Sunday 26 May 2019

May BAM / Skool / BMX

Doo and Rob dog
This week saw me complete my 5th consecutive month of wild camping. Yes indeed, May's BAM (Bivvy-A-Month) completed! My Bro 'Rob dog' joined me for this adventure.
All good wild camping adventures should include a feast before sleep. Every good boy deserves burgers. Burgers go so well with beer.
Rob dog cooked our supper which was so delicious. We chatted for a while afterwards staring at the stars that littered the night sky. There was a lot of of movement in the sky this night. Not sure if any was extra-terrestrial. A nice sleep followed not long after.
Warm night and even hotter morning. Temperatures were great and the sun was shining real bright on wakening. My new (replaced) Alpkit Cloud Base sleeping mat has been ace.
Over a cup of jasmine green tea, we both agreed this was a pretty awesome wild camping spot. We were suitably hidden, yet quite open too. Our secret location was somewhere near Aston Cantlow and Shelfield. Coded coordinates were compiler, opinion, wriggled. 
Rob dog was keen to start cooking sausages for breakfast. He was using his new gas burner. Worked a treat.
I used my Trangia stove and pan to add fried eggs to our breakfast. Delicious. This was the first time I had cooked fried eggs on a wild camping trip. Aces.
I know my bivvy is hard to spot being camouflaged and all. However, believe it or not, there are 2 bicycles in the photo above. Can you spot Rob dogs bike?
Like all our trips, we packed up good and proper and left without leaving a trace. We collected a bunch of memories. Oh, and we've been able to share our stories. Who's for a wild camp in June?

Lunar, Doo, Mama Kin
During the week I also saw my daughter Lunar perform in her School play. She was as 'bonkers as a bag of conkers'. My mother came and watched too. It was great to get a picture of the 3 of us outside the school as we are 3 generations that have attended this self same school. 

Since my last blog post, my Raleigh Super Burner has been re-stored too. (Nice one Lin). I'm still yet to burn some rubber but looking forward to burn and pop a wheelie!

Sunday 19 May 2019

Mad Goose / Menace Mechanical / Oxduro 18 (in 2019)

Cycling the Oxduro18 (in 2019)
 Crazy, mad and nuts cycling over the past week. Lots to shout and blog about. Oh the joys!
First crazy event was the 2nd 2019 Stage of the Mad Goose Chase courtesy of purity brewery. SJ (can you believe it?) and I cycled from our home along country lanes to reach the brewery on a perfect summer like evening. This was SJ's first ride in ages on her 'new' bike. I think she was a little cautious  initially. Once at the tap house we had a celebratory pint. Session IPA was my drink of choice. We chatted amongst ourselves and then with other cycling folk and had a nice evening. My burger was amazing. As if things couldn't getter better they did - the chap serving the burgers gave me an extra burger free and said I could have 2 pints 'on him, free'. I love Purity brewery. SJ's cycling improved big time on the way home and she raced me up the hills. How nuts!

Second adventure was with Roger and his tandem. This was largely a day of mis-hap. First bit of menace struck as I cycled my own bike on route to Rogers. Yup, the pixie pest visited and flattened my tyre. Once tube was replaced, I started off again heading for Roger's and then the heaves opened and a deer ran out in front of me (luckily for us both, he wasn't hit).

Things didn't improve much once Roger and I were cycling his tandem. About 5 minutes into our ride we had cycled down a bridleway when I started to hear a concerning noise. Looking behind me I saw what initially looked like a rear mech being dragged behind. On closer inspection it was a disc brake calliper. We decided to get this fixed, so aborted our initial plans and headed for Northfield Cycles. Bike shop soon replaced the missing bolts and secured same with some wax solution to keep in place.

Misfortune appeared once more as Roger and I took a right (which should have been a left) and we ended up 'off the beaten track'. It rained a little more too. No worries, we eventually ended up at Priory Cafe and had the largest breakfast imaginable. All is well that ends well. Sure enough, the remainder of this adventure was all good and I cycled back to Rogers and then home with no further mis-hap mechanical menace.

'Eleven' outside the Radcliffe Camera
Third adventure was mighty fine. This saw me complete the OxDURO event (see The Racing Collective) which is described as a self-supported no frills road-gravel ride considered to be a gentle gateway into the national XDURO trials. I cycled this 'Doo style' (un-officially) as am attending 2 birthday parties on the 8th June 2019 when the official event is being held. I also cycled the 2018 route as opposed to the 2019 route as this had not as yet been published. My bike of choice was 'Eleven', my x-trail bike which I had fitted with 37mm tyres. I cycled from Pear Tree services in Oxford to the Radcliffe Camera which was the official start.
OxDURO 18 (in 2019) 'Doo style'
The whole route (with my added distance to and from the services) was just short of 150k. In total there was 9 off-road sections, totalling about 50k. It felt like half my time was off-road. (The 'real' event is a race ran in XDURO format - that is 5 timed segments of gravel and road. The idea is that the non-timed segments provide time for socialising. The cyclist with the lowest aggregate time over the segments wins. Oh, and wins 'nothing' for those that are interested).
Despite being advertised as a 'no frills' ride it had frills and spills aplenty! So much different terrain and spectacular views was the frills. My spill came not long after cycling up Uffington Hill (and past the Uffington White Horse). I was cycling a chalk track (pictured above) and moved 'lanes' to let a passing mtb'er past when suddenly I went head over heels. How embarrassing, I had just passed a group of like 15 school kids and wham, bang, had gone down. Everyone was asking if I was OK and some said they had first aid kits. Even the mtb'er retrieved my water bottles and placed them back in the cage. When I stood up, I looked like a ghost - I was covered in chalk all over and my bike was too. My bike suffered a nasty scratch on the top tube and the brake lever was bent in. I had road rash (covered in chalk) but was otherwise OK. I sped off ASAP and tried to hide my embarrassment.
Chalky menace
So many ups and downs. Frills and spills. My average speed was 19.3km/h but I reached a maximum speed of 71.6 km/h. 
A scenic stop point
So many different surfaces - chalk, mud, gravel and road. I would tend to have a quick break every 30k just to have a stretch and a bite to eat.
A folly
At often points in the ride there was something nice to see. Nice views (though a bit misty today). Passed lots of lovely looking churches and many folly's like the one above.
Most tracks were great and relatively easy to follow. Am pleased to report that the whole route was cycleable with no hike-a-bike sections. I rate this ride a lot and prefer it to the CotsDURO. 
The odd track was not so great and proved harder to follow. The track pictured above was a menace - it was overgrown and littered with stingers. Thankfully this track was not too long and towards the end of the ride. 
The end of the official route finished at Isis Farmhouse. Not a farmhouse at all but a pub. Rewarded myself with a nice pint of cider for completing the ride. Aces. A further 8k or so took me back to my car.

Some say bad luck comes in 3's. I'm not superstitious and think this blog post demonstrates misfortune can come in clusters greater than 3. Also, 3 can be rather wonderful just like my adventures recounted here!

Saturday 11 May 2019

May PAM and a new BMX, wham!

No major adventuring of late. No cycling, wild camping or major happenings to shout about. Hoping to adventure soon.

However, managed to complete my May PAM (ParkRun-a-Month) which pleased me a little. Not having run or cycled much of late and being rather taken with food and fluids, I did not expect a great time. Surprisingly and pleasingly, I completed my 24th ParkRun with a time of 22:49 which was just 10 seconds slower than my fastest time this year. I finished 56th out of 468 runners. I'm sure I saw my cousin-in-law (Jas) on the start line too. My PB remains 21:39 and I would love to beat this time.

My dear wife SJ was given new wheels for her rather funky bike. Better yet, she was given a Kask Mojito helmet too. Let's hope the future see's us cycling a few rides together.
SJ's horse and lid
I had recently purchased a new helmet - a Specialized Align, after my Giro Skyline had died. The Specialized lid was super comfy (and cheap at £30) but folk would laugh at me and say I looked like a Star Wars character. Lin and SJ took pity on me and helped 'fund raise' so I was able to get a new, really funky cycling helmet. My new lid is a Kask Mojito X. The Kask is super light and looks way better.
Specialized Align
Kask Mojito X
Not only did I get a new lid, I acquired a new bike! Oh yes indeed! My neighbours had slung out some old bicycles for trash, one of which was a Raleigh Super Burner BMX. My neighbours trash was my treasure! Only my treasure was stolen by Lin... Lin plans to refurbish my new/old BMX into a working machine which I hope my daughters will enjoy. Aces.
One man's trash is another man's treasure.
A Raleigh Super Burner BMX

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