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.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A sunny day....

a full day of work ahead, a new blog page and two rides planned for the day. I am cracking the whip and will be working that all important bike tan.  I hope to balance this with a climbers tan post 24hrs of Exposure.

Friday, 23 March 2012


With me being a Cycleworks rider again, yay!  I got further good news yesterday.

I am a successful applicant to the Weldtite Official Review Team.  This means that I get to test Weldtite products and review the products and provide honest feedback to them during use.  Having used Weldtite products this is a great opportunity to get involved in a key element of 24hr racing, bike maintenance.  I know too well about having the right tool or lube for the job (no sniggering at the back there).

Hopefully I can provide feedback that will either confirm some already tried and tested products and help continually improve some great products.

I look forward to starting the review and testing process.

Check out their products here from bearings to ECO bike wash.


Yay, back on it!

Well over the last few days I have been back on the bike.  Firstly and gently the FiveT CX bike, the first few rides went really well and my back was in good condition, in fact feeling better after each ride.  I like this.

The FiveT even if adversely geared and ridden on more single track than I expect it is designed for is proving to be a great rehab training bike.  I feel safer on this hurtling down a sketchy fire road than I do dodging X5's and potholes on the Surrey roads.

Wednesday saw a return to an MTB, but not my normal hardtail with a lack of gears.  Nick K at Cycleworks Guildford, let borrow the demo Stumpjumper Evo Comp, a bouncy bike with lots of gears. This is a bloody fun bike, even with it's little wheels.  If you get the chance to pedal one, do it!

Anyway, the back held up really well and last night I headed to the climbing wall for that all important active stretching and social, Craggy is known for.  Verdict is that the back is doing fine and I really need to hurt the legs next this weekend and early next week to make sure they remember how it feels ready fro the 24Hrs of Exposure at Easter.

Recovery going well and remember if you need a break from the MTB and want to do some long miles a CX bike is much more fun and helps you hone those off road skills ready for the hrs between 1am and 4am when you are very nearly on autopilot in a 24hr.

Just ride amigos!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Denali Kit

Watch this space or at Cold Summits as i pick up my Denali kit tomorrow and will share a little bit about it all, the boots, skis, tents, tools etc...

I promise to just give overviews and pics, not lengthy details.

Injuries are rubbish (sorry it is a bit long)

Well despite the blog title, I recently fell off (it does happen), it was off a jump and one of those crashes when you have time to think and try to resolve the issue, but you know it is futile.  As I was sailing over the bars I knew this one was going to hurt.  The crash was the consequence of too much confidence, nothing more nothing less, simple fact.

Seconds later I lay on the ground as Jack and Nick are calling are you alright as they approach, I was motionless, winded and in pain.  As they got closer I gasped "not really...............that really f$%king hurt, my back was in a huge amount of pain all down my left side.  It took me sometime to very gingerly get to my feet.  Nick checked me over whilst Jack checked my bike.  Bike Ok and myself mobile, the guys escorted me to Guildford and a point where we parted ways for the night.

I coasted most of the way through Guildford and pedal lightly when I needed to, I was in more pain than expected.  On arrival at home, everything was in slow motion as the pain slowly crippled me.  My Nik was a star as usual and helped out a lot.

Over the next few days whilst I waited for my appointment with my osteopath Richard Williams Osteovelo, the pain changed, became more localised and much more acute.  Certain movements, would bring tears to my eyes, make me yelp or scream and render me totally crippled for minutes and in much pain for sometime.

Several days after the crash I was at my osteo's practice and would soon be wincing and yelping in pain, some so acute that Rich would stop immediately and try something else.  Soon he had a diagnosis, torn cartilage, torn or pulled ligament and possible chipped bone (the later proving not to be the case).  It must have been hard to tell, he could barely explore the injury as I was in so much pain and x-rays would have been useless for all except the bone.  From very light manipulation he knew there was no serious or permanent damage, but he was intrigued why the movements that caused the most pain, weren't consistent with what he knew was damaged.

The next few days, I stretched, used hot and cold treatment and rested, whilst the pains coverage reduced it was still acute and crippling, but the with only a dull ache reaching a wider area.  I had not been on the bike or climbing for a week now and things seemed bad, I went through a few days of frustration and getting very annoyed.  With the 24hrs of Exposure only weeks away, my preparation was mirroring last years when I smashed up my collar bone tendons.

Fortunately, Nik was on hand to keep my head cool and the tasks of building a new bike and servicing others would keep me occupied.  Nick K, also checked in a few times and I think secretly knows that keeping me distracted with the new bike build would keep my focus.  I also reminded myself at this point that their are people with much more acute and permanent injuries than me and I owed it to them to not bitch and moan about my inconvenience.  Sure it was rubbish, but suck it up!

Soon I was at the mercy of Rich again and things looked a little bleak during this session, sure it was all going to heal, but I need to train for my races and the expedition to Denali.  Both are equally important to my mental health if nothing else. :)  Towards the end of the session as Rich was doing what can only be described as passive manipulation I felt something move in the epicentre of the pain and huge amount of the pain subside.  Rich muttered "I love my job", something must have been trapped also, I thought.  Apparently the cartilage or tendon as well as being torn, sorry I didn't really listen.

Over the weekend, I performed some light duties and was clearly less affected and less frustrated.  Nik must have been relieved, bless her. Monday and Tuesday I was on the turbo trainer, spinning lightly and after each session I felt better and the light was beginning to shine at the end of the tunnel.

The next trip to Rich and he could further explore, massage and manipulate the injury and was 100% confident that I had only messed up my cartilage and tendon and not any bones.  He was very pleased with my progress and ordered me back onto the road bike and then the CX and then the MTB if that all goes well.  I need to keep stretching, hot and cold treatment and listening to my body (I always do this anyway).  I'll be back to see him in a week and hopefully get the all clear to smash it again.

So this weekend I will climb back on a bike properly and see how fat, slow and unfit I am.  Although everything not affected by the injury, must be well rested and as I was heading for a recovery week, maybe things won't be that bad. We will see.

Dealing with the frustration was actually easier than expected, this was my third injury in roughly a year, that has halted play, although with the broken ankle I could still use the finger board.  With each one I have dealt with the frustration more easily.  Although this injury was as restrictive as the ankle and collar bone combined, I was only frustrated and annoyed for about 2 days.  I think as I have had some serious injuries in life (none life threatening, well....but that is another story and it wasn't the injury that caused the issue) I now have learnt to accept them and change the focus to the recovery, the goal becoming fit again, the motivation being (in this case) the 24hrs of Exposure and Denali.

Also, doing those things that you normally don't do, sitting on the sofa and just relaxing, annoying your partner (although I find time for this most of the time) :), planning the next project on the house or pushing the current one forward, literally watching the birds in the garden and woods for hours over the last few weeks (trust me the blue tits fighting is vicious, I could sell tickets).  You just need to shift the paradigm for a bit and things seem to fit better and create less stress.

Anyway, the next post will be something along the lines of, I am so fat and slow on the bike.  :)

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Alpkit come to the party

As many people know Peglers have got behind our little trip to Denali in May/June of this year.  Now I am proud to say that the great team from Alpkit are also supporting us for the expedition and we all look forward to working with them and their gear to make the trip a success.

With an experienced team and the support from both Alpkit and Peglers we find ourselves feeling a little smug at doing our best to keep the pound in the UK or at least as much as we can.

Check the new Alpkit link out to the right.

You have to love Alpkit's motto as well "Go nice places, do good things".