Back on the 69er

For what seems like the first time in living memory, but was actually 9 months, I headed out on the 69er for a trip round the Uni. As expected the two-mile climb out of the valley was hard work, but my legs coped better than my lungs did.

Cyclists Dismount

12 miles later I’m back home ready for an ice cold beer. It feels good to be back on the bike again.

20th Anniversary

It was 20 years ago today (I think) that I bought my first MTB. It wasn’t my first foray off-road, I’d already spent a couple of years riding a converted road-bike round endless laps of Rainbow Woods.

Originally I wanted a Saracen Tufftrax but wasn’t allowed to buy that and had to get a 23" Raleigh Memphis from Hares in Moorland Road, now The Velo Lounge. I had it for two years, broke one frame, bent a set of forks, but rode it everywhere until I replaced it with the first of two Alpinestars bikes.

I’ve now owned 13 different MTBs over the years:

  • Raleigh Memphis
  • Alpinestars Cro-Mega (x2)
  • Orange Clockwork
  • Univega 704
  • On-One Inbred
  • Cove Stiffee
  • Planet-X Jack Flash
  • Craftworks FRM125
  • Kona Kaboom
  • Kona Unit
  • On-One 456
  • Trek 69er

9 of those are still in my possession in one form or another.

My weekend as a pit-bitch

This past weekend saw the 2009 running of CLIC24. Simon was riding solo and has somehow roped Nicky and myself in to help.

Simon arrived mid-afternoon on the Friday so as he could leave his car here, Nicky turned up somewhat later. A last minute change of plan saw me throw the 69er into the back of the car, as it would turn out, this was something of a waste of time.

We arrived on site in the early evening to be greeted by a fairly windy field. We found a bit of space and pitched our collection of tents, something of a learning experience as my tent hadn’t even been out of it’s bag since I bought it earlier this year. Once the tents were done we popped up to the main marquee for the hog roast, and a bar stocked with Butcombe beer. As my back was playing up, we soon retired to my cavernous tent to sup wine and listen to the ever increasing wind. Over night the wind picked up, leaving the field with a few less gazebo’s than the previous evening.

The rain held off for most of the morning, and Simon headed out for the start of the race at noon, returning just over an hour later looking a lot happier.

End of first lap

At the end of each lap, Nicky and I would be waiting with a fresh bottle and whatever solid food was required, and after one lap, a fresh front wheel. The rain held off for the first few laps before arriving in force later in the afternoon, then eased off again slightly. Simon did 6 laps straight off before stopping for a quick break. Suitably refuelled with food, and equipped with a clean bike with lights on, he managed another two laps before stopping for the night. To be honest, I’m not sure he’d have managed a 9th lap at that point.

I was woken the following morning by a somewhat soaked Simon reappearing from his 9th lap, the strong winds and torrential rain were back again. After a 90 minute or so break, he headed back out on his 10th, and what turned out to be final, lap. A puncture delaying him long enough that he didn’t make it back to the finish with sufficient time to comfortably complete another lap.

Nicky and I packed up camp, my tent almost drying completely before a last-minute downpour soaked it again. We headed back to my house where the rest of the day was spent drinking, eating and relaxing.

Monday saw a post-race breakfast at the Velo Lounge, after which we unloaded the cars giving my kit a final soaking during a sudden downpour. My tent is now hanging up at the scout HQ where it will hopefully dry out eventually.

For some reason I fancy taking part in CLIC24 next year, but only as a small part of a very slack team.

Justin Sullivan and Dean White – The Thunderbolt, Bristol

We arrived at 7 to find the sound-check in mid-flow, so were banished to the garden with our drinks for a while. I’d not been in The Thunderbolt for a good 15 years or more, and it’s a fairly cramped venue. Annoyingly I kept finding myself stuck behind taller people, which is something of a rarity for me.

Joolz entertained us for 30 minutes or so with a few poems and endless banter, occasionally accompanied by Justin Sullivan on keyboard or guitar. Then after a short break Justin arrived on stage, joined after the first song by Dean. As always it was a superb set, only slightly spoiled by a few drunk twats in front of us who couldn’t keep quiet.

Changing of the Light
One Bullet
Another Imperial Day (acapella)
La Push
Turn Away
Tales of the Road
Ocean Rising
No Pain
You Weren’t There
Snelsmore Wood

Someone Like Jesus
Stoned, Fired, and Full of Grace
Ballad of Bodmin Pill

District Patrol Camping Competition

After heading into work this morning to poke a broken server, I headed out to take a few photographs at the District Patrol Camping Competition for an hour or so. Due to a lack of leaders I ended up helping out with the Archery for one session, and then had a go on the rifle shooting for a bit while consoling myself over the rugby results.

Blindfold trail

More photos: District Patrol Camping Competition.