Saturday, 20 November 2010

Is it done yet?

Normally having riders hanging around or riding trail as it's being built is a right pain - Health & Safety matters and on brand new "delicate" surfacing i.e. too wet, too dry or recently thawed, it damages the trail, but on this project it's kinda fun.
This trail is for these guys, so whether they're on bmx's, jumpy hardtails, dh rigs or cross bikes (?) I like to listen to what they've got to say. It's nice to have riders, who you know are dying to get on the trail and ride it, politely hanging back, just waiting until you say ok to give it a go.
The tyre marks left overnight make for an interesting read next morning, no panic braking and tracks "right down the middle" show the designs working, sometimes it even highlights "cheat" lines that I hadn't seen, which means we can do something about it there and then - all good on trails that have to squeeze as much as possible out of a small area.
All in all a good week, the frosts have been mild (once the ground and materials freeze up you're buggered!) no major rain and in fact the biggest issue is the amount of leaves we have to keep clearing out of our way - this is the first time I've ever seen a leaf blower used on a trailbuild! Other projects are coming in, which being design and planning jobs, should allow for a nice little buffer of office time should the winter close down builds like last year. In fact the smart money would be to not plan for any winter builds. Skiing's already started on our local hill, but at this time of year I still prefer to use any "spare" time to grab some cycling miles, lord knows if we have a winter like last year we'll soon be forced onto the treaded "turbo".

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A cracking week work wise, good progress up in Alness, good news on the funding front for a local project and a couple of juicy leads to follow up, oh and a major feasibility report finally done (haven't typed so much in ages).
Hopefully now I can squeeze some riding in somewhere, the bikes always in the van, but even I sometimes can't find time in a busy day to ride and before you know it another week's gone by with no proper saddle time. I had hoped to race a cyclo-cross race this weekend, but no time to ride in the last week or so has severely dented my racing "edge", what with that and working in the evenings to catch up on report writing means I just didn't fancy a 5 hour round trip for a forty minute race. These bloody "Scottish" cross races are just all so far away - I might have to dip my toe in the race organising arena and get one sorted for up here. I think I'll just have to admit the season is over and get the mudguards fitted!
Winter has suddenly arrived anyway and much as I love all things bike I always will lust after a "big" winter, in my wildest dreams I couldn't imagine another winter as good as last year, but it's already snowy on Cairngorm, enough for skiing, enough for the old excitement to start bubbling up again, enough to start reading ski reviews and checking the winter kit is all ready. Well Sunday night, better load up the van for another week, turn this computer off and try to get to bed early - bypassing the XFactor / Strictly exclusion zone (front room)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Back to trail building


Ok, I'll be the first to admit it, I've spent too long planning or directing (standing around) trail builds, but for the latest job I'm pitching in with the team to make sure we're all done before Christmas - and the possible return to an Arctic winter! So it's no surprise that proper grafting has come as something of a shock to my bike conditioned (skinny) body. I love this wee project; an interesting site, a feature packed design, jumps, rocks, North-Shore, a good client and above all a good team. I've missed real trail building; flagging, felling, digging, woodwork and using the machinery are all tasks that keep the "consultancy" part of my work grounded with what can actually be done on the ground. I'm mean it's all very designing a trail, but if you don't know how to actually build it then you'll never know what's really "do-able" - like when you ask a digger driver to build a rock staircase on a 45ยบ slope in tight trees. Well done Chris! But, grafting, plus clocks going back has left me with no daylight, or more truthfully, energy for training - turbo? I don't think so! Hopefully, I'll get sorted to do some lunchtime rides with the local riders next week, but at the moment next weekends cyclo-cross race at Lochore Meadows looks like a trundle round in the middle of the pack sort of a race. Oh and I noticed the 'Puffer entries are on line now, still undecided about that race, but at least the Solo's now full - that's that decision made!


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