Friday, September 21, 2007

The War Tapes

It's been a little while since I caught up with TED but I had a little time over lunch today and came across a talk by Deborah Scranton, a film maker that has made a film about the lives of soldiers in Iraq (The War Tapes). What is unique about the film is that it was shot be a group of soldiers within the New Hampshire National Guard with the permission of their officers. By embedding the filming within the unit they seem to have captured an entirely different perspective on the war in Iraq. The film maker describes it best when she describes the difference between telling a story from the inside/out rather than the outside/in. Almost all the media that we are exposed to is produced from the outside/in. The consequence of this difference is a authenticity and emotional engagement that is difficult to experience unless you have been there. I have never been there, and can't see a way in which I would ever be able to experience what they are experiencing, but it feels like this is the next best thing.
Given the clips that are shown, I would love to see the full film. Hopefully the Little Theatre will show it...maybe I should send them an email with the video.

The last week has been fairly hectic at work with lots of trips up to London. Unfortunately there are no updates on the running front as I seem to have pulled a muscle in my lower back whilst cycling with Rob on Saturday morning. I'll wait until it feels strong again before trying to crack on with the training. It's very frustrating and I am itching to get back out but I don't want one week out to turn into two or three.

More interesting news on the traveling front though. A concerted effort on the planning front lead us sorting out an itinerary for the first month or so. Normally I wouldn't like to constrain ourselves that much but in this case there are some things that needed to be booked in advance and therefore linking logistics became more important. I can't see the period after the Inca Trail being anything like as heavily planned. More news on the plans soon...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Racking up the miles...

After a painful couple of weeks getting back into the swing of regular running and riding I seem to be back in the groove. Yesterday evening Rob and I put in a loop of our standard road ride up to Badminton and back. We went early evening to make the most of the light evenings whilst they last. Without any wind to speak of and several rides in my legs I could certainly feel the difference. We averaged around 25km/h for the loop. The short climbs were all taken out of the saddle and the sustained climbs were managed at a decent pace. It looks like we may try and up the mileage now to around a couple of hours...starting tomorrow.

The same is true of the running. Today I increased the distance to 7km and it wasn't unduly difficult. I normally find that 10% per week is the maximum increase in distance I can manage without getting tendinitis.

The Giles household are looking forward to the first big England game of the World Cup (although on England's form every game is a big ask). I'm thinking that a narrow loss is in order...I hope the surprise everyone. Whilst on the rugby theme, it is the first Bath match of the season tomorrow. Worcester have recruited heavily over the summer but most of the big names don't arrive until after the World Cup. Now is the right time to win...although Bath's opening game record is appalling if my memory serves me correctly.

One final bit of news before I check out...went to see about vaccinations this morning for the trip. Looks like Sarah and I will be pin cushions over the next month or so. Hep B, Rabies and Yellowfever are all needed. The first two are programs of three jabs over three weeks...still...worth the initial pain to avoid Hep B! Only 12 weeks to go till we fly to Ecuador...heck, better start planning...and saving come to think of it!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

AC Grayling Talk

Last night, Sarah and I went to a fantastic event organised by Mr. B's Book Emporium (probably the best independent bookshop in Bath). AC Grayling the renowned Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College came to discuss his new book (Towards the Light: The story and struggles for Liberty & Rights that made the modern West). Having not heard or seen him before I was expecting a rather dry and academic treatise. As it happened he was hugely engaging and incredibly impressive. He interspersed the context and content of the book with amazing anecdotes from discussions that he has had with the great and the good at the World Economic Forum and invectives of the struggle for protection of individual liberties in the face of an increasingly draconian state security apparatus.

The one area that struck home for me was the discussion of the tension between Western Liberal Democracy and increasingly orthodox hegemony in the Islamic world. He discussed how the increasing orthodoxy and violence of the Spanish inquisition in the late 15th century led to the backlash of the Renaissance and the Reformation. It led me to wonder where this increasing cycle of violent, militant orthodoxy in the Islamic world will lead and at what point the more liberal majority in the Islamic world will react to it and defuse it with another Islamic Renaissance. It strikes me that Western Liberal Democracy and Islam are not mutually exclusive. However, a shift in the balance of power within the Muslim world would need to take place to enable a political liberal democracy to co-exist with Islamic cultural norms and behaviours. However, the recent evangelical nature of the Bush Doctrine and Christian neo-conservatism are reinforcing the shift towards militant and orthodox Islam as a protective measure. As it stands, the is little public recognition of fact the militant orthodox Islam is a minority within the Muslim world. The combination of globalised mass media and facilitated access to arms enables the minority to amplify their message and dominate the public consciousness of Islam. A greater emphasis on all the good that is done elsewhere in the Muslim majority could help to balance out the picture and provide an impetus to the more liberal majority whilst marginalising the dangerous minority.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A productive weekend

