Welsh Downhill Championships

  • Posted by hazel
  • 17 August 2012

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun was out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Peer pressure and gentle persuasion is a powerful thing. I’m a sucker for it and just can’t say no. I hate missing out on things so my outside-of-work life becomes quite choccer-block.

This was the case come Friday last week. I was beginning to feel pretty beat, it had been a long week and tiredness was starting to set up camp in my muscles. So the thought of going off to race in a downhill mountain bike race at the weekend was not looking that appealing… but you know I’m not one to miss out…

With race day on the Sunday and practice on Saturday, we set about learning every inch of the course, well I say we – mostly Jon, Sam, Si and Josh! I have trouble learning courses. I think it’s from the many years of riding XC - I'd rather just ride it and deal with obstacles as and when I reach/ hit them.So with a van full of bikes, snack and the Season’s soundtrack turned up, myself, Jon from decent world and Cardigan’s own Jesus set off at the crack of dawn towards Moelfre for the Welsh Downhill MTB Champs. We met up with the other Ceredigion riders and set up camp. With Si Williams aka fretter, Sam aka fretter junior, Tomos and Aled aka Axe and Shotgun!

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Roll on Sunday…

Oh wait it’s absolutely peeing it down – what a surprise. And what’s that, yeah I’m sat in my tent wearing a woolly hat, merino softshell and thick socks! This is summer! Ah well, nothing that proper cup of tea can’t sort out.

Heading up in the uplift trailer along with 30 other riders for the start of our first timed run, there was only two subjects of conversation – the weather and what tyres to run. I participated in neither of them mainly because I thought there’s no point getting down about the weather and secondly I can’t take my front wheel out so there was no chance of me changing my tyres. I’d just have to like it and lump it.

My first run went well - I wanted to keep it smooth and consistent as the course was becoming quite slippery. The bottom section of the track was my favorite with a couple of jumps that you could launch off, nothing like the feeling of fresh air between the tyres and the ground. I managed to take the lead with a good amount of time between 2nd and myself.For my final timed run, I thought I’d open it up a bit and try pedaling more - "Giving it the beans". It paid off and I was able to knock 5 seconds of my first run. Awesome. Plus it meant that I had a comfortable lead to take the win.  Woohoo, I just won the Welsh Champs, what a result!! As always, I’m glad I went!With banter on tap and some great riding the weekend ended up being so much fun. Jon and myself are now the proud owners of a Welsh Champs jersey. Also in the Ceredigion camp, Si took 2nd in the vets, Sam took 10th juniors and Josh was 24thin the senior cat. Not bad at all!Thanks to MIJ racing for a brilliant race, Jon for playing taxi, tea maker and bike mechanic. Tomos, Aled and Josh for the hillbilly entertainment, Si for his constant fretting and Steve and Vicky for being loud marshals!

You guys made the weekend, the result was just a bonus!!

Merino, Merino, Merino.

  • Posted by alex
  • 10 August 2012

We don't just love Merino because it's 100% natural. When it comes to running and riding, nothing beats Merino wool.

The secret behind our love affair isn't complicated at all, it's simply down to the amazing fabric.

Merino breathes and wicks away moisture because they are hydrophilic at one end and hydrophobic at the other; soaking up moisture like a sponge and releasing it away from the body.

Merino wool is naturally antibacterial and bacteria has a hard time sticking to it - so you can go a ride or two (or three) before you smell like it and your new favourite top needs to see a washing machine.

And unlike man-made fabrics, Merino will still regulate body temperature when it's wet - keeping you warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm. A bonus in the months when it can go from skin-tingling in the shade to beach weather over the crest of a hill.

Take a look at our Merino clothing for men and Merino clothing for women.

£5k for Britains future cyclists

  • Posted by alex
  • 3 August 2012

If you follow the Tour every year, like us, you will have waited a lifetime for a Brit to win it. If you're Bradley Wiggins, you've been training for it all your life.

We wanted to celebrate the amazing win and commissioned a limited edition tee "Sideburns of Glory", that became our fastest selling tee of all time.

For the week after the Tour, we chose to donate part of the proceeds from our cycling themed t-shirts to the Dave Rayner Fund, raising £5560.

Since 1996, The Dave Rayner Fund have supported hundreds of promising British cyclists. By issuing grants to cover training and racing costs, they bridge the gap into making a successful career from cycle racing in Europe and it's great to be able to donate such an unexpected sum.

The fund has supported the career progression for the likes of David Millar and Charly Wegelius and receives ongoing support from professional riders, such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

There's going to be loads more British Cycling success on the TV over the next couple of weeks and some great tees to celebrate.

MMXXII Missile

  • Posted by alex
  • 27 July 2012

The Sideburns of Glory t-shirt was a big hit. Poor Mike has been keeping the printshop lights burning long into the night trying to catch up.

It's all been for a good cause though, with £5 from every tee going to the Dave Rayner fund (more on that here).

This weekend it's The Marquis of Cavendish's turn to put us all on the edge of our seats as he faces 9 trips to the top of Box Hill before the final dash for the line in the Olympic road race.

We'd already drawn this up and thought it'd be nice to share it for the weekend. We weren't planning to put this design on a t-shirt but if you tweet @howies with #MMXIImissile or like the design on Facebook over the weekend, we might ask Mike to print a few.

