Wednesday, 24 October 2012


It's time to put away the summer bike (when was it!?) and swing a leg over another trusty steed. The Lemond with it's cannibal orange is anything but subtle, however this is....
update and not so subtle...

Stay upright

Sunday, 21 October 2012

rest day

There was a cross race today, but this guffer decided to head out on the local, gloopy trails. The total distance was a smidge over what a cross race would total. The elapsed time was double and my legs where still burning on the return to be done for next weekend.

Stay upright

Sunday, 14 October 2012

wiggly worms

if you look closely....
There's a childhood joy of being head to toe in mud, and for those of us that had the delight of growing up with a sister, worms just added to the fun! I'm sure many of us have chased screaming siblings around as they attempted to escape from a brother who had his hands full of muddy, slippery, wiggly worms - good times.

Recently, cyclesguff has been spending a lot of time in mud. The Scottish Cyclocross season is under way. So far, the conditions under tyre have been wet, gloopy, slippy and sticky. The blue skies above have helped to quickly dry out the mudpack on legs, arms, face etc just in time to shake it all off before heading home. The two event courses to date have been very different with today's Auchentoshan race (sadly no whisky) being an absolute blast. Today was quite possibly one of the most challenging hours I have spent trying to stay on the bike in recent years. The course had it's fair share of interesting sections, the kind of places where dog owners loose their pooches. The advice of; sit back, loosen the grip and hold on was well received, but you could just tell that the crowd was baiting for mud and blood. Talking of crowds, the numbers were down on last week and the encouragement as riders clambered up the various 'walls' could have been better - come on, cheer us on!

Last week's event benefitted from a wonderful weekend of sun and families making the most of Callendar Park in Falkirk. The course was less technical and almost encouraged riders along as they flowed through sections and could even catch breath on a gentle descent of blaze. 

In starck contrast to today's brutality, the meandering course allowed riders to dismount at will and steep sections and ramps could be ridden with gusto. Whether this was strategic decision at the hands of the series organisers remains to be seen - give those new to the sport a 'gentle' taste of mud and they'll be back. 

I thought only dogs did that...
The starting field at all levels is impressive. What isn't quite so impressive is the feeling when you are catching someone, only to realise that they are going slower due to a mechanical. This is obviously a feature of cross, but for me, it doesn't tick the same box as catching someone on a climb. That subtle feeling of reeling in the red rag at cross is an entirely different beast. It's fair to say that I didn't catch that many people, so the feeling may change, then again, so had my fitness levels.

Stay upright

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Park Life

football pitches get everywhere
With all the news surrounding the opening of the fabulous Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, tickets selling out in minutes and the teasing list of riders turning up for the Thunderdrome on the 27th October, the news regarding the refurbished 400m (402m to be exact) velodrome in Caird Park, Dundee could easily be overlooked. Credit is due to all who had the persistence, passion and commitment to see this through.

It also happens to be the place where Sir Chris Hoy won his first Scottish Scratch Race Championship title.

I have many fond memories of frenetic schoolboy and junior races being held there. The events also commanded good crowds and a lost dog making it's presence felt was usually the order of the day. The training was always fun, but started with being handed a stiff brush to remove the detritus from the excesses of the teenage drinking sessions from the night before. The track also had a reputation of removing skin; a tumble learning to ride fixed on a tarmac surface (or was it concrete) resulted in bruised pride and a few plasters. Thankfully, this didn't happen too often, once was enough.

I've not visited the track for many years, but the next time I'm back, I'll stop by and hopefully have a ride. In the meantime, tonight's malt and memory trigger is a Glen Elgin. The nose is initially smokey, followed by toffee. Taste has a hint of liquorice with peppery spice that lingers on the lips. It's from 1986, fitting as I was thirteen years old back then and quite possibly on my way home from a late season trip to the track before the weekly club meeting.

The sublime Glen Elgin malt was a kind gift from Routemaster General and was handed over after we completed the first round of the 2012 Scottish Cyclocross Series - a wee report is on it's way.

Stay upright

Monday, 1 October 2012


The travels of cyclesguff continue; it's just a pity that a recent trip to Antwerp wasn't earlier in the year or even a few weeks back to enjoy the full Philippe Gilbert effect. Sitting at home watching the world unfold on TV, I had an image of the fabulous Phil Ligget in my head - his body moving in uncontrolled excitement, ear cans on, mic close to his lips, trying not to mention that his name was painted on the road, Paul Sherwen is sitting alongside, eagerly waiting for a millisecond gap to open for a chance of a few words. Suddenly, a Belgium rider bursts from the leaders, showing the rest of the bunch how you remind the critics what a great rider is capable of. PHIL on the road conjured up a weird scene, especially as I was watching Eurosport. Just keep an eye on Le Tour 2013 coverage for DUFFERS

Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp is the start town of the semi-classic (terrible reference)  Grote Scheldeprijs. I have to admit my ignorance and inform fellow guffers that this race has never made it onto my radar. It just so happens to be the oldest bike race in Flanders, and has a list of winners from Roger De Vlaeminck to Mark Cavendish. Cavendish jointly holds the record for most wins with the Belgian, Piet Oellibrandt. Depending on where Cavendish ends up in 2013, he may have some tasty Belgium team mates to contend with if he's looking for the outright record of four wins.

The Grote Scheldeprijs starts just outside the Antwerp City Hall. The bike parking inside is a reminder of how central the bicycle is to life in Flanders. 

If you ever have the chance to visit Antwerp, go for it! I didn't have much time to explore the city, but what I did see and experience will certainly result in a return journey. 

This wonderful Derny deserves a just because...
Stay upright