It would seem from the lack of updates on the training front that the weekend was written off from an exercise perspective. Actually, the opposite is true. The anomaly is caused by my inability to measure and reference my rides efficiently. In the end I spent an hour on the road bike on Friday night (at a surprisingly decent clip given the previous outing was dire).
Then on Saturday I headed out with Rob on the mountain bikes around the Bridleways near home. The MTB ride was surprisingly more testing than the road ride (probably not helped by the hard ride the day before). I also became the victim of an overgrown Bridleway as I hit a hidden boulder on the side of a path and took a face first dive into a bank of stinging nettles. Other than the painful stings on my face and arms (I had taken adequate precautions on my legs) I received a couple of painful bruises on my inner thigh from the saddle.
In addition to the rides on Friday and Saturday I spent the weekend double digging the front garden and hauling Cotswold stone to the tip (I think we could have built another small building with what I extracted from the bed). The garden is now re-planted as a rose will take a season to bed in but it should look great when it reaches maturity. Now I only have the other side at the front and the back garden to do...yippeee.
Friday night we saw the last pre-season game at Bath. They took on an understrength Leinster team and came out with a win. All-in-all it was a pretty unconvincing display. They still don't look like they are going to unlock the Premiership defences and the back row is starting to look a bit ponderous with Zak and Beattie trundling around the park. Hopefully the post-World Cup team will be boosted by the presence of Olly B and Butch James. One silver lining is that Alex Crockett is looking sharp and Claasens (the new scrum half) looks like he is the real deal...Banahan is a monster on the wing as well...could do with another yard or two of pace though.
The running is certainly paying dividends...trying to up the distance by 10% a week...and the pace is coming on too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back on the running machine

Last night I got to the Lowry Hotel in Manchester quite late after spending the day in Warwick. As a consequence I didn't get to go running until 9pm. Not knowing Manchester that well I decided to jump on the treadmill in the gym rather than getting lost. This gave me the chance to calibrate the Nike +. In retrospect, it looks like I have been underestimating the distance I have been running by around 15%. The newly machine calibrated system should allow me to set a new 5k benchmark when I am feeling fresher.

The aftermath....

I returned from a trip up to Warrington to the latest scene of devestation. Sarah and I have been hard at work over the last week or so laying waste to the front garden. The overgrown Hazel was out of control, the creeping ivy was enveloping the dry stone wall and the Ceonothus in front of the lounge was casting a nuclear winter over the front of the house. Cue the apocolypse...

Think Francis For Coppola and double it and you will be somewhere near...

We are now beyond the devestation and into reconstruction...more work to be done over the weekend but we are through the toughest section. Pictures to follow.

In the meantime...the running progresses...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Run downloads from Nike +

I've only just found out that you can download run data from Nike +...given that I'm just starting to get back into the swing of things it seems like a good way to track progress. After a slow start I am now starting to get back into the swing of things and the times and distances are becoming more respectable. I'll try and keep up to date...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Off to the US tomrrow...

OK so this is just plain

Off to the US tomorrow for Barry and Claire's wedding followed by a week in Vermont. I so need a break. Too much work and not enough play makes Simon want to rebalance...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What a finale!

This afternoon I sat down with a cup of tea and watched this TED film through. At the weekend I went to see Black Gold with Rob. I have to say that I was flabbergasted by the situation in Ethiopia and it got me thinking about developmental economics. On Sunday we were visited by a friend who has just got back from doing some voluntary work in Africa and has been inspired to do a Masters in Public Health. Judging by some of the contents of this presentation and the scenes shown in Black Gold, I think he has made the right decision.

Be warned; it starts slowly and works up to a glorious crescendo!

That terrible moment of imbalance...

I saw this video and it reminded me of that terrible feeling that I invariably get when on the mountain bike. You slow down a bit to gat the right line but fall below the critical speed at which point your front wheel sticks and twists. The twisting is just enough to shift your centre of gravity beyond a point at which you can't recover it to the safe side. There is a point at which time seems to stand still and all you can think is...can I clip out of my pedal...then your next thought is...just roll..

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One for Patagonian touring?

I came across this design on ecogeek via bike design. The design looks interesting although i'd be interested to see what the weight of the 24v battery is and the ampage. I am assuming that the idea is to use it to charge and use electrical equipment in the downtime. It would be a cool one for Patagonian touring if you could translate the wind energy into power assistance...might give you a fighting chance of making normal mileage...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Ultimate Bike Rail

I came across this post on a blog that I have been reading recently called ecogeek. The rail was designed by Studio HiMom. All bike rails should be like this...

This is just plain wrong...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Freeform filing

Given the state of the desk in our study at the moment I suspect that this may be the desktop interface I need to be most efficient...


I came across this software demo today...and I thought that Microsoft was all washed up on the innovation front. This is like Google Earth on steroids...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When will we get these?

I saw this video of a new cycle friendly crossing in Portland...why can't we innovate like this?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weng Weng madness...

Check out this 70s madness...

Ooh my...he's at it again...

Way too much time...

The last few weeks have been manic at work...which got me much time must these guys have on their hands...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Battered by the Dyfi Enduro

This weekend we took a road trip with Cass and Cara to the Dyfi Enduro. I had heard great things from Cass and others about the Dyfi and it was a great excuse to see Annie (from our trip to India) who works in the Holey Trail bike shop in Mach. We arrived in Mach on on Saturday afternoon after a lengthy journey, via Bristol, to pick up Cass and Cara (who aborted their ride to Mach after a serious mechanical outside Abergavenny). Cass and Cara headed off to Climachx after visiting the Holey Trail, whilst we retired for a coffee in our favourite cafe. Saturday evening we had dinner with Annie, Simon (from one of C&C's trips last year) and John (also from the Holey Trail) in an Indian. In retrospect, five pints and a chicken Malaya were probably not the best preparation for the enduro!
Sunday morning broke cloudy and windy. Given that the forecast was for impending rain, we were hopeful that it would blow any showers through. As it happened, it remained dry until after the race...and then chucked it down all night. The race started at 11am with a mass start from the campsite. After a leisurely ride along the road for 5-6km the road turned into a fire road and started climbing steeply. It was at that point that I (predictably) lost touch with the others. The Mather was great for the fire road climbs (if a little heavy) and I tried to pace myself so that I didn't blow up. At the top of the climb was a live band and some cheerleaders...not the usual fare at the Meridas. At the top of the climb the road dropped away onto some steep singletrack down into a valley and along another fire road. This pretty much summed up the day...fireroad...sketchy singletrack descent...fireroad...sketchy singletrack descent...etc.
After 20km or so I passed a cheering Sarah (with a bizarre set of hippy of which was a guy with a ginger beard) and Annie. It was at the top of the next climb that my cramps started and the back ache. The hardtail was battering me on the descents and my thighs were cramping on the climbs. At one stage, my quad and hamstring were cramping simultaneously. How do you deal with that catch 22? The rest of the course followed the same recipe of climbing and descending. It has to be said that the climbs were all fairly tame but the singletrack descents were great...if only I had opted for the full susser!
It was after 45km or so that the excitement went up a notch or two. Having just come off a steep descent, I turned the corner onto a fireroad and the tire on my front wheel was blown out. Both sidewalls blew off the rim as the inner tube exploded. The rim then fell into the tyre and catapulted me over my handlebars. After dusting myself down I picked up my bike and tyre and grabbed the remains of my inner tube that had completely shredded. After rebuilding my wheel, I jumped back on the bike and rode on to the finish...a little more gingerly. I finished in a shade over 5 hours which, given my current shape, was as good an outcome as I could have hoped for. Mental note to self...more training and less eating out makes riding easier and more fun!
Sunday night we had a great pizza in the Wynnnstay with the OTB group. This morning after a decent breakfast in a greasy spoon we broke camp and stuffed the Landie full of kit for the drive back. We dropped off C&C in Bristol (after a tour of the shed to see the many and various steads) and headed home to dry out the tent.
All in all we had a great weekend. Good company...good ride (although I am still suffering a little)...and a great location. Roll on Dyfi 2008...if we are back in the country...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Quiet weekend

