Every time. No matter how short, long or hyped the event is – there it is, the little niggle of uncertainty of what is about to unfold. I can’t deny, that’s part of the appeal…
It’s the first enduro of the year, the Wentwood Forest 50km Goshawk Challenge down in South Wales and a chance to see friends I have ridden with since last summer, put the new steed (an almost luminous red On One 456) to the test and to see just how many mince pies and pints of Gunniess I consumed over the winter months. Sadly I already know the latter…
After the Irish Singlspeed trip last August I decided to pursue the 69er build and the 456 comes sporting 29 inch Rockshox Rebas. The shakedown rides have proved fun, the 29 inch front wheel and forks eating up everything in their path. My partner on the trip has gone full blown 29er and it will be fun to see how they both ride over the weekend.
New bikes. Untested fitness. Uncertainty. But we’re all in the same boat and will come out grinning.
So will 2012 be the year of the 29er? It’s been an explosion of activity from manufacturers, and a great deal of hype. Personally I’m already planning a venture into the 29er world, eyeing up the Giant Anthem X or the Scott Spark. @BikeMagic have been tweeting about some great featurs and reviews on the latest in 29ers.
This time last week myself and a group of friends wound our way across the water and a gloriously sunshine soaked France to Belgium and the Singlespeed European Championships, this year held in Maredsous, near Namur. A fantastic weekend was had, new aquaintances met and the beautiful countryside of Belgium was an extremely pleasant surprise.
I’ll be “borrowing” some of my friend Dave’s photographs from the weekend and the event shortly on the site…
A huge thanks to Bruno and his team for a fantastic event and we’re already looking forward to the trip to the South-West of France for 2012. Oh and quite possibly we’ll be taking a road trip on the singlespeeds to get there… watch this space… : D
The other side of a fantastic SSUK event – I do enjoy the randomness of a singlespeed gig; the social aspect, the humour, the general feeling that we’re all here just to have a good time! It was a great effort by the guys organising and I’m already salivating at the thought of returning to the Cwm Rhaeader descent.
At this point I’ll fast forward to part-way through (my) third and final lap.
As I rounded the corner to the refreshment tent at the top of the vast uphill struggle (only two people actually cycled up the climb over the race) Chris, my old friend and sparring partner on bikes, took a hurried last sip of his water and leaps onto his steed. I chuckled, pulled over to swig a more hoppy refreshment. Only 6 hours before had Chris been stating (repeatedly) that he was not taking anything seriously and just out to ride with his mates, but this is what happens when we ride together. We are naturally competitive; I’m determined to beat him and he’s determined that I never will, and I must say that as I left the refreshment tent and headed upwards to the start of the descent that’s what put the fire in my belly and made me ignore the burning in my legs. Four and a half miles later we’re grinning at this fact, knackered but exhilarated by the downhill and slapping each other on the back – it’s good to be alive.
So where was the pain in it all? Well does anybody know what I can do about these damned midge bites?