StrathPuffer – the countdown
Conditions today. Light drizzle, about 1ºC at bottom and 0ºC higher up. Bit of wind.
The start – wet FR, no ice, no problems
Start of the 1st bit of ST
Just before 1st ST joins FR. Usually a puddle, now a substantial stream. Track up to this point still in reasonable nick apart from a few avoidable mudholes.
FR near Loch na Cran. Slushy snow and ice, but nothing mud tyres can’t handle.
Near the top of FR climb – the slush etc is deeper but still no problem. 4WDs have cleared a line.
End of the FR at the top of zigzags. Forgot to take a pic at icy corner – deep slush and large puddles.
Start of ST at Haribo Hill. I reckon it will be renamed Horrible Hill after a few 100 bikes have been over it. Didn’t even try riding it to avoid cutting it up more. Loads of loose rocks.
Rock chute. The slush was very slippery, but there were clear bits of rock with plenty grip.
The deer fence. Track ok, enough rocky bits to give grip.
But if got a bit mushy after
Top of ST zigzags (after Bridge of Thighs). Track getting cut up but plenty grip.
Revolving chair – ok up to here
Descent from Revolving Chair – getting mucky and slithery
ST approach to View Rock. Track in good nick.
Start of View Rock descent. Good to start and plenty grip on way down, but starting to get mushy.
This stream is the final bit of ST in the woods. Now a deep stream with lots of deep holes. Waded it 🙂
Hopes this helps you folks with your preparations.Posted 9 years ago
Cheers for that.
I have now given up all hope of keeping my feet dry. 😥Posted 9 years ago
Thanks epicyclo. So what’s the forecast for Saturday ? Looks like its gonna be fun !Posted 9 years ago
doglover – Member
Thanks epicyclo. So what’s the forecast for Saturday ? Looks like its gonna be fun !
Looks to be a trifle windy….Posted 9 years ago
Can you buy SPD welly boots? Would make a killing this weekend at the puffer
Might invest in a wet suit also! Are these breathable 😉Posted 9 years ago
Amazing how much of the snow had gone between when we went and you took the pictures. I’m sure it’ll all be gone by the weekend. That’s good because it was tough spotting obstacles and the rock chute was covered (which, bizarrely, made it seem less intimidating to me with Ice Spikers on)
As a commuter from north side of the Black Isle, I can pretty much tell you that forecasts will still be guesses at best. I’ve seen night time temps from +3 to -3 forecast for Saturday night and daytime temps from 3 to 8c. No forecast for heavy precipitation which is good but plenty of rain between now and then.
I managed to keep my feet dry until tht final ST stream which I was fording nicely until one of my team mates hit a branch and stopped dead in front of me.Posted 9 years ago
Even with the massive mudguards on my bike, after one lap my back was soaked. My feet were dry though. 🙂Posted 9 years ago
A friend who did the puffer a couple of years back doesn’t reckon mud tyres are necessary.
From the pictures (I know, I know), there’ seems to be only one picture where it mud tyres would be needed. Everything seems to have a fairly hard base underneath, which goes with what my mate said. Is this fair?
(I can’t find my mud tyres and don’t really want to buy new ones that I’ll only use for this.)Posted 9 years ago
He’s probably right. But it’s never been this wet so close to it before, and we’ve had some right mudbaths.
Now imagine it after a few hundred bikes per hour have passed over it….
However I’ve never used mud tyres in the ‘Puffers that weren’t icy and it’s just a matter of judging the conditions in the bits where it is (my usual tactic was to walk them).Posted 9 years ago
I know 5 Puffer veterans and every single one has said “mud tyres” first when I said I was doing it. I’m sure you can do it without but they do seem recommended.Posted 9 years ago
To be fair Mudxs aren’t too bad on the bits they’re not needed for either…Posted 9 years ago
Anyone been up today? Any snow left ? 🙂Posted 9 years ago
Not been to puffer course but the general area has been very wet all day with sleet on the higher ground .
Mudfest I reckon!Posted 9 years ago
Took the dog a walk on part of it. Much as yesterday, but less snow/slush.
Sinking up to bootlaces in some parts.Posted 9 years ago
If Epicyclo says you need mud tyres then you need mud tyres. End of story.Posted 9 years ago
I used mud tyres a couple of years ago. Its not the sticky claggy mud of SITS – but it is slippy and can be deep.
Conti edges are what I used – dead cheapPosted 9 years ago
That bike looks amazing.Posted 9 years ago
Great bike and great set of pictures on flickr – I’ve been a visitor to the area for 4 years now and haven’t seen any of it judging by your photos, thanks for the insight!Posted 9 years ago
Soaked to the skin and freezing cold……and that’s just from spending the last wee while loading the van and trailer up with Puffer kit!!!Posted 9 years ago
Not been up but it’s been raining a lot and it’s 4c this evening.
Pretty sure the snow will be gone – the forecasts are converging to a high of 6c and a low of 2 or 3c. Looks like it will be windy – though the prevailing wind should actually blow you up the fire road (aye, right)Posted 9 years ago
I’ve spent this evening extending my mudguards and filling various bearings with grease.
The rain is still pretty drenching.
For those interested in alternative brakes that will last out the ‘Puffer, here’s what my rear drum brake looked like inside after one filthy lap. Basically spotless. Shame it isn’t a wee bit more powerful 🙂
Yup – Dingwall has had over 0.5″ of rain today.