Due to a bad back...a legacy of last weekend I was quiet weekend chez Giles. With another weekend of superb weather it was painful to have to forgo a walk or a ride. Still, I am keen not to aggravate the injury and forestall a decent recovery; so rest and recovery were the watchwords.
Spring cleaning is running amok in Orchard Court. Last week it reached a crescendo as we lost a dining table to create more room for a bookcase downstairs. It looks like guests are going to have to make do with the kitchen until a better solution is found. The loss of the table has made way for a great little reading area at the back of the lounge though. We also ended up sifting through baskets of toiletries and medicines that have been collected over the years. One tip for anyone who wishes to listen, don't store Lockets at the bottom of the box of toiletries...the cumulative weight causes leakage and leakage causes stickiness...ick!
The weekend was capped off by a great Sunday...Bath win in the semis of the European Challenge Cup and then a trip to the Little Theatre to watch The Curse of the Golden Flower. What a movie...who says the days of the epic are gone...

Friday, April 20, 2007

The first enduro of the season

Last weekend was the first enduro of the season. It certainly feels like summer is just around the corner when the Big Night Out comes around. This year we had a bigger group of people heading up to Builth although I was the sole participant in the ELBNO. The rest of the team were busy completing the Sunday daytime enduros.

This year, just to make it even more challenging, Richard decided to go via Afan on Saturday afternoon to ride the Whyte Trail. I was a little unsure about it it, given that I was due to ride in the evening but went along with it. We met Henri at the Drop Off and got our kit ready. Given last year's gearing issues I decided to take the Mather for the night ride. It certainly isn't as well suited to the trails at Afan as the Rocky but it is good for the enduros.

The weather on Saturday was stunning, bright sunshine and mid-twenties. It really did feel like July or August straining up the singletrack climb. As usual the Mather ate up the climb, however, this time I was outgunned on the descent with everyone else on their full bouncers. I was amazed by how quickly Henri climbed on his Kona Stinky (it weighs a ton). What was more impressive was how fast he descended...his weeks in the Alps have certainly paid dividends.

The ELBNO was a struggle to be honest. The first climb was an absolute beast with the majority of the field walking the final section. And then the punctures started. In total I flatted three times (with only one spare inner). Having repaired the inner twice with separate thorns (not easy in the dark) I was offered a spare inner by what seemed to be the only other person on a 29er. I was pretty happy to get back within 2.45 given the number of flats.

This week has been a bit of a struggle. I seem to have pulled a muscle in my lower back which makes walking painful, nevermind cycling. I hope to be back on the bike next week or the though. I guess I will need to be with the Dyfi enduro on the 6th and Penrith Merida the weekend after.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Late evening ride

What a day! The weather has been fantastic in the land of Wraxall. Unfortunately I had a fair amount of work on today, and several conference calls, but Sarah has been doing her best dervish impression. It's Easter holidays for Mrs. G and she has been in full on Spring Cleaning mode. At times it has been like a can almost see the rotating blur of the Tasmanian Devil.

Given that the sun has been shining, Mrs. G has been busy the garden. A cut of the grass and several snips of the pruning shears has reduced the garden to around six inches at most. Aside for a short sojourn in the garden at lunch time I have been confined to the study. After my 5pm conference call I could take it no more...I slipped on my cycling kit and grabbed the Mather for a 40 minute evening blast. You've got to love the simplicity of the Rohloff 29er.

The trails have dried out enormously in the last week or two. My last trip out two weeks ago was an absolute mudfest. When I walked the Truckle hill trail on Saturday night it was crispy dry for the most part. With the sun gently warming my back and dry trails under the wheels it felt great to get out...

One little puncture aside, the ride was a joy. Now that the evenings are getting longer it will be great to venture away from the turbo trainer.

Brecon Beacons Horseshoe

Following on from last week's walk in the Black Mountains, Sarah and I decided to take advantage of another fantastic weather window and head over to Brecon Beacons for the day.

Sarah was having problems with the first set of boots that we bought her (heel slippage) and has decided to try out another pair (the ladies equivalent of mine). Taking into account the fantastic weather and the need to give her new boots and good breaking in, we decided to try and complete the Br
econ Beacons Horseshoe. The guide book suggested a six hour round trip over 15.3k. Given that we only arrived at 1pm we has to get our skates on. As it happened, the whole circuit only took 4 hours and 45 minutes.

The horseshoe circuit felt very different to last week's walk in the Black Mountains. It felt much more like a walk in the Lakes or Snowdonia. The hills were significantly drier underfoot and the ridgeline walks
more exposed. I can safely say that I wasn't expecting the level of exposure you feel on the climb up Cribyn (795m). The route we approached from felt extremely exposed and in the strong winds towards the summit we both felt a little on edge (as can be seen in the scuff marks on the toe box of Sarah's boots).

Once up Cribyn, the paths were much more established. The steep descent into the cwm between Cribyn and Pen y Fan is well constructed, as is the climb up to the summit. I was surprised at how few people there were on Pen y Fan (886m). I was expecting it to be a real scrum given that it is the start of the Easter holidays (and a wonderful day) but the summit only had a few people scattered about.

The short drop down and up to Corn Du (873m) only took 10 minutes or so. The views down to Llyn Cwm Llwch lake were stunning and the wind was picking up; so we decided to descend into the valley, our route back to the car. The ridgeline walk to the memorial to Tommy Jones was exceptionally windy (ass can be seen in the photo). However, when we dropped past the lake the winds died down and the final walk in to the road was fantastic. The walk had a sting in the tail with a 2k road walk uphill to the car. We were both craving the second half of our sandwiches so 2k seemed to take forever.

Another 3 2500' peaks down now...only the Black Mountain to go now. Looks like we are going to have to plan a trip to Snowdonia soon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Magnolia Blossoms

Over the last week or so the magnolia (stellata I think) in our back garden has been on full show. The transitory blooms are such a treat in early spring. However, at the first sign of frost or rain they shrivel up and turn brown.

In anticipation of the rain tomorrow I popped out with my camera to try and capture the moment. The resulting shot is no masterpiece but it will see me through until this time next year...although hopefully we'll be out of the country...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Two 2500' peaks in the Black Mountains

On Saturday, Sarah and I decided to head off on a trip to the Black mountains. We picked out a circular walk from a magazine and jumped in the Disco. All this is down to the need to sort out suitable footwear longer treks....putting the boots through their paces.

After a brief stop in Abergaveny for coffee and supplies, we headed up to Llanvihangel and then down the valley to the car park at the head of the valley. It was only at Llanvihangel that it clocked that we were going to exactly the same place tha I had come mountain biking with Cass & Cara back in October/November.

Unlike the trip in October, the weather was fantastic. The only downside was a haze that meant that the fantastic views out North from the pass at the head of the valley were lazy striking. The walk sent us up exactly the same cattle track, past the reservoir to the pass. At the head of the valley we bore left to head up the ridgeline to the series of peaks that we were heading for. Aside from the decidedly boggy sections between the peaks the walk was stunning. With the wind to our backs on the ridge walk, the going was relatively swift.

After 4 hours and around 20km we headed steeply back down into the valley and eventually to the car park. The leather boots are now starting to break in nicely...not so sure about Sarah's boots though. May need a rethink on that front after the blisters...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sitting next to Big Magnus...

I was on the plane out to Belgium on Monday morning and found myself sitting next to Magnus Backstedt. After doing a little work I got chatting to him about his plans for the season and how he was recovering from the crash that he had on the track in the Autumn. He had recently had the plate out of his shoulder and said that his fitness levels were right up there with previous seasons. He seemed quite bullish that he would get the miles in during the Tour of Flanders and will be back for Paris Roubaix. I asked him if he fancied his chances for the Tour prologue. He said that it certainly suited him as a power rider...I suspect that he is quietly licking his lips in anticipation.

Hats off to Maggy for being so approachable and having a long chat...I'll definitely be cheering him on in the Spring Classics and London (along with Messrs Wiggins and Millar)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Sapperton Circular Walk

Sarah and I went out for the second of our walks taken from the Footloose pocket guides that we bought at the Christmas market in Bath a few years back. This time we ventured a little closer to home. Sapperton is a beautiful little Cotswold village just West of Cirencester. The walk took us North of Sapperton past Pinsbury Manor (now that is a gaff) to Hoar Stone Longbarrow (not much to look at to be fair). We then headed down the hill and up into Edgeworth.

