the edge of the football pitches to pick up the first checkpoint. Because there were so many competitors the first checkpoint had a bit of a bottleneck. This was welcomed by some competitors as they got a chance to stop. They got caught up in the fast pace at the start and I heard a few saying they were never going to finish this. It was early days and when they realised it isn’t all about pace I think they relaxed a bit further into the race. With me and Andy taking it relatively easy we tried to shout encouragement and help others that doubted themselves early on. With the layout of the race we sometimes passed the slower teams again keeping them right were we could and hopefully not letting them follow us when we took the odd very small detour ;-)
We had only really started and were already at our first task on the running track.
Three leg race.
The three leg race was one complete lap of the running track. We got the band around our leg got our arms around each other for balance and of we went. We seemed to be going well passing a few teams and apart from a bit of a pull on our knees and ankles completed the circuit without issue.
After the running track we followed the path along the river bank picking up two more checkpoints before arriving at the towns old courthouse. We were issued with a map with locations and a photo clue for each location. The teams had to use the map to find the location then use the photo to find a number.
Photo checkpoint hunt
We made a great start and headed Clockwise around town. Some other teams went anti clockwise and some zigzagged through the town. With teams going in every direction the town was a buzz of activity. People doing there shopping cheering us on others asking what was happening. Trying to keep racing but also be polite and let them know we were adventure racing. Smiles on faces and shop keepers coming out to have a look really made this in town race a buzz. We didn’t think we had any issues picking up our numbers. We again shouted words of encouragement to other newcomers and abuse at our old friends. Reaching the courthouse we totalled up the numbers give the Marshal our answer 6335 and it was wrong. To get the right answer we had a word search and after completing the word search the remaining letters would make up the number. The word search complete we pieced together the letters to spell out 6333. Two away on our total and it wasn’t until after the race we realised we had picked the wrong number in a series in the subway. I think we weren’t the only ones with two out judging by the amount of teams on the ground trying to complete the word search.
We left the courthouse and backtracked along the river heading back to the main transition picking up a checkpoint on the way and receiving another Map. When we arrived at the transition we got our helmets on and lifted a kayak for the river section. Lifejackets on we started paddling up stream towards the town again. The kayak section was definitely not the longest but it wasn’t the easiest either. On the outward journey we paddled against the flow and at the halfway point we had to shout our team number to the marshal and turn around and paddle back to the start. Although it was downstream we were paddling into the wind and the waves from the lough made it a bit harder.
Exiting the kayaks we jumped onto the bikes following the path along the lough shore in the direction of Greenmount collage. Picking up a couple of checkpoints along the way we arrived into the grounds of the collage. Rick was waiting to great us with our orienteering maps for the collage. We dropped of the bikes and headed of on foot. The good thing about this race and the number of competitors everyone always seemed to be together. Not always going the same way but passing each other along different sections. It really kept the craic alive with banter throughout each stage.
Maps in hand we took off in the opposite direction to most. Picking up the controls and having a good bit of banter with fellow competitors along the way. The terrain here was easy going and with most of it on paths or close to paths navigating this was a breeze. Again no issues and cleared the course pretty quickly. We ran back through the main grounds and picked up the bikes.
Leaving the grounds of the collage we followed the maps back towards the town centre. Picking up a checkpoint on the way our next location was Mauds Ice cream shop. The special task here was to eat an ice cream each. It was really refreshing having been drinking energy drinks and nothing else all the way round. Mine was gone in a flash and I use the cone to stop from getting ice cream head. Checkpoint complete we again backtracked across the river and collected the same checkpoints as previously heading back to transition area. At the transition we done a loop of the car park and then were instructed to time out and wait for a river crossing.
Now that we were off the clock I think it was the only time I have ever been able to take my time and eat during a race. With sandwiches eaten the rain started and it got very cold. We got a chance to chat to others before it was our turn to cross. As other teams started their kayak section we tried to cheer them on and encourage the new comers and less experienced. When I saw one girl sitting too far forward I shouted move back a bit in the seat. As she didn’t understand me Andy thought he would explain. “Move into the Bumhole” he shouted not realising what he had said and to the amusement of the other teams listening. It worked and she eased back ever so slowly into “The Bumhole” That laugh got us all warmed up again ready for our turn to cross.
