All photo's are Copyright of Scott Swalling or the tagged Photographer. (Background photo Scott Swalling Photography).

About Me:

24Hr MTBike racer and general bike rider, climber and mountaineer. Good coffee drinker and cake eater (any cake, seriously, don't leave your cake laying around). Also, I like to try new things that challenge me.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Cervo Rosso

Now and again, you buy something that really makes you take notice or it has a profound affect on what it is purchased for.  Lets take Born in Switzerland-Made in Italy, run by an Australian Cervo Rosso ( ).

I recently joined the Cervo Rosso International Test Team, not quite International Rescue ( ) but just as exciting.  I waited excitedly for he new kit to arrive pictured here (ignore the duvet, I'll blog about that later).

First thing you notice is the gear looks and feels pro, it even looks fast, the choices of National Pride jersey's is a great idea and of course mine has Australian green and gold.  The few times I have worn it it the compliments have been many.
Slipping into the gear for the first time makes you feel like a pro as well, the flats seems the body hugging cut and the wide cuffs on arms and legs make it comfy to wear for long periods of time.  Those that know me know I do long bumpy rides on and off road, so comfort is a priority in my gear.  CR deliver this in truck loads.

The shorts are designed to sit on a bike and maybe spend a short time at the cafe, but you are meant to be riding not eating cake and drinking tea or coffee, that can wait until the legs are wobbly.  I have sat in these shorts a few times now, mainly on my CX bike and if they are comfy on that little beast, loooong road rides and MTB endurance rides should not be an issue.

They are aimed at the serious road rider, but the quality of this kit will certainly stand up to the punishment I can throw at it, which is considerable.  Maybe another set is needed for MTB, hmm maybe two?  Keep some nice and clean for those cold but sunny winter road rides.

CR easily meets and surpasses some of the other top brands in the quality, look and feel.  Longevity will have to wait to be measured, but I suspect success here also.

Look out for The Red Deer.

A massive and cold task ahead.

Late last year, Will H and I had a brain wave to head to Denali, as things started to take shape it then fell apart for a few reasons. One being Nik and I bought a house, yay! :)

But that initial start to planning and fact gathering that Will and I did had sowed a seed that had been germinating in the back of my mind, until it has grown into a large vine twisting its way through my mind and taking over a small amount of my consciousness and knocking on the door of my daily thoughts.

So I asked Will and Daniel the question first, "How about Denali next year?"  They both thought about it and said "Yes".  We were on.

The team has now expanded to also include Tommy, (who has posted similar on his blog), Alex and Nick.  I also hope for a two recruits, one a Dr and one from a supporter of the trip Peglers, rounding the team out nicely.

So what is the objective? Well, lets get our heads around the size of the challenge first and how we plan to spend 28 days on the coldest mountain in the world.  After that the first objective is to stay safe and return with all digits and extremities intact.  Second, is climb the ordinary route (if you can call it that) the West Buttress, if the mountain is good to us, Daniel and I have spoken of one of two other challenges and I am sure the team is conjuring others as well.

But next stop, supporters, sponsors, gear :)  training and logistics.

Its along road, at least my 12 and 24hr racing gives me a load of suffer-fest training that will be invaluable.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The new CX ride from Kinesis Bikes UK

Well after some curious thinking and prompting from Phil Moore, I took the plunge.  With cycling for me if it has two wheels, no engine and a chain I am interested, if it has off-road tyres, I am more interested.

So it didn't really take too much prompting, before I got hold of a FiveT CX frame made by Kinesis and started to the build from my spares box, a couple of spares from friends and donor road bike.

The result is a 1x10 block, skinny tyred little beast pictured below:

Ready to race, even if the current forks are a little flexible, I just won't brake.  Yet to be tested in anger, but so far it has delivered what I expected.

Thanks to Jon for the shifters.
Phil for the fork loan and prompting.
The lads at Cycleworks Guildford for the fine tuning and new rear mech.


Slate, I do love it - Part Two

After another night of high winds and rain, as we snuggled deep into our sleeping bags in the comfort of the hut, a more leisurely start to the day was taken as it was still wet and windy.  A quick trip to Llanberis gear shops and then we headed to Australia Upper, the Gorbals Level first, far to windy but some nice looking routes.

Next we checked out Skyline Buttress Level, immediately some routes caught Ant's and my eye.  So we all geared up and headed to the routes.  Actually, it took me an age to get sorted, but soon enough I started up my chosen line, just as the wind started to pick up.

Through some thin climbing and some yo-yoing I made it to a flake and the third bolt, just as the wind changed direction and increased.  This was as the holds got smaller and route finding more difficult.  by this time Claire had started up behind Ant.  I was taking my time.  A bit of discussion with Nik, then with Claire (offering a rope from the top once they were up, which I suggested "might not be bad, but don't rush to drop it").

By the time Claire disappeared from view the wind died a little, I had sussed a line and set off, a few more limpet moments as the wind buffeted me and I was at the next bolt, then a bit of route cleaning and another long run out and I was at the last bolt.  Some lose blocks, some gardening and Ant and Claire encouraging me from the top and I was there.  I thank them both for getting at the ready for me.

Nik started up and had a broad smile all the way up, she made nice move after nice move.  Once she arrived at the top and we spoke about the route, I could start enjoying the route.  The wind had made it difficult to do so.  Even the point when the wind blew solidly for several minutes and I was glued to the rock giggling, had been pushed to the back of my mind.

Back at the base of the climb something was bugging me, I looked at the guide book, after confirming the (fine) line we had climbed, it really was lovely climbing now that I played it back.  It turns out I had linked The Skyline Club and Antiquity, in doing so I created a new and logical linked route, Antiquity Direct E1 5a, 40m.

Well I couldn't be more chuffed, I contacted the guys at Ground Up and they suggested getting it on the wiki, so I did.

Ant and Claire had also had a great days climbing and we all seemed content like fat cats that had just eaten and found the sun shinning through the window their favorite cushion.

It was time to head home and I did so, with a warm feeling that my climbing mojo was back and Nik's certainly was.

Slate, I do love it - Part One

Without much of any climbing under the belt, Nik, Ant, Claire and I headed for North Wales.  It was time to get my mojo back and for Nik as well.  We were also being a little posh, not staying in the van but Ant and Claire's climbing club hut, it was very comfy and warm, during the nights of howling winds and driving raining.

Ant and Claire arrived in their car, "Yay, I'm not driving for once"  Ant let one of the tyres down, "I think we have a punctures, can we take the van Scott?"  :-) After a not so epic drive we arrived at about 3am and got to sleep.

In the morning, a slow start and good breakie and we were away to the slate quarries, to Australia lower, to see young Will and stay out the wind a bit, well not much.  Anyway, during the day we (Nik and I) dispatched a few easy routes and just enjoyed the day and the slate and reminded ourselves that it is unforgiving.

Soon my attentions turned to a classic, Looning the Tube, and as the wind picked up and the sun went away, I stepped onto the tube and headed out.  (Nik wants to lead this route so Claire jumped on second)  I headed out to the first bolt, hands freezing and unable to feel my grip, then the chain and spike. I warmed my hands and then started up the crack and was soon at the top.

It was all over very quickly, possibly the fastest I have ever climbed a route, thanks to the cold and wind.  Claire started off and made short work of the route also.  Although over quick, Looning the Tube lived up to my expectations, fun with some different styles of climbing, really enjoyable and I look forward to happily seconding it when Nik leads it.

Next I failed miserably on a 6b and Ant sent an E2, it was time to go and time for dinner.

It was also time to ribbed Claire about her fire lighting skills. :)

Dusk-til-Dawn 2011

A race I've not done before and wont again.  The course was a bit boring and far too flat for my liking, but mainly boring.

The usual tasks of arriving, setting up, registering, practice lap and relaxing and eating before the race completed. At 8pm it was time to roll, Clive B and I lined up supported by my Nik and Brian B.  It was wet and a bit shit, oh well, have raced in worse longer and done a lot better than I'd do here.

Race started and for 6 hours things went well, good pace, eating well and I was staying warm, but soon things went wrong.  I could eat or drink much from this point for an 1.5hrs or so and this was going to be an issue.  I eased the pace a bit and forced in some gels.  (What was going on?) None of this made sense, I pushed on for two laps like this and was into 7th.

I finally could stomach food again and carefully loaded up on my next pit stop and headed out in to the murk again.  But soon I was feeling terrible, I wobbled around on the bike in parts and lacked power.  This lap would take ages and I would crash a few times, one which knocked the stuffing out of me.  I was done.

I limped back to the pits, where I couldn't go on, I felt woeful, dizzy, still can't remember half of what was said or happened and abandoned the race.  Helped to get in the shower in Brian's caravan and some more food in me, I first passed out in a chair and then once awaken by Nik, again in the van.

I'm still not sure what happened and can safely say this didn't shape my view of the race or the course.  But over the next week as my body took some time to recover and I struggle to eat, I clearly had picked up a bug or some how damaged myself internal.  I just wasn't right.

All recovered now, with some time away from the bike and my psyche is back and I look forward to some CX and the Brass Monkey Series.  Not to mention more climbing.

Shorter posts

.......well that is the aim from now on. Short and sweet, easy to follow and several blogs might make a mini-series. :-)