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.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Gorrick Spring Series Rnd 2

It was a lovely sunny day, and lots of people had come out to play and maybe I should have been on a long ride somewhere instead.  Anyway I was stepping out in Super Master to fly the flag, whilst others, Brian, Emily, Chris, Callum and Simon would be out in other categories.

Racing single speed and with legs already cooked, I knew it was going to be a battle and after the first lap I had to remind myself that any race like these is training for the big ones, with some cheeky overtaking moves and using the single track to my advantage I peg a few places back and then gap my chasers.

Maybe another 10 to 22hrs and I would have done better than 17th. :) However, the course was awesome and I know it has done my legs some good, a short race when your legs are tired is not a bad thing.

The others rode well and certainly flew the CW flag high, Emily riding onto the podium again in Master Women and Brian putting in a great showing in the Vet Men.  I watched Callum head off at the start, but had to get going for the day.  I hope he did well.

I'll miss the next round as I have a date with some hills, a pack and a map and compass.

Congrats on a good showing team.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ice Fest 2012

I might be getting a little better at this filming bit, very slowly mind.

Peglers Ice Fest 2 2012, Vallouise.  had the pleasure of climbing with Jerry Gore as well.


Ice Fest 2012 from Scott Swalling on Vimeo.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Team Cycleworks

Well this year will see Team Cycleworks take to the trails, circuits, tracks and roads in Surrey and across the UK (some of us are even going to spread the CW love in Canada later).  The guys at Cycleworks had been working on bringing a team of MTBers and roadies together for this year and we will see what damage we can do.

It was nice to end up with the team again as they had been supportive last year and the scene is set for even more support this year.  The focus and support that a true team brings is fantastic as well.  You want to do well for the team as much as yourself and it drives you further, faster and harder, well at least me.

The team that has come together is quite strong across a few disciplines and working as one will improve in others.  It will also be nice not to be the lone flag bearer at the 12 and 24hr events, with some of the guys already signed up for the 12's and possibility of a team making an appearance as well.  (I'll have to work on the gang on that one).

I hope we can all do very well and we already have to live up to the exploits of Emily coming 2nd in the Brass Monkeys Series in her category (Congrats!), so boys we better lift our game.

Both Specialized and Chris (CW owner) have stepped up to the mark in a big way to support us and I for one appreciate this and will do my best to make sure Cycleworks ( is a known name.

Fingers crossed I may get a little extra support personally, but more about that if it occurs.


Today's training.......

was bought to you by my legs don't work today.  So I have taken the day off, will go and have a good climbing session at the wall and stretch everything out.  Refreshed for a CX effort tomorrow evening and long SS rides on the weekend and a few cheeky session on the home wall.

Jens, my legs won't shut up, no matter how much I tell them today. :(


CG needs to buy some bigger balls.

Cedric Garcia: "I need to buy some bigger balls." Classic quote, awesome race.

2012 Santos Urban Downhill Race Video

Video courtesy of

Monday, 13 February 2012

Frozen Brecons and gear test

I nice evening to be in the mountains.

Alex K (Denali Team) and I headed to the Brecons for a walk and a high camp to test some of our gear or at least carry similar gear around the hills for a while.  We arrived as most were heading off the hill tot their cozy pubs and B & B's, we headed up and got some quizzical looks.  We found a suprising amount of snow and ice, but being prepared, we cramponed up and kept moving.

Anyway after reaching the top of Pen-y-Fan, lingered at the summit cairn for a little, then drop off the shoulder toward Cribyn a little way, dug in a bit and set up camp in the Mountain Hardwar EV Direct 2 (EV2), the tent that will be heading with us to Denali and possibly up onto the Cassin.

The tent was up in a few minutes, even with a little first time faffing.  Being single skin it is quick to set-up and super light, I didn't notice it on my pack.  In fact throwing my pack on, I thought it was going feel heavy due to the tent, but the pack was comfortable light.  So far the EV2 is light and easy to set up.

