Friday, 4 December 2009

Winter Skate

First Uni Longboard club meet was a success. Dodging the rain and security guards we found a dry spot to have a session and dragged the surf club along for a play. A load of people were trying longboarding for the first time and seemed to really like the landbased activity. The realtive warmth when compared to the plummeting surf temperatures and the similar feeling of carving turns seemed to turn a lot of the surfers onto the idea of longboarding. Hopefully now having shown there is enough interest the club will be supported by the Uni and be able to become official for next year.

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The Gap - Brecon

The bike hasnt seen much action recently due to the onslaught of rubbish weather and a bit of an injury to get over. A couple of weekends back we found a small gap in the rain and snuck out for a Physics Department bike ride following The Gap trail around Brecon. All in house Physics jokes were meant to be off for the afternoon however this didnt last long and we had a great day geeking out in the hills. This was the first true XC ride I have done on the Simple, Single Speed definately makes things challenging and is not the most sociable ride as going slowly really isnt an option when driving a fairly large gear. The end of the loop finished in a long fun decent followed by some really tight fast and greasy single lane roads, this was so much fun despite a plague of punctures. Me and Jonathan were going for a bit o a head for head throwing the bikes into the corners, kicking the back end out supermoto stylee, the nimble handling of the Simple getting abused to the max. All in all we had a good ride through some fantastic scenery. However the loop was a little too along the lines of classic xc for my tastes as the singletrack was severely lacking.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

More Simple in the Alpes

Just found a few more Alpine pics that for some reason missed the cut last time. Heres a bit more summer fun before we get totally immersed in winter!











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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Builders Tea

In celebration of the Builders Tea Simple build, "Make Mine a Builders" sent me a stack of tea bags, very random indeed. I am sure this will make a valuable contribution to the PhD! Having sampled the new brew I conclude that it does make a good strong cuppa. The packaging also contains just enough humour to stay entertained all the way to the bottom of the mug. As can be seen from the colour comparison with the Simple Cy did a good job of colour matching, although the Simple does have a slightly more orangey hue.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Issue 10, Wideopen Mag

The latest online issue of Wideopen Mag has amongst a load of other cool stuff an awesome write up on this years hardtail champs at the UK Bke Park. Its great seeing the hardtail scene getting a bit of coverage, download this months issue here for free and check it out.

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Monday, 5 October 2009

Yomps Paragliding Video

Simon Vacher has just finished this cool video for Yomps. You may notice the signature green helmet sneaked in to shot a couple of times. I cant decide if it is uplifting or somewhat depressing watching this as the british winter is creeping up on us, either way this is a beautiful record of what was a totally epic summer. Simon is pulling out some really cool stuff check out some of his other projects at and

Larger version of the video can be found Here

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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Mont Blanc, Mountaneering Epic!

This is by far the most extreme terrifying thing I have ever done. I met Andy Brown in Verbier, he is a GP in the Marines and has done some seriously cool expeditions including making it to the South Pole and getting most of the way up Everest. One night following a few bottles of wine he talked me into doing a mountaneering trip in Chamonix. To set the scene heights terrify me, I cant deal with exposure and the small bit of climbing I have done before hand scared the shit out of me. This was set to be one hell of a weekend.

After hiring the gear and getting the Aiguille de Midi lift up to 3800m it was about mid day. Crampons were put on in an ice cave joining on to the station. To get onto the mountain a metal barrier had to be climbed over this was covered in warnings, danger signs and made it very clear we were on our own after this point. Over the barrier was a ridge just wide enough to put both feet on, one side it dropped straight down to Chamonix and on the other it dropped away to a load of Crevasses. This was a serious initiation into mountaneering. My tactic as happened a lot was to fixate only on the snow a couple of feet in front and not stop moving.

The route we did was called the Cosmic Arrette it took us through the Vallee Blanche and then up the rock face back to the midi station. The rock section was nutty. The 3 of us were roped together however the length of the route meant we could only use gear on the most serious sections. There were some really quite committed moves that had to be made, there was also a hell of a lot of massively exposed bits of rock. The scenery was absolutely incredible but I admit I didnt spend much time looking at it unless I had a very solid grasp of a rock. The climb took us well into night, the top section was tackled with a head torch. Mine however was knocked off by the rope and I watched it fall away down a cliff face riccocheting off rocks as it went. This meant the rest of the climb had to be tackled by moonlight. Luckily we had a full moon and it was a beautifully clear night. The relief of making it back to the lift station was amazing. I was absolutely buzzing, the exhileration from pure fear the whole way up.

We bivvyed up in the station and got a good dose of army rations. The next day started at 4am, we were back out in the vallee blanche walking by moonlight. It was such a peaceful and stunning environment. A little trail of headtorches could be seen dotting all the way along the path up towards Mont Blanc. We were heading for Mont Blanc de Tacul. The climb up was nice, just steady plodding. There was far more chance to take in the scenery and it was trully spectacular. This is the heart of the Alpes and in every direction there was this incredible jagged skyline. We more or less made the summit of 4248m however the winds were hauling and the windchill was really bad. It was a matter of getting there getting the photo and then turning straight back to find more sheltered parts of the hillside.

As an experience this was absolutely fantastic and I thank Andy for inviting me as it really is something very few people get to try. It is however something I am glad to have done but wouldnt rush back to do it again. For me the dangers are too high and I was so far out of my comfort zone the whole time. Once in a while this is good but I dont think I could deal with that level of fear regularly.

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Slacking About in the Alpes

Slacklines are so much fun. I had a few really cool sessions in Verbier. The instructors had a go, it was so funny seeing these guys totally out of their comfort zone. Slacking is not quite as easy as it looks and peoples first tries are always very entertaining. Jerome was determined to make one step whilst holding on to my shoulder, about 10 minutes of heavy breathing and nervous talking later he tried a step and ended up jumping into my arms instead. The ironic thing was Nat, the chalet chef, is far more athletic than pretty much all the paragliding instructors put together and is apparently a bit of a dab hand on a line, awesome!

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