Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Welcome to the family!

No name yet, we're still getting to know each other. But it's a boy.

I think he'll settle into Chicksands very nicely. I know, the brakes need changing but shhhh don't hurt his feelings yet.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Women's 4X final

Great piece of footgae of women's 4X final in Mont Ste Anne.

One word: commentators ...

Monday, 27 July 2009

Morzine piece finally up and well done Tracy!

So Ms Mosely nabbed third in the UCI Downhill in Mont Ste Anne, upsetting the French 1,2,3. Sabrine and Floriane first and second. Jess Stone came in top 20 - she's rad (18 years-old damn her) and Fionn Griffiths in top 10. Sweet.

Here's the Morzine/ Dirt Girls piece which was in Observer yesterday. Fantastic piece of prose. or no.

Chicksands last weekend. Ride from the station was a bit of a schlep broken only by a can of Red Stripe halfway. Nice. Good mellow day on the dirt jumps and 4X course. Was on the Subzero but heading back next week on a 24seven Slacker. Shall report back obs. And just took delivery of Norco Faze 2 for a bike test for the podcast. Happy, happy days.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Guardian interactive map joy

You have no idea how long this mo fo took to create. So do me a favour and add some of your own fav placs to ride in the UK before I drown myself in the sink:

Lining up a 4X test for the podcast - watch this space. Or listen to it. Whatevs. need some rum infused coffee.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Yummy, yummy Charge stuff

Well I'm not cool enough to customise my fix gear or use it for anything more than getting MASSIVE thighs for mountain biking BUT. Last night I popped along to the Charge Bikes press day where they had lots of lovely new products. Charge riders Juliet Elliot and Posy Dixon were rocking it and seemed to have the brand well within world domination status.

The new Plug looks very trendy. Quite intrigued by the Skewer - stylishly simple for a road bike and that seems to be a hallmark of Charge. Mixer though? Not convinced. 8-speed hub gear on a commuter bike - changing a punctured back tyre suddenly becomes a bit of a hassle. Fan of a disc brake in any capacity though just because. Whatevs.

Anyway, photos so you can check it all out yourself. Get. In. Volved.


Plug Grinder and the new flashy Plug

I love a great saddle ...

Monday, 13 July 2009

Mega results

Voila! Le male nutjobs in their top 10 glory:

1 ABSALON Remy PRIO COMMENCAL ( France) 0:49:28. 210
2 WILDHABER Rene PRIO TREK ( Suisse) 0:49:44,120
3 VOUILLOZ Nicolas PRIO LAPIERRE ( France) 0:51:36,160
4 BAREL Fabien PRIO SUBARU MTB PRO TEAM ( France) 0:53:30,390
5 PAROLIN Franck PRIO RIVIERABIKE.COM ( France) 0:53:41,840
6 BALAUD Alexandre PRIO TRIBE SPORT GROUP ( France) 0:53:55,930
8 DOUCENDE Gregory PRIO LAPIERRE SAAB SALOMON ( France) 0:54:11,930
9 CLEMENTZ Jerome PRIO CANNONDALE - KENNY ( France) 0:54:12,790

Who won the women's? Who do you think: AnneCaro Chausson. If she wasn't so freakin' fab that would be booooooooring. Pauline Dieffenthaler was second

Saturday, 11 July 2009

MegaAvalanche 2009 - men's sprint DH

So the race is really getting going for top women's DH MegaAvalanche legend status as I type this. Tracy Moseley isn't competing this year so who will it be? No results in for that yet - and the lads get going tomorrow (12 July) at 9am. But just to keep you in the mood, here are some shots by Tom, who is out in Alpe d'Huez shooting and riding, of the men's Sprint DH Super Cup which took place on Wednesday (so yeah, not exactly hot off the press but quality is worth the wait ... )

Fabien Barel on his way to a storming second place: photo Tom Humpage

1) KOVARIK Chris; Chain Reaction/Intense, Austrailia 4:01.72
2) BAREL Fabien; Subaru MTB Pro team/ Mondraker, France 4:03.91
3) RANKIN Nathan; 2 Stage bikes, New Zealand 4:06.28
4) SPAGNOLO Damien; Subaru MTB Pro team/ Mondraker, France 4:06.91
5) SCOLES Matthew; Open Wide/ Animal, New Zealand 4:07.27

Trek rider Matthieu Carnino going flat out: photo Tom Humpage

Friday, 10 July 2009

Jo Petterson checks in

Jo Petterson dropped Pedalfeet a line with her World Cup update. Sounds like everyone had a hectic time in Maribor, Slovenia what with the rain, wet roots and Neven fracturing her pelvis. I seriously hope things go better for Jo next round. She's off to Canada in two weeks for the next leg and is clearly chomping at the bit for a top 10 placing. Go Jo, go! (photo by Tom Humpage)

2009 World Cup Maribor, Slovenia DH and 4X

After spending a training week in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia riding some amazing trails and seeing incredible views, I headed to Maribor, Slovenia for the 5th stop on the World Cup Tour. It is one of my favourite DH tracks and I had a jump to conquer, one that had me off, in 2008, giving me my first concussion. Our first day of practice was amazing. The DH track was dry, fast and so much fun! Everyone was talking about the speeds we carried in some sections but I knew that wouldn’t last as the weather forecast called for more than 200ml of rain, which meant we would all be careening down a muddy slick track by day break!