Apart from being a beautiful village and having a wonderful Tudor manor, the church (St. Mary’s) had some fantastic stained glass windows.
I am not normally seduced into churches, having had an overdose in my youth from my overzealous Grandfather, but this was intriguing. A mixture of Saxon, Norman and Gothic styles it seemed worth a look. Although it was a little dark inside, the stained glass windows were absolutely stunning. I was amazed to be able to get some sharp photos whilst handheld (hooray for the Nikkor VR lense). After 5 minutes wandering around the church we pottered on into the woods of the Bathhurst Estate and down to the remnants of the remnants of the Daneway Portal (the entrance/exit to the now defunct Daneway tunnel on the Severn & thames canal). After a short, but steep, climb back up to Sapperton we returned to the car feeling self-riteous and a little jaded in the legs.

The new walking boots saw action again (and plenty of mud). They seem very comfortable and are now wearing in. Here’s to more long walks...who knows, there may even be a few more church visits...that would be a turn up for the books...Grandad will be proud!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The lazy environmentalist and whitepods

I came across a couple of cool blogs today and was reminded of somethign I read on Ben Sunders blog. I don't remember how I came across Ben's blog but he is a fascinating guy. On his blog I saw a post about a trip that he made to Switzerland to visit the Whitepods. These pods are an eco-village set in the Swiss Alps that provide room and board in what seems like fantastic luxary. All the reports that I have read have been glowing...a trip out there must be on the list!

The reason I was reminded of the whitepods is that I saw a similar reference from a new blog that I stumbled across. The blog in question is the wonderfully named L
azy Environmentalist. The blog is a fantastic read and will certainly become one of my RSS feeds. The blog covers a fairly broad spectrum of environmental issues and recent posts are a good introduction to Carbon footprinting. the author is currently guest editing on the Ecologist blog as well. As one of those strange coincidences, the author seems to have been at the whitepods at the same time as Ben Saunders...very strange...

I downloaded a new report ‘
Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook' from the internet that sounds like it is worth a for the trip back home...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Walk in the Quantocks

We had a great day out today in the Quantocks. Sarah and I are both breaking in new walking boots so we decided to head out for a longish walk. Given the beautiful weather we headed down to the Quantocks for the day. Using a little walking guide that we picked up in the Bath Christmas market a couple of years ago we decided to head to the Western end of the hills.

Last year I headed to the Quantocks with Cass for a day mountain biking but we started and finished in the Eastern end. This time we started from a beautiful little village called Bicknoller. We headed up one of the Coombes, traversed the the ridgeline for a few kilometres and then dropped back down Bicknoller Coombe. It was so nice to be out walking again. I love being out on the bike but it is nice to head out for a long walk every now and then. We have resolved to do it more often. Next time the Brecons?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mather in 29er mode

With significant help from Rob (Thanks Rob!) I finally got around to metamorphosing the Mather tourer into its 29er alter ego. I have been out to Wales on it twice now and I must say it has been an absolute revelation. I had forgotten what it is like to ride a hardtail MTB and had no idea what it was going to be like riding a 29er. I am totally converted...

The combination of being a hardtail, and Rohloff means that there is more grip in the back end ue to the weight of the hub and the lack of bob. That directness of power transfer that you get and smooth gear transitions at low speed have given me a lot more confidence climbing on technical singletrack. The second thing you notice is how the bigger wheels create a shallower angle of attack going into small rocks and roots. It is so nice to just point the bike in the direction you want it and not worry that you are going to get stopped by the front wheel. The upshot of the change is that I was able to clean both of the singletrack climbs at Cwm Carn and the White Trail at Afan.

It is a bit more of a handful on the descents floaty speed descents like the Rocky. Still...I'd settle for that trade any day. I think that the Mather is going to be a great long ride bike as well...looking forward to my first all dayer already.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Broken brake lever...

This weekend was the weekend I finally managed to transition the Mather tourer into its alter ego the 29er...after a much needed helping hand from Rob (thanks Rob) I managed to get the new forks on and the brakes switched. I was gearing up for a test ride when it came to Rob's attention that the front brake lever had sheared off and was only held on by a bolt. I thought that it felt a little strange the last time I rode it...that'll explain a lot.

I will be sending it back to Avid to see if they will replace it.

Now that I am back in the land of the living I'll try and make the updates regular again ...resolutions...resolutions