A dummy, crashing.

I spoke too soon. I must have subconsciously known that I was jinxing myself.

“Here’s hoping that this is the end of the breakages….well, apart from that crank spider that snapped, the destroyed freehub and axle on my race wheels, the pedal that died, damaged Thomson seatpost, dinged rims, torn tyre, catastrophic BB bearing death…………………………..

They already think of me as ‘the bloke that breaks stuff’ at work…..”

And I did a good job of it.

On the commute in on Wednesday 22nd, I smack into a root or stump at full speed and slam into the ground with such force that I don’t just bend the bars, I ripple then, crush them laterally then snap them.

I did what anyone would do in the situation – got back up, dusted myself off then rode the remaining 8 miles to work one handed.

However, there was a tiny issue to contend with once I had gotten to work.  The adrenalin had died down by the time I got there and I was hit by a not-insignificant slab of pain.  Well, three slabs of pain.  I had slammed down pretty hard, so my left quad, shoulder and ribs took significant hits.  The sort of hits that take days for the bruising to appear.

So, some sympathy from the team when they realized that I had done myself an injury or three, a shower, serious difficulty getting dressed again thanks to my leg, then a full days work.

The weekend brought the post mortem….

Ripple.

Squished.

Some spare bars were fitted, which should hopefully do until I decide what to replace the snapped ones with.  The swelling in my quad has died down, the bruised shoulder has relaxed but my ribs still hurt like hell.  I might have damaged myself a tad….

On the bright side, I’ve increased my notoriety from within the Online Team to company wide and ended up as a story on the company facebook page…..

The sound of silence.

I know, I’ve been quiet but I have been a little busy.

New job, yet another new lifestyle (goodbye Grant the stay-at-home-Dad….just as I had gotten myself into the school parent mafia), new kit, new (well, semi-warranty-replacement) bikes to be ridden.

Bikes?!  Plural?  Unfortunately yes.  There’s been a spate of breakages and thankfully two of then were sorted out without too much hassle.  One was way out of warranty and no longer in production so after 5 years of sterling service, I let her go….

Goodbye Scandal.  The Kinesis was replaced after it cracked around the seat tube/top tube weld and an identical green frame appeared after just over a week.

That just left the SuperLight.  Shagged BB threads (a long story, for another time but Shimano BB cups are never being bought again.  RaceFace DH cups only from now on….) meant a new front-end, which became a new front-and-rear end in a new colour.  So, bye bye orange and hello stealthbike……

Black forks sometime early next year….

Here’s hoping that this is the end of the breakages….well, apart from that crank spider that snapped, the destroyed freehub and axle on my race wheels, the pedal that died, damaged Thomson seatpost, dinged rims, torn tyre, catastrophic BB bearing death…………………………..

They already think of me as ‘the bloke that breaks stuff’ at work…..

Tracy Tracy Says.

Someone with luck on par with mine….

It was 2 weeks until the Glentress 7.

After a mediocre week, I’d found my mojo again and I’m riding well.  Its time to get the last of the big mileage rides in plus some fun/skills blasting done early on weekend mornings.  So,  Sunday sees a sensible training loop – Up Benarty, then a lap of the Blair.  Simple enough.

After hooning it up the middle climb, I cross the top and hammer back down the descent from the flat rock.  Its early, so I have a clear run, clean the endo-turn before the final staircase then head to Harron then the forest.

I’m riding well…smooth and fast and before I know it I’m at the top of the forest and pointing myself back down.  First descent done, cross the fire road then hit the second.  There are options here and I pick the sequoias line.  Its blocked halfway down, but there’s a diversion in place and the fastest section is still clear.  I’ve ridden this bit of trail hundreds of times over the years, its been the source of many smiles plus a mild concussion one time……

I turn in and hit the corners at speed, sprinting out of each.  I hit the ditch and lift the front end, floating over the rocks that fill it and, at full speed, tuck in a little and hit the rock garden that follows.

Then I’m flying.

Literally.

Its all gone slo-mo and I’m aware of the bike coming to a very sudden stop…..but I’m still going.  I note my front wheel being angled 90 degrees off where it should be and wait what feels like an eternity for the thud.

It comes.

I’m in a heap and there are sharp pains in my hip and wrist along with dull pains elsewhere including my shoulder.  I try to get up, because if I can get up I’m not dead or too badly broken.  Its difficult but I manage it.  I don’t think I’ve been in as much pain as this since that time I made a Grant-shaped indent in the front of a car.  I check each collarbone and they’re fine but, as I check my right clavicle, my left wrist throbs. Pain tears through my hip and I give it a feel.  Hm…..its not supposed to be that shape.

This is not good.

I’m on my feet though, pain is subsiding a little (but previous experience has taught me that this is possibly adrenalin) and I’m able to gingerly get going again as soon as my wits return.

Oddly, I don’t hit the rest of the loop as hard and fast as I had been until that point.  Once I’m out of the forest, I limp come, riding one-handed most of the way as the wrist is sore.  Really sore.  Once home, I shower then ice the wrist for a few hours and take some ibuprofen.  My hip continues to throb and has grew itself a nice lump – the kind that alters your profile when you look in the mirror.

After 2 days off the bike to rest the wrist, it feels a bit better and the hip has now started to bruise a little.  By Friday (5 days later) its a bruised badly, with a bright yellow and deep purple patch the size of my fist.

