Mountain Bike Blog

Foxy Lady vs Garden Gate

Imagine being able to hire the bike of your dreams, or at least one that was advertised as “a game changer”, that you were curious about. To put it in context, it was also whilst I was desperate to get out on a bike, and get a ride around the Swinley trail centre. It will be about 3 months since I have ridden a bike, and riding at the remodelled Swinley trail centre for the first time in about 3 years. My own bikes were (and still are !) in a shipping container somewhere in transit from overseas. I had planned to ride on my own, but a good mate of mine was now free, and a cunning plan was made to meet up.


The swinley bike hub trailhead shop opened at 9am (I was there at 8.45am and chomping at the bit). By 9.15 they had very casually managed to get the mondraker foxy out of their bike store. After a very patronising briefing about how strong disc brakes can be and how to use gears and hydraulic seat post etc I was ready. Hold on… I wasn’t. The brake levers are touching the handlebars, when I joked “do the brakes had any pads in” I got the response “oh some people like them like that” that and a shrug of the shoulders and I knew I was not going to get anywhere.

How about the fork (fox 34) it had a very slow rebound and the adjuster was stuck. The guy tried to adjust it, failed and I got another shrug of the shoulders. This is pointless less I thought so we headed off for some laps of the new blue and red routes.


The track was wet and slippery after the rain pouring down the day before. Luckily the tracks were not actually too muddy, as the tracks have well quite designed drainage built in. The weather was actually keeping many people away (including a few of my riding pals), but I personally could not wait to get covered in mud as it had been so long since I had ridden in the wet, or in fact in the UK. The car park was packed, even with the pay & display charging. I would say 70-80% of the cars were owned by mountain bikers. This place is getting pretty popular I thought.

So how was the bike ? Well the new foxy (this was a 2016 Foxy R) has a distinctively long top tube. Even more so in a large size. They call it Forward geometry, and the long top tube is coupled with really short stem (30mm). Its designed for maximum stability on the descents and is considered cutting edge geometry.

There are lots of punchy but relatively short climbs at Swinley. The ride was twitchy on the climbs as expected. Unfortunately, the weight of the bike was very noticeable (approx. 32lb), this thing weighs a tonne, my aching legs confirmed this. For a short travel 140/150mm bike this is heavy, albeit it felt like you could probably give it some hardcore abuse if able to or if you had working brakes :). It certainly did seem stable at speed although I was not to confident to play too much on the jumps. What started off feeling like a garden gate was actually starting to feel ok, overall I found it relatively easy to get to used to .

To add to the poor servicing woes (brakes and fork), the SRAM gears were not well adjusted and I wasn’t getting all 11 gears. This and a sticking Reverb seat post were adding up to being a major distraction – not what you need when trying to have a blast around a great trail. The brakes were just plain dangerous so I ended up adjusting the lever throw on the side of the trail.

I also noticed a fair bit of flex in the frame (around the pivot near the bb), knowing the low level of TLC this bike had received, it could well have been worn bearings.  Overall I think the bike had potential but it was just too heavy for me, and unfortunately too poorly maintained to unleash it’s full potential.

When I gave the bike back I reinforced how poorly serviced the bike was, and the excuse I was given was “it was half term last week, so the bikes get a bit trashed”. That to me would mean that if it happens every school holiday, fleet maintenance could be sufficiently planned, but hey, who am I to tell them how to run a business. To be honest I didn’t really enjoy the bike or the hire experience and I certainly will not be hiring from these guys again. It was however, great to be out again, although I cant wait to get back there on my bike, which is built to my spec, and may even have brake pads installed and working suspension 🙂

Coming home for a ride……..

So I am just looking at my reflection in the mirror of an airplane toilet. I notice I still have my oakleys on my head and look at the dark polaroid lenses bought to fight off the piercing strength of the Western Australian sunshine. I don’t think I will be needing them where I am heading.

The plane is on its way to London and my family and I are heading back home after almost 3 years out in Aus. There are many very significant uncertainties about our return such as where will I be working, where will we live, what to do about a car etc. As a very keen mountain biker (as well as a growing fondness for road riding), right now my mind is fixed on what lenses I will be needing for UK winter riding. Some may say I have my priorities all wrong. I know my wife does on a regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong, the riding in Australia was epic. Lots of bush, scrubland, a few rugged bike trails, lots of races, I even did a 12 hr enduro at one point but it is just different. It is hot, sweaty and very dusty riding. You ride covered in suncream, and have to plan to be out early or late in the day to avoid the full strength of the sun.  The guys riding there are fit, really fit. XC/Road race fit. Their fitness and training is very admirable, and it was painful to try to keep up with them. So much so I had to build a lightweight xc bike up to give me the slightest chance of staying up with them on the climbs. It almost worked, luckily downhill was never a problem staying at the front 🙂

Everyone I spoke to in Aus about coming home said to me – why on earth would you want to do that ?. I had people at home in the UK telling me not to do it. Winter sucks, they said, the rain has not stopped all month they said.  Whilst I don’t have choice as my contract was up, I was actually really looking forward to getting back to the UK.

Numerous questions were running through my mind. What tyre choice do I need for greasy, sloppy & muddy trails ? how many layers will I need to wear ? Will my reverse mullet xc bike (business at the back end and party at the front) be enough to keep up with my old riding buddies. How soon can I sample the new UK bike park ? These are the seemingly unimportant questions I am asking myself at the moment. The work and domestic situation are 1 million times more important than this obviously.

The berms, jumps and overall smooth flow of a UK trail centre is exactly what I have been missing. That sweet singletrack and the sculpted jumps designed to throw you safely into the air lined up with a smooth transition. I cant wait to ride some of my old haunts such as Swinley forest, Afan bike Park, Dorking hills to name a few.

Above all of this I miss my old riding buddies. Whilst they are not as quick, or race orientated as my Aussie mates, they ride more for fun and the thrills which ultimately is the best reason to ride. The fitness is a positive benefit but it is not the main raison d’etre. They politely wait at a trailhead to chew the cud, rather than racing off to see who can beat their strava time for the next climb. A few hours ride or a long weekend somewhere become an adventure and great catchup. You always come away with a big grin and stories that will last many years albeit covered in mud, wet and mildly frozen to the core.

For 2016 I will mostly be riding for fun, and the thrill of riding bikes with my mates as well as trying to cover them in roost and mud at every opportunity. By the looks of the boggy looking mud in the local park, I may even need to invest in a mudguard and dig the karcher out of storage in preparation 🙂

My 1st Enduro Race – WA Gravity Enduro, Round 1, Pemberton


“You’re gonna have to give me a while, I don’t want to slow you up”  I nervously told Sam Hill, Mike Jones and a few others as they queued behind me at the start of my first run. Early on a Sunday morning in Feb 15, as  200 men and women were throwing them down the slopes of the pemberton bike park as part of the 1st round of the WA Gravity enduro (wage). The event consisted of 6 timed downhill (mostly) runs and climbs not timed.


 Being in the masters category (40-49) I foolishly thought I might do ok. Little did I know this is actually the most popular and most fiercely contested age group in cycling in WA. Which is why Sam Hill and co were queuing behind me. The riders had been split into 2 groups with one group doing runs 1 through 6, and the other doing 3,4,5,1,2,6. As elite riders in Group 1 they had already done runs 1&2 on the other hill, before the 2nd group (masters) had all completed runs 3. This was not the way I would have planned to start my first enduro race.DSC00080

The timing at the gate at the top of each run gave each rider 30 seconds between each rider. 30 seconds seems like an age when you are waiting for the light to go green and you have some of the world’s best DH World Cup guys directly behind you in the queue. Hopefully they would give me at least a minute.