Mud tyres and sintered pads fitted. Hardware all packed up for loading into the team van tomorrow night.
Makes sense to pack the brakes out of the way of the mud. There’s probably more that could be done to protect discs from mud too. As is always the way with brakes, it’s a compromise between protecting them and keeping them cool.Posted 9 years ago
Looking forward to it.
Have some Nobby Nics on at the moment but will bring some mud tyres along for when it gets really cut up.Posted 9 years ago
Been round helping with trail marking and drainage. Got rid of many of the worst pools, so now we need the rain to hold off.
Bonus – all the rain has washed all the dirt of the rocks so there’s tons of grip on the rocky parts of the course.
I suspect ordinary tyres would be ok if you don’t mind a bit of slithering in places.
Forecast is good, so this may be the Tropical Creampuff ‘Puffer.Posted 9 years ago
Well it’s been snowing and sleeting on the Black Isle this evening though the forecast for tomorrow is better.
I’ll just be happy if it’s doesn’t rain or freeze at night.Posted 9 years ago
Ice-tastic this morning ……Posted 9 years ago
Very mild (9c) this afternoon, a bit of rain and only a light breeze.Posted 9 years ago
i was in my lbs today – none of us are going this year – and we watched some poor fool do his final prep before leaving. i’m sure he’ll have a great time and, had we been going, we’d have been well up for it. as it is we all had a creeping sense of satisfaction we’d all be in our beds come tomorrow. good luck to everyone who’s doing it tho.Posted 9 years ago
Any final thoughts on tyre choice? There was obviously a lot of water about up there todayPosted 9 years ago
Tyre choice –
I’d go for any old XC type tyre with decent knobs and mid size in width – skinny enough to cut into the mud but not so skinny it sinks into the soft wet forest road and is rubbish in the rocky bits.
I’ve got a bonty jones 2.2 on the back and maxxis beaver 2.0 on the front. Bonty is probably the ideal tyre for the conditions (puffer is my regular loop) but I only have one decent one left.Posted 9 years ago
Will my default tyres (Racing Ralph & Rocket Ron) do the trick? I’m such a newb to this type of cycling. My Cube gets most of its miles in snow and bad ice so spends most of its time on Ice Spiker Pros as I commute from Culbokie to Raigmore all year.Posted 9 years ago
I haven’t used the Rocket Ron, but my usual tyre on my 29er is a Racing Ralph, and that would be fine. There will be some slithery stuff though, but not a huge %age IMO.
You could use the Ice Spiker as a mud tyre if it’s needed, so take them. They grip well on muddy rocks.
Of course, everything could change overnight…Posted 9 years ago
meanredspider – are you by any chance to be seen powering up the hill from the Findon junction to Duncanston (A9)of a morning at about 07.35ish (for most of 2011, riding a Boardman roadbike)?? I saw that guy alot this summer/autumn as I was making my way from Inverness to Invergordon.Posted 9 years ago
I have some Trailrakers if it gets muddy – they just feel quite heavy. I’ve done the course twice with the Ice Spikers – had a few issues with grip on the bare rocks (rock chute was exciting) but they weren’t bad – again, quite heavy. The fire road climb (one of the easiest bits for me as its like the last bit of my commute home) looked in really good nick and the tracks through the wooded areas were fine too. Think I’ll try the Ralph/Ron combo on my first lap and swap to the Trailrakers if/when it cuts up badlyPosted 9 years ago
Bigdonx – hmm – I don’t think that’s me. I have a Focus Cayo for the drier months then swap to a Boardman CX for the crappy weather. I go Culbokie, Knockbain, Tore, Bogallan, Kessock Br, Raigmore on the way in – though it is about 7.30 I set off so I’m close to there.Posted 9 years ago
Meanredspider – You stay off the A9 altogether then?? Must be another guy – whoever he is, he’s out of the saddle going for it all the way up the hill……
Anyhow, I digress, good luck with the Puffer – I’ve decided to retire this year, but may well come along to spectate for a while on Saturday evening.
Trailrakers were my tyre of choice btw – about the only use they got all year!Posted 9 years ago
I avoid the A9 as much as possible. I do a short dash down the hill to the Tore roundabout but don’t do the reverse route as it means sitting in the middle of the road – nearly got wiped out by a BMX X6 overtaking up the hill at the junction!
Cheers. I’m probably over-thinking the whole tyre thing but I know how much difference they make on the roadie. It’s a good job I’ve only had a week to prepare! Thanks for the support.Posted 9 years ago
Well here goes. It’s cold and raining just now on site. The gazebos have already blown away once. One destroyed, other repaired 🙂
Now it’s just time for eating and drinking beside a wee heater in the team accommodation then some rest before the excitement begins. 11:30 to go. Yippeeee.
:-))Posted 9 years ago
Best of luck o mental mad people, hope it is as good as you want it to be if you want it to be good, or as horrible as you want it to be if you want it to be horrible.
PS bonus points for beating Guy Martin.Posted 9 years ago
Doing some last minute fettling in the shed at the mo 10 miles from puffer ground zero. Glad I’m not in a tent at contin, it’s lashing down here 😮Posted 9 years ago
Just about to give my wellies on flats a go. We have a SUDS pond over the street from us and I’ve never seen it so full.
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