There are no photos, this isn’t a pr0n site.  :-$

Almost 2 weeks on, the bruising remains, the wrist still twinges, lying on my right side is uncomfortable but hopefully that’s my bad luck out of the way.

That is, until I give the bike a proper once over and discover some mild pringling of the front wheel and lots of new chips in the paintwork.

Then there’s the story of the Glentress 7 itself……………………

Focus

I’ve been busy breaking things, fixing things.  Taking things apart then putting them back together.  Riding round in circles, some straight lines, then more circles.  Small circles.  Big circles.  No destination, but its all apparently about the journey……

So, focus is needed and the GT7 serves that purpose.  2 weeks away, a 2013 performance to work on (I did okay, but there was room for improvement) and I think I’ve finally taken on most of the lessons from previous years.

Oddly, for someone with a degree of focus and mild OCD tendencies, I’ve relaxed a bit about training this year.  (Shut up at the back!)  There’s a plan but its pretty simple.

Ride.

Ride some more.

Ride even more.

Tone it down for a week.

Ride more.

Ride even more than that.

Ride more than even that.

Repeat.

Taking the main thrust of Friel’s book but not obsessing about it *quite* as much as I could.  No spreadsheets or graphs this year. :-)

Everything seems to be going according to plan bar a week where things just didn’t feel quite right (I blame the cereal I was eating…..seriously!) but it was remedied soon enough.

I seem to be faster.  I seem to be fitter.   Everything is falling into place, so everything should be fine, barring any injury……………………………?

It’s just a jump to the left.

A simple mistake, easily made.

I had a big training ride planned and decided to use it to check out some of the newly mapped Perth and Kinross Core Paths Network.   Unlike Fife Council’s network, they’ve not gotten as far as waymarking them yet but the maps (and Google Streetview) make it reasonably clear where everything is.

So, off I trot, northwards, part way round the Loch Leven trail then over the regional border.  Follow more known trails to Milnathort and beyond, then its off into new territory.

 

The initial exploration took me to Glenfarg Reservoir, which was pleasant enough, before turning back on myself a bit then heading north.  The trail was clear enough, the climb out was a good workout then I came across a slight stumbling block.  The path seemed to go straight through someone’s garden.

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened when following the core paths so I just went around the outside, for to the trailhead and continued on.

I had a few options from here – a singletrack trail heading west then north, a dirt track parallel to the singletrack or a road to follow.

The singletrack didn’t exist, the dirt track was like the last trail – passing just a tad close to someone’s bedroom window for comfort, so as it was only a 1/2 mile of dirt, I just took the road instead.

Tempting, but apparently it doesn’t really farm candy.

Onwards and upwards.  Then upwards, more up, then a climb just for good measure.  A swerve to avoid a dick in a black murdered out Audi A3 then a rapid height loss.  Dropping down, I could see the next trail snaking up the upcoming hill to my east.

A quick check with the GPS on my phone and the map to confirm that I was where I was supposed to be, then I was off.  Oddly, it was uphill.

I was loving this though.  The climb was steep enough to work me, but not so much as to be unridable, so I spin up the hill on 32:36 (no granny ring up front on the FF29 race bike) and eventually reach the top and an iron age fort to sit in for lunch.

After a chat with a passing walker, I head down the other side, glad I came up the way I did as the east side of the hill would not be fun to climb on the bike.  I hit the bottom and ride the connecting single lane road to the next trailhead.

When I get there though, there’s an issue or two.  It looks like the right place.  GPS, map and landmarks confirm it, though I seem to be one easting out.  I head north and the path evaporates, however I see the continuation up ahead.  I get to the base of the path and start up it.  I have doubts though.  It doesn’t look exactly like the path on the map, but I’m in the right place and the landmarks etc all appear fine so I bash on.  There’s clearly been some building work done on the path too, to improve it, so that could explain why it looks a bit different to the map.

I head upwards, checking my progress against the handrails (between two hills, with bits of woodland on my left and right) and pressing on.

As I get higher up, something doesn’t feel right.  The handrails are right and have now been joined by a burn crossing, but the path, which is supposed to be consistent over the crest of the hill, has evaporated.

I check the map and phone GPS again.  The Northings are right, but the eastings are out a bit.  I look westwards, to check for any other landmarks and in the distance spot another hill and more woodland.  Am I too far east?

Time is now getting on, so I head for some farm machinery I can spot up ahead.  Hopefully, machinery = road = way down.  I get to it and there’s not only a track, but it extends west and is signposted as a connection to the trail I was supposed to be on.  Damn.  Its too late now and I resolve to check everything when I get home.

I descend quickly and get spat out on the road I expected, but further north east than planned. I head up and find the end of the trail I meant to be on.  I must have misinterpreted the handrails and been between the wrong two hills, the wrong two bits of woodland and on the wrong trail.

I head home, I might be running ever so slightly late now and there’s a 10 yr old waiting at the school for me.

That night, after my ears had stopped ringing from the earbashing from an annoyed boy who thought his Dad had forgotten to collect him, I checked everything on the maps.  It looks like I had turned up the hill too soon but that the real turnoff was obscured thus missed.

In hindsight, its funny that I stumbled upon almost identical handrails and was on the correct bearing based on the northings, just slightly out on the eastings.  Just a small jump to the left…

I’ll know better next time plus I might hit it all in the opposite direction.

This entry might have a second part.  :-)

Tall. Grumpy. Scottish. Pick three………