I had been practicing the day before on this hill. I knew the tracks on this side of the park were incredibly dusty, off camber and rutted with a few lung busting climbs just to finish you off. Luckily I had been adopted into a random group of about 6 guys had all joined up on the trails to practice each section on the Saturday. These guys were really sweet, and on the Sunday whoever you bumped into was wishing you well and asking about how you went on your runs.

Continually worried that one of the elite guys would be breathing down my neck on the run, I was going for it on my first 3 runs. Breathless,  feeling a bit dizzy and exhausted I finished the first three runs. I was pleased that the elite guys had not over taken me, they very kindly took note of my request at beginning. The bike was running well and life was good.

Over to the other hill. I had practiced only one of these runs early before the event and there were demons in my head about some of the woodwork obstacles on run 1. I bumped into DH legend Chris Kovarik at the top of the hill, so I shook his hand wished him well and got ready to start. At 14 seconds he holds the greatest winning margin in the DH world cup from back at Fort William in 2002 (check it out on Youtube).  Luckily there was no one behind me now at the gate, so much less pressure – just me against the track.

Beeeeeeep…….and the green light goes off on the gate, so I head off. There is not much in the tank by now so I am conserving whatever I can. There are lots of doubles at the top which I am rolling fast and absorbing, my jumping ability waining together with my energy. The first big obstacle looms into view, a wooden rack dropping a few feet into a berm. Skill wise it’s nothing and I have done harder things many times. However, after having only rolled this in practice despite its still a threat. I must jump it in race, cleared it – phew, nicely set up for the sweeping right hand berm. Up to next obstacle an 8ft high wooden roller or the chicken run. One of the photographers hollered, and I went towards the woodwork for the first time (I had taken the easy route during practice). Cleared it, and got some well needed encouragement from the photographer at the same time.  Next I was flying down the following fast left hand berm. Massive thud as I hit the dirt. I went down hard for a reason I still don’t understand. The front tyre had slipped out from beneath me. System check done, all ok apart from knee and foot. I had hefty d30 knee pads on so I knew that my knee would be ok by my foot was really throbbing. I pulled the bike off the trail to assess the damage. The bike had landed on the side of my left heel and I thought at best it was a bruised bone. It hurt to walk but was ok on a pedal, so after straightening the handlebars I limped on.


With the run over I had a choice. Do the final two runs (and climbs) or pull out and score no points for this round. I decided to press on. Run 2 was pretty horrible. A nasty rock garden and a few uphill sprints that went on and on. Just what I needed when I felt so broken.

By the time I was doing the 6th and final run I was in a better place. I was looking forward to finishing and actually started to enjoy the final track. It was steep flowey track and some massive wooden berms and the looming finish gate was giving me the motivation to dig deep. I managed a low, fast and semi stylish looking tabletop for one of the final jumps where a crowd had been gathering all weekend. A short  section through the woods by the lake and I saw the finish gate, touched my RFID bracelet on the timer and it was all over. It was a relief to see my wife there waiting for me, although I couldn’t manage much conversation at the time. After an ice pack and a few drinks I was feeling better to watch the podiums and prize giving.


No suprise my queue buddy DH legend Sam Hill  won the event and Chris Kovarik came third in elites. I was way down the field in Masters and just pleased that I had completed the event (many didn’t).



Afterwards a few trips to A&E and an Orthopedic consultant luckily my heal injury was just a bruised bone. Off the bike for a while, and no weight bearing through my heal for a while. Boo 😦

Luckily the positive memories last longer and overall Pemberton was great fun, good trails, great event and there was a really good atmosphere between the riders. I now have a new max heart rate of 197, a pair of crutches that need to go back to the hospital and a vow to my wife that I wont be doing any bike races for a while. At least until bubba is a bit older !

