Archives: James Swinden

Strava Smashed: 1 – Moor Blacka

Where did August go? For lucky ones like me.. off to france so soak up the sun and ingest the fine living. However for 8 other brave souls a small part of August went in to competing against Sheffield’s finest for honours in our inaugural Strava Smashing round. As ever with the Sheffield Crew, much of it was last minute. The last week of August saw a doubling in entries and oh how they smashed it. Well some of em. I put in an early opener to kick things off and had a terrible run. The track I chose was a bit of a mash up (as a last minute change of course was requested) and wasnt really an obvious loop, but at least it stuck to bridleways. Riding it, you got a slog out of the way to start with and gate opening technique was critical. But what got me was the downhill, totally over cooked it went straight through the front door. Therefore I knew there was a lot of time to take out of my 8:27.

Rob Whiteman was next to take up the challenge on a Thursday afternoon and nearly had me with a 8:34. Then Jon Himsworth, Chris M and Steve Bloomer all had a crack over the next couple of weeks but posted 10 minute plus times. Rich Baybutt was next up cutting it fine on the 28th and I can only assume he stopped to take photos of the view as his usual speed wasn’t evident with a 9:49. The Pearson’s then snuck runs in later that day with Chris having a beaut and smashing the lead by over a minute. Timmy was less lucky and punctured on the descent but manned up and ran the rest (it must be all that fell racing training you’ve been getting in!). So it was all looking rosy for Christopher, a minute up and only 3 days of August left what could possibly go wrong? The Rocket Man himself. TiS’s Swinny for the winny once again. Swinny chopped 16 seconds off Chris’ time 14 seconds of which were on the final descent (give or take 5 seconds with Strava’s accuracy).

So that’s how it ended up and this means the we have the opening points on the series leader board. The number of points you get depends on the number of people you beat, so its pretty low scoring but hopefully as word spreads and people get back from holidays entries will be on the up. Thanks to everyone that gave it a go.

Stay tuned to thisisheffield.stravatrailracing.co.uk for Septembers segment which will be announced this week. As ever, if you have a suggestion for a good segment that sticks to the Bridleways of Sheffield and the Peaks please let me know at StravaSmashing@gmail.com.

A finally a massive thanks to the man that made all this possible, Mr Dan Nisbet who has very kindly allowed TiS to use his original idea www.stravatrailracing.co.uk for our own Sheffield Based purposes. There’s more about Dan is this post. Thanks again Dan, you’re a Legend!!

This Is Swinny: Hamsterly Enduro

This Is Swinny: Hamsterly Enduro

A fresh challenge and a new format, my first attempt at an Enduro event and I was pretty excited. Joe Bow had been bangin on about how fun these events are for the past year now so thought it was about time to see what all the fun was about!

We had a healthy group for the trip, Joe, Jolley and My bro traveled up in the @VitoSport and met up with Hanna Swede and her house mate Tom. Plenty of banter and laughing was on the cards for the day as we set off for a leasurly cruise around Hamsterly in the Hot Hot Heat, and it really was hot, with the sun beaming down all day and with minimum wind, we decided to do a full lap out of the gate.

So off we went, cruising up the fire-roads to the start of stage one, taking in the scenery as we passed, all was very pleasant and relaxed. Joe struggled from a few mechanical issues with his chain on the cruise up to the start (he had fixed it himself so there was no real surprise something went wrong, despite what he says about his mechanics skills!) so being the good mates we all are… we left him and set off for our first down of the day.

A tough, flat, rooty, uneven pedal made for an awkward start, once past this a bit of pace was picked up as you skipped over roots and holes and took a left onto the first sprint pedal of the day, a large flat, drifty right turn and back into the woods where there was options for a few different lines to be taken, but we just carried on and rode the main line. Then a slightly uncomfortable flat rolly section, if you got the flow right here it all ran smooth, but a slight error and your speed was sapped, stopping on the uneven spaced holes with not much room for pedal strokes, it was a really tricky section of the track. From there it dropped into a selection of tight switchbacks that spat you out over an off camber ledge and over the line.

I was a little surprised it wasn’t longer, but that was only stage 1.

Onto stage 2 and a bit of a bitch of a climb up a hot fire-road right to the top of the hill. It was a steep sharp climb that dragged on a bit but wasn’t too bad.

Stage 2 started with a flat out sprint on some loose gravely terrain, taking in some fast berms and short jumps. A much faster stage and the previous with more flow, i good chance to turn the pedals for all they were worth as it turned out to be a pretty constant pedally stage for much of it. After the fun of the fast turns and jumps the track spat you out onto a slightly up hill road where, come race runs, the pedals really need to be spinning here! From there on it dropped into and incredibly loamy wooded section, which was rad! Love loam. There were a number of sneaky cut lines in here but we stuck to the main line and road the loam to the end of stage 2.

A road ride climb took us to the top of Stage 3. With 5 of us currently in our group we thought it’d be cool to pretend to be the GB road team and draft on another, with the front man swinging off from time to time to join the back of the pack and keep legs fresh! We passed a couple of other riders who seemed to enjoy what we were doing, with one trying to tag onto us! But our momentum was already at a blistering pace and he had no chance!! That was until the hill suddenly kicked up sharp and we all seemed to just give up and cruise up instead.

Stage 3 was fast hardpack terrain with plenty of quick flat corners mixed with  some bermed turns, plenty of pace throughout until it spat you back out onto the road. We thought it had finished but noticed no FINISH sign.. so looked for some tape, a bit confused we looked down the hill as there was no way the Race would go up that horrible looking steep hill! Oh, it did. Bugger. So off we slugged up the hill before dropping back onto the fast hardpack, a few more rail-able bermed turns and back up to speed, again there was a good selection of cut lines in here but we didnt bother to stop and look, just stuck to main line. We got a little lost before finishing of a wooden drop and a left hander, Jolley got some drift on in here and ragged his rim, putting a man size dent in it and pinch flatting.Rate laugh.

The cruise over to Stage 4 was pleasent, traversing through the woodland before spitting you back out onto that bitch of a climb again, same as for Stage 2. Back to the top for another fun ride down! By this point i was really enjoying the format on Enduro racing, plenty of riding time, a good laugh with your mates and all in all Good fun.

Stage 4 began sat on top of the 4X track, over looking the moorland it was quite pleasant, however watching some people hit the first jump, included Joe, was unnerving! Some very uncomfortable positions. From there, up and into the woods where there were plenty of awkward roots that sapped your speed if you caught them wrong, no where really to pedal so flow was important. Things steepened up a little before dropping into the dense woods, over a little rock garden then a real uncomfortable left hander. I had a couple of goes at this corner, pinging a spoke on the rocks in the mean time before getting the corner half descent. Over a fire-road and back into the woods, instantly lost as I went straight on instead of a sharp right. Try again, and away!! Playing around on the rooty section i enjoyed this part of the day! Traversing the woodland, hitting stuff blind, popping around was a rate laugh! There was plenty of line choice again but i tended to stick to the middle lines, giggling away to myself as riders were scrambling out of the way as i made my way through the woods. A couple of corners later and over the line for the end of Stage 4.

A river crossing which I failed massively on before Back up the hill again! This time a bugger of a long fire-road climb. By this point it was hot, the sun had been beaming all day and the air felt thick as you rode through it. But we continued and soon reached our destination.

Stage 5 was loose and gravely but a pretty constant sprint form start to finish, similar to the start of Stage 2, hard pedal strokes were needed as you railed berms and held it down over the short jumps. A constant sprint indeed as there was pedaling everywhere! Sprinting for all it was worth before dropping into the finish area and complete!

