Strathpuffer 09

Well it’s been a year since anyone wrote on this site, so I guess it’s time to do something.

Today I’ll draw your attention to Dave’s superb 2nd place at this weekend’s Strathpuffer 24 hour race up in cold cold windy Scotland.  26 laps, only 40mins or so behind Shaggy John who finished with 27 laps to take the win.

I’ll steal Dave’s race-report when he’s back at work, and able to waste office hours typing up a lengthy story of the weekend.

That’s all, maybe I’ll write more things this year.

1 comment Posted by matt January 19th, 2009

Rolling On 2008

It’s been far-too-long since the last post on this site, so I thought I’d spew a few words into WordPress and hope something readable appears.

Firstly, congratulations all, for making it though 2007, it was a long hard, wet, windy, nasty, horrible year, yet, here we are at the start of the second to last year this decade all fresh and raring to go….. or at least counting down the days until it’s warm, sunny, now raining, and not windy..

What for 2008? who knows, someone probably said that life’s what you make it, so, let’s make it ace, lets rip up the trails, destroy everyone in sight and be awesome for another year.

Ok, I guess my wordspew has failed!

Add comment Posted by matt January 3rd, 2008

SitS 2007 – Dave 6th

I’ve copied this wholesale from On-One as i can’t be bothered trying to say the same things in a different way…except for throwing out much thanks to Guy, without whom i would not have finished at all.

I had quite hgh hopes for SITS this year; i knew i was fit enough to be competitive, i liked the event last time, i knew i had kit good enough to win on and i had full on support on the shape of Guy.
mens solo podium
Click for Bigger
Sadly my body had other ideas. I don’t want to go into too much detail – for modesty reasons – but suffice to say that by 16hrs in i could not sit down. At All. Even For A Second.
This meant that to carry on i had to ride stood up constantly (if you don’t think that sounds hard, try it!), which put an awful lot of pressure on my hands, which, in turn, blistered up quite badly and bruised (in fact i can hardly type this right now!).
me in a world of pain on the last lap
click for bigger
Despite my body falling apart my legs felt quite good throughout and although i wasn’t really able to ‘put the hammer down’ and try to imrove my position i was able to consolodate the 6th place i was already in. To be honest it felt like scant reward for the suffering, but in a peverse way it felt nice to have ridden through the pain rather than give in!
a record of my race
click for bigger

Top Tip: if you want maximum exposure at a race, don’t bother knackering yourself in to win, the best way to get EVERYONE looking at you is to be the very last person over the line…it worked for me!

Geeky Race Stats:
6th place solo mens catagory (90something competitors).
29 laps in 25hrs 10mins (227.59 miles)
19079ft climbing (5815.28metres)
av. riding speed: 10.1mph
av. heart rate: 143bpm (194max)
3 punctures
1 snapped chain
3 “proper” crashes
1 “proper” sulk (infinate grumpy moments)
1 ruined backside
2 battered hands
2 sore calf muscles

Add comment Posted by matt August 14th, 2007

Mayhem 07 – Dave 4th ish – Maybe 6th

Dave was 4th or 6th at this year’s Mountain Mayhem, 22 laps in poor conditions, this year’s a total washout.

Maybe Dave will write a nice report for this site.

(it turned out to be 6th)

Add comment Posted by matt July 2nd, 2007

CLIC 24 – 2007

It’s been a couple of days since the season’s first 24 hour race ended, we’ve almost finished cleaning the mud off ourselves, checked our bikes for damage and just about regained full use of our bodies.

It was almost predictable what the weather would hold in store for this event, weeks of hot dry weather were bound to stop at sometime, so it was no shock to see a forecast of rain for the entire weekend. And rain it did. Leaving the North on a hot sunny Friday both Dave and myself were optimistic, but this was soon washed away somewhere near Junction 25 of the M6 as the rain got steadily worse and worse the further South we got. Without words we knew that the other was hoping that we’d emerge from the other side of the “HOLY COW! I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING” rain storm to hot hot sun. Eventually we did drive back into blue skys as we got close to Bristol Docks… it had only rained for the previous 170 miles.

