Sunday, 25 October 2009

Back into weekend walking...

With the cycle racing season done and the new trike 'almost real' I'm back to weekend walking.
Last week was a damp 4 mile loop alongside one of the local reservoirs, this week a 5.6 mile circuit out to the Ticknall Limepits (abandoned for 100 years and now pretty woodland) and back.
The featherweight Mountain King 'Trail Blaze' poles are working well - this is my first time walking with two poles and they make a big improvement on slippy uphill stretches.
In the above photo I'm also wearing an Epic jacket and jeans. These are both cotton but the threads are individually silicone coated making them waterproof. Because of the cotton both are very nice to wear, and don't seem to be as susceptible to catching and tearing on thorns as nylon fabrics. The fabric is not AS waterproof as some of the adverts make out, the jacket (Rohan Pampas) requires some internal heat to stop moisture slowly seeping through so I'd rate it around 75% as waterproof as a good Goretex jacket but much more so than a windshell like Pertex. It is currently my outdoor jacket of choice because it just feels right - it feels less 'hiker' and more 'wax cotton' without the maintenace problems of re-waxing). The trousers are Alpkit's Jeanious Jeans and they have become a constant companion! Again the Epic fabric means that a splash or shower just runs off them. Constant damp works through eventually but the fabric does not 'wet' and body heat quickly forces that dampness out. They would not replace a proper pair of waterproof overtrousers on the hill but for a 5 mile Sunday potter they do the job. They are a tad too warm for harder walking at the mo (I usually wear shorts or knee-length breaches enjoying the breeze around my lower legs) but I'm sure as we go into Autumn and Winter they'll be in their element. Oh, and the rest of the time they fit and feel just like ordinary jeans - I've even adopted them as stock wear for dress-down Friday wear at work where nobody seems to have noticed they are anything other than normal jeans...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

What I've been up to for the last month...

Posts have been a bit thin on the ground for the last month. Now it is confession time - I've been busy getting back on the bike again! I've been working on adding the bodywork (fairing) to my Greenspeed SLR race trike. And then racing at the last few events in the BHPC race calendar. I haven't done that great, but along with some evening training on a stationary exercise setup I was fit enough to finish the course at Hog Hill on Sunday - a circuit with a rather vicious climb each lap. This might not seem like that much of an achievement but I didn't even manage to complete a flat velodrome event a month earlier! And the result was good enough to give me 40th position in the UK rankings for the year!

Just in case you are wondering - the trike under the bodywork is effectively a bare chassis and I've built the white bodywork as streamlining. On a flat race this allows much higher speeds. On the hilly Hog Hill course it only helped on half of the course!

Photos with thanks to Fraser - see his full coverage of the event here.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Bargain time?

To celebrate their 5th birthday Alpkit have a special on their self-inflating mattresses. I've tried most Alpkit stuff but not these yet - if you fancy giving them a go £15 for their lightest version including p&P seems like a bargain to me!