Mount Wellington – North South Track, Hobart, Tasmania

IMG_2496 “Aren’t you going to be cold at the top ?” The taxi driver asked as we gained elevation up Hobart’s Mount Wellington. It was a cold & wet autumn morning and we finally broke through the clouds on our ascent up the mountain road, in the battered Toyota Prius taxi. The look on his face when I told him where we were going and what I was about to do was a picture. Obviously mountain biking on real mountains is not for everyone.

As I was in Hobart for only 2 nights I didn’t want to miss out on a run down the North South track which runs bizarrely from South to North. The trail head is at the Springs area on Pinnacle road approximately three quarters from the top of the mountain. The 12km trail had been described as the “best singletrack in Australia”, quite a claim !. After riding a fair bit of the trails in WA although nothing on the east side, my curiousity had got the better of me.

Earlier that morning after failing to find a bike shop that was open to hire bikes past 1pm the previous afternoon I was at the Specialized Demo at the Cenotaph park, after providing my ID/Credit card etc the SWorks Camber 29 bike was being expertly set up for my height and weight care of the Specialized Australia mechanics.  Luckily care of the “Bike Ride” shop in Hobart they had asked me to come to the demo as the store Specialized camber demo bike they had was missing when we got to Hobart just before closing time on the Saturday afternoon. The demo team said come back in an hour once I had a good feel for the bike, but the guys from the shop have me the nod as I had told them I would be riding the North South track. They say the trail takes 2 hours to cycle. 1 hour into my Demo I was still in the taxi after reaching the trail head. IMG_2502 After a pointer from a local guy unloading his bike from a van in the carpark I found the trail head. North South track found, right then…let’s have it. Luckily the forest canopy kept me warm and after a few minutes I could take off the jacket and buff scarf. A few little climbs, dips and bus stops, the trail flowed really well. A few double black diamond obstacles lay to the left or right of the trail. After recovering from a heal bone injury (and a significant threat from the wife about injuring myself again) I left these well alone. The damp bright green moss and the quality of the singletrack reminded me of some of the Afan trails in South Wales where I often used to enjoy riding with my buddies in the UK. IMG_2499 IMG_2506Soon I got to a large rocky field which was quite a spectacle. Less  daunting than it looked, I cleared it ok. Knowing the locals I had seen in the carpark would be catching up soon I was not hanging around. Eventually the trail opened up to a Rangers hut in a clearing. Time for an energy drink and a breather. I chatted with a few walkers and then went to explore the hut. It was a respite for walkers on the mountain in adverse conditions. Luckily the sun was out by this point so I didn’t need to use the hut for its intended purpose.

IMG_2497IMG_2504By this point I was getting used to the bike and the next section of the trial was seriously good fun. I hit a few steeper sections, berms and small but floaty jumps, the elevation was now starting to drop a bit. The surface was changing to a loose dusty & rocky base. I was weaving the 29er wheels carefully through every corner, not only because of my wife’s threat, but also the fact that this was my first proper ride on a 29in bike. This section was so much fun, I wish it had lasted a lot longer. IMG_2498 IMG_2500 The bike was soaking up everything the trail and I gave it, and was I starting to feel more confident floating the bike over the peaks of the trail. A few river crossings and climbs and I was back to the cover of the forest. The trail carried on with a gradual descent until it steepened up again and started to drop via a few switchbacks into the Glenorchy mtb park.


 A quick stop to look at the park map, and then it was onward down the North South trail. A few forks avoiding black runs and it was nearing completion . I railed the final berms through the bike park jump section and I could see Tasola park, which I recognised as the exit of the trail. Upset that it was over, but knowing I had a demo bike to return meant a few minutes descent on the road and picking up the bike path back into Hobart. It had taken 1 hour to do the route and now I had to get my head down for a fast 10km hike to get the bike to the Demo in the park. I gave the bike back muddy, with my legs aching and sporting a hugh grin. IMG_2510 Was it the best trail in Australia – I cannot say, but certainly the best one I have ridden so far :). Overall I was very impressed with the Sworks Camber 29er Carbon, the SWorks carbon crank (XX1 gearing), Command post, and the Roval carbon wheels. It soaked up everything very well, but it felt too big to properly throw around. For now I will stick with the 27.5 Anthem at home. Carbon cranks and rims may have to go on the wish list though 🙂

Keep it Custom (or Stock ?)

