Tuesday, 28 April 2009


Finally! We found some nice singletrack. We took a trip back to Bracknell Forest to do the other half we missed last week. I cannot believe how close we were to amazing flowing tracks last week while we ignorantly pedalled along wide bus lanes they call walking tracks.

The day began in a funny mood after seeing this ad at Richmond Station.

It didn't take long to find the goods- a long, fast, undulating track was enough get us amped and a blase decision to take one dark path through the trees over another dark path through the tress put us firmly in the midst of some purpose built singletrack with berms and a few small jumps.

Unfortunately the photos don't do it justice but I have no doubt we'll be back there again soon so we'll try to take better photos.

No broken bikes throughout this ride, although as we left the forest I noticed a sloppy back wheel. So we pegged it to the train station in the hope that I could change the tube on the train but to no avail. I walked the last 500m... Just one puncture is a nice casualty list for that place.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Another ride; another so-so location

They're getting better... We are slowly finding better places to ride. Last weekend we ventured out to Bracknell Forest, between Ascot and Reading for a bit of a ride.

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We were purely on the hunt for fast, flowing track and after we paid the £2 'cycling permit' and got away from the crowds enjoying the 14 degree weather, we found... well, not much of that.

That's not to say it wasn't entertaining:

Or beautifully scenic:

But we gave it the respect it deserved:

We rode 2 very fun short, fast sections (video yet to come) but the sun was setting and we had no idea where we were. Our rapid evacuation was going well until Brett's quadzillas snapped his chain.

So with a bit of Bush Tucker Man meets MacGyver, we smashed the crap out of the link and forced it to perform its duties at least til we got back to the train station. (It lasted until about 1km from the station...)

We made it back without too many issues and with a growing hatred towards Felt's poor choice of components we sat at the station hearing delay after delay on the train lines. Next time- chain breaker, spare chain, and the ability to ride home instead of waiting for trains.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Two From Two

Parko won Bells and in the process got a lot of people talking about him for world champion this year. As he says, it's a long season and he's just taking it one event at a time.

All fine and well, but that just allows others to go about their title fight without too much pressure. I think Parko can handle the pressure, but Durbo and Bobby Martinez will love this quiet run throughout the season. Slater will either go away and cry cos he's not up there and do the events he feels like doing or he will come back so fired up that everybody will be left wondering what hit them.

So after waking up at 1am to watch the quarters and semis on the internet, I was so amped to see Adam Robertson make the final that I couldn't sleep. Luckily the final was yet to come so there was some hope that it would be boring and I could get back to sleep at 4am... But no. As the starting siren rang for the final, they played "Hells Bells" by AC/DC; the song that amps me up more than any other.

It was 3.25am and I may as well have got up and cranked the music- I was not sleeping. It only got worse when Robbo came out firing and lead after their first waves. Fortunately for my long term Nostradamus style predictions, yet unfortunately for my inner Victorian Pride, Parko won the final. But there was no shortage of admiration for Robbo. He won 9 heats in a row including coming through the trials to qualify for the main event. Hopefully Globe (his minor sponsor) step up and give him the support he deserves or another great company offer him a sponsorship.

So I tried searching Last FM for a thingy to put on the side of the blog showing what I'm listening to at the moment. But if I start messing around with HTML code, it'll all go oblong so that's not happening. After gaining inspiration from Bells and a few other occurrences over the past week I'm fired up and listening to very heavy tunes anyway. So to lighten it up, I will add one of the more interesting Reggae tunes I've found lately. Would you guess this dude is actually Italian?

Saturday, 11 April 2009

I'm Making the Call...

It's extremely early, and it could swing any way, but I'm calling it: Parko to win the surf tour this year.

You can take it on board or throw it right on back, but Sl9ter needs a rest, Fanning can't muster up the focus he needs, Durbo hasn't yet realised that he will need the same focus as Fanning, and Taj will never understand that it's now or never. And for the outside comment, Steds needs a few more years to understand what it takes. So through a process of elimination, and the hope that he steps it up, I believe Parko will win it this year.

