SURLY DUNOON DIRT DASH

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.

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EURO FIXED GEAR ODYSSEY BIKE CHECK

One of the things I like about bikepacking is that each setup is unique to the rider. Each person will have different requirements or preferences which are ultimately reflected in their kit. Shaped by experience, setups become dialled in and what works for one person might seem ridiculous to another. There is no rule book to tell you that a setup is perfect other than the conclusion of the ride and even then there are always new lessons learned for the next trip. Even on an adventure where two similar riders tackle the same route on the same bike there are is so much scope for different approaches. This could not be any better demonstrated than by the setups that Stu and I ran for a 1000+ mile fixed tour across Europe which saw us covering the wide range of terrain and surfaces that span between Barcelona and Rome.

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SNOW DAY!

I went for a gravel ride with Euan Camlin, Andrew Cullen and Christo Gallagher. We had planned out a route but when we saw that it had snowed over night we decided to scrap our plan, make things up as we go along and the ride worked out even better.

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EAST LOTHIAN ROUGH STUFF

As per Rich’s birthday tradition we go for a loop of the East Lothian Rough Stuff Audax gravel route. Some swoopy trails, standard pie stop and a top shelf selection of Rich stories.

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TYPE 2 IS COMING – GAMESHOPE BOTHY MICROADVENTURE

The days of recent may have been doing their best to eek out every last bit of good weather but the tell tale signs are starting to show. There is no doubt that winter has already began.

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GRINDURO SCOTLAND 2018

Last years Grinduro was a biblically wet. Riders battled with a day long deluge and all the mud, grit and slippy bits that go along with it. Clearly undeterred, Grinduro returned for 2018 and it must have been a surprise when they stepped off the plane in all their waterproofs only to be met with scorching sunshine (at least by Scottish standards). For the last few months we have been at the receiving end of an incredible summer. Trails have been dusty and our jersey tans are now well cultivated.

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GRINDURO – SURLY STEAMROLLER BIKE CHECK VERSION 2.0

Grinduro has come around again and you are probably thinking, “He is still riding that silly olden times/fashion trend fixed gear bike and hasn’t learned any lessons since last year”. Well you would only be half right. I am still riding fixed but this year I have made some vital upgrades to maximise shredding. Here is my Surly Steamroller Grinduro v 2.0.

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HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 KIT LIST

I could not get enough of kit lists in my HT550 preparation and poured over many blogs comparing and contrasting my possible setups against others. Some were super light while others not so and many options were considered. Stu and myself had planned to avoid the complications of camping and spend our nights in bothys or bivying depending on weather and enthusiasm. Our goal was to finish in around six days (full write up can be found here), far from speedy compared to those monsters who race the route but still a respectable mileage each day. We also had the advantage of a few extra days flexibility should things take much longer than expected. I finished packing minutes before leaving the house so didn’t have time to take any trendy pictures of kit neatly laid out on the floor so this will be a bit word heavy, deal with it.

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HIGHLAND TRAIL 550 DAY 6

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.

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