It all started when I bought my first real mountain bike in 1997, first it was the addition of the anodized purple components, then grips, then riser handlebars (with compulsory cross brace), then different qr axles,  then tyres etc., you get the drift. Luckily the trend of using purple anodised components eventually died out, however, the need in me to upgrade and swap components is still very much alive.

Maybe I am a sucker for marketing hype, but after a while, once you learn about the benefits of the latest groupset or suspension fork, or possibly have doubt that the kit you are using may not be the best for you, you cannot do without them. You could call it custom tuning. You could call it insanity messing with a formula that the bike maker specified.

Whilst writing this, I thought about my bike history since I started riding mountain bikes in 1997 *. Maybe I have owned more bikes than many people have had relationships. As well as building the best bike possible, the enjoyment I get out of speccing, problem solving and building these bikes is immense. Obviously there is some pride involved but I also get immense satisfaction once they’re finished and ready for the inaugural ride.

* see bike list on separate page

This probably drives some of the logic behind my bike addiction. Many of these bikes were bought as frames on ebay or from friends, and the components normally lasted longer than my ownership of the frame. The best components follow you from bike to bike. In more recent years once the fox forks and xtr groupset had won me over, my bike buying and building philosophy has changed somewhat. I now look for end of year bargain bikes at discounted prices, with the lowest spec components possible. Primarily I just want the frame, but these bikes are often less for the entire bike than you would pay for the frameset. Unwanted kit is either offloaded on ebay or trickled down to bikes for family members.

This concept is the complete polar opposite to what a lot of people do. They want the best bike, and think that their hard earned cash is better spent on the top of the line model possible. Best components, best fit, strongest, lightest, best function right ? Not totally wrong, but also not as right as people think.

Every bike manufacturer builds bikes at a price point. This point and the desired position in the market against the competitors is what drives the total selection of components.  Many OEM or own brand components may also be used to save money. That is great if you want a bike at a certain price point with a few comprimises built in.

I personally want the best bike I can possibly build. This includes the lightest bike, with the best suspension, brakes, gears, most comfortable fit and the best suited to my every need.  Even the top of the range bikes will not tick all of these boxes. Many people do the same as me although they often end up with complete frankenbikes. I try to make my builds look standard, more of a development of rather than a total makeover.

Occasionally I want to perform a modification that is not available in the market to be purchased or for the bike I own. These mods usually follow an idea I have been given by seeing something on a brand new bike or component. Examples of these are frame protection using highly malluable aluminium flashing, or diy internal cables on frames that did not originally have this.

This approach is not for everyone. Many people are happy with their bikes in stock form, and even replace the tyres with identical ones that the bike came with originally. They tend to buy a bike and not change any components (including stems or handlebars) because they think that the bike manufacturers must know what they are doing. If they do not use a shorter stem or carbon bars, why should I ? And that is fine.

Another thing I often do is put a better quality and often slightly longer fork on a frame than it comes with. People often talk about warranty with this mod, but most frames are designed to use a maximum crown to axle length. Beyond this and the leverage of the fork is too much for the frame and could introduce addtional stress to the head tube/downtube junction. The crown to axle length varies greatly between fork manufacturers (as can crown offset with some brands). I normally work within this figure, but often end up with an Evo or SX type bike build (longer fork travel than rear suspension travel).  On at least two occasions I have done this at the same time I have read that the sponsored athletes are running the same set ups on their bikes. Low and behold, one or two years later the bike brands produce their own version of this setup using an identical frame that I started with !

