Friday, 27 May 2011

Big week ahead.

Works done and I am packing up ready for an epic week on the bikes. This weekend it all kicks off lightly with a National 4X on the saturday and then a European 4X round on the Sunday up at my local track in Afan. We are then packing up the cars and heading North to Glentress and Inners before ending up at Fort William for my first ever World Cup. It is an interesting mix of nerves and excitement at the moment, well saying that right now it is a frantic dash to get packed and make sure nothing is forgotten!!

I will keep the updates coming via Twitter so keep an eye on my account (@RobbieRickman) to find out how the week is developing.

The Wideopen boys have a nice preview and timings for this weekend up here. There will be plenty of Pro's down for this race and Sky TV are there doing the filming so its worth checking out and mixing with a lap of The Wall if you are local. The track is literally at the top of the final decent on that trail.

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Tuesday, 10 May 2011





This weekend saw the 2nd round of the NPS 4X series at PORC right down in the south east of the country. The track features a narrow start leading to a tight left hander putting a lot of emphasis on getting a good gate. This leads out over the bridge and down the main straight which is probably the fastest straight of the season. It is flat out with long low jumps and fires you into a large bermed 180. The next 2 straights have been modified this year providing more options for overtaking for those keen on the pedals. Both feature big 180 degree corners. This spits you out over two left handed hips and over a road gap into a loose corner, the finish line is more or less in sight by this point and only a seriously ballsy last minute move would allow the finish order to change. A flat left hander leads into a new double and then some drops and then a short sprint to the finish line. The track is a blast, very hairy in places and I think the changes they have made meant it was racing well with moves being made on the middle section of the track. The weather was a real mixed bag, mainly it was very hot sunny and very dusty but overnight we were getting massively heavy rain which cleared the dust and greased up the lower flat corners.


The motos were highly heated and looked very well fought in all the categories. Senior seems to have stepped up again in competitiveness and there are a lot of riders pushing hard to make the quarters. Unfortunately in the Senior quarter finals there was a very serious crash. The officials made the right decision to call off all further racing off. The rider, Scott Shepherd was taken to hospital via air ambulance. I think its fair to say that everyone on the 4X scene is thinking about Scott and we all wish him all the best in making a full and speedy recovery.

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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Greek Easter


I will let age take the hit for this one, I just went away on a holiday with my roadbike. I am not sure when things changed but a few years ago that never would have happened, or at least I would never have admitted it! Me and Katie went out to the Greek island of Corfu for Easter, the bikes came along and we did a cycle tour around the island. The Greeks out there are known to celebrate Easter properly and it was a seriously cool event. Their culture is based around food and socialising and this really was the emphasis of the religious festival. The main town out there is Corfu town. It is a very picturesque place and for the whole Easter weekend the majority of the islands inhabitants could be found in the towns small streets and squares. There were big processions, fireworks, pot smashings, egg smashings and every family had an entire lamb on their barbeque and were laying on massive feasts for the occasion. Food is a bit of a passion of ours and the Greeks really understand the value of quantity so that side of things was a real winner! The craziest part of the whole easter event was the pot smashing. The main square in the town filled up from all directions with a steady stream of people. Everyone was there from grans to babies and the odd dog brought along for good measure. Once there was literally no space left to breathe a small space, literally only a few meters deep was cleared in front of the buildings surrounding the square. This was the target for the buildings occupants to hurl terracotta pots into from the balconies above. It is lucky to get hit by flying fragment (probably not whole pots) so being up close and personal with the carnage is meant to be a good thing! We were about 4 rows from the front which was more than close enough for this unordered chaos.




Greeks like competition and a chance to show off and so there were progressively bigger pots emerging from balcony windows. The climax was when a few 6foot tall pots requiring 3 people to lift them were dropped less than gracefully from a 4th story balcony. It was quite an engaging experience. The police there were taking a blase approach to protecting the safety of the onlookers and after they had blown their whistles a few times it seemed that they reasoned there was nothing else they could do and so let the crowd bulge past any optimistic safety tapes laid out on the ground. The cycling was nice, the locals thought we were totally insane, no one else cycles out there. The north end of the island has some really scenic terrain, the roads were quiet and the weather was nice without being overkill. All in all it was a really nice trip even if it does mark a dangerous descent from the cool steps of mountain biking towards becoming some kind of leisure cyclist!





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