Turns out we did the whole loop much quicker than planned and had time to stop and look at lines if we wanted, but oh well, it was more fun this way anyway!

Quali was on the Saturday afternoon and on Stage 5. I was pretty keen to get my sprint on! However i decked it hard in the first turn! cut my hand a bit but pedaled away and finished. I finished some way down the order and was 2nd slowest Elite, not surprising really given the crash. Fortunately for me there was a bit of a cock up with the timing and the organizers decided not to count the time towards the final standing. So a fresh start for race day.

We stopped over night in a cool Barn conversion that was very comfortable, Loads of Chicken Pasta went down then off to bed. Bunk Beds! Rad. Me, My bro, Jolley and Tom stayed in a room together and had man time..

Sunday morning and the sun was out and warm already. We trundled off, I was struggling all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning deciding weather i needed to take a bag with me.. I took one on the Saturday but all i needed was water, so made the decision to stow some water and food at certain points of the ride and went for the committed bagless run!

I had a laugh, stage 1 i got a bit lost, facing the tape at one point and had to dab to get back on line but trundled on regardless.

Stage 2 and a bit of a moment in the loam, again forgetting where I was but thats what you get for not looking at where you were meant to be going! I did enjoy that painful sprint on the road though.

Stage 3 i was instantly lost, braking for sections I thought I was on that turned out to be way down the road, but again really enjoyed that monster road sprint! The story pretty much repeated itself all day, forgetting where Iwas as we didn’t bother to pay attention to lines but it was all cool, I was having a good giggle!

Stage 4 and I buggered up the awkward root section a bit, but nothing too major, cleaned the rest of the track and had great fun on the lower part of the track, this was my most fun run of the day!

Stage 5 and on the long ride up I got a spot of cramp in my thigh, got off the bike for a bit of a stretch out. That was a bit of an error as I got instant cramp in my hamstring! So straighten the leg back out, and Cramp in my thigh again! Back up and cramp in the Hamstring!.. Down and Cramp in the thigh.. this went on for a while before settling down a bit and I set off crusing up the hill again.

I remembered that damn first corner this time and didnt go down, Wohoo!! Pedaled hard and cranked where I could. Trying to pump and flow before more hard cranking and into the finishing turns. Jolley, as usual, did me proud. After he had finished he ran up the hill a bit to give me encouragement. That lads amazing, I could hear him corners before I got to him as he shrieked at me to keep on pushing. I could hear him all the way to the line, Cheers mate!!

And that was that. My first Enduro event was done. I was a little surprised I wasn’t as tired as thought I’d be, but was happy with the way I rode.

Turns out I managed to finish 9th overall, something I was more than happy about! 9 seconds off a top 5 place, Damn it! If only we had stopped to look at a couple of lines I may have been able to make 2 seconds on each stage and got myself on the podium! But oh well. I was very pleased with myself.

All finished, podiums done and on our way home, and it was only 4:30, much quicker than being at a DH race. I did struggle to understand what the £60 was for though, an unreliable timing system, no uplifts and not even fully taped out tracks, which led to a fair amount of controversy. I’m in 2 minds over the tape situation. If the whole track wasn’t taped, why not cut, yet at the same time some of the apparent cut lines were a bit OTT.

A big thanks has to go out to the SHIMANO guys, who helped me out after I managed to contaminate my brake pads. They were busy helping people all day long and if they are at an event, get yourself over and say hello, have a chat about products, and if somethings not right with your ride, ask them very kindly to take a look at it!

Cheers All!

http://www.aetuk.com/

This Is Swinny: Scottish Excursion – Fort Bill

Packed up and away we go again.

I’ve been on the road a fair bit these past few weeks, travelling, riding and racing. But this was the one I was perhaps most looking forward to, the infamous Fort William.

Its track I’ve ridden once before, but many years ago and not on a downhill bike, so the excitement to race this legendary track was building weeks before the event.

