Yearly Archives: 2010

Queenstown, Ben Lomond, Injuries and Boredom….

“Was I bored? No, I wasn’t fuckin’ bored. I’m never bored. That’s the trouble with everybody – you’re all so bored. You’ve had nature explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the living body explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the universe explained to you and you’re bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn’t matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it’s new as long as it’s new as long as it flashes and fuckin’ bleeps in forty fuckin’ different colors. So whatever else you can say about me, I’m not fuckin’ bored.” – Johnny, Naked, 1993.

I am sure that there is a relationship between boredom and psyche, when riding becomes boring we stop riding, we lose our psyche…..but is it really boring? Perhaps we lose our psyche because we have failed to apply ourselves, and failed to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about why we do the things we do? Personally speaking I can’t remember the last time I was bored riding a bike when I made a choice to ride not out of obligation but because I desired to do so…..this desire keeps me refreshed, keeps me psyched.

Me on Ben Lomond ridge. Photo: Sven Martin

We are so lucky in Sheffield; in fact, any place we can ride our bike out of choice is very lucky…..I cherish having that in my life as much as other fundamental things; the roof over my head and the beautiful woman I love to wake up with each morning. I wonder how it is even possible to become bored of riding when so many possibilities have yet to be reached, there is always something new to learn: the way the bike feels round a turn, the way in which you finally see ‘the line’, the way you realise you don’t actually have to brake for that section. Our brain is intrinsic to our body….inseparable, and as human beings we are capable of conceptual thought, we can apply those thoughts, we can envisage and project ourselves into the future….maybe this is this is all it takes in order to get the psyche back?

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This Is Sheffield Xmas/Summer Bonanza (Episode 5)

This Is Sheffield Xmas/Summer Bonanza (Episode 5)

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After the Mega in Alpe d’huez we set off on a bit of a mission, digging out some of the more ‘quiet’ French alpine resorts, whilst clocking in some miles at some of the old classics aswell.

Super dry and dusty everywhere meant pushing up and filming was a sweaty task, but Rob busted a nut and we squeezed out some great shots.

This footage should of been released a while back, but on returning to the U.K Joe lost it during upload…. or at least he thought he did.

So here is the short but sweet Winter/Summer special, enjoy!

Ensa couloir, Chamonix.

Paulie and Rory heading to the entry under Mt Blanc.

So as most of you will know, I am based in Chamonix for the winter and I will be updating the site with some (hopefully) exciting adventures of the better ski days. I will spare you the crap resort skiing and jibbing but hopefully have some cool pictures of the better days weather they are simple pow days or classic ski mountaineering lines.

First line of the season was the Ensa coulior off the top of the Brevant Cable car.

I went up with two old friends from Tignes, Paulie and Rory, and a new friend and mountainbike ripper from Whistler James McSkimming. The start of the route involves a few steep turns leading into a choke with a chockstone blocking the way before opening up into the couloir proper leading towards the valley 1500m below.

James at the first safe spot below the chockstone.

Its is only about ten feet wide at the entry point and is a tricky few moves over the iced up chockstone…..some people choose to lower over this section on a rope from the fixed piton but Paulie led the way and swiftly sent it over the wee drop/chockstone. James followed suit and then it was my turn. I skiied up to the chockstone and down climbed with my skis on over the first icy rocky bulge. Droping off the second small bit and speed/hip checking before regrouping in a safe spot with the other two. After a few seconds we heard Rory scratching and cursing his way down the rock above. We were round a corner so couldn’t see anything….but he quickly came into view jibbing, spinning and ragdolling down the couloir. Rory managed to arrest the fall in the deep snow but a lone ski disappeared down the hill at an alarming pace.

All downhill to town....

After watching Rory down-climb for about 25minutes he regained contact with the lost ski. Luckily not too injured, just a slightly stretched MCL ligament in the knee due to his dynafit’s having the DIN locked out. Lucky the snow was soft enabling the fall to be arrested. So after a quick curse directed at Paulie for keeping the rope in his pack we set of down the rest of the line uneventfully. After a mile or so of early-season walking-out through shitty avi debry and scragged tree’s it was well earned beer time.


Winter Ghetto Dual Races – Round 4 – Its Snow fun

7th December 2010

With Sheffield under a foot and a half of snow and the next round of the winter dual series just a week away I was a bit doubtful we’d be having a race this week. However, on Tuesday night 24 folk turned out to a pristine snow-covered track in our local park. Under the trees the snow was only about 6 inches deep and the zero degrees temperature was keeping it a lovely consistency. The park’s in a more of a built up area than Swinny’s field so no generators were allowed this time, we were back to duct taping our bike lights to trees. It’s amazing how few lights you need to illuminate a whole track, the first time we used only three but with most people bringing one or two now we had plenty. The posts we use are white (cut up overflow pipe, thanks B&Q) so we were a bit concerned about being able to see the course. Thankfully Henry Norman, of Ride Sheffield, supplied a load of reflective slapwraps meaning we could easily see the posts and each lane was even colour coded.

The Track (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

The area of the park we use is normally covered in brilliant loamy leaf mulch and previous races have been sideways affairs. However, with the few inches of snow banking up and being reinforced with loam the track was exceptionally grippy. Once it was cut in and a rut formed some of the lads were getting over to incredible angles, stomping the foot, catching the berm and powering out. However, Joe Bowman’s arse down foot paddling technique seemed to serve him well in the seeding runs.

The Start (Photo: Duncan Philpott)

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Episode 4. This Is Sheffield.

Episode 4. This Is Sheffield.

Chunk: I just saw the most amazing thing in my entire life!

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Mouth: First you gotta do the truffle shuffle.

In recent times the riding in Sheffield has really been going ‘off’. We have access issues being raised and solved with Ride Sheffield, the Winter Dual Series, University of Sheffield students organising races, the Urban Extremist race, Steve Peat and of course

This is the latest episode

We are by no means wanting to be Lifecycles or Follow Me, but desire to document places we ride around  Sheffield ….we have some secret places and others not so. We shouldn’t take what we have for granted, they’re aren’t many places in the UK that offer such a variety of riding so close to the urban doorstep: steep and loamy, rocky and straight, tight and twisty, remote and lung busting. We are in an auspicious time to say the least.

The candor of myself, Bowman, Stokes, Nick, Jack, and Swinny is that we all take our riding seriously, but only if smiling, laughing, feeling and having fun a part of being ‘serious’. For this short film we built a track that differed from the usual finds at ‘Wharny’, something faster, wider and more open….the track is named ‘Truffle Shuffle’.

Hopefully short films like this one will help galvanise an already burgeoning scene, maybe one day we will have a summer race series, a track maintenance crew, no user issues in the Peak District and a fully participatory scene where it’s not ‘downhill riders’ and ‘xc’ers’…’s just riders without division….

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