Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Coming out of the winter?

Oh for goodness sake
Oh no we're not...
Hell of a long time since I last posted, but that's modern life for you, somethings gotta give. To tell the truth it's all too easy to get out of the blogging thing.
So. Winter, bit of a damp squib really, never got going, with dribs and drabs of snow and a heck a lot of 'dreich' - shame it's decided to give it a really good go now, in late April, when trails need worked on and bikes need ridden. We skied a bit up the hill, but nothing really amazing until we went on our first family holiday to the Alps, which was, a lot. 50cm fresh on arrival, sunshine every day, no wind, beautiful pistes, lovely people, great food, I could go on, but I'll get too depressed. We've always conned our kids in to how good Scottish skiing is (ok, it can be good sometimes) but now the cats out of the bag and we can't not go again!

Not Cairngorm

The kids rode some of the 7Stanes in an Easter holiday trip to Dumfries and Galloway (an area well worth a visit) and what these guys are riding now never fails to amaze me. They love their riding and all too often it's me that is worried about letting them ride a feature whereas they just roll in and get on with it. They are at the fearless stage of riding, not yet at the age to worry about consequences - I do that - and everything is new and exciting and 'no problem dad'. Good times riding with these two, we're getting to the stage now where a ride is a 'proper' ride not just a wee pootle with the kids. In a few years they'll drop me and my work will be done...


Workwise, well, quite a lot. Trail work has been taken up a lot with Laggan which has had it's old Red route rather 'mucked up' (I'm being polite here) due to clearfell harvesting. I'm not going to go into this too much, as negotiations are still on going, but needless to say it'll never be the same natural feeling forest singletrack again. I think we will be working on it soon, so something rideable should be in place for the summer (whenever summer loads).

Not Happy family Masson

We also built a little something over at Fochabers, which promptly got rained on, a lot, like the sort of rain that washed main roads away in Deeside. It's ok, but the access track wasn't, which is getting beefed up as I type. Tarland which we built last year and had been weathering / riding in nicely got hammered too, but after heroic efforts by locals (neighbours with small machines, riders with handtools and our local top chap Chris Rogerson contracting and his big toys) is up and running again.

It rained A LOT this winter

Learnie on the Black Isle has been getting a bit of TLC recently, nothing major, just a spruce up for it's tenth birthday. Tenth! I've been at this trail building game now for fourteen years! and I'm still cleaning out ditches, cutting down trees, shifting rocks and raking dirt - albeit with a bit of a lunchtime nap these days. 
All these years and still digging ditches

Photography work has slowed down in the housing market, usual in winter, but I kinda get the feeling things aren't as good in the upper end market as they used to be, hmmmm. Luckily direct sales from the back catalogue are a thing now, strange when old pics pop back up and earn money! Even stranger for the people in them (usually mtb riders) who suddenly see themselves in print months later! New quite random areas of my photography business are opening up, I'll go with the flow and see where it takes me.
Pretty houses

Skiing legs got a rude shock in the Alps, telemarking at speed on the piste is hard work and after a week I had to adopt new strategies to deal with stairs! However, this has translated into good strong biking legs which have recently been given a further battering on the Aviemorons Mallorca training camp. This basically involved riding hard every day til we were all too tired to think properly and had to lie down. Base miles for us late starting Aviemorons (it's been a hard winter for road riding) but it's a start and just need to keep it going now through this late surge of winter into the summer proper which is hopefully just around the corner... 

Recovery pose.