We were hopeful again.

Four and a half hours after setting off and with aching bums we arrived at the race site, wheel span though the mud onto the camping field, located Mike and set up our home for the next 48 hours.

Guy arrived a little later on, food was eaten, chat was chatted, took it easy, it started to rain… we all went to bed.


After getting all the faffing done it was 11:55am and time to race, it was dry, a bit windy, but sunny and actually quite warm, however literally 10 seconds before 12 the skies unzipped and hope of a fast dry race were drowned.


We were off! Dave and Guy were located somewhere in the middle of the 200 starters, I, as tradition dictates, started almost last.

The course started with a couple of climbs which immediately spread the field out, the riders then shot down a sandyish bridleway, though a gate and right to the first section of twisty trail. being the first lap this was taken quite slow as people got used to the conditions shuffled for position and settled in. Next was a sprint across a field of bluebells and to the woods and down to the first of two stream crossings after negotiating a nice fast soily descent.

From the first lap the section from the first crossing was already hard to get though, maybe not on a geared machine, but that’s not what I’d brought. There’s a choice of 2 lines, straight ahead, and up to the left, both had issues to overcome, forward required praying for grip on some treeroutes, which proved impossible for me, left required a little bit of aggression to shoot up and around the area with the slippy roots. The next section was one of the areas that suffered later on as the rains fell once again.

Once out of the gloop you’re treated to a fast double track to a sharp left hander and into the bottom of the woods and onto the best part of the course the fast rocky bridleway and the enormous climb out of the lowest part of the course to the highest. The climb is almost all fireroad, but with an evil kick right at the end which required full power to clear, this was followed by the worst part of the course, boggy and moorsy it really didn’t like the rain and as the race progressed rideable lines dissappeared and it required a fair amount of power, skill, luck and concentration to get across without dabbing.

The reward for getting though that section was a great descent to the road, initially a path with large loose stones, very similar to some of the areas around Rivington, but this soon changed as rider’s tyres transferred their collected mud and kicked stones aside to leave a very fast line… after this it was a case of head down and spin back to the event arena and the end of the lap.

My best lap was the second of the race, which was just before the rain started to fall on the parts of the course that later became sticky, my strategy was really to hold my position on the downs, and blast people away on any climbs, and this worked a treat as lap after lap I managed to catch and overtake handfuls of riders on the big fireroad climb, only occassionally seeing them blast past me on the following road section. However in the middle of lap two it was obvious my back wasn’t happy and I had to stop towards the end of the climb to release the build-up of pain so I can continue the ride, which usually meant I was fine until the start of the next lap’s first big climb, however this lead me to have no control of the bike though the singletrack as I couldn’t use my hips to steer.

After lap 4 my right knee’d also started to hurt, so after 3:23 I stopped, deciding to rest until the next day.

As the event wasn’t actually a race, but a challenge (for legal reasons) there was no timing, so it was hard to know what lap times were and who was leading the event. Guy stopped around the same time as I did, but started off again sometime around 5pm, getting in 3 more laps before, he too, broke and decided to stop after his 6th lap.

A little before 8pm Dave had to take a long break to sort lamps, swap brake pads, change clothing, and apply makeup, by this time the course was getting pretty wet, but the rain had stopped and the sky was pretty clear of clouds it was still a bit windy and cool. Dave set off again, after fuelling up on cream cake and PSP22 to battle the shadow monsters, however an error somewhere meant Dave’s lights weren’t actually charged, so a couple of laps later he was back on the campsite scrabbling around for more lighting. Thankfully Guy’d decided against nightriding and Dave set off again under the power of a USE Exposure lamp with ‘probably 6 hours of power’.

