Tag Archives: mountain biking

Night riderĀ 

The nights are drawing in. Tomorrow marks the Autumn Equinox, the point at which day and night are equal in duration. After that it’s a dark slippery slope towards winter. 

But that’s just fine by me as it means a chance to get out and ride in the dark and I love it! 

Even the most familiarly mundane and benign trails in daylight somehow come alive at night, like some nocturnal beast, awaking with an empty belly and a need to snatch the first sight of prey that happens upon its path. 

Trails which could be ridden backwards by day take on a whole new dimension, the smallest lumps and bumps seem magnified and trees which you wouldn’t give a second glance by day suddenly become axe murderers. 

But you’re well armed with a gazzilion Suns blasting from your head torch and you start to ease into the ride, nipping through switchbacks, ramping it up on the descents until, without warning, the trail beast reaches out and grabs you, ensnaring you with a stealthily placed rock which sends you flying over the bars. 

The brain works overtime and in the split second between hitting the Rock and the ground you find yourself running through a series of thoughts – “what the fuck?!”, “this is gonna hurt”, “hope my bike’s not busted” before finally landing in a heap on the ground. 

You take a moment to check you’ve not broken any bones and then quickly on to more important matters – how’s the bike? Bones can be reset, muscles repaired but bikes, well they cost money! 

The rest of the ride is spent at a slightly more conservative pace, pride and confidence knocked a little. Until tomorrow night… šŸ˜‰ 

Week ???

Well I’ve lost all track of time and all momentum, week 9, 10? Who knows. 

What I do know is that London to Brighton is just two weeks away. Yep, 74 miles of mud, gravel, road, ups and downs is just two weeks away. And I’m not gonna be there. I think. 

Basically having just come back from two weeks holiday and about three weeks off the bike dealing with a hip dysplasia flair up before that, I’m having to give serious consideration to whether I’m able to ride the L2B. 

I’ve just been out on my bike, a gentle 8 miler, mostly off road, but 74 miles? Hmmn. I reckon I could do it. But I’m not really in shape. It would be a suffer fest. And could balls up my hips for another three/four weeks after. I’m not really prepared to go through that agony again just for a t-shirt and a finishers medal, no matter how shiny it may be. 

I think setting goals with my hip dysplasia is counter intuitive. Yes goals are good (and I wouldn’t have nailed the South Downs epic earlier this summer if it wasn’t for my L2B goal) but the commitment (and expense) kinda writes a cheque that my hips can’t always cash. 

I’ll see how I feel when the weekend in question comes around, I did after all complete the South Downs epic and managed (just) all the hills over what was a seriously hilly 40 miler. 

But my thinking now is more along the lines of just get out and ride, without ambitious goals pencilled in the diary. Sure I’ll still have goals and still will attempt some ambitious rides as hip pain allows, but they will be on my own terms, at a time and date of my choosing and with the option to back out without being out of pocket. 

And that (to me at least) seems more in keeping with the ethos of mtb anyway – of riding (and finding) your own path, rather than a pre set, signposted and marshalled course. 

London to Brighton off roadĀ 

It’s been a while since I trained properly for a sports event. Tearing my hip labrum and discovering I had hip dysplasia in 2012 pretty much put an end to my brief time as a triathlete. 

back when I was fitter and considerably lighter!


Fast forward to 2016 and I’m 18 months recovered from surgery on my right hip. It’s been a long road but this year has been the first in a long while that I’ve felt able to consistently exercise. I still get pain in my hip and also now in my left hip but on the whole, it’s manageable. 

I’ve decided to set myself a goal, to complete the off-road version of the London to Brighton bike ride in September. I did the road version in 2011. Not only is this one off-road, it’s longer than the road version (75 miles to be exact). Dodgy hips or not, it’s gonna hurt like a bitch. 

I’m gonna blog about my journey to (hopefully) toeing the start line and finishing the ride. I’ve been loosely training and riding regularly but without a plan since April, so I’m starting the blog a bit late but I felt the need to record and prove to myself (and others suffering with hip dysplasia) that a healthy and active life can be achieved. 

Anyway, tonight’s ride was sprint repeats on the bike…