Posts filed under 'Racing'

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 January 19th, 2009

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 January 18th, 2007

Strathpuffer Waffle

“Where are your lights mate” said the suspiciously cheerful woman at the start /finish line as I remounted the bike to begin what would turn out to be a long run of dark, brakeless laps. I pointed at the minimalist looking dinotte mounted on my helmet and zipped up the pocket of my jacket with the battery in it.

“You’ll need something more substantial than that” she remarked, “something like what he’s got on his bars” pointing at another rider setting off with some huge twin halogen system gracing the front of his bike, “it’s totally dark out there”.

Rather than say anything I just flicked the LED on and smiled.

“Oh, wow”

That one little incident kind of sums up the strathpuffer for me (if you ignore the rain, snow, sleet, gale force winds and distinct lack of heat) and often I was as surprised as those around me at just how simple yet effective the kit was.

Despite it being my first ride on the scandal it took me less that one lap of an unridden course to get to grips with the handling, yet I was still daring myself to push it further and harder several laps later. I remember thinking about the tag line from a board game I had as a child “A minute to learn, a lifetime to ” (google tells me the game was “Othello”) as I skimmed over another rock slab past a team rider, on a full suss, being pinged all over the place faster than I had previously thought possible.

“You’re bound to say that” I hear you cry, “why should we believe you”. Well, let me put it like this: I dropped out of the race 9hrs in when my last set of brake pads ran out (partly because I new most other soloists had supporters and would be able to keep their bikes running for longer, thus leaving me at a distinct disadvantage and partly because I didn’t want to ruin the drivechain of the bike – or myself – on a training ride that wouldn’t have any benefits in continuing). I sat around in my tent for nearly 4 hours knowing any chance of doing well was gone and the only thing that got me back out riding was the fact that, despite not being able to ride much of the technical sections or many of the descents without brakes, I realised I’d still be having fun on the bike even just riding uphill!

When I set off riding again I had no intention of riding to place well, in fact I made a decision to not look at any results boards or ask the marshals how I was doing. I simply got on the bike and made a promise to myself to ride as much of the course as I could until it stopped being fun.
9:27am (33mins from the end of the 24hrs), I rolled over the finish line and “dibbed in” to complete the lap. “Are you finished now, or are you going out again?” asked the still cheerful start/finish line woman, smirking slightly as she finished the question.

“Err yeah, yeah I think I’ll nip out again”


“Yeah, why not eh?!”

2nd Place Mug

I heard something about me being mad mentioned over the tannoy as I set off up the climb. Rather than try to figure out what the comment was I click up another gear and stomp up the hill for one last go.
True to my word I had no idea how I’d done when I finished, in fact the only reason I was at the prizegiving was because I’d wandered down to see if the catering tent was still open for business (it wasn’t, but I decided to hang around and applaud the winners seeing as I was there). Suffice to say I was more than a little shocked when my name was called for 2nd place!

Race Results

Back at my tent later Brant rang and in amongst the race related questions he asked how I’d got one with the Geax tyres he’d supplied. I didn’t really know how to answer him, in fact I’d only noticed their existence 4 times during the race, once riding up the fireroad climb from the start/finish where they seemed to have less drag than my old Michelins (comp s lights for the tyre tech heads out there), once on the technical rocks section about 3 miles round the course where they seemed to hold a tighter line on the wet rocks than I was expecting them to (sending me straight into a tree!) , once on a fast descent through trees where I was able to drift the bike wide round a puddle and then get them to bite again enough to fling me round a corner without dabbing the brakes (lucky really as I didn’t have any!) and once in what I came to refer to as the “swamp section” of the course where I was able to sit and pedal as normal past a few other racers having serious traction issues.

Geax Rubber

The rest of the time they were invisible…which I guess is a kind of comment in itself really, I mumbled something about them being “good and grippy over the whole course” and how I didn’t get any punctures with them despite riding with rigid forks for the first time in many years, which seemed to be the kind of thing he was looking for as he then let me start the nightmare that was packing up my muddy kit for the journey home.

Update:Geax have a little bit of blurb about Dave, amusingly translated by Google here

Results: Available Here

3 comments January 17th, 2007

Puffin’ His Way To Second.

More Harold news, he’s just grabed 2nd (out of about 30 competitors) at the first 24 hour race of the year, The Strathpuffer, in Scotland.

“I stopped after about 9hrs as the brake pads were worn out (2 sets) and the grips kept falling off the handlebars. Also, I’ve always considered this a training event, so didn’t want to ruin me, or Brant’s bike. My tent was close to the track and I noticed there weren’t very many people riding. So after a while, I thought ‘I’ll have another go’ and headed out again. And got 2nd! First place was on the same lap, so I just missed out on time”

Given that it’s early in the season, he’d only got the bike on Wednesday (clearly specced with non race proven parts) and he’s addicted to cake, the lad’s don’e good… now, if he can just get over this reliance on gears he’s got, he could become a legend.

2 comments January 14th, 2007

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