There was actually only 5 hours of power in the battery, so somewhere aroun 4.30 am Dave had to stop, and wait for the sun to ride, I, was asleep, dreaming of not riding a bike around a muddy loop in Somerset.

Waking at 7:00 I knew I had to ride again, so I gave myself 30mins to come to terms with having to leave the comfort of my warm tent, at about 7:10 I heard the patter of raindrops… Welcome to Sunday.

I was on the bike and on the course at 7:46am, with the aim of doing 3 or 4 laps, my back was feeling a hell of a lot better than the previous day (helped by ibuprofen), I was surprised how good the course was riding, it had been dry almost all of the night, and most of the sections, whilst still moist, had held up well to the rain from the saturday, however this was all to change on my second lap. By the time I headed out on my 6th lap the rain was starting to fall, lightly at first then very heavily, and it didn’t relent for the rest of the event. The difference of the course between the two laps was astonishing, it became a lot more slick and a lot more work, thankfully all the climbs and decents were still grippy so time was only lost on the three waterlogged flat sections, which I decided to run though as it proved to be a couple of miles per hour faster – until you ran into a knee deep puddle.

After lap 6 (57mins) I decided to stop, my right knee was suffering again.

Dave was motoring on, though, lap 17 by 9:30am, neck and neck with a couple of other riders, with Guy handing out food, bottles and a coat, there was no reason to stop now.

The rules of the event state that only laps finished BEFORE 12pm count, so it takes a bit of lap timing to figure if you can get another lap in, which we didn’t think Dave needed to do, at 10:30 he was being recorded as 18 laps, with the next rider on 17laps, but this was a gamble, as there was no timing data there was no way to work out if the rider 1 lap behind Dave was really 1 lap behind or on the same lap, but maybe 30mins behind, which meant that if Dave stopped too early he could loose the lead if the other rider came though and managed to squeeze in just before the cut-off time.

Dave was lapping around the 1 hour mark, so anything after 11:01 and it wasn’t worth him going out again, so when he came though at 11:11 Guy told him there was no need to carry on, and he was correct, there was no chance of anyone behind him being able to put another lap in, Dave had won.

The final results have Dave on 19 laps with second place on 17, however Dave thinks he did 20 laps, and it was easy for a lap to be miscounted as it relied on riders calling out their number as they passed the line on each lap.

Despite the conditions the race was fantastic, so relaxed it felt like a normal Sunday ride, with no arrogant shop-teams trying to barge their way past people. If the weather had been better it would have been a bonus with lap times into the 30′s for some of the faster riders, but it wasn’t.

Add comment Posted by matt July 2nd, 2007

It begins…(again)

Guy kicked off the race season proper last weekend ( I started it back in Jan at the strathpuffer, if you’re wondering about the “again” in the title) at the Enduro 6. He managed 104th in the end after having a couple of mechanical mishaps and missing a fair bit of training. 

Something to remember is that he managed 9 laps…if he’d got one more he’d have jumped nearly 30 places higher up the field, which kind of gives you an indication of just how closely fought a race it was.

it's all in the eyes

I like this pic of him racing, simply cos he looks “a bit thick” in it ;)
[i'm pretty sure the pic was taken by Joolze...]

Guy says more here


Add comment Posted by Dave May 2nd, 2007

Summer of Fun


Woo! With that confirmation my summer is pretty much sorted. I’ll be kicking mucho arse at

  • CLIC24
  • Mountain Mayhem
  • Bontrager 24/12
  • SITS

hopefully on the nice new cabal that’s just arrived in the country.

rock on!

Update! Guy’s in CLIC, Mayhem and SITS (i think) too. DSP on the case!

Add comment Posted by Dave March 8th, 2007

Interview with a Vampire.

Hi Dave

Do you realise it’s 10 years since you moved to Preston?

Yes, I feel old now!

That also means I’ve known you for 10 years too, isn’t that scary?