My gripe with his last few years is that he knows he's living the dream and he's appreciative of it. I'm not suggesting that he shouldn't be appreciative, he's got the family he adores and the job that allows him to do what he loves (minus the traveling) so he's loving it. But I wonder if he'll get to the end of it all and wish he had a stab at the top. Everyone knows he can do it, he just needs the focus.

This year is open to anyone- I don't think Sl9ter can back it up so Parko should give it a red hot go.

There is also a fantastic clip on worldprosurfers which makes me realise he's up for it. Unfortunately worldprosurfers no longer lets you download clips so I'm not sure how to embed it. You'll have to go check it out for yourself. http://www.worldprosurfers.com/joel-parkinson-surfing-dbah.htm

I'll leave you with some youtube clip of Parko smashing it out.

So while I really hope Durbo and Steds get up there, I'm putting coin on Parko...

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Trails galore!

After over a year of research, riding in London and simple laziness, we managed to get out to Dorking for a ride through the hills with working bikes, GPS and a camera. So, albeit a little lacking energy, here is our first real foray into UK mountain biking...

Angus, Brett and I caught the train down to Dorking (it's a ridable distance but we were hungover and lazy). The ride starts about 2kms from Dorking with a painful ascent. But the downhill on the otherside is makes it very much worthwhile.

It was normal UK weather so the view at the top didn't offer much.

Gus got a puncture pretty early, which made us laugh but although we were well prepared (several spares and a patch kit) after several flats the week before, we were still hesitant.

The ride was just a loop through a few bridleways which joined up with the use of a few short roads and people's driveways. Nothing too fast or technical, just a lot of very annoying loose rock.

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There were a few nice houses to lift the scenery.

Houses and green grass can be seen anywhere; the highlight was getting hot chips at a caravan that looked like a giant Carlsberg can. Food and exercise was too much for Gus and Brett so a short sleep was needed if they were to keep up with me.

We continued on to a nice section that jumps inside the M25 for a while and runs right next to some farm yards. Despite the thin, deep gully with loose rocks at the start of this section, it ends with a fast, gradual down hill with low trees and a beautiful roll out into an open farm which allows you to get your breath back and contemplate the many ways you could have stuffed that up but could also have gone faster...

This was more of a social ride to try to get some off road fitness back, and a chance to get out of London to see what sort of trails are around. Thus, the self portrait was a must:

So after 30kms or so, we hit up some food and drinks in Dorking and strolled back to the station for the easy way home.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

More India photos

Feigning a smile while feeling like I wanted to die in Panjim. Panjim is the capital of Goa and was owned by the Portugese til (I'm guessing) the 1950's. It's a dump (that's not a guess, it sucks). It's like the Portugese bailed 60 years ago and nobody has painted, washed, cleaned, repaired anything since.

The view from the balcony of our beach hut in Palolem. This picture is peaceful. Their colour scheme is not.

This is Dean and Leighann (in the background), a British couple we met in Palolem. Dean bought a bongo drum and was getting a lesson from a local on the beach (who charged a tidy sum).

One afternoon Dean, Leighann, Deneil and I managed to take control of the DJ booth at a beach front bar after a couple of cocktails. During Dean's throwback to Groove Armada's "Hello Country..." I took this photo. Listen to that record this weekend. It's still a corker.

I feel sorry for cows in India. They're Gods but they're allowed to roam free, eat garbage, and in this case get bullied by 2 dogs on the beach. They just barked at the cow for about 10 minutes and it couldn't get away. The dogs are very tame and lazy during the day but they form in packs at night and you don't wanna get in their way...

"...Stay off my wave, Bro."
"Go back to the valley, Man."
(Point Break.)

There will be more photos tomorrow. Don't forget to pull "Hello Country, Goodbye Nightclub" by Groove Armada out. Dad, I think Lachy has the album!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Finally, some India photos

I finally have my camera, some photos from India, and the desire to show whoever wants to see them.

The train between Mumbai and Goa.

A fresh water lake (Sweet Lake) at the back of Arambol, which backs onto the beach where I asked Deneil to marry me.

The locals will play cricket anywhere they can. This beach was no exception.

My camera battery is dying, making it hard to upload photos so i will charge it and add some more first thing tomorrow morning. Sorry Dad! Happy birthday though!!!