I told a friend this recently who wanted to build an Anthem 27.5 in the same set up that I run with a 120mm fork (100mm rear).  I do not think he believed me when I said hold back and see what Giant do. In the 2015 line up they have produced an Anthem SX, which looks mighty similar to what I had a year ago. He ended up buying one and loves the bike. The best thing is, he can have the build that was how this bike should have been created originally, the same as my own, but his is stock as opposed to my own very custom version 🙂

A year ago, I bought a road bike to use for commuting and training. I managed to keep it standard for a while, with just gel inserts on handlebars, new saddle etc. Then came the pro lite wheels and ideas for future upgrades. Realising that this bike frame would only take me so far the latest project idea came along. A disc brake shod carbon road bike. After research I knew what I wanted. Bottom spec bike bought very cheaply with huge discount, and now the upgrades and component research / speccing begins. The only difference this time, is I have to be cash neutral as we have a baby on the way :). Lets just say that Ebay and Gumtree are getting a good workout at the moment

My advice  – You certainly dont have to modify your bike to enjoy it. However, if you want to brake later, go faster, steer quicker, grip more,  be more comfortable, and the list goes on, then don’t be afraid. Research, ask questions, work out if it fits and buy it. It will stop you wanting that next bike for longer if you can make your current steed the bike of your dreams.

Happy riding !

Won’t Back Down – The Steve Peat story

If you have been hiding  under a rock for the last 6 months, maybe you do not know about the new Steve Peat MTB movie, “Won’t Back Down” which was released in June this year. After not being able to track down a copy I rented a copy on ITunes and watched it this weekend.

The documentary style movie, made by Clay Porter delves back into the early days of downhill racing and closely tracks Steve’s career up to the present day. Using a lot of old race footage, it shows the close rivalry between Nico Vouilloz, and the obvious influences from the likes off Jason McRoy and Shaun Palmer.

I have been a fan for many years so it was great to see some of the early footage of particular events and races (and world champs attempts) that I had only read about previously. The story was told very well, and with real passion for the man from his friends, relatives and competitors. He has had some real achievements during his 21 year career at the top of the sport. He holds the title for the most world cup wins, and probably has the biggest following. At the age of 40  he still rides in the top 10 on the world cup circuit !. It is no surprise that he has inspired so many people in the sport, and would be a big driver in the UK churning out so many podium worthy riders over the last 10 years.

I highly recommend this film to anyone who follows downhill racing, or wants to know a bit more behind the MTB legend that is Steve Peat.


90’s Nostalgia – Sprung Mountain Bike videos

If you don’t know about the Sprung videos in the 90’s maybe your head was buried somewhere, or you were still in nappies. Either way they are worth a watch. They were the one of the first well edited mountain bike movies, with a banging breakbeat & funk soundtrack and interesting shoots at locations and races around the world. This is before the sport took itself too seriously and before the whole thing became a professional polished machine like it is now. Sprung 1 & 2 have been on youtube for a while now, but 2 weeks ago they have just added Sprung 3, 4 & 5 also. Great to watch whilst on the trainer 🙂

Enjoy !

Links below:

Sprung 1 –
Sprung 2 –
Sprung 3 –
Sprung 4 –
Sprung 5 –

Tips for using eBay

Lots  of people around the world use eBay to buy and sell bike components. They are all stolen or damaged right ? Wrong. Lots of people are genuinely selling items that they no longer need or have spare after upgrades or they having a clearout etc. the list goes on.

You should exercise some caution though when buying or selling any major components on eBay. I have been buying and selling bikes and components on eBay for almost 10 years now and bar one minor incident, I have never really had any real problems. Over this time I have saved 1,000’s of pounds, and also managed to recycle a lot of my own gear.

It is easy to fall into the trap of online auctions, you see something you want and can easily get carried away on how much you spend. Early on during the auction, ask yourself what is the item worth to you, how much do you want to spend, will there be another opportunity ?

