Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Morning Coffee

I'm heading back to Norway in a few days time. I always try to get just 1 more ride in the bag before I depart to the big metal island.... 

I had arranged to meet my wife at my mums for a morning coffee & then onwards to rediscover some of the old trails I used to blaze about on as a child. Well, what is the point of driving if you can ride?

Another superb morning in lossiemouth....

....But, looking behind me, there was trouble brewing on the horizon. Hmm.

Quite a lot of crap get spoken these days on various forums as everyone be come an expert on all things Fatbike. Tyres are always a hot topic & the On one Floater somehow has been dismissed as a sand tyre because it is too aggressive for beach riding?
I am really liking the floater in all conditions & find it as good as anything I have ridden on sand. Rolls well, grips well, is well priced, what is not to like?

Time to head inland through one of the dozens of dune trails round here

Pit stop for rain jacket, as the weather front finally caught up with me

Many a good day had here on my old chrome BMX...;o)

Refuelled with coffee & caramel sponge cake, It was time to head over to Loch Na Bo. There are loads of  trails in here, most of them only make sense on a fatbike now we are in the wet weather, as the vast majority of them are horse trails & very hoofed up 

Virgin bike terrain. Never seen any other tyre tracks the whole time I was here, showing how underused this place actually is. Wonderful.

Floater also doing sterling service in the gloop. Only sightly less grip than a Nate, but a much nicer all rounder.

Horseshit. Plenty of that to avoid, but small price to pay for the fantastic trails they have created

Kettle loch

Loch Na Bo House gardens. Had the kids here for a picnic in the summer, lovely spot when the sun is shining

Loch Na Bo getting whipped up by the strengthening wind

These caught my eye last week when in TK Maxx...Mountain Force Sonic Pants.
I have been looking for a set of these for a while & couldn't belive my luck when I found a pair in my size for £69.....these retail at £350!!

I don't really subscribe to bike specific clothing, as I find most of the gear out there fails to perform as expected. These are branded as ski pants, but in reality are thin enough to wear all year round as rain trousers. Very comfortable, excellent cut, reinforced on the insides of the ankles & very, very waterproof.

Rain now coming down so hard, camera starting to fog up. Regardless of the weather, it was a great ride rediscovering some old trails & a good trial for my new wet weather gear.

Soundtrack for today is BRMC again. The magic that is the right music on the right trail! 

Monday, 28 October 2013

100Km Whiskey Trail

Clocks going back provided the perfect excuse to get a good trip on the 9zero7. While the rest of the world slept, I had worked out a route that should hopefully kickstart my fitness again & provide a great days riding through Moray to Upper Speyside & return following the river Spey to the coast again.

6.30 Start & the sun has still to rise on Lossiemouth

Combines are like giant bears getting ready to hibernate for the winter

Linkwood distillery, the first of many I would be passing throughout the day

The destination for today would be far beyond the hills you seen in the horizon ;o)

Vehicle of choice for today's outing is my trusted 9zero7. This bike is perfect for long XC days riding

Another example of how the OS maps lie. Where did the trail go? Thankfully riding the stubble fields is easy on the fatbike

Plan B

Another 2 ticked off the Whiskey trail...

...With Coleburn Distillery in the distance.

Starting the first big climb of the day up towards Pikey hill. Lossiemouth is just a dot on the horizon by now

This used to be a great landrover track to the top of one tree hill, but everything has been sanitised over the summer, with a motorway cutting through the landscape ;o(

Could you make it any smoother?

Cairn Uish Windfarm

Leaving the boring fireroad to Rothes behind, while I take the much more fun route...

Neeeeeed fooooood!!

Super Mario Land

Now it starting to get wet

Nearly a comedy OTB here. This is where the cycling ended & the hiking begun...

This is Mannoch Road. Really? Yep, doesn't see much use these days for obvious reasons. Historically a moonshiner's smuggling route

WTF am I doing here?? 

Finally, back on to something ridable  

Glorious autumn sunshine over Ben Rinnes

Speyside, the heart of the whiskey country 

The Southernmost point of the trip & where the route joins the Speyside way for the return leg to Spey Bay

Knockando Distillery

The new Imperial distillery at Carron under construction.

Crossing the river Spey at Carron

Lovely autumnal colours 

Quality chair & table, perfect for the mid ride break!

Telford Bridge at Craigellachie

Had to be done ;o)

Ben Aigan. Fucking hate this hill. There is very little to enjoy about riding this, always seems like it is 99% uphill. Or maybe I am just unfit.......hmmmm
With 60Km of riding behind me, the legs were beginning to protest at the start of this climb.

Are we there yet? Nope, keep climbing.....

Coastline in sight again, although the finish line is still a good few hours riding away

Start of the mountain bike trails linking Ben Aigan & Ordiquish at Fochabers

Looking back towards Ben Aigan

Top of the last big climb of the day, before an excellent downhill run into Fochabers

Excellent singletrack linking back onto the Speyside way

Sun starting to set on the route I had just passed over

Crossing the Spey for the second time today at the old railway viaduct linking Spey Bay to Garmouth

Bin hill at Cullen in the distance

Finally the finish line is in sight, with the lights of lossiemouth in the distance along the coast By the time I would reach home it would be dark again. 11hrs of riding from dawn to dusk, with a total distance of 102 Km travelled by 4" tyres. It may not be fast, but the 907 is the most enjoyable bike I have ever owned for these rides if you are prepared to accept a slower pace of life.

I am in the middle of building a set of 29er+ wheels for the bike for these longer rides during the summer, but as winter is fast approaching, the current combo of Floater R & Nate F will be getting a good testing. I have found today that the Floater is a much better rolling tyre on the rear compared to the Nate & seems to have about the same grip in all but the worst conditions. I am looking forward to seeing how these perform over the long term. 

Finally a massive thanks to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for getting my fat, unfit ass back to Lossiemouth.
I was fucked towards the end of the ride, however, all it takes is the right music to put the mind in the right place, when that happens the body will follow....:o)