It’s pretty scary, especially when you think of how little we’ve changed (well, how little I have anyway): I still play out on bikes just like we used to, I just go a little further now!

Ok, time for something people might want to read… How did you get started in Mountain Biking?

A friend of a friend back in 1994 suggested a few of us give it a go, as we all had “catalogue special” mtbs and thought we were cool with them. On the first ride I did I beat another lad, who continually talked about how fit he was, up a big hill…and it kind of took off from that win :)

What bikes have you owned during your career?

Jeeeeez this could take a while

  • Townsend “Catalogue Special”
  • Giant Stonebreaker
  • Marin Palisades Trail
  • Specialized S-Works Hartail
  • GT LTS 2000
  • Coyote Full Suss Thing
  • GT LTS 2000 (Reborn After I Bent It)
  • Specialized Fsr Ground Control
  • Azonic Ds1 Singlespeed (Yes! I Had A Singlespeed!)
  • Cannondale F400 (Upgraded Beyond Recognition)
  • Santa Cruz Bullit
  • And Now Brant‘s On-One Scandal
  • (You Missed The Road Bike – ed)

Ah the Specialized S-Works, I still shudder when I think of your accident on that.

I now have a hard time finding glasses that will sit properly on my seriously crooked nose and a harder time breathing through it! Still the week of being doped up in bed was quite nice. (as I recall some of the nurses were pretty too – ed)

Which has been your favourite.

Of all time, so far, i’d have to say the cannondale, just because of the places i’ve been on it and the events I ‘ve done on it. It was the bike I realised I could do well (in a national sense) racing on

When did you start racing?

Racing seriously? that would be 2005 when I did the transalp with rich and did well at the leisure lakes xc races. I did my first race in 1995, it was a NEMBA thing in north wales, I have no idea how I did in it, I just remember a climb that went on for hours, that I had to stop halfway up on!

Now, some people would say that having an office job is ideal for a racer as you can store all your energy for training rides and effectively rest when you’re sat infront of the computer, is this how you see it?

Nothing builds up your desire to ride bikes like being stuck in an office all day! It’s not the perfect solution as all your riding from November to March is done in total darkness, which can be a bit depressing but as you say, you can save a lot of energy sat down for 8hrs a day!

You scored a surprise second in the Strathpuffer a few weeks back, how did you find the race?

Wet, cold, technical, fun! I knew I wasn’t in any real shape to “race” for 24hrs, so I decided to treat it as training. I gave up for 4hrs when I ran out of brake pads and couldn’t hold onto the bars due to the grips slipping off the bars continually but decided to get back on as I could still ride uphill without any problem and quite a few people were having the same problems. I had no idea i’d got anywhere near a top place at the end, in fact the only reason I was at the prizegiving was because I happened to be walking past on my way to the food tent!

And the new bike? how did you find the transition to rigid forks and 29inch wheels?

I didn’t notice the lack of suspension as the bike just rolled over the bumps rather than getting bounced around by them like the cannondale would have done. In fact the strathpuffer was the first 24hr solo race i’ve done where my hands and wrists weren’t a wreck at the end, despite the course being much more technical and rock based. The 29er wheels seemed to allow for more grip from the tyres which mean I could run quite a low profile tread without losing traction and kept their speed much better than the superlight 26 inch ones I ‘d raced on previously. they did need a bit of “re-learning” to get the bike through the more twisty-turny sections, but that didn’t seem to take too long.

What lessons did you learn from the experience?

Just Get On With It, even if you feel like it’s all going wrong and that i’ve got the capabuility to go faster and for longer than I think I have.

What are your targets for 2007?

I’ll be focussing on 24hr solo racing mostly, I want to “win” CLIC24 – and get more laps in than I did last year, be well inside the top ten (or podium if I can) at SSMM, podium at SITS, top ten at bontrager 24/12 and get a “gold” time at the 3 Peaks CX race.

CLIC, SSMM and SITS, the three I did last year

i’ve got something to improve on withthose racesPlus have fun, “make the most of summer” and get some seriously big rides done

That’s quite a lot of racing, but your doing even more aren’t oyu?

Ah yes, there’s also the Enduro 6+ and a few little xc races and some of the merida marathons at the mo. I might do other events if they sound good/fit in

As a “proper” bike rider (not a sponsored pro) do you find it hard to fit in all your training around work and other important things like The Simpsons and your girlfriend?

I guess i’m lucky really, I get lots of holidays and work on flexi-time which helps me get the hours in and my GF is quite understanding (well, more “accepting” than understanding) about me getting home late and being a wreck on the couch for the rest of the night. It’s still not eay to drag yourself out for a 4hr ride after work in the dark when it’s raining andit’s been a long day in the office, but if you want to do well you’ve no option…it’s all riding bikes so it’s never awful!

How many hours on the bike do you put in on average per week?

Anywhere from 8 to 20 depending on what sort of training period i’m in

Training in the dark winter evenings must make you good at night riding, but don’t you feel you’re forever riding into a small pool of light and some scenery would be nice?

Yes! I spend much of summer training hard with my head down and then when it comes to base training all the scenery i’ve been missing is hidden! I always try to get at least one ride a week in where I can just ride to enjoy it without any training pressure, to look at the scenery/get lost somewhere new.

Taking your experience from last year’s major races (SITS, SSMM) what weaknesses do you see in your opponents that you could exploit to gain places at the finish line?

At SSMM to be honest there wan’t much of a chink in the top guys armour, I think the winner had 30mins off the bike in the whole 24hrs and was lapping at the same speed as some of the to sports class teams. At that level it’s not so much about their weaknesses, it’s completely down to wether you can go “all out” for the full race and have enough support to remain totally focused. At SITS I was helped by a mixture of other people’s unpreparedness for the conditions equipment wise and some people’s lack of will power when it started to get really tough

What do you think of when you’re riding around the same course for 24 hours?

What part of the course is coming up that I like, how i’m feeling, how i’m doing with food and drink, how people i’m racing against are doing, how my strategy is going and if it needs changing…that sort of thing. There’s always something

Don’t all the other racers annoy you, as the majorty of them are free to blast around the course safe in the knowledge that they have a few hours before the next lap?

Not really, we’re all there to race our own races. As long as everyone uses common sense and a bit of manners there’s no real reason for problems.

Which has been your favorite race so far?

Probably CLIC24, I was still looking forward to each lap after 20 of them as the course was such fun, but they’ve all had their good points

With all these races under your belt and the experience they’ve brought you, do you feel you’re better prepared for the season than you have been in previous years?

Definately, 24hr racing is as much mental as it is physical and experience counts for a hell of a lot. Not just during the race but when you’re training for it as well if you know what your up against and how you’ll feel you can better prepare for it.

Thanks, Dave, Can you think of any other questions?

*nope* I have to go ride now… :)

1 comment Posted by matt February 7th, 2007

Everyone Else Loses

Another Leisure Lakes Series race, and another win for Dave… whoopie!

I’m starting to feel sorry for the other racers now, they probably think they have a chance all week leading up to the race, then Dave comes along on his giant’s bike and crushes them like bugs. He need to start feigning mechanicals just to give them a little hope…THEN crush them like bugs (it’s always good to crush things like bugs, including bugs).

Here’s a little report from Dave, you might need to bend your brain so it makes sense, I think he was trying to say “Bike good, go fast, win race, raaar I am giant bike rider I crush people like bugs”

Add comment Posted by matt January 22nd, 2007

It’s A Scandal

Dave’s race bike until the other race bike arrives.

on-one scandAL image 1XT Bits and Bobs.

on-one scandAL image 1Glamour Shot.

on-one scandAL image 1Grippy Geax Rubber.

on-one scandAL image 1Dave likes The Simpsons.

1 comment Posted by matt January 18th, 2007

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