Friday, 31 August 2012

EWE - Bikepacking Racing The Hard Way

My reward, waiting for me when I got
home, the best prize I ever won!
I've always got an eye out for a new challenge and bikepacking, or more specifically bikepacking racing, is something that's always caught my imagination for the last several years but that I'd never gotten around to planning into my calendar, nor did I fancy my first big race to be on another continent, only to find my prep was off the mark or my equipment didn't quite work. With a few big bikepacking trips under my belt over the winter for the first time, in all weathers and with the announcement of England-Wales-England, the UK's first, super-hard, bikepacking race that would traverse off of England and Wales' national parks and would be sure to take over a week, possibly up to 10-11 days (or so we thought), I signed up to the 800mile, off road, strictly self supported adventure that lay ahead. As a sign of things to come, within a week of signing up the route had "crept" up to just over 1000miles...... and then to 1300 with 2 weeks to go. I should have heeded the first warning, to ignore the second could be considered foolish!



The race can only be described as an incredible experience for me, but turned out to be much harder than I, or Aidan Harding who had organised the event, could have possibly imagined when we set off. Beset by some exceptionally unseasonal weather, which had also made for some pretty inhospitable trail conditions. On top of this I suffered a few big kit and accident setbacks. It was just the kind of super-tough challenge of both body and mind I had hoped it would be, but one that also provided some incredibly inspiring moments too. A few weeks after I've finished and it still brings a grin to my face whenever I remember bits of it. If you want to see a bit more about the bike and dynamo light and recharging set-up I used, see this link here otherwise, here's how my ride went:

Friday, 3 August 2012

BrightonBigDog 2012 - Video Preview

Saturday sees the, now hugely popular, BrightonBigDog mountain bike race taking place in the sublime singletrack of Stanmer Park.

Josh Ibbett has made a lovely little video preview of the course, now that everything's finally dried out, to whet your appetite for treat all the riders have in store for them this weekend


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

England-Wales-England 2012, A Quick Round Up

All smiles as I passed Steve and Aidan's
marker, but it was hard work getting there!
2012 saw the running of EWE, the UK's first multi-day bikepacking race, through the national parks of England and Wales. The race was a brilliant experience (helped by the fact that I finished in sunshine!), and once I've caught up with real life, I'll be able to make the time for a full write up of my 10 days of super tough racing. For now, a much more concise review will have to suffice:

Brutal!

Before I sit down and write any more, I must pause to say a multitude of HUGE thank yous to the lovely and amazing people who got me and my equipment to the start and who helped me keep going along the way, without whom, I'd have been stuck at home watching the last week of the Tour de France on telly while it rained outside instead: