The Hunger Games – A Solo, Unsupported, Non-Stop Tour of Mont Blanc

By | Uncategorized

Blacking Out A momentary loss of consciousness.  Like a micro-sleep but without possible resistance.  One minute hugging the right side of the twisting Alpine road and a split second later traversing the centre line; long-honed instincts righting the listing bike before smashing into the asphalt.  Pull to a stop, head sagging, vision desperately seeking focus.  Endgame.  Make or break time.  The devastating realisation that failure could be grabbed from a success so tangible at this final juncture. Caffeine.  The drug of choice; a substance so potent it’d certainly be banned if not so prevalent.  The only possible salvation, and yet…

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The Longest Day

By | Uncategorized

Impending Gloom Thank Christ my legs felt good, spinning a steady tempo as the sweat wept from my brow, gradually forming blobs that dripped down the inside of sunglass lenses.  This climb over half an hour old by now, definitely getting older by the minute.  Redundant phone, no GPS signal and a trail ‘map’ that was an abstract masterpiece lacking essential detail.  This ascent should apparently top out at Champoussin at 1580m but the Garmin altimeter had clicked way beyond that, the relief of reaching the peak tempered by the uneasy impression that dropping down the far side would guarantee…

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Pain in the Arse? Stanton Rigel Saddle Review

By | Uncategorized

Bunch of Arse Arses, everybody’s got one, fat, thin, wide, narrow, round, square, well… maybe not square, but we do all have one and they’re all different.  And because of that, talking about comfort in a saddle review is basically wasted wordage so I’ll barely bother, one person’s fluffy bunny is another person’s barbed wire coated lump of granite. So, quick answer to the title, it’s a no for me, the Stanton Rigel saddle is not a pain in the arse at all.  Even on saggy shorted epics, six hours of sitting on a sopping chamois chafing away at wrinkled…

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Chasing Armadillos – The Conversion of a Bike Park Non-Believer

By | Uncategorized

Dropping In I waited patiently on the far side of the dusty track whilst the huddled armadillos shuffled to the edge of the wooden drop and peered into the abyss.  Adrenaline just bubbling under a solid ceiling of focus, full commitment guaranteed.  Machine-gun Spanish conversation incomprehensible, but the tone was clearly recognisable and matched the furrowed brows just visible below full-face lids.  They backed away sheepishly, awkwardly manoeuvreing DH superbikes, opening a gap just wide enough to squeeze through.  Half a pedal rev, small bunny hop to clear the gap and ‘whoosh, whump’ into the steep downhill landing fifteen feet…

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Functional Art – Stanton Switch9er Ti Long Term Review

By | Uncategorized

But Why?…. Why the hell do I ride a hardtail? It’s not like it’s a puritantical stance against technological advance.  If that were the case then I’d also still be on a 150mm stem, 540mm bars, 26″ wheels and those god awful tan wall tyres.  Oh, wait, those have made a comeback?!  Maybe the Flexstem and that batshit Slingshot bike with the wire for a down tube will be next, after all, fashion is cyclical. But bikes aren’t fashion (not for most of us anyway), they’re engineering, and sometime in the last three decades full-suspension frames have honed to an…

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The Bodies We Want

By | Uncategorized

I’ll let you into a wee secret; I don’t look great naked. Pigeon chest, skinny arms, freakishly out of proportion calves balanced on delicate ankles, and you definitely don’t want to see my toenails! Maybe not the most alluring of images. Now obviously this is a subjective viewpoint, and one succumbing to the prescribed narrative of accepted beauty norms; but essentially when I wander round a swimming pool, the gathered ladies (and men) aren’t often peeking over the top of their shades for an eyeful of my chiselled torso. There was a time when first discovering a previously untapped aptitude…

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Feeding The Dog

By | Coaching, Running

Fascinating Food Diet fascinates me; the ways in which our relationship with food has such a profound impact on physical capabilities or lack thereof is truly incredible.  On a basic level, diet significantly dictates how two people born at exactly the same weight and size can subsequently grow to be totally different in shape.  Obviously genetics and exercise also have a huge part to play but if we took identical twins, made them partake in exactly the same exercise regime but fed one twice as much as the other then the results wouldn’t be hard to predict. As an endurance…

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Turn Off, Tune In

By | Running

A gentle ‘on your right’ as I aimed to nip past the walker who was occupying the whole trail, poles spread wide… ‘JESUS CHRIST!!!’ A shocked screech as she jumped further into my path, forcing me on to the peaty hummocks, throwing me an aggressive accusational stare… ‘You could’ve f**cking warned me!!’ The apology almost fell from my lips, the curse of the polite, bumped into on the high-street and still issuing my regrets, but something overrode and instead I ignored and ran on, yards away before my brain computed the hard facts.  I’d been approaching for minutes, the epic…

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Skills Acquisition and Nonlinear Coaching

By | Coaching

Warning – This blog forms part of my portfolio for the new Cycling Ireland Level 2 Coaching Qualification.  As such, it may not be the most entertaining article ever!  If you’re interested in coaching though and specifically the process of skills acquisition, grab a cuppa and read on. Skills Acquisition and Nonlinear Pedagogy I’ve been a professional mountain bike skills coach for over a decade, and pride myself on sessions that inspire the most appropriate and rapid improvements from riders.  To achieve this, my approach has altered vastly over the years, prioritising different techniques, and developing and learning new approaches, whilst…

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