Monday Morning Debrief 74

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OK, it’s not the morning any more, but we’ve been busy compiling the good times that the Singletrack extended family got up to over the weekend. Seems that a bit of cold, grey weather isn’t enough to put people off around here!

Jason Miles
I took part in the inaugural Kielder Chiller 24 hour race. I was taking it relatively easy this time in the pairs category (or so I thought) with Phil Simcock.
Horizontal sleet, high winds and blizzards made sure that whoever finished the race really wanted to finish – either that or they just had more brake pads than anyone else. The special Northumberland mud annihilated brake pads and fired grit into every nook and cranny of bikes and bodies.

Prize fighting?

In spite of an “aaarghhh no brakes!” over-the-bars crash resulting in a broken nose five hours from the end, we won the pairs category! Hurrah for us!

That’ll be the Team JMC lot then. That has to be the ‘before’ shot as they[‘re all clean and cheerful…
Antony, meanwhile was out bike testing in the snow – and given that he was on a Scottish-built bike, he sought out our local herd of Highland Coos…

Scottish AF (Irn Bru and Tunnocks Teacakes just out of shot)

A photo posted by Antony (@getthybearings) on

Rachael Sokal
The weekend started early on Friday with a day off work which I’d use to build my new Cotic Rocket

Build a Rocket
Turned out lovely!
It’s lovely once you’re in it…
Tom Hill of this parish, leading the way with his glowing lid.


All up and together? Nice work!

Things started to go down hill somewhat when I realised the rear wheel from the donor bike and the new frame had a significant 6mm difference in their axles; an error which was both irritating and expensive in equal measures Unable to source a wheel in time, this left me on the XC race bike on Saturday’s ride with Tom and the other half in the Dark Peak. The weather was suitably bleak and not at all suited to the summer race tyres I was still running. Our enthusiasm for socialising, coffee, cake and chatting to the chaps in 18 Bikes far outweighed that for actually riding although we did managed a good blast of winter bleakness.

Adele Mitchell

This weekend – my first ride ever on a gravel/life/adventure bike (Cotic Escapade) . Managed to ‘get air’ on a stony descent: not actually intentional but I’ll pretend it was. Anyway a lot of fun and a bit of a gauntlet thrown down so yet more great reasons to go for a bike ride.

So much green! And what about tan sidewalls folks?

Olly Townsend
That was what’s known as a character building weekend I think…. After being ill for more than two months, I finally got rid of the plague a week ago so was determined to get out on my bike this weekend. I hadn’t even sat on a bike for more a month (since the puppy rescue incident in fact) which was sub-optimal to say the least.

Looking a little drifty there…
Olly looks pretty drifty too…
At least you weren’t racing…


Bit like the weather forecast for Sat morning for Newcastle

Luckily Kielder was slightly less hideous, so we decided to head there as we figured that solely/snow was better than torrential rain. Conditions low down weren’t that lovely (cold, windy, drizzly) but once you started to climb you soon entered Narnia – the drizzle turned to snow and everything suddenly looked amazing – coated with a dusting of white. The trail pixies has been out in force and the Lonesome Pine trail descent (which used to be quite broken up) is now mega – super flowy, fast and fun again. All was well with the world.
We headed out for a loop of the Deadwater Trail after lunch (trying to keep out of the way of the nutters doing the Kielder Chill 24 hour race) which was equally fun. Although the thought of riding for another 20+ hours was too hideous to contemplate.

Making the most of it… la la la…
Sunshine tomorrow, honest

Sunday dawned hot and sunny/ Oh, no I lied, it’s February. Sunday was equally foul, but we headed out for a loop of local trails just so that we could really earn our lunch. The weather and the mud got progressively nastier as the ride went on. When your toes go cold in boots designed to work to -30something you know it’s pretty grim out!
I wonder if I can become a brand ambassador for Persil?

Charlie Bikemonger
And just to show that it’s not all grey and snowy (well, it is, but hey…) – Charlie the Bikemonger has been off to Arizona for the Arizona Singlespeed Champs and the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. And, not that he’s showing off, but he sent these in…

Shorts weather and matching Jones bikes. Nice.
That is some strong jersey action there…


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

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