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Oops . . .

  • Posted by ruben
  • 10 November 2008

I went out mountain biking with Teri, Tom, David Hicks and a few others on the weekend.

I don't usually ride mountain bikes, and I don't have one, so I borrowed David Hieatt's.

We went up to Brechfa and rode the Gorlech route.... the weather held, and it was a great ride with some beautiful scenery.

My ride went really well... right up until near the end, when I came out of a berm a bit too fast, left the trail in a rut and hit a stump.

I went over the bars and landed pretty hard on my arm and leg.


So, with an impressively bloody leg, torn jacket and a sprained wrist, I got up and limped back to the bike.

And then things got worse...

Sorry, David.

I will get this fixed!

Sport is Simple

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


Katy Curd is the newest member of our team. Katy won silver in the junior downhill race at the world championships in Fort William last year, pretty amazing as she had only been competing for six months.

The Journey

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


On September 22nd 2007, one man and his bike took the 75.8 mile path of most resistance from sea to summit at Teifi Pools, one mile above sea level.

What follows is the high, low and twilight of his journey.

By Pete Kirby


Wake in London. Make porridge for Bess & Kate. Kiss and scarper. Cycle to Gabriel’s Wharf, Southbank. Fill bike bottle with River Thames water. Train to Carmarthen. Ride towards Cardigan up along Afon (river) Duad as test run for tomorrow. Mist turns to monsoon. Road is a bitch. Truckers cut me up. Stop. Thumb three white vans. None stop. Get back on and veer off to Hermon. Evil climb up to 283m. Back tyre loses bite every time I get out of saddle. Wind farms are rampant. 90% brake descent into Newcastle Emlyn for Star Bar & Lucozade reboot. Greet the Teifi with a nod. Glide down river to Gwbert. Hang sodden kit on towel rail. Red sky bodes well for climb. Three course feast, then recce beach in dark for swim. Empty Thames water into mouth of Teifi. Write sea sonnet under glare of moon.


Fidget sleep. Dream of punctures. Weather dry, but grey. 07.50 hrs swim in sea. Water warm-ish. Fill bike bottle with mouth of Teifi water. Find driftwood in shape of river. Fry up, herb tea. 75.8 miles to go. Make deal with handlebars: always take road closest to river. Big detour to Cilgerran. Pooh sticks debut – this will be a theme. ‘Beryl & Joan Thomas’ etched into stone bridge. Shout “Morning Teifi!” many times. Rain cranks up. Ask firemen best way to Lampeter, three different answers. Let them squabble. Study map. Find friendly contours. Route is not shortest or prettiest, but is the one the bike takes like a horse to water. Hug river high up along A484. Think: rivers are veins, capillaries, arteries. Rain eases up around Llandysul – best-kept small town 1990. Carved pelican watches over kayak poles. Geraniums in red canoe. Take D road past feral geese. Deep South couple give directions – she smiles, he sneers. Sign in porch at Maesycrugiau – NO WATER PLANT, YIPPEE! Second sign reads: NO LORRIES. NO BOTTLES. NO FACTORIES. EVER!! Llanybydder, sugar stop at Spar. Dead red kite in road, grieved by spouse kite above me. Two more hover over lamb abattoir. Pedals squeak on hills. Cadge WD40 from motor spares man. Chapel Brondeifi, chat with Mary, janitor. Blissful serenade with river for five miles to Llanfair. Cute shop crammed with Ecover. Buy bananas, Galaxy, water. Kids crash on bikes – no tears, just swearing in Welsh. Squirrel mourns dead lover. Dead fox. Dead hedgehog. 
B4343 – wildlife needs an underpass here. Share Galaxy with horse on Riverhood Watch. Single bovine family by riverbank – Bullocks 4 Justice perhaps? Off-load weight at Talbot Hotel, push on two stone lighter. Cors Caron simmers a dead red – Kenya in a sulk. Sweating heavily, but no smell, such is genius of Merino. Aptly, sheep spur me on with bleats of chutzpah. Pass school of mural magic. Find McDonalds litter thrown out of car. Junk food, junk brain. Collect on way down and bin. Teifi Pools – right, and up, up, up. Hills really hurt now. Finally, at 1500ft, sun beats cloud in arm wrestle. Fuck, it’s beautiful up here. 
Stash inscribed driftwood from beach behind stone slab, manned by curling black slug. Write summit sonnet. Empty salt water into source. Collate lake water in bike bottle for Thames deposit tomorrow. Strip to trunks and swim.


Fry up. Cloud to mizzle to sheet rain. Arrive Carmarthen drenched, in three hours. Oh, the joy of downhill. Replacement bus burns out on motorway. Wonder why engines fail and bikes don’t. Hit London as Freewheel car-free day ends – nice feeling. Coast down The Mall. Empty Teifi Pools water in Thames. A Holy Water Trinity. 


Breaking bones really sucks, the initial mind blowing pain of a good break can be way too much to take as you lie on the ground writhing in an uncompromising agony. On occasions I’ve honestly wished that someone would shoot me as I’ve been encompassed by indescribable pain. Sometimes you’re pretty sure something’s bust but adrenaline can get you to the end of the race. Always though, denial kicks in, it’ll be “a bad sprain” or “I think I’ve got away with that”, nothing will ever let you admit to yourself you might be sitting in a pot for the next six weeks or more until you hear it from the horse’s, or doctors more appropriately, mouth.

That news always hits me hard, so hard it’s one of the only things in adulthood to make me well up on a regular basis; I find it utterly crushing to know another season is to go by while I sit in front of a telly. Life is severely disrupted but nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that months, years even, of preparation are shot down in a millisecond and, while you get fatter and slower the rest of your sporting world marches on regardless, leaving you behind again. Every time I get hurt some clever soul (usually my old man) always gives it, “aren’t you getting too old for all this?” to which I reply with a shrug of the shoulders or a wry smile, while an indescribable rage fills me from the inside. To those people I ultimately feel sorrow as they clearly don’t know what life is about.

Wrap yourselves in cotton wool and never leave the house, what kind of existence is that? I live for those moments of having a bike drifting around underneath me barely in my control, for those runs where I’m going so fast my focus leaves only a jigsaw of moments to piece together through a hazy cloud of euphoria. Days and weeks after a good race those feelings stay with me and make the ultimate ride worth almost the ultimate price.

Over the years I’ve smashed and broken this body of mine to pieces, five surgeries and counting, five broken ankles, a snapped leg, a wrecked knee, destroyed hips, wrecked back, broken hand, bust wrist, three times bust elbow, broken shoulder blade, a dozen broken ribs, separated my ribs from my spine, complete separation of my shoulder, severe nerve compression making my arm useless for two months, from prolapsing a disc in my neck and concussions that have left me with a  recurring blindness in one eye and put on top of the chronic fatigue syndrome from the party lifestyle and you have to ask yourself was it all worth it? Well it was, and it still is cause I’m not ever going to stop and I’d do it all again and more because this is living, this is what it’s all about. There’s no point taking an immaculate corpse to the grave, make sure you’ve worn it out to the max, played hard in it and lived your life to the full because riding is life and the only thing that’ll slow you down is picking up the pieces after a big one.


More info: NHS Direct: 0845 4647   
www.innerbody.com (human anatomy online) 

Free with every mountain

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


The air.

The view.

The sweat.

The hurt.

The buzzards.

The line down.


Free with every mountain.

Earn Your Beer

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


Unload bike.  Put helmet on. Set off. Turn right up the short path.  Always muddy.  Open gate.  Head down, short climb for 30 minutes.  Reach the bit where the shepherd's caves are.  take the path that goes right.  Fast downhill.  Track made by sheep.  Climb again, this time for longer.  Hard going.  Reach the Tryg point (high point).  Catch breath.  Take in the view.  Pedal off the top.  Fast downhill.  Spray from the grass keeps me cool.  Through the rocks.  Past the bogs on the right.  Watch out for those big divets.  Smile like a child all the way down.  Reach the bottom.  Can taste the mud.  It's back across the side of the mountain.  Legs getting tired.  Steady climb for a while.  Up through the mud and the bogs.  Reach the last high point.  Set off down the well-defined sheep track.  Watch the big slippery rock boulders.  Hit brakes in time to stop at gate.  Then it's onto the road at the bottom.  Ride along the road for a short while.  Back where I started from.  Load bike up.  Get changed out of wet gear.  Two and a half hours.  22K covered. Feeling good. Tired legs.  A beer earned.

Rob Warner

  • Posted by howies
  • 30 October 2008


Who wouldn’t want to ride like him? 
Who wouldn’t want his stories? 
Who wouldn’t want his love of life? 
Maybe he should have trained more. 
Maybe he should have won more. 
Maybe he should have partied less. 
Maybe he should have gone to bed early the night before a race.
But half measures aren’t his thing. You just have to see him sing karaoke in his van to understand that. 
Elvis lives. 
And he’s going downhill fast.

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