Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cycle racing, hiking and radishes

Friday saw me in the big city (Lancaster) on a work colleagues leaving 'do'. It was well timed because we also got to watch the VeloCity circuit races (for me this was the main event!). It took place on a 1km closed circuit that included a rough looking cobbled section, and lots of very tight bends. I have no idea who was winning because (?too much beer) after a few laps they are all mixed up, some lapping others etc. It was good fun to watch.

Come on blue!
On Sunday we went on a great quiet walk on the Cumbria/Yorkshire border and didn't see a soul. It was very varied, through woodland, over moor and finishing through lovely meadows.

Thanks for the home grown radishes Janet and Rob..... great with hummus. Radish fact - Radishes, onions and garlic were paid as ‘wages’ to the Ancient Egyptian labourers who built the Pyramid!

hmmm give me some radish....

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Back on rock road again - yay!

I had a complaint today from someone who follows the blog that nothing much has been added lately (cheeky bugger!). That's because I've been out of action for awhile with a viral infection.

Just back from a quick after work trip to the Lakes, where we climbed a great route at Raven Crag, Langdale called Holly Tree Direct (HVS). Its got a real sandbag pitch, but we knew this ;-)

Ben just after the 'sandbag' crux on Holly Tree Direct

Shadows lengthening over Langdale, need to finish this climb....

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Strava effect

I've just discovered Strava, which is an app that allows you to share information about bike rides using GPS data collected during the ride.

So today I downloaded the app and headed out on the road bike, whilst logging the route. The idea of tracking your fitness makes the whole thing pretty addictive for a lot of people. When I got back from my short ride, it presented the data in lots of graphs, maps, and provided stats so immediately I can see why lots of individuals (men) get addicted to it. 

Two strava addicts taking it way too seriously....
I pulled the following text from the singletracks website, and it makes interesting reading (particularly the last paragraph):

"........despite launching just a couple years ago, it’s already having real effects on the sport of mountain biking.
Improving Fitness
Perhaps the biggest positive effect Strava is having on mountain biking and endurance sports in general is making fitness fun. Adding a competitive element to every workout, even if it’s just trying to set a new personal record, makes everyone stronger. It would be interesting to see how ride times trend for Strava members over the course of their membership… my guess is they improve trail times much faster than for those who don’t use it.

Here in Atlanta there’s a pretty good group of folks who use Strava but in outdoor hotspots like Denver, Strava use has truly exploded. In fact, we heard from multiple people (including staffers at IMBA) that it’s not unusual for riders in Colorado to fail to yield the trail while shouting “Strava!” to let you know they’re trying to set a new PR on a particular trail section. With Strava, every ride becomes a race with the resulting ego clashes and occasional conflicts.

Some riders have taken things even farther, risking personal injury to themselves and others. In 2010 a rider died after losing control while trying to set a new speed record for a descent in Tilden Park in Orinda, CA because someone had recently posted a faster time. His family sued Strava, saying the man was “obsessed” with Strava which could easily describe a lot of folks."

(Article found at

I also know of someone locally who is struggling with his strava addiction (being a very good cyclist) and its causing relationship issues particularly for his partner!

Clearly by blogging/using social media I'm firmly connected to this brave new (ish) world of narcissistic behaviour, even though I try to convince myself to the contrary. It just seems that the extent to which technology is nudging into our lives is catapulting forward exponentially in this facebook generation era.

So..........I've survived up to this point without strava but now that I've discovered it will life be better, more enriched or more stressful. Will it make me want to ride more or less, trying to beat 'that time' again, and again. We shall see............come find me on strava ;-)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

joie de vivre..........

I'm sure that most people have had a great week with this sunny weather. Same story here, Tuesday night I headed into the Lakes after work to meet up with the KMC and climbed Slip Knot (VS, 4b) and White Ghyll Wall (VS, 4c), both great multi pitch routes at White Ghyll, Langdale, worth the late finish (getting home at midnight!).

The good weather just kept coming so Friday night I headed back and climbed Haste Not (VS, 4c), a very classy 3 pitch route with a thought provoking airy crux traverse pitch. 

Before the party...
After a climbing fete this week, Saturday night turned into a fun impromptu party on the 'common ground', with lots of wine and fun, including some late night head massages........Dolphinholme rocks

After the party..... (and wine)

Monday, 3 June 2013

Crossing the border

Managed to get out in Wales climbing this last weekend. Saturday was spent at Tremadog where we climbed Scratch (VS 4b 4c), Poor Man's Peutery (S) and the most memorable route, Nifl-Heim (if you are a non-climber skip the next 2 paragraphs!).

Climber on Scratch Arete (taken from pitch 2 of Scratch)
This is a great route that I suspect a lot of people have problems on. The crux traverse pitch is hard, much harder than VS. Also there is an old iron bar just before the crux that has bend down 90 degree's and has a rope attached that looks like people use as a swing to try to gain sideways progression!

Interestingly this route has a grade of VS 4a, 4c, 4c, 4c in my 1989 guidebook, Ben's newer (but still old) guidebook gives it VS 4a, 4c, 5a, 4c. Currently it gets HVS 4a, 4c, 5a, 4c. If that wasn't confusing enough if you look around on line no one beliefs this is an accurate grade either, and the consensus is that it is HVS/E1 5b (mainly for the very stiff crux pitch). Great route and the last pitch off width is also worth a mention, because I also bet this stops the odd climber dead if they get this far!

On Sunday we headed to Gogarth. I've not been here for 10 years, the last time I climbed here I stayed 9 days longer in North Wales than anticipated!'ve guessed it Light House Arete

On the half way ledge messing around after our abseil in

It was amazing weather and we enjoyed some routes at Castell Helen, including the obligatory Light House Arete (VS 4c), Pel (VS 4C) and Rap (VS 4c). The first pitch of Pel is steep and 'out there' for VS and I think that doing pitch 1 of Pel with pitch 2 of Rap would be a great trip, taking the best VS pitches on offer here. Great weekends climbing, hope to get back soon. 

Looking down at Ben starting up Pel (I'm on half way ledge)
Here he comes (slowly!). Click the picture (sorry some error with formatting)