The Dave Rayner Fund

  • Posted by aron
  • 26 July 2012

The Dave Rayner Fund was set up in memory of the late Dave Rayner with
the aim to assist ambitious riders, like Dave, to make a successful career from
cycle racing on the continent of Europe.

Since its inception in 1996, the fund has helped riders such as David Millar,
Charly Wegelius and Bradley Wiggins make the transition.

To support the cause, howies are donating £5 from every bike tee sold between
23rd July and 30th July to the Dave Rayner Fund. So far we have raised
over £3000.

If you would like to make a contribution (and bag yourself a t-shirt in the process)
you can see all our cycling tees by visiting the links below.

Click here for men's cycle tees >

Click here for women's cycle tees >

For more information on The Dave Rayner Fund, see their website – daveraynerfund.com

A new summit

  • Posted by ruben
  • 24 July 2012
The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

"Running takes you places." This is my first thought as I slap my hand down on the trig point on top of the tallest mountain in Wales and glance out at the stunning views below me. The sight of the guy I've been chasing turning to vanish down the other side leads to my second thought. "Just a shame I don't get longer to enjoy them."

I'm half way through my first 'official' mountain race. In a moment I will be hurtling down the same route I just climbed to finish the race with a knee-pounding, tooth-loosening descent back into the small town of Llanberis. 5 miles away as the crow flies, and a vertical kilometre below my feet.

If I wasn't staring at the ground ahead, focusing on my footing and trying to catch the guy in front, I'd be able to see miles in every direction, including the faint outline for Cardigan Island a hundred miles to the south marking home (and howies.)

The Snowdon Race has been held every year since 1976 and is part of the Skyrunner World Series. The format is simple, you run to the top of Snowdon then straight back down to the finish. Since the first 86 competed at the inaugural race, the event has grown to over 600 runners today.

Despite this surge in popularity, the course record was last broken in 1985 when K Stuart ran to the top and back in 1 hour 2 minutes and 29 seconds. This stat passes through my mind as I turn and start the descent with the clock already passing 1 hour 10.

Still, even though I hadn't given the race leaders anything to worry about as they flew down the mountain at speeds I could barely believe and even though I had walked a few hundred meters of the steepest part of the climb, I had already decided this wouldn't be my last mountain race.

The elation I felt on reaching the top of mountain, and the sense of accomplishment that began to sink in as I descended was something I haven't felt before in running.

Not the same as the emotions that wash through during a long run, but something different. A new summit.

Mark Cavendish riding for howies.

  • Posted by ade
  • 20 July 2012

This is the last race of the night at the Revolution series that Mark Cavendish raced for howies. It was why we made the World Champions tee.

It still creates a slight feeling of disbelief in the office that it actually happened.

And at the end of the clip when he talks about howies team riders leading him out. . . something that may never happen to a tiny brand like us again.

Categories:

I’ll set the scene, it’s Friday evening, you’ve just driven 5 hours to a race site and you’re pitching your tent, it’s all going well.


You then catch up with some old riding buddies and sit by the fire relaying stories of past bike exploits. You then think, well it’s time for bed, gotta get that respite before the race tomorrow. So you’re in your sleeping bag getting all snuggled when suddenly the heavens open and for the next how ever many hours you lay there listening to the torrential rain tearing at your tent walls.

The wind then picks up, you’re thinking ‘well I’m either going to be blown away or float off when the river that I’m camped next to burst it’s banks’. Envisaging BBC news the following morning – lost campers found stranded out to sea!!

But somehow you manage to get some shuteye, and as you open that door zip and look out, you see carnage!! I’m talking gazebos that have been up rooted, tents that have collapsed and probably the most horrific, your kit bag sitting in the middle of a large puddle! Pants. Good start to a 24hr mtb race!

I’ve been riding this event for years now and have always had an awesome time. It’s a super course that has a bit of everything including British mtb history when the Grundig world cup was held there in 1998, which I also raced in! Showing my age now.

I think sometimes when conditions are at their worst it somehow becomes that much more enjoyable, everyone is in the same boat. Having to walk that blasted off-camber singletrack section or put on those cold wet muddy shorts from your previous lap. It’s character building I reckon.

With a team of 5 consisting of myself, Chris, Rune, Jason and James we managed to complete 21 laps putting us into 6th position overall in the mixed cat, which was a nice bonus to the weekend.

It was an absolute pleasure riding with those guys, non-stop banter and James’ enthusiasm that never faltered! We also managed to avoid any mechanicals or injuries, which was pretty lucky seeing as a snapped mech and chain was a common occurrence throughout the race.

Even though my bike now runs like a bag of spanners and my mountain of kit washing doesn’t seem to be reducing I wouldn’t have changed anything about the weekend, it’s was brilliant and I came away as usual with a massive grin on my face that I got to ride my bike and hang out with some lovely people.

That’s what two wheels are for!

The Outsider

  • Posted by alex
  • 6 July 2012

Outsider T-Shirt of the Month

Do you ever experience feelings of discomfort and dread when in large crowds?
Do you ever have an unquenchable desire to get away from it all?
Do you sometimes feel like you just need to escape?

Are you prone to bouts of uncontrollable happiness whenever you do your sports?
And do you ever experience cravings for high speed and peril?

These are all symptoms of an Outsider.

There is no cure.

But then again, who would want one?

The Outsider, Men's T-shirt of the Month and Women's T-shirt of the Month.

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