This section had a couple of Canadian canoes tied together to form a raft. We had to load the bikes into the Canadian canoes and use a rope to pull ourselves across to the other side. On reaching the other side we took our time to get the life jackets off and bikes ready before timing on again. As we reached the other check point one team got into bother with cramps. I stopped and give guy a sachet of Dioralyte to try and help and then quickly jumped back on the bike and headed for the next checkpoint. Following the map we headed into the grounds of shane’s castle. Pedalling hard along the lough shore we had a couple of checkpoints to collect before reaching the castle itself. At the castle we had another task. From the map of the castle we had to find the trailbadgers and at each had a number attached. At one of the locations there was a code reference sheet were we could work out letters for the numbers. We got a couple of numbers and quickly worked out the name kicking ourselves not to get it straight away. Always read the instructions clearly!! We were back on the bikes still heading away from Antrim in the estate grounds. Crossing gates and picking up checkpoints we followed the Motorway underpass to the next checkpoint and secret task.
This task we both had a paint ball gun and target to hit. We had 5 shots each and both of us had to hit the target on our first attempt. I missed my first and Andy missed his quickly we went for our second shot as Andy hit his second I was sure I hit mine also. I was told I hadn’t so I carried on hitting it on my 4th attempt. As we both hit one we didn’t have to do the Sin Bin run. This would have been an extra run as a penalty for missing.
Back tracking under the Motorway underpass we pushed hard for the next checkpoint. Andy took a bit of cramp and stopped to stretch as I hopped the gate for the next checkpoint. After he got rid of the cramp we pedalled back towards the castle picking up another couple of checkpoints. Then it was back along the lough shore to the river crossing. As we waited we had to do a puzzle. Something taken from the 11+ I suspect but still got us thinking. We had to decipher the names of each of the canoeists using questions and colours in the pictures but also use this to answer the final question. With this done it was time to cross the river again. This time we had marshals paddling so we got to relax for all of two seconds until they had us back on the other bank. Bikes out of the kayaks we pedalled around the car park for two checkpoints then back to the running track. As we reached the running track we had the option of the 30km bonus loop. Andy’s Legs were shot and he said no, I didn’t put up any fight and we were then instructed to complete the race it was another three leg race but this time under the steeple chase hurdles. We followed the track crawling under all the hurdles before the final water hurdle. At least this washed the shoes as we hopped in up to our knees. We cruised the last straight to the finish dibbing on the finish line to complete race one.
Tango and Cash have done a great job in organising a fun filled race with something different around every corner. Thanks Lads and I hope to see you for the other rounds. The race seemed to run like clockwork despite the large numbers and the tightly packed field. This could only be achieved by the help of all the marshals on the day. They might not think they do a lot individually but without each of their combined efforts the race would not have worked. Therefore a massive thanks goes to everyone that helped out. Thanks as always goes to the main CCAR crew who once again have shown their commitment to developing the sport and getting more people involved at all levels and abilities. Great work from you all and a job well done.
Cheers to Joanne McCallum, Spark, Tango and Cash and who ever elses photos I have nicked for the Blog ;-)
It was great to see so many people out there giving it ago. The battle of Antrim was fought hard for the front runners and enjoyed immensely by the newcomers. This is exactly what the sport is all about and makes being part of it a great experience. It shows you don’t have to be super fit or in fact fit at all to take part. You only have to look at the smiling faces crossing the line to see just how enjoyable these races can be.
Roll on Round 2 for more of the same!
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
The Black trail is 31km with 75% Single track. There is also a red trail 17km 85% single track.
The Kirroughtree Stane is called: The Gem Stane. The sculpture here takes its inspiration from the trails' reputation and their close proximity to the Creetown Gem Rock Museum. This 1.75 ton stone is made from Scottish pink quartz.The Black Trail: Black Craigs
Black Craigs combines fast flowing singletrack and rocky technical features to test your skills. A highlight is McMoab with its huge slabs and ridges of exposed granite linked by boulder causeways
Stairway to Heaven
After leaving the red route a section of easy forest road leads to the first black-graded singletrack. This particular Stairway to Heaven climbs steeply up by way of a series of switchbacks and rocky steps, but the challenge focuses the mind on the trail and as the name suggests it’s worth the effort – eventually!
A few metres on, the forest road feeds straight into The Judgement. A couple of rocky step-ups set the scene for a fast rocky plunge to the crux slab climb that requires both poise and power to clear. The hard bit is now over so it’s time to enjoy the flowing decent through Oak and Scots Pine woodland back to the valley floor.
Another short spin on the forest road leads to this easy section of singletrack through an area of ancient mining activity, climbing though open conifer woodland and back on to the forest road and the first crossing of the turbulent Palnure Burn.
A picturesque and remote forest road brings you to the centrepiece of the Kirroughtree trails: McMoab. This giant monolith of granite is reached by traversing rocky ridges and slabs linked by boulder causeways. Painted arrows show the way but a confident approach and considerable skill are required to link it all together without a dab. It is possible to bypass McMoab by continuing up the forest road if you don't feel up to it on this visit.
Re-cross the Palnure Burn then cross over the A712 and start into this tough climb, the steepest and longest of the lot on a shared path. The climb can be leg-breaking as well as heartbreaking.
After topping out there's just time to recover on the forest road before the final spiralling climb to Black Craig summit. Stop and catch the view (and your breath), then enjoy payback time with an entertaining and varied descent leading seamlessly into Talnotry Hill.
For many this section is the highlight at Kirroughtree: a great singletrack trail that drops a considerable height in its 2.5km with stunning views on the way down. However we recommend caution: the trail is fast and flowing but there are some serious drop offs that could catch you unawares if you are riding there for the first time. It’s best to approach this trail with caution initially then return once you know where the tricky bits are.
At the Talnotry Hill exit cross back over the A712 and join a short singletrack link running between posts 65 and 66. It packs in several natural rock features and a raised timber section before reaching the top of the Dallash access at post 66.
Hansel and Gretel
Relax for a short while, and then as the road starts to climb again cut on to more singletrack at Hansel and Gretel. It ducks and dives around the hill before spitting you across the forest road and straight into Hissing Sid.
Time to concentrate again as several rocky sections come as a warm up for Hissing Sid himself. The direct line down the rock face is most straightforward, while the spiralling line going to the right is harder to ride but easier to walk. Either way drops you on to more fast descending singletrack. There's a final short rocky climb to challenge you before swooping further down the hill to within sight of the start of the Jabberwocky.
This final black grade section of singletrack has teeth too. A series of steps leads to a rocky traverse via a tricky step down to a final big rolling drop, before joining back into the Twister trail for the return to the visitor centre.
Video to Follow
Thursday, 17 November 2011
I have been thinking about doing this for some time now. The problem was attaching the pole to the helmet. But I think I have the right set up now. This is my homemade version of a mount using things I had in the house. For this test I used a floor brush. I just need to replace the floor brush for the proper pole and counter weight. Which for the real thing will be a golf club shaft and some fishing weights. This test was only to check angles of the pole and camera.
The helmet mount is an old mini pump holder.
The new carbon pole has been added. Just to add a counter weight and its all systems go for a test ride.
The counter weight a dumbell on the back of the brush shaft.
Sunday, 13 November 2011
The new super ferry Between Belfast (Ireland) and Cairnryan (Scotland)
The AE Line red trail is a Enduro type trail. XC but with a lot of Technical features. We done the Trail during the day then half of it at night. A great day/Night on the bikesAndy doing the step up.
The Canyon Nerve AM 8.0Video of the Day's Riding
360 degree Panoramic Photo of the trail.