In the build up to the event bad news was circling that it may be cancelled due to bad weather, this was the case last year because of high winds which actually never really arrived, so I was a little anxious. ‘An 8 hour drive to find out it may be cancelled the next morning?’, wasn’t looking to appealing, but i made light of the situation. ‘I either stare at the wind and rain in Sheffield, or stare at the wind and rain in Scotland, it’s practically the same!’. So off we went.

The drive was instantly hampered by a police road block and diversion, which caused quite a bit of backed up traffic, but never the less we eventually got on our way and cruised up. I slept for pretty much the whole journey (as i do as a passenger) but from what i gather things ran smoothly.

We arrived pretty late on Friday evening, around 8:30, so not quite early enough for a track walk which was what i had intended, never mind! I’ll just blind run it in the morning! Great idea.

And what a track to ride!! Everything was running sweet on the Saturday, the SPS pit was up and looking well, Jamie (our mechanic) was up and doing a banging job of everything and the wind was pretty low, a bit overcast but not cold, just right for riding. So off into the queue I headed for first runs. Taking a Gondola to the top was amazing, no worrying about bikes getting owned by the Tractor & Trailer method, just smooth and pleasant with a nice view looking down to Finish/Pit area.

It was an incredible feeling standing inside that big wooden eye start hut thing waiting to head down this amazing track. Like I said earlier, Blind run, so this really added to the excitement coming over some of the blind crests and into back to back switchbacks. I had an idea of where I was going thanks to watching the World Cup round on’t computer, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the ride ahead.

It’s such a fast flowy track up top mixed with intense rock sections, then back to fast turns and big rock faces. Bouncing around, railing turns and rattling through sections I was having a great time. Dropping into the middle section I was struggling with a couple of the flat, rocky wooded spots, mainly because I didn’t want to slow down and I forgot I had to in order to make the tight turn before the tough rock sections. I managed to cock this section up pretty much every time bar one, but still, I was having a laugh! Then in to the pedal to the finish. Coming over that Jump, sat on top of the fade away and swooping down, building up Speed was incredible. Over the last couple of jumps and over the line. This definitely has to be the best finish area I have ever experienced on a race track. Other tracks just seem to fizzle out a bit coming to the line but this one builds excitement with both racers and the crowd.

I managed to crush in 4 practice runs on the day before seeding which had been moved forward in case Sunday where to be cancelled, which it was, so seeding became race runs which started around 3:00 ish.

Onto race runs then and I was feeling pretty good, I still didn’t exactly know where I was going in places but never mind! I was enjoying myself all the same. Railing the top turns feeling fast and flowy all felt good, then I took a tumble washing out on one of the loose left handers. I tried not to let it bother me too much and carry on having fun but the damage had been done. I instantly went offline for a large part of the track, in-siding corners, not hoping rocks, just generally being off line until the deer gate. Once past that I felt a little more relaxed and began to pick up momentum, then bang! For some reason coming off a rock drop I just rode into the banking on the left hand side of the track and went down again. Bugger. All was over really but I carried on in search of a clean bottom section. This was Not to be. One more off on the left handed wooden wall ride. I just didn’t commit enough to the line and slid out, hitting my head and neck pretty hard on a tree. Possible my worst race run ever?! On returning back up to pace I heard the whistle of someone behind me, I knew fellow SPS rider Donny was the next man in the gate so thought I’d move over, then a brain wave! Team tactics, I’ll tow him in on the motor way section, allowing him to draft me! Genius. Not too sure how much this actually helped him but if it did, then so be it. Over the finish line and that was that.

So, a great day, an awful race run. But it’s forgotten now and on to the next, no point dwelling on the negatives but try to take the positives with me through the season.

Cheers to all!

(Sorry for the lack of photos, Duncan had exams so was unable to make the trip)

This Is Swinny: On The Hunt For UCI Points

Bulgaria was the destination, Shambhala Open was the event, so off i went.

Heading out Wednesday morning after a midnight finish at work, with the flight landing us in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The Passport control were not convinced i was me.. so came looking for more ID. To be fair my passport looks nothing like me, and i possibly made this worse by handing them my driving license, which again looks nothing like me nor looks anything similar to my passport photo.. So i got asked a few questions about my visit and with my charm convinced the authorities I was actually me. So, onto baggage claim.. all good. Then onto the task of finding our driver,  i had no idea who he was. But all was good. A few more Brits were on the same flight; fellow SPS rider Dale Russel, along with Adam Brayton and Reece Langhorn so surely they knew who we were looking for… Turns out they didn’t have a clue either! So we all sort of wandered around whilst constantly being asked if we needed a taxi! “i do you good deal for all of you”, “no tar mate” was said a lot!. I then get an arm wrapped around my shoulder, first thought was ‘oh crap, more police and authorities to take me away because they still don’t believe i’m me’, but fortunately no, it was a Bulganeez (made that up) chap by the name of Kamen (probably spelt very wrong) who whisked us away to meet up with Nikolay and his big Sprinter van.
Nikolay runs RAM bikes and did an amazing job of looking after us Brits, with out him and his team the whole experience would not have been what it was.

Off we drove, and how we drove. The Bulganeez are nuts when it comes to driving, ragged, flat out and weaving through traffic like nothing i’ve seen before! An amazing experience in its self.
We made a short Pit stop at RAM bike HQ while we waited for another plane of Brits to land, then once all together we headed off to Sopot, approx. 2+ hours of interesting driving. At one point the road literally ended and were on a rough dirt track that seemed to waltz through some farmers field. We arrived safely however and once we found our rooms in the hotel, prepped for dinner, which was a very reasonable price for what we got!

Anyway, onto the track, and what a track! Long, dusty, drifty, fast, flowing. Just a good laugh. It was a track where not too much pedalling was needed, speed was picked up by how much you dare let off the brakes. The chairlift was pretty sketchy. With no slow down mechanism the chair seemed to come flying at you while you were trying to hold onto your bike and guide it off the launch pad while hooking the pedal onto the seat. That was about all that held the bike on!

I went up with 4X and BMX legend Martin Ogden, who was kind enough to look after me and show me how to mount the chairlift as well as give me a riding partner for the day. Oggy had been here a fair few times so was accustomed to the whole situation.

Onto the riding. Things started well, with the idea to slowly build up the speed over the next 3 days i was feeling good, riding bikes in the sun on a track i didn’t need to pedal on, what could be better. All was going well, I was enjoying the place, having a laugh and enjoying being on my bike. Then I tried an inside line and ended on my back in some awful pain! I must of hit a rock or something, but either way I didn’t see it coming and I went down hard, folding my front wheel pretty bad in the process! Only the 3rd run in as well! So that put an end to day 1.

Team Ram were good to me and sourced me a new rim from the local shop, which got built up for me that evening. With being in a lot of pain in the lower back region i asked Kamen to sort me out with some Bulganeez painkillers. I got a box of pills where i could only have 2 a day, sounds good!!

They seemed to do the job too and the next day I was back up riding again. A couple more runs and into Quali.
With an idea! Ill roll the whole track, no pedaling, that way, I’m guaranteed to make up loads of time in finals. Genius I thought! However, It turns out that everyone else had the same idea. But still, i rolled over the line and ended 5th. With a strong British contingent, we soundly rounded out the top 5 with a few more in the top 10 and more a little further down the field.

All was going well. I was happy and ready for finals. Off we went, a couple more runs under my belt and I was ready for finals. Then the rain came, and the wind and the thunder storms. It was pretty intense for a while and the organizers had to call off the finals. Fortunately, due to past experiences, they had scheduled a spare day just in case of bad weather, so finals were rolled over to Sunday.

Quali results

And onto Sunday.

Again, a couple more runs, and ready!!
All was going swimmingly, I felt good on the bike and was cranking out of turns, letting off the brakes and flowing. A small error up top caused me to slip my pedals but not too much drama. Then a small wash out in a slow section again resulted in not too much drama, and on into the final section. I was enjoying myself and was carrying speed well. I cranked into the final section and pumped the ground for more speed, coming into the final turn and getting ready for the sprint to the line. Suddenly, disaster struck! My rear wheel seemed to kick up, maybe off a root, and pointed me straight towards a tree. I tried for all it was worth to wiggle around but no luck, I ploughed the tree with my shoulder and got taken off the bike and ended up in a tangle. I bounced back up and tried to get to the line as quick as possible, but the damage was done. 5th place was the aim but 10th the result.
So not what i was looking for but not a complete loss. 10 points picked up and an experience well worth taking away.

Finals results

A huge thanks to Nikolay, Kamen and the rest of the RAM bikes team, they put on a cracking event and took care of us Brits well, without them, it wouldn’t have been the same.

Only one more ‘experience’, the drive back to Sofia.. I don’t really need to go into to much detail about that ;)

Cheers!
Swinny

This is Swinny: Combe Syd Race Report

This is Swinny: Combe Syd Race Report

The first round of the BDS and my first race of the season took us down south to Combe Sydenham..

It was the first time the team had met up all together and as a bit of a bonding session with Steve, Tristan and the rest of the boys, we headed over to the UK bike park for a couple of days before the race weekend. Joe Bow and Duncan were in tow to take snaps and document our activities over the long weekend.

The drive down was long.. very long and boring as i had just myself to keep me occupied, and i assure you, i do not hold a good conversation with myself! i was fortunately guided in for the last hour by Joe (cheers mate!) as i didn’t really know where i was going! Phone signal was very low down there so i had to guess a lot of what Joe was actually saying, but hey ho! made it. Joe and Dunc traveled down together as team media, with Dunc doing what he does best! No no, not getting lairy with uni girls! but taking photos!

We had a good couple of days riding down at UK-BP, with the weather threatening at times it held off for a couple of pleasant days.

Joe managed to take a bit of time out of his hectic filming schedule (lol) to have a bit of a razz with the boys.

And then got back to work after gompering around a bit..

It was my first real ride on the new bike and boy it felt good!.. so i did this cool skid for dunc to capture, gold.

and then posed a bit while trying to act cool.

and then rode some more with the champ.

After a couple days riding we met up with Ben Deakin in the local and had a bit of a sesh.. things happened, we had a laugh, that’s all that needs to be said on the matter..

So that pretty much wraps up the first 2012 SPS meet up, i think it went rather well, apart from Irv that is.. Hope that hand is better for Fort William buddy!

So onto Combe Syd..

We arrived Friday afternoon feeling a little sorry for ourselves and trundled off up for a track walk.. It went as you would assume, we looked at stuff to ride on..

Saturday practice and i was lucky enough to tag onto the back of Peaty and Bryc for a couple of runs, which was interesting! As i tried to get up to speed with the big boys.

The track itself wasn’t exactly difficult but i thought was a good one to start the season with.. you were straight into a couple of bermed turns followed by a bit of a jump and into the man made rock garden, which soon filtered out as riders rattled through and moved the majority of the rocks out of the way. Then it was into a series of fire road sprints split up by a few bus stops, the off into the woods for a tight-ish section of turns. Out into the open via a large step down and a sprint through the field into the jump section, think Pietermaritzburg but a bit smaller.. ok, a lot smaller. Then back into the woods for the final tech rock roller section and a sprint for the line.

Sunday race day and i wasn’t feeling to hot.. maybe a combination of a few factors, booze, expectation, nerves, first race of the season. But i cracked on and got 2 practice runs in.

Onto seeding and their i sat at the top with the rest of the Elite field. This was a pretty new experience for me and i felt a little out of place to be honest, but i got on with it as one of the first riders down. I felt good through the first few turns but then seemed to hit a barrier and my whole body felt heavy.. i was unable to pedal as i wanted on the sprint sections and soon ran out of breath.. i chilled out then and cleaned the rest of the track and crossed the line. Finishing 20th out of 40 elites i was relatively happy giving how shit i felt.

Onto race run and i was a little apprehensive i wouldn’t be up for cracking out a solid run.. Mum laid into my legs ninja stylee and a got a good warm up massage.

So, of i went and instantly made a mistake.. dropping low out of the third turn and off line, ok tho, not too much time lost. Then into the rock section i blew a foot off the pedal and dabbed all the way through, not comfortable.

Into the pedal section and i wasn’t sure how much i could give, given my seeding performance, so chilled out a bit and didn’t pedal as hard as i could, this i later regretted.

I went for a clean, not over the top middle section and pedaled pretty hard through the open section. Dropping into the final woods again, a clean run was on my mind, so a little steady but clean did me fine, then the sprint to the line.

Crossing the line i feel i backed off too much in the upper section as i didn’t feel too out of energy, unlike seeding, but never mind eh. 22nd out of 40 was the end result, not a bad start to my Elite campaign but definitely a lot of room for improvement! ill have to tag on to Steve more often!

So all in all a good experience, a lot was learned and a lot can be carried over to the next event..

See ya’ll soon!

(Pictures thanks to the womanizer, Duncan Philpott)

This is Swinny: My Mega Month March

This is Swinny: My Mega Month March

March is when it all started to come together, a month when things happened.

For starters we had that incredible weather throughout, that mixed with the clocks changing meant for plenty more riding than usual! But a few personal touches were added to the memory bank.

It all started off with an SPS team gathering round at Peaty’s place.. not your usual meet however as this was a van sticker peeling day.. maybe not the most enthralling of activities but a job that needed doing non the less. It was good to see so many of the team turn up to one of Tristans less than great ideas.. He was loving it tho!

We then got to take a quick spin around Greno woods and have a little look at this years Steel City track. All involved have put in some solid work and the track is looking in great shape, an improvement on last years for sure. It’s going to be another banging event!

Next up was my birthday, I met up with Rob Jolley and Race dad made it out for a spin so we headed over to Wyming Brook. A cool spot that nestles on the edge of Sheffield. We had a laugh, got loose in some switchbacks, pulled some wheelies, Jolley fell in the river trying to ride across it, I hit this weird step up, and we found a spot positioned nicely on a rock to look down through the valley to Sheffield where we sipped a few tinnies if Stella and ate muffins.. Then one more run, slightly drunk, and back off home and straight out to town. A night of Corp until eventually bed at 5:30 the next morning.. A pretty cool Birthday really.

We then had the excitement of the DH Wold Cup season kicking off all over again, our boy Joe Bow headed out to PMB to work with Peaty on his web series, ‘This Is Peaty’, with the big man hitting a huge 100 world cup finals starts, a pretty significant figure. Congratulations boss man!

After returning from his travels, I met up with a very jet-lagged Joe to have a bit of a catch up, and we had a lovely dinner cooked for us by Marian, Thanks Mari! and Joe handed me a Birthday present in the shape of a set of Burgtec Penthouse pedals! A damn good pedal! Spot on pin placement and perfect dimensions make this pedal feel like no other under foot, and with a titanium axel to boot.. what more could you ask for?!

A week or so later and the conclusion of Dual racing in Endcliffe park took place in less than familiar conditions. With dry dust as opposed to greasy mud, as well as day light! Well, for practice that is. It actually made it quite difficult practicing in day light then having to race in the bike-light lit dark. Trying to go as fast as practice yet not being able to see too far past the post you were cornering made for some comical on board errors. The final round was a good sign off for the series. I took the win on the night followed by the overall, then off to the Greedy Greek for a sample of their food and a bit of prize giving. In true Hamilton fashion, Rum was the prize. A nice warm feeling in the stomach, closely followed by hard work to keep it all down! I also picked up a pretty cool trophy to go with it, a little pot filled with Endcliffe loam attached to a chog of wood.. 80+ racers throughout the 9 round series is pretty cool. Cheers all!!

And finally, to cap off ‘My Mega Month March’, I got my hands on this beauty.

My race bike for the year. Not much needs to be said about the most winning-est DH bike out there, apart from I daren’t ride it in case i get it dirty! This bike feels incredible and I cant wait for the season ahead. A huge thanks goes to Ricky Bobby over at North West MTB for having the time and facilities to put such a huge project together, Steve Peat, Tristan Tunstal and all else involved in the big bike build.. I would have come over to help had it not been for Steve and Joe playing a little joke on me..

So, Thanks everyone involved for an awesome March, Here’s to the rest of 2012!

Cheers!

SHAFF Bike Night

SHAFF Bike Night

Now in its 7th year, SHAFF Film Festival has finally added it’s first Bike specific night.

John Horscroft and Steve Peat, will be heading up the evening, focusing on the up and coming cycling talent in and around Sheffield.

A chilled out evening, with plenty of beers on tap, to keep things fun.

Tickets are available HERE so don’t miss out!

SHEFFIELD YOUNG GUNS

Sheffield’s Mountain Bike scene is arguably the most vibrant in the country with a wealth of superb cross-country trails in the Peak District, a thriving downhill community and a number of promising young riders hellbent on following in the tracks of local legend, Steve Peat.  So, what better way for the Bike Expert Night to celebrate that scene than to take a close look at some of the young guns making a name for themselves in a diverse range of bike disciplines?  James ‘Swinny’ Swinden, Josh ‘Loosedog’ Lewis, Annie Last and Abbie Taylor are Sheffield hard-chargers with talent to burn.  Local mountain biker, scribe and rabble-rouser John Horscroft and special guest Steve Peat will be asking the questions and finding out what makes the next generation of super-shredders tick.

James ‘Swinny’ Swinden has steadily built a reputation for phenomenal pace in the National Downhill Series and has a huge viral video presence.  2012 however could be the big year for Swinny as he has just joined the Steve Peat Syndicate and moved up to the Elite category in this year’s series.

Josh ‘Loosedog’ Lewis has a similar story to Swinny. Known as one of Steve Peat’s protégées, he’s got big boots to fill. But with a huge personality and a growing profile in the UK scene, he’s another Junior rider to look out for.   There’s every chance we’ll see him moving up the rankings in 2012.

Abbie Taylor is an Olympic hopeful in the newly added sport of BMX Racing. A World Silver Medalist in 2011, she regularly mixes it up with the top Female Elite riders.  She is now receiving help from British Cyclings’s Olympic Development program which could be all the help she needs to take things to the next level.

2 more young guns TBC

Swinny, Dunc and the SPS

Swinny, Dunc and the SPS

Our in house Pinner and recent entry in to the Elite Catagory, James ‘Swinny’ Swinden has spent the past couple of days training and riding with the Steve Peat Syndicate. He’s been accepted on to the squad and will be receiving all the support and impetus being part of such a well organised team will bring. Watch out for Swinny at all the nationals this year and for reports of his progress.

The SPS have also been employing the talents of TiS Tog Duncan Philpott to document the new batch of riders being indoctrinated in to the team and working with Podium performace at Sheffield Hallam University. Dunc will be working extensively with the SPS over the coming season and bringing his acclaimed eye and lens to bear. The above photo is the first example of this union shot by Dunc over at Wharncliffe with Peaty and Swinny ready to drop in. Dunc’s got a new blog over on his site, keep checking in for more examples of this great work.

Watch out for more Tis on the SPS.

Nick

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