Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ok, bit of a gap since the last post, but I lost one partly saved draft (oops) and what with Christmas, New Year, etc, etc. So, well into the New Year and still no real skiing on Cairngorm, huge difference to the last few years, where the snow has been deep and the skiing has been extraordinarily good. It's much colder now though (early Feb') and there is the faintest chance we might get some cold continental airflows coming over, so fingers crossed for all us frustrated skiers.
But, the lack of skiing has allowed me to do what all other cyclists do at this time of year - namely getting the base miles in. Jeez, I've not done base miles in years a) because I'd rather ski and b) because I find them sooo tedious! Don't get me wrong I was brought up on a diet of long cold wet winter rides with the likes of the Dundee Wheelers, Forfar CC and other associated hard road men. Saturdays were 2 - 3 hrs and Sundays were 5hrs plus, with 'centuries' a regular occurrence. The craik was sharp and cruel, with the old hands keeping us young'uns right and as the winter wore on and everyone got fitter the banter tailed off and the social atmosphere changed into the harder pace of the chain gang going 'through and off'.
But, up here in the frozen (snowless) north, what with my work patterns, fewer riders and busy family weekends, most of my rides are solo affairs at strange times of the day and the only companion is the iPod. Very occasionally I'll hook up with another off work dad and it's incredible how company can make the hours fly by and anyway the colder wetter and windier the rides the better it is for mental toughness!
I'm also really loving the mtb at the moment, concentrating on simply enjoying the local trails and trying to go faster on the downhill bits. I think the Tallboy is an awesome bike for our Highland trails, but I would really like to try and explore it's limits more with an 'uppy-downy' seat post and a set of stiffer bolt through forks to cut down on the front end flex of the five year old quick release Rebas. I think the bike is way more capable than my abilities.
I'd like to do a few races this year, but I'll probably only do ones that are quite close and don't require several hours driving, so I can't be too fussy, mtb would be nice, but road might have to figure as well.
Work has been a mixture of office based planning for a spring job and hands on trail maintenance down at Laggan Wolftrax - mostly tree clearing after the recent storms.
I need to put a wee bit of time into developing my photography skilz (see what I did there) but I did get a few hours with a talented young downhiller recently, which resulted in one or two ok pics, still lots to learn, but I thoroughly enjoyed working with this rider and he didn't mind my 'can you just do that again' requests!
Anyhoo, a 3 hour road ride planned tomorrow and if the battle of the weather fronts turns out for the best then the next blog might be full of skiing talk and how I'm just not getting out on my bike...