Other than the obvious things to look out for such as sellers with either poor ratings or a low number of transactions, there are some other things to watch out for on Ebay:


> Item has incorrect title or pictures. Eg title says “gt frame” and the picture is a specialized. Avoid this like the plague ! Its very dubious and I always assume they are stolen.

> Item has a vague title or description. Eg title says “full suspension bike” and description does not give much more detail. If the picture is of a high end bike and the owner could be  either too thick or lazy to write any more, however if you had paid money for the bike new, chances are the owner would know a lot more about it. Avoid !

> Item is a high end custom bike but not much detail re components. Eg. Seller describes bike in one sentence but yet the bike is£2000 and has lots of custom components. If they had built it personally, they would know precisely what they were selling and would make the effort to describe. Similarly sellers sometimes do the opposite and cut and paste a generic bike description from the manufacturer. In this case I normally ask a number of questions about the item to gauge the seller’s knowledge of the bike.

> Item is being sold for a friend. This is almost an excuse used as the seller claims they know nothing about the bike. Ebay accounts are not too hard to set up, why would the owner want to sell via someone else ?. Avoid !

Questions to ask seller could be more details, ask for more photographs (particularly if there is any damage described), serial number including a photograph – this often stops people dead in their tracks. If it all goes quiet after this question you have just avoided buying a potentially stolen bike.

In the UK the MET police are threatening to open up the database of stolen bikes to the other police forces in the UK. I cannot believe they don’t do this already in this modern age of the interweb !!

This is a good site in the UK for further advise and checking your frame numbers against.

Receiving something that is damaged

When your item has damage that is not described or dimensions or something else that is not precisely as described you have a right to get this sorted. Most sellers want to keep their reputation, and the power in eBay disputes is heavily on the side of the buyer. I have had money given back after making a fuss about dented wheels, steerer tubes that were described with different dimensions etc. Basically the description should be 100% accurate


The most important thing to remember is be honest. If the item has a scratch, mention it. If it could do with a service, mention it. Spell out every single detail, colour, size, used for….., etc. This will avoid the dumb questions and hopefully give the buyer some faith that you are honest and know what you are doing.

Happy eBaying 🙂





There is a first time for everything…….

When world renowned scientists are performing an experiment and trying to obtain a desired result, they are very careful about what they change between each time they repeat the experiment. They change one factor at a time, so that they can gauge what has caused the result they receive. They would never change many factors at the same time as they would not know what caused the desired result.

I wish I had adopted this policy in early January 2014, when I went to Turner Hill with a buddy to do a few laps of the track there. I was on a new bike, with new tyres, on a new track, and riding with SPD clip in pedals for the first time (on an mtb anyway). It is really no wonder I had a parting with the bike. If you know how unpredictable WA pea gravel is, then you know how easy it is to under steer or lose control of the front of the bike. This is exactly what I was faced with, the front of the bike sliding out and to avoid falling on rocks or hitting the fast approaching tree, I snapped my foot out of the SPD clip at such a speed that my body was not ready, and I could feel that something tear in my ankle.

After a visit to the GP, an ultrasound and starting Physio it was confirmed that I had some minor damage to my achilles, there was a visible lump in the side of tendon 😦 Boo hoo.

It is now nearly 4 months later and I am still not back on a mountain bike. However, thanks to the good work of my 2nd Physio (I sacked the first one), a lot of exercises and daily icepacks it is now getting stronger and the tendon is slowly repairing. After a few test rides and flare ups, I have now got to the point where a 5km road ride is ok, and I have been doing this every 2 days. I was pleased to be told this week that this weekend I should try a 10km road ride and see how it responds. It has been a very painful and slow recovery, and it has been so frustrating to be off the mountain bike for such a pathetic little injury.

I have gone over the whole thing in my head a million times. The sad thing is in 4 months if I had of properly stacked it and broken bones, they would most likely be healed by now. Obviously in retrospect, I probably should have adopted the scientists approach. One thing at a time. Slowly, slowly catch that monkey………….

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: