Before we start, there are two things that you must know about the Dunoon Dirt Dash:
• It’s not a bloody race
• Don’t be a dick
Oh, and one more thing. Never assume a route created by Markus Stitz will just be a simple easy-going gravel ride.
I really should have learned by now but when the weather is great and you are quickly packing your bag for a local ride it can be too easy to forget or overlook something. The Pentlands are the perfect distance from Edinburgh to allow you to leap on your bike, get out into the hills and in the exuberance of the ride not consider everything you might need. On this occasion I headed out and in my excitement of riding some new trails managed to forget a tube. The frustration is you can go on many rides with no worries of a puncture yet quite often they will appear at a point that is most inconvenient. This was one of those rides.
Continue reading “THE WRONG TYPE OF TUBELESS”
When was the last time you rode your mountain bike on a real mountain? Not a hill or a forest, a real mountain that towers over all that surrounds it. The realisation was that (like most riders) my mountain biking is spent pedalling around forests on purposely built trails.
Continue reading “BIG MOUNTAINS”
I woke in a moment of panic. It was probably no more than an hour since I had gone to sleep. My stomach was making very loud, very angry noises. I leapt up as best you can when tucked up in a bivy bag and rushed to the toilet. My belly was far from happy. I limped back when it was safe, re-inflated my bed and returned to sleep. This process repeated every hour until I just didn’t get back into my sleeping bag as the sun was coming up.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 6”
I woke at 5am feeling a little perkier, carefully stepped over the sleeping PNT Army on the floor and made my way out. The sun was up but yet to begin warming the land. After fiddling with my GPS for a while I was going again, energy levels were low but the sickness from the day before had passed and I was looking forward to breakfast and a restock in Ullapool.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 5”
I didn’t have a great nights sleep, my mat had developed a hole and was struggling to stay inflated for longer than 3 hours at a time. The sun had returned and brought a good breeze so any damp clothing from the day before was hung out to dry before being re-worn or packed away.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 4”
Although the weather reports had been full of pleasant predictions of sunshine it had warned that the weather for day 3 would be a bit Scottish. Sure enough what had previously been dry and dusty was now soggy and gritty. We busied ourselves making breakfast and fixing punctures. Working towards, but trying to avoid, inevitably going outside. A last look around the bothy, a quick chat with the German’s in the room next door and we were out of excuses.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 3”
We had planned to get good early starts to maximise day time riding and allow a little chill/exploring quota if required. This plan was already off to a bad start, soon porridge was eaten, bags were packed again and we were on our way. Our day started easy as we descended the remaining section of the Corrieyairack Pass, Fort Augustus nestled below us. The high speeds blowing the last of the sleepiness out of us.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 2”
It was time. We got up, ate and faffed around making sure that everything was packed. Stu had lent me an extra gas tank last minute which was fitted and filled with extra snacks. The weather was a little dull and there was a morning chill although this soon left us as we pedalled out of Tyndrum.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 1”
I am a worrier when it comes to preparing for trips. I am also a procrastinator and these traits usually result in everything being a bit of a whirlwind come the weeks before any trip. I stress about my bike setup, about clothing, about spares, about tyres, about weather, about food and even about empty bag space.
Continue reading “HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 PROLOGUE”