Sunday, 12 August 2018

Treacherous conditions suit Trentin

In an epic of display of how to Stay Upright, Italy's Matteo Trentin has won the 2018 European Road Race Championship in Glasgow.

With an air temp hovering around 14c, an unforgiving and undulating course of sodden road surfaces, tight bends and directional changes, the greasy conditions were far from ideal. The riders provided a stunning spectacle of riding technique and bravery. The pace, motion and noise of a peleton hurtling through a city in these conditions is a visceral experience. 

Towards the end of the race, isolated dry sections started to appear but riders faces covered in grime from their multiple tours of Glasgow told the real story. It was a tough and treacherous day to be in the saddle. 

Well done to all involved with the Euro 2018 Championships.

Stay upright



Saturday, 11 August 2018


The guffers are looking forward to catching up and watching the European 2018 Road Race championships in Glasgow tomorrow. I doesn't seem like 4 years have passed since Big G won the Commonwealth games:

It's maybe time for Glasgow to consider putting in a bid to the UCI with the aim of hosting the Worlds. The City Circuit and TT circuit appear to have been well received. Even Chris Boardman was making comments about the spectacular scenery and roads North of Glasgow. He's spent enough time around the Globe to pass judgement. The opportunity to expand the City Circuit and take in climbs like the Crow Road, Tap o'the World, Tak me doon and even stretching it out to the Duke's Pass would make for a very challenging course. The aerial footage alone would be worth viewing. 

Stay upright

Thursday, 9 August 2018

V for Victor

The 2018 European Championships are well under way and my local village turned out in force to support the Mens Time Trial. Victory was for Victor Campenaerts, an incredible time of 54:3:78 for the 45.7km course. Those of us that know these lumpy roads will appreciate how fast that time is. There are going to be a few disgruntled local Strava KOM heroes out there. The roads have even been improved thanks to surfacing work. Overall, they are still in pretty bad shape and a repair carried out 3 minutes prior to the riders arriving isn't ideal. 

BBC presenter Hazel Irvine mentioned that Strathblane should receive a Gold medal for turn out! Kudos should also go to Sean Botha and his recent Blane Valley Bikes launch. More can be found at

Next stop is the Road Race on Sunday. It's a pity that the route is laps of Glasgow City Centre. Cyclesguff plus others have discussed the possibility of the route making more of TT circuit and exploring more of the stunning scenery and routes outside of Glasgow and finishing with a few laps of the City Centre circuit. Then again, that would no doubt require an army of pothole and road repair fixers...

Stay upright

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Time Loop

There's a loop that I often ride if time is not on my side. The terrain and surface varies from blacktop, disused railway lines, parts of the West Highland Way, the John Muir Way, singletrack, forest roads and Ford crossings. 380m of elevation gain in a loop of 26k isn't huge but there are some fairly short, steep ascents to contend with. This route is also a gauge for how dry it is. There's a singletrack section that always has puddles of mud with large stones under the surface patiently waiting to catch the unwary peddler. The other night was different, the incredible dry spell and high temperatures has resulted in scorched trails that have to be ridden to be experienced. Rooster tails of dust have replaced mud splattered bike, bodies and clothing. 

The Bokeh has not been ridden for a few weeks. I've been waiting on new disc pads and the Stache was the go to ride.  Thoughts focusing on changing my mud tyres for something more suitable for bone dry trails are all too common. The problem is limited time, and I'd rather just get out and ride my bike instead of swapping treads. I really should do it soon. The Stache on Minions in these conditions is a drifting, dusty steam roller. It also requires new BB bearings. 

With new pads fitted to the Bokeh. The all too common reviewers buzzwords of feel, modulation and power are back in abundance. If anyone is interested, an upgrade from the original SRAM Force Hydro R pads to Swissstop sintered has been money well spent. 

Stay upright

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Scots Dialect

Shand Cycles have certainly raised the cycling community's awareness of Scots Dialect through the names of their frames. It's great to see them being recognised for their work and quality on bikerumour.  The bikes look even better in the flesh.

Stay upright

Friday, 18 May 2018

Split Personality

55k, 916m ascent

This guffer has made a few comments in the past about sportives and the culture that has grown alongside the rise of the activity. A recent mini escape into the Perthshire Glens provided time once again to reflect upon sportive experiences of the past and the differences to the ultra marathon scene. My other half was running in the GlenLyon Ultra, 31 miles of epic scenery and pain to accompany the strides. BAM do a great job and the atmosphere at the beginning of the event is as refreshing as it is laid back (have a look on their site for a definition of BAM).  Just like cyclists, runners demonstrate the classic symptoms of pre-start nerves:

1.Entrants stand in long queues waiting for a portaloo to become available 
2.The classic last-minute tweaking and faffing with kit is clear to see
3.The overall ambience and atmosphere is a pleasant experience
4.You always hear someone asking if they have enough gels

However, there isn’t the bravado of the ‘all the gear and no idea brigade’ to deal with as you can’t exactly draft and be towed along by the bunch, or by a small number of riders who are willing to put in the effort and do their bit on the front.  Covering in excess of 30 miles of trails, multiple river crossings, ascending and descending scree on shank’s pony is not something to take lightly and this is where the main differences lie. Ultra Runners tend to look out for one another, stories of runners sacrificing their PB to help others, share out kit, food and even provide and listen to advice(!) is very common. 

The level of investment in kit and the all-important ‘van life’ decision is another parallel with cycling, especially the mtb scene. The area surrounding the start looked like a camper van section of a spring classic had been teleported into deepest Perthshire. 

Beep Beep
Pitlochry will no doubt look something similar this weekend as the Etape Caledonia rolls in and out of town. Thankfully, the ultra scene isn’t affected by a small section of society that doesn’t seem to appreciate the investment and interest that sportives create for the immediate and surrounding area – you just can’t please some people…..

The day after my Ultra-support duties, I decided to take the Mason Bokeh over Ben Lawers, down to Bridge of Balgie and then along Glen Lyon and back over towards Kenknock and Killin. Time and energy permitting, there was also the option of following the running route around Loch Lyon – that didn’t happen. 

Ben Lawers Dam
If time was on my side, I would have swapped the 650b set up for the 700c and WTB Nanos. The WTB Rangers were a drag for 80% of the time, but came into their own on a few sections of the brilliant descent towards Bridge of Balgie. The road surface isn’t too bad, there are a few potholes and sections of gravel on the crown of the road to deal with. It has been a while since I spent so long on the roads, but one thing hasn’t changed. Isn’t it interesting how certain drivers can’t wait to get passed cyclists on singletrack roads, but when things point downwards, they don’t make use of passing places to let cyclists past? The number of sheep and lambs on the road provided opportunities to nip past as cars slowed down. This was another string to the Bokeh’s current set up. A quick switch from tarmac to grassy road side and you had the descent to enjoy. 

The ride along Glen Lyon is stunning. Scenery and sky that make you stop and absorb the fact that you are in an area of outstanding beauty. The wind on the other hand was an absolute bugger! 

The first 1km of the climb out of Loch Lyon heading toward Kenknock is steep and unforgiving, other than that, the climb is a pleasant experience. 

The descent is another matter altogether. There are sections completely devoid of tarmac, strewn with potholes and gravel. Choosing a line and braking zones resulted in less time looking at the scenery and more time trying to stay upright. 

River Lochy
Thankfully, the Bokeh was sure footed and just kept wanting to be let off the leash. The 55km route was shared with a few walkers, one trail runner, one cyclist and a Golden Eagle.

If you do happen to be reading this before this weekends Etape Caledonia, enjoy the weather, do your bit on the front and Stay upright