Saturday morning I awoke to the sound of heavy rain, dark clouds and the threat of thunder in the distance. I headed up for practice with my best mud tires. The track had transformed in the rain and was now far more difficult to negotiate and had slowed down a considerable amount.
Qualifying was set to start in the afternoon but the lightning cracked over head and we all got postponed for Sunday morning. 4X finals where to be held in the muddy muck on Saturday evening.

4X practice had gone well and I had sailed over that once ominous double feeling confident and strong. I qualified in 9th and headed into my first heat against Jill Kintner, Diana Margraff and Angelika Hohenwarter. I started strong and was head to head with Kintner down the first straight when I hit a muddy rut and was instantly sideways. I managed to get back on track and trail behind Diana who was in 2nd but I ended the day in 11th overall. A disappointment but knowing I can start strong and be in line with Kintner off the start I am looking forward to the next race with hunger for a podium finish.

Sunday morning was a complete opposite of Saturday greeting me with sunny blue skies. We had to start the day really early, especially when you are hurtling yourself and bike down mountains. I was sitting in the gondola for my first practice run at about 6:50am, smiling with the knowledge that the track was going to dry out for racing in the afternoon.

My qualifying run went well and I headed into my final with confidence. I felt strong and steady throughout the track until I slipped a pedal costing me only a few seconds but just the two seconds I needed to crack the top ten ending in 13th.
It is so close I can taste it.

Onto Mont Ste Anne Canada, July 24th - 26th for another great weekend of racing.

'Freedom Riders' finally hits screens

Well here's a good news story amid all the sad deaths of great climbers and stuff. The film 'Freedom riders' is finally being shown tomorrow (Saturday 11 July) in Ketchum, Wyoming, near Jackson Hole. It marks the fruition of a relationship between a group of illegal trail builders and the US Forest Service to finally build legal trails on Teton Pass.

2007 thus saw the first ever construction of downhill specific trail on US Forest Service land.

2009 sees the release of the film. And the trails look rad. See what can be achieved when we work together? That doesn't include you, Europa Oil and Gas.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Maxxis high rollers and stop the madness!

I'm riding the lovely Orange Sub Zero into work at the moment as I simply cannot be this weak for ever. Riding half a tonne for two hours a day uphill should do the trick. Unfortunately there was a lot of police action in town today and they saw fit to bring in the horses. Which emptied their bowels over the road. Which I cycled through in a daze. Which my Maxxis high rollers promptly spat into my face. Good times!

Anyway, the important business today is you have only until 9 August to sign the petition to stop Europa Oil & Gas exploring on Leith Hill near Dorking. And that includes you guys in Wales or wherever where mountain biking doesn't necessarily mean getting sucked into 12 inches of mud. Have pity on us!

The basic gist is the company want to 'explore' for oil on Leith Hill, slap bang in the centre of the best trails in the south east. This is not allowed. Well it is, but it shouldn't be. It will mean very limited access to the hill for riders, 30 plus HGV's a day rumbling through the area and frankly it's an abomination in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

So get involved. Please.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Lois Morgan interview. It's all about balance apparently ...

A little interview with the first lady of trials, Lois Morgan. Makes my manuals look utterly pathetic:

How big is bike trials in the UK? It still seems like quite a small, very specialist 'scene'.
The competition scene in the UK is quite small, compared to a few years ago. Whereas the street scene is growing all the time and is now pretty big.

You started quite young - what got you into it? Yes I had my first trials bike when I was four years old. My father rides motorbikes trials so we got to know the sport through the motorbike scene. We saw a bike trials demonstration at a round of the motorbike trials World Championship and my brother and I showed an interest so our parents bought us each a bike to have a go.

Honestly - is it all about good balance?! Balance is the key skill to the sport, you also need good strength and reactions to maintain control of the bike.

How often do you ride/ train? To maintain a high level of riding you need to train pretty much every day, even if it’s only for half an hour, and compete as often as possible. Time on the bike is very important to maintain your level and improve!

What inspires you to try new things? As there are not many trials riders in Wales I usually ride with my brother and he is one of my main inspirations as he’s really brave and ambitious and always trying new things. Also at the top competitions like the World Championships when you get chance to watch the top elite riders in the world it gives you that boast to go out and try some new moves.

How steep is the learning curve? How hard is it to become basically confident? It is a very hard sport to master; it can take years to get achieve a high level. Once you’ve mastered the basics however you can progress reasonably quickly.

Do you regularly try things in trials which freak you out? Do you have to, to progress? Yes it is a sport where you have to constantly challenge yourself and your courage to progress. It’s not a sport for the faint hearted.

What aspect of the sport do you enjoy most? For me personally I love the competitions. Training can be hard sometimes especially if you are pushing hard to improve. But training with friends and going on social rides is a really good laugh.

Would you say you are a particularly competitive person? Yes I think I am a very competitive person, I love the feeling of success and will try my hardest to achieve my goals, and I love to try and beat the boys.

Can you tell me a bit about the bike you use for trials? Components etc. I ride a 221ti (the model) Monty (the make) with 20 inch wheels. It is a Spanish bike. There is no suspension; therefore the tyres are quite fat with a low air pressure as they are the only suspension you have. As the sport is so physical it is vital for the bikes to be as light weight as possible, but still very strong. Therefore the frame and many of the components of my bike are made of aluminium as this is a light but strong material. There is no seat on the bike as when you are riding trials there is no need to sit down you are constantly stood up, so applying a seat to the bike would mean adding unnecessary weight. Many of the parts have holes drilled or punched out of them to lose weight off the bike, but not so much that they lose strength, for example the rims and the bash plate. The Bash plate is situated underneath the frame of the bike by the freewheel (front sprocket). This is used to land on when riding or jumping the bike up onto an obstacle (like a rock or log) it has ridges in it to increase grip. I run Hope hydraulic disk brakes (front and back), these supply the best brake for all weather conditions.

Any big injuries? Luckily I have never broken any bones, but I did put my hip out of place once in France whilst training a day before a World Championship round which meant I could not compete. I did start the event but collapsed with the pain in the first section.

What advice could you give to beginners? Firstly it is not vital to have an expensive top of the range bike, the most important thing is that the bike you ride is safe, set up correctly and all the parts such as the bikes are functioning well. Once you’ve got your bike you such start small as the basics are vital for you to progress well, this also allows you to build up your courage, the worst thing you can do is try something above your level and scare yourself. Watch videos of other riders as this will help you learn and inspire you. Riding with others if possible, will increase your enjoyment, help you improve as you can look out for each other and is a good laugh. The main advice I would have is to ride whatever you feel like riding, no matter how big or small and enjoy yourself. Because the happier and more relaxed you are the quicker you will progress.

Cheers chick!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Minehead Nocturne

Good God I'm on fire today. This plopped into my inbox while I was away and no, it's not about mountain biking but it does bill itself as 'the UK's first road race dedicated solely to women' which piqued my interest.

I have yet to verify their statement (it is only 8.33am) but on the surface of it, that's pretty sad. It's 2009! The first?! Ever?! Here's the PR bumf for you to read while I do some research. May need a peanut butter bagel before I tackle it:

This year Minehead will play host to the UK’s first road race dedicated solely to women. The race also has the largest cash prize ever presented in the history of UK women’s cycling.

The country’s top professional female cyclists will compete in the Minehead Nocturne on Friday 7 August at 7.30pm, thanks to organisers Somerset County Council and the South West Bike Academy. The event is also supported by the West Somerset Strategic Partnership and West Somerset Council.

Up to 60 professional female cyclists will battle it out over approximately 30 laps on the 1.6km circuit situated in the town and along the sea front. The winner of the race will receive the Nocturne Express headboard* and a £500 prize – the largest cash prize ever presented for women’s cycling in the UK.

Somerset County Council are also working with local businesses to host ‘Spend A Night On The Town’. This event will run alongside the Nocturne race and provide a host of family entertainment.

Graham Bagley, Somerset County Council’s Tour of Britain Project Manager, said: “Somerset County Council are pleased to be involved in organising the Minehead Nocturne. The event is part of the Women’s National Series race and is likely to attract some of the UK’s best female cyclists.”

Ken Maddock, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “It is a great opportunity to have the UK’s first ever dedicated female cycling race in Somerset. We hope that families will come along to watch the fast paced racing and enjoy the ‘Spend The Night On The Town’ event.”


Whoop, whoop! So it's been almost two weeks since the last post and this, people, is because I was mountain biking in Morzine for a few days and then checking out some luuuuuush road routes in the Cevennes in France.

Morzine was totally rad although that goes without saying. Stayed at the Flow mtb chalet and hooked up with Fionn Griffiths and Jo Petterson who promptly pooed all over my riding. They made me look like a brunette barbie doll. You know, the ones that noone buys BECAUSE THEY ARE CRAP. My favourite quote about their riding comes from Sam at More Mountain who gasped as they charged into a berm: "Oh my God! They pedal when they are going downhill!" My excuse is that it poured with rain and I couldn't see ... Neven Steinmetz was also hanging out but was relegated to the chalet with a broken ass she sustained in maribor, poor love.

Boy wonder Humpage (I know) got some fab photos (above is one of Jo kicking ass) and a piece on the riding will be going into the Observer soon which I'll link to when it's done. We initially went out to ride the Passportes du Soleil. It looked like a pretty fun event (free beer ... ) but it wasn't really downhill enough for us so we all headed out to the black runs down to Chatel. Sweet! Ouch.

Cevennes piece to follow shortly just as soon as I piece my ego back together.

Couple more shots: