No, really, I’m not. But this year’s bike has got me all in a fluster. It’s just really interesting and widgety like.
It’s a Specialised Marathon Epic and well, we all have a honeymoon period with a nice new bike but I get the feeling this one is going to be a keeper. It’s so much fun to ride. I loved my Trek Superfly, (which I will be sad to say goodbye to) but it was a pure race bike and had to be handled with a little TLC in my favourite type of riding (the big rocky passes of the Lake District for example). My Epic feels like just the right balance between ‘race’ and ‘everyday fun’. I sketched and skidded down the Watendlath descent way faster than I did the last time I visited it on my Trek (which was road bike light and climbed superbly). Is it faster between two points up AND down? We’ll see how it goes at the National Marathon Champs in Selkirk in just under 3 weeks. However the main reason for choosing this bike was because I think it will be ideal for my two big targets of the year; the European 24hr solo championships at the end of May and of course the World 24hr championships in October. I reckon this is pretty much the perfect bike for rough and rocky long haul racing. Why? Here’s some of the geeky stuff if you don’t already know:
So there you go. A bit more time bedding everything in / tweaking here and there and this unique bike is definitely going to become a firm favourite. Massive thanks to M Steels Cycles for supplying the bike and their enthusiastic continued support.
Other stuff: over winter and alongside JMC rider and all round good egg (seasonal) Phil Simcock we won the pairs race at Strathpuffer. The race was soooo much more fun than I had anticipated! A superb course and a brilliant atmosphere. If, like me your reaction to racing 24hrs in the Scottish Highlands in January was one of dismissive laughter, I urge you to think again. It’s a classic and I hate to say I will probably be back. Jason Miles and Dave Powell better halves / pit crew did an amazing job of keeping us all going through the loooong night with Puffer know how born from years of sitting in a freezing, wet and cold forest. Jason also did an amazing job of winning the race and holding off a very determined Keith Forsyth and Guy Martin.
I raced the Whinlatter Challenge recently (now an annual calendar fixture). I love this race! Long story short; it was a stacked field. It was bloody fast. I came 8th overal and won the vets. A decent result and a thoroughly enjoyable and social day, as it always is.
Other stuff: did a typically northern (but great fun) MBR photo-shoot / story with super chipper Andy McCandlish around the southern fells of Northumberland a few weeks back. We were also joined by Keswick Mountain Bike riders Andy Wrigley and Adam Nolan which basically made the day into a fun social ride. Hopefully there was enough good material to make press following the deluge of the first half of the ride!
Don’t do this often enough; I’ve got some great support which means that I get to ride, tweak, and race with a great variety of bikes and equipment. So thanks once again to:
M Steel Cycles www.msteelcycles.co.uk
Exposure / USE www.use1com
Mt Zoom www.mtzoom.com
Bertie Maffoons Bicycle Company www.bertiemaffoons.com
Schwalbe Tyres www.schwalbe.co.uk
And Union Room (who set up my blog) www.unionroom.com
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