Archives: Nick Hamilton

Nick in Aprils MBR

Nick in Aprils MBR

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The features in Aprils MBR

Aprils MBR has a feature on ‘People who are changing mountain biking’. I got a call in work one day from the editor Simon who asked me if I they could include me. To say I was shocked was an understatement but I was also completely humbling. I had an hours chat on the phone with Simon a few days later and he put together the interview which features in the Mag. I find it interesting what he picked out from what we talked about but that’s an editors job I suppose.

It was all about mates racing; how and why sticking your head up and making an effort it so rewarding. I’ve harped on about this many times before but its always worth saying again. According to MBR someone like me, following through on daft ideas thought up over a pint with mates is changing mountain biking for the better. I just do it because I love it and have so much fun with my mates. To see that others see the value of that too is amazing.

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Winter Dual racing: Photo – Duncan Philpott

Winter Dual Round 6 – Snowy Berms

Baybutt captures the mood

Winter Dual Round 6 – Snowy Berms

First off… watch this great edit done by Baybutt, it’ll sum up the nights activities much better than my waffle.

Round 6 was planned to be held up at Farmer Jacks field on the amazing cow patted berms. Massive thanks to him for letting us play! That was before the snow came… again. In the days leading up to last Tuesday there were many texts and phone calls checking on conditions and accessibility. It all just adds to the excitement. On the day, the roads were clear but the farm yard and the berms were under a few inches of neige. Peaty was out early shovelling off the first few corners to make sure they were running ok and Josh Lewis had run a quad over them a couple of days before. JoBo helped with the final few corners later in the afternoon after he’d played cash in the attic at Steve’s.

Baybutt captures the mood

When I arrived the Genny and bulding lights were getting set up and Jack already had a massive fire going to keep us warm. All the makings of a royal nights racing. Once the rest of the lights were set up to illuminate the lower turns practice started in earnest. Despite the snow the course was actually pretty grippy once you could distinguish between snow berm and dirt berm. That track is so much fun with a couple of very challenging corners.

With 23 riders signed up racing got underway at 8 and straight in to the big guns, Will Swinden vs Chay Granby. Chay is currently trying to chase down Timmy at the top of the table and is feeling the pressure. He managed to fend of Mini Swinny… but only just! Team ‘This is Peaty’  also faced off in the first with Steve deliberating whether Joe could use the points more than him. He decided not and smashed him. Craig Evans was on fire from the off and carrying more speed out of the first right hander than anyone else by far, absolutely amazing to watch.

The Winter Racing Scene: Photo – James Irwin, Bike Garage

As our lovely timing ladies had decided to take the night off I was down at the finish line being ably assisted by a lovely cast of drop outs. First of Chris Pearson joined me and we developed the ‘rocking out’ technique for stop watch synchronisation. After being put out in the first round Baybutt and Joe Spivey also came to help out and we danced about, took the piss and jumped out of the way of crashing racers getting squirly on the finish table top. Tom England rounded out the evenings timing crew, many thanks to you all. That poor, poor whistle.

The 2nd round put an end to Chay’s points dream as Dave Camus showed him who was boss. Craig Evans also broke the 15 second mark for the first time while racing Tom Duncan who ended up over a berm. The Quarters saw Timmy out classed for once by Craig, amazing, and Loose Dog also showed me how it was done but at least he gave me a smile doing it. This setup a Peat, Evans Semi which was much hyped and anticipated. Craig had been putting down consistently faster times all night, could old school rise to the challenge? They both felt the pressure and had sloppy and slow first runs but Craig was ever so slightly ahead. In the other semi Chris Pearson showed his skills and kept his cool dispatching Loose dog who had another massive off in his second run. The same happened to Craig in his second run, misjudging the flat left and giving the win to Peaty.  This was almost as humiliating as loosing his car keys and having to call his mum to rescue him. Steve went on take the win although only on time as Chris won the second leg and Craig had to make do with 3rd.

 

One thing that struck me again about Dual was that the racing is actually only a sideshow to the main event. Socialising. There’s so much chat and banter going on all night that a lot of the runs actually go almost unwatched. With there being a lot of snow about of course there was the obligatory snow ball fight, epic by any proportions. Naturally this also spilled over to the racing and the last few rounds of racing had added flying obstacles. Brilliant.

This leaves the top of table pretty tight but Timmy is looking pretty unassailable at this stage. Can Chay pull his Socks up and catch him up or will Chris overtake him before he gets chance? Until the next time…

Strava Smashing November: Dallows Deliverance

This month we celebrate the latest addition to Sheffield’s trail Network, Parkwood Springs. If you haven’t ridden it yet, you really should have, and now is your chance. Its great fun and with a little added twist at the start, should count as some good winter training. This segment, named after the man that made the trail happen, Jon Dallow, starts at the bottom of Rutland road under the bridge. You then turn left on to the bridleway at the top which brings you in to the bottom of the trail. Turn right and follow the BLUE Loop around (no red opt ins) before finishing where you started. Its great, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

As detailed, be careful riding around Parkwood. You’re Strava time is not the most important thing, the use, acceptance and permanence of the trail are. If there are others on the trial, give way to them, give them a smile and encourage them.  You can always do you lap again. This is VERY important when you cross footpaths and bridleways. Be mindful of this, DONT FUCK IT UP FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 3oth November and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count.

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsibility for your actions or any injuries sustained.

Cage Fighting

Cage Fighting

All the Amazing Photos: The PhilPOD (Click on them for full glory)

It’s been a busy old year personally for many good reasons so my race organisation became somewhat concentrated post winter dual. I only put on one mates race series over the summer consisting of 7 races, however, that isn’t to say I didn’t miss it and my mates who attend. With the impending arrival of winter it seemed like we should have a bit of a get together to toast the successes of the Summer Series and fuck about on bikes. Since the outing of the ManWolfs I’ve wanted to do something similar again but those torn denim sleeves and ski masks feel somewhat sacred so I didn’t want to go there again (yet). However, mates, bikes, booze and movies is a heady combo and pretty simple to do.

I’d seen a video edit on Vital a couple of years back of a contest at a skate park that I’d always wanted to try. They called it Foot Down, it turned out Baybutt called it Edging Off. The BMX crew play it competitively each summer on their Southern French pilgrimage and the idea is very simple. Mark out an area on the floor, fill it full of lads on bikes and the last one standing wins. The only rule we imposed was keeping your feet on the pedals after my kicking got a bit ‘breakie’ in the trail run.

Earlier this year I’d chucked in $20 to a crowd funding project which got Shaun Palmers biographical DVD off the ground. This secured me a copy of the final cut and seemed ideal as post riding entertainment. The chosen venue was Hagglers corner in Sheffield, a fairly new enterprise full of workshops, yoga studios and freshly serving cafe. They had a large courtyard, a white wall in the cafe to project on and most importantly were up for the idea of 20 riders smashing the shit out of each other for fun. On seeing the proprietors BMX with 4 pegs and a newly fitted basket on the bars I suspected we’d come to the right place.

The evening rolled around soon enough and naturally, was wet and miserable. As the rabble arrived we assembled in the cafe and dried off, drank coffee and ate the freshly baked cakes. Once all the bikes were stacked and the beers cracked we donned our waterproofs ready for battle to commence.

It has to be said that sometimes I go to the Nth degree when planning mates race activities, other times its more just about the idea and the details tend to sort them self out. This was one of those times. My beautiful assistant, Rich Baybutt, had kindly taped out an area on the floor and we all approached tentatively. After a few minutes of circling around, track standing and few explorative rammings I called order and explained the rules. We were playing Bellend: each time you’re knocked out, that is put your footdown, you had to leave the ‘arena’ immediately and you got a letter. Once we’d played enough rounds and you’d spelt B.E.L.L.E.N.D., you were out. Simple.

We were 17 riders strong plus spectators so with a 3, 2, 1, the arena suddenly felt VERY small. What followed was about 30 seconds of pure chaos with rider smashing in to rider, bike in to bike, elbows out, shoulders charged and several folk on the floor. After this initial carnage what was left was about 3 or 4 riders circling around each other trying to figure out some kind of tactics that might give them an advantage. Once they’d realised they hadn’t got a clue what to do it came down to a ramming-trackstand off- with the odd pull, many saves and lots of kamikaze krashes.

This pattern repeated itself each round with that initial period just being amazing: There were many domino take outs (especially by the two metre Penis who was clipped in on his single speed road bike); Lots of hanging on post footdown to make sure you took someone else with you; wild tail whips which soon became band for bike damaging potential; so many entanglements of things that should not be tangleable; constant howls of laughter, pain and despair; and the growing realisation that the fucking trials riders were winning. Team Splatshop, consisting of Tim and Chris Pearson with their sponsored rider, Joe Spivy, were left standing each round. Chris cleaned up on the first round with the three of them battling it out and leaving the brothers fiercely facing off.

The next round we went back to the school yard. Our two team captains, the Pearsons naturally, singled us out one by one leaving the weakest and least confident behind to face the shame. I won’t be naming names. What followed was a mano-a-mano contest; a faceoff; a battle to the death. Each captain picked their best warrior and sent them in, whoever was left standing remained in the ring to face the next member of the opposite team. The last team in the ring was declared the victor. In the first round of this Rich Baybutt earned his nickname; Slayer. Second in the ring for our team he destroyed the whole of Chris’ squad on his own, almost down to Chris himself. However, The Pearson just survived and we had to rely on our own team captain to take him out. Not before I’d had my own go at him though. I attempted Baybutt’s run up and ram technique which left me with a flat tyre and a bent rotor after the front wheel collision. The noise that emanated was enough to stop me in my tracks, cause a very brief silence which was followed by screams of hilarity.

Chris took the overall in the Summer Series with a total of 185 Gnar Points, I was second with 177, with Timmy taking 3rd, Baybutt storming to 4th and Martin Baker roundedout the Podium. Contested over the best 6 of 7 rounds, it was a hell of a lot of fun and we covered many disciplines some of which were featured on the site (hopefully I’ll get chance to write up the rest). There’s a brief overview included in the animation below.

Post rum we settled down to watch The Miserable Champion, Shaun Palmers DVD. Everyone really enjoyed it despite the mountain bike content being minimal. Peaty had some brilliant cameos in it basically saying what a fool Palmer was for turning down some of his big money contracts. But it showed what a true champion Napalm was at any sport he chose to turn his hand to despite being pissed and just how destructive addiction can be, to anything. Its really worth a watch if you can get hold of a copy and I think Palm could do with the cash from the sounds of it.

All in all another great night at a great venue… but my bike will never be the same again.

Strava Smashing October: Whining Brook

This month we head to the west of the city to Fox Hagg and Wyming Brook. We start on a descent which was reclassified to a bridleway earlier this year thanks to the continued work of Ride Sheffield. Its a brilliant descent that still requires a good deal of pedalling and there’s some line choices to be made in the middle. Don’t ride it in the wet, its just not worth it and will knacker the trail. The descent finishes at Rivelin reservoir where the assent though Wyming Brook begins. The segment finishes just before the gate at the top. This segment was suggested by our own Duncan Philpott as a personal favourite.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 31st October and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count.

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsibility for your actions or any injuries sustained.

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Photos: The Philpott courtesy of  Rubarb

Strava Smashed 2: Steel City Laps

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I really stress about picking a segment to race each month. So many things to consider: is it legitimate; is it fun; is there too much up hill; will people be smiling or cursing my name under their breath as they ride? However, this month I was confident, I knew this was a brilliant segment which ticked all the boxes.

The Steel City track was built specifically for Peaty’s DH race earlier this year by BikeTrack.org, its existence was negotiated by Ride Sheffield, financed by the race itself with the permission of the land owners the Wildlife Trust. There were certain patches of the track which didn’t take well to the British weather and were pretty boggy even for the race itself. However, hard work done by volunteer crews from Ride Sheffield and further work by BikeTrack.org (again paid for by the race, more of that in a later post) have hugely improved the track and should hopefully see it through winter (if people stay off it when its really wet!!).

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Photo: Henry Norman

The segment itself started at the bottom of the push up track just up from the bomb hole, sticking to the bridleway all the way up to the top of the Steel City track. It’s actually a bugger of a climb which varies in steepness but demands constant effort, not technical but loose in places. The mini DH track itself is just brilliant, top to bottom flow with enough rocks to keep your wheels skittering, berms to keep you grinning and jumps to get you airborne. The recent improvements have really added to the track and are testament to the building skills of Cheggers, Jordan and Chris from Biketrack.

The racing this month saw a much bigger uptake of riders with 17 in total having a crack. This included a good battle between brothers Joe and Dan Emery (who finished 7th and 14th respectively), the return of the ‘Udents represented by Ross Phelps and John Inman (6th and 3rd). Rob Whiteman and Stephen Bloomer (4th and 12th) both returned for a second Strava Smash having both posted times on last month’s segment. There were also many new entrants this month including Sim Hartley (recently returned from catastrophic ankle snapping snowboard injury) who finished second with a 5:48. However first place was a joint affair this month with another new entrant Simon Price and our own Swinny both posting 5:21, 30 seconds clear of the nearest rival. Interestingly, Simon was 3 seconds faster on the climb but Swinny made is up on the descent (although that’s well within the bounds of accuracy of Strava).

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This leaves the overall in a good looking position (from my perspective at least). Of the 4 of us who have posted times each month, Swindog is out in the lead. I’m tied for second place with Rob Whiteman and Stephen Bloomer is in 10th. Simon Price’s winning time this month puts him in 3rd place, due to the larger number of entrants this month, which leaves Sim Hartley rounding out the top 5.

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Great work all. Hope you enjoyed this month’s race, the next segment will be revealed this weekend and we’ll be back to more natural terrain. As always if you have any suggestions for segments you’d like to race or comments please get in touch at stravasmashing@gmail.com. Massive thanks as always to the Man that made all this possible Dan Nisbet who had the original idea for StravaTrailRacing and has kindly set us up with his code and server.

Cheers

Nick

Hafjell – PL40

This time last year I was lucky enough to be in Hafjell riding the world cup track with 10 mates over a long weekend which was only made possible by the generosity of our friend, Piers Linney. As part of his 40th birthday celebrations he whisked us all away to paradise, hired us bikes to ride and rented the pimpest pad any of us had ever stayed in. Having our personal chef and life coach, Lars, on hand was one of many added bonuses.

I’ve previously written about our experience but one of the lads, Noel Hines, has just released his edit of the footage he took while we were there. Its a brilliant video but 19 minutes long, so if you’re time pressed check my personal highlights:

  • 0:00 – The Intro
  • 1:30 – Our faces on walking in to Lodgen
  • 2:20 – The beauty of Hafjell
  • 5:30 – First night excesses
  • 6:50 – Rodders look of fear when faced with a angry 2 metre penis
  • 18:10 – Piers managing to snap his boxxers

Thanks again Piers, it truly was the experience of a lifetime.

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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!!

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