April on the road
Wow, April has been a busy month! Liam and my brother Joe packed up the van ready to head to Ireland for the first Irish Gravity Enduro. We got an early morning ferry from Troon, and watched a good romantic comedy which the baeys were not impressed by. We saw a few signs for Chain Reaction so we thought we’d follow them and go and check it out. Our friend Dale McMullen gave us a tour of the factory. That place is huuuge!! What a nice surprise to wander past Ali Beckett’s office and see him see him on his big leather business chair in front of 3 apple mac’s being a big deal:) It was really nice to catch up with old friends!
After a long drive to the race venue at Djouce woods we parked up the land ship, put the pasta on and watched a film. Good times! On Friday we met up with Victor Lucas, some local riders and the Frenchies Nicolas Lau, Jerome and Pierre Clementz and Manu Bonne. We cruised around all five stages, and got a good feel for the tracks. It was really fun riding with such a nice group of guys, and on awesome tracks!
All five stages were brilliant! Peddaly, pretty technical, quite long, and most of all fun! On Friday we rode stage one again, and Joe got it on head cam. Then on Saturday we rode the other four, and got them all on head cam for some evening watching in the van later on. It was so good riding with Joe and going over lines together, he’s very patient with me! Local rider Gary and his family were very hospitable and let us use their facilities all weekend, and their puppy was very cute!
Race day was great, all stages went pretty well. I had a few little slips and squiggly moment’s but generally it was sweet! Between stage 3 and 4 there was a lunch stop and tunes from the Red Bull truck, very civilised! A few coffees and a sandwich in between stages was lovely. Niall Davies the organiser did a great job, and he even managed to race himself! Joe finished 1st, I finished 3rd and Dudes member Liam Moynihan finished 6th. A successful weekend all round!
Sunday night was so fun…. watching the Frenchies Nico and Manu dancing to Irish music, Guinness, a club … and I can’t remember. Good times! Riding the next day was a mission, but we hit some sweet trails. Local hero Greg Callaghan showed us around for a couple of days, along with Al Stock and the Frenchies. Manu Bonne was there for the good times and was on the lunch time post ride Guinness’s
On the way back to the ferry we stopped off at Glyn O’Brien’s place in Newry. Glyn’s house is amazing! He has a flood lit pump track and a jacuzzi bath! We went for a great ride with a whole load of local guys, then Glynn and I rustled up fajitas for the baeys. We were well and truly exhausted after a week of riding and racing, it had been amazing!
We watched another gid film on the ferry, a classic. Joe and Liam dropped me off in Glasgow, and I jumped back in my own van. I went to the Scottish Bike Show to sign posters for Five Ten at the Freeflow bikes stand. It was cool being there, but very strange signing pictures of myself!! Our tyre sponsor Continental were there so it was cool catching up with them too. After hanging around a hot bike show all day, I hit the trails with the Conti boys and my friend Rab. Gid!
Next stop was Sheffield for Peaty’s Steel City Downhill. I stayed with Joe Bowman and his girlfriend Hanna. I had to give up being a vegi for a bit because Hanna made a delicious lasagne. It was my first downhill race, and I loved it! It was a pretty flat and muddy course, with some fun jumps and berms, and a wee drop into the finish.
It was an awesome atmosphere, crowd and course. There was a short peddle to the top, so it was easy to smash out loads of runs. We did 5 practice runs to keep fresh, and the course was reasonably straight forward.
On my first run, I caught up with someone and couldn’t get past, and I crashed trying to pass them. Second run was much better, a few slips but quite smooth. I finished 3rd.
Peaty, Al Stock and Sam dale made up the men’s podium. It was great hanging with the Sheffield crowd, such a good scene. It was a fun night out in Sheffield with old and new friends! I’m surprised Al made it to the airport for 7am after seeing his bleary eyed bike packing… good skills! The next day Hanna and I had a lovely Spa day having massages and manicures, ladies what lunch and all that!
On my way back up North I pre-rode part of the Fred Whitton course, a 112 mile sportive around the Lake District in May. The mountain passes are pretty brutal! I am using my lovely Orange Carb-O, so I have a luxury ride for it. It was a useful pre-ride, now I know to change my gearing for the smallest front ring possible!!
I stopped off in Peebles to see Apex Graphics man Dave Mackison. He gave my Five a make over with some sweet custom graphics. Thanks Dave!
After doing a day of work in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, I finally headed home after three weeks on the road. Thanks to everyone who’s made it so fun!!
Till next time, this tea isn’t going to drink itself….
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- RT @danbarham: Cumberland has some of the best riding in BC - here's Hannah Barnes taking it in: http://t.co/14XaMuOe9o #explorecanada #explorebc,
- RT @privateermag: Just finished @mattpage24's blog from Transversubienne - sounds horrible! Well done @hannahbarnes66 for placing 4th http://t.co/JXdhENo9ua,
- No biggy!;) Always look forward to going back to the promised land and proper tea after a good trip away:) http://t.co/X9bQFk6PBl,