Spacious, erm, no. Enough room for two and gear, yes. There is no vestibule, but as it is designed for moving light and fast, that is expected as a weight saver.  The door could be pin up with a walking/ski pole and provide some cooking protection at the front of the tent, due to the cut.

Inside the tent

There is quite a bit on ventilation in the tent, sensible sized and placed gear pockets and the loops on the zips are all a good size and easy to managed with gloves on.

After dinner I would get to test the sleeping mat combination of Thermarest Z-lite and Lite 3, as we wiggled into our sleeping bags and the wind began to pick up.
I can safely say that the mat combination worked very well and I was comfy and warm all night, both mats are very light and the Z-lite folding rather than rolling up was much easier to handle.

As the wind battered then EV2 all night, I actually watched and took note from my warm bed.  The EV2 just quivered in the winds, that hurled spin drift at it for most of the night and it was a little fortress against the elements, cover in ice on two sides in the morning proved that the little tent had been battered all night.  It seemed the weather was wort than it appeared from inside, a good sign for what is install for it and us.

In the morning we broke camp and headed for Cribyn, but altered out descent due to some dodgy looking snow, but where soon back at the car and happy with the 18hrs we had spent on the hill and very happy with the way the tent had performed and how light our packs were even though we had everything we needed.  Not a bad show really and always great to be in the mountains, with good company.

The EV Direct 2 in the morning.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Little CX vid

A vid from the CX ride the other day in the snow.  Needs some work, but I am still getting the hang of this stuff.

Enjoy or not.

Cold Training

As winter seems to finally have hit the UK, ironically after I return from an ice climbing and skiing trip in France, the training takes on a new dimension.  It's cold, burning air on the night rides as you gulp that big breath at the top of each climb and now some soggy snow to make the going hard for the next few days, and the probability of icy patches on the trails.

So what to do? Well ride of course, it builds character, strength, determination and is bloody good fun (this being the important part).  With the road bikes shelved the MTB will being seeing normal use, but now the CX will be seeing more k's, more mud, maybe more snow and probably a few little offs like yesterday when I dived into a small gap between Clive and a fallen tree, the gap DID exist, so did the log on the ground, oh well!  If you're not crashing you aren't trying hard enough.

So the cold weather has seen some subzero night rides and Baltic morning starts, and one snow day, so far (fingers crossed for more).  Riding in the cold is as much fun as riding in the 30 degree heat on the dusty trails of the Adelaide Hills, even if they are extremes.

You don't need a turbo trainer in this weather, just a MTB or CX and motivation. :)


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A quick Ice Fest entry.

On Wednesday, with a slow start, Nik and I headed back into Fournel. Every route we looked at that was suitable for the time we had, was either falling down or being knocked down by avalanche from above or about to fall down.  Finally we found one we had looked at in the guide booked that look thin but solid.  This was after wading through lots of powder knee deep to get to the base.

I started up, after some faff, both feet popped at one point, but I stayed on, placed a screw, climbed on a bit and then felt it was not worth the way I felt.  Down climbed and headed out as we both went in the mood.  We had a relaxing afternoon with a lot of sleep, which I think I needed.  It was nice to be in a position to bail-out without having committed, I have been in that position a few times and whilst I pull through, it can be very stressful and best avoided where possible.

The next day I would climb with Jerry Gore, back in Fournel.  We climbed Nain des Ravines, sim-climbing the all but the first 2 pitches and the final pitch up Columna Cataluna.  The story of the day here was me feeling very grim and doing my best not to shart all the way up the route.  This I was successful in doing, but did not feel well enough to lead Columna Cataluna when it was offered by Jerry.  Although we both did fly up a very soft 5+.

It was fun climbing with Jerry and certainly entertaining and great to see that you only slow down with age if you let yourself.  It was a pleasure to climb with him.

The final day Friday, saw Nik, Ally, Dave T and myself head to Puy St Vincent for some skiing and me wishing I had my carvers as the Coombacks juddered their way through each on piste and most off piste turns as little powder was found.  Some fun tree skiing took the edge of things and by the end of the day I was warmed up again.

Pictures soon!

 View from the Chalet.