Tag Archives: bananas

Dyfi 2013 - Cramp or Glory

  • Posted by ruben
  • 9 May 2013
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On Sunday, we made our annual pilgrimage to Machynlleth for the 12th annual Dyfi Enduro. A mountain bike event like no other. The course is tough, but rewards hard work with some of the best (if occasionally terrifying) descents and singletrack sections around.

For Ade and I it's become a bit of a yearly battle for the title of "fastest howies rider." In 2011 I beat him for the first time but the result was questionable as he'd dragged himself round suffering from some kind of manflu. I was left hungry for a more honest win. In 2012 we battled it out within sight of each other the whole way around but I wasn't able to close the gap and finished 10 minutes slower.

This year, with us both feeling equally unprepared, we rolled out from the start line through town and into the hills. With 800 riders jostling for position, I soon lost track of where Ade was in the pack, but knew he was ahead. I kept my head down and pushed on at a steady pace.

The miles passed. The uphill ones slowly, the downhill ones fast. I was losing hope of catching up until 2/3rds in, I rounded a bend and reached the feed station. Ade was there. My spirits lifted out of my tired feet. Maybe it's possible after all! I hurried to fill my bottle and grab a banana before heading off. Just ahead.

Now the mood of ride changed. For one thing, I had Somewhere Over The Rainbow stuck in my head after Ade had let me know it had been on his iPod. I pushed a little harder up the hill, trying to get a feel for how his legs were holding up. The gap opened a little but now cramp began to rise it's ugly head, snapping at our legs each time we slipped a wheel or dabbed a foot down. .

On the climb before last, I looked back and couldn't see Ade. I thought this was it. Turning into the last descent I was faced with a mire of rutted muddy tracks, I lost my wheels more than once and had to fight building cramps to keep things going in the right direction.

Dropping out of the descent onto the last bit of fire track, my chain came off. As I was trying to get it back on, I was passed by Ade. Laughing. I jumped back on the bike as quick as I could but with only 800 meters to go I knew there was little chance of closing the gap again. I finished 30 seconds after Ade. The closest honest gap yet.

Elsewhere in team howies, Chris had a great first time at Dyfi - finishing 7th of the short course riders and 4th in his category while Hazel rode an anonymous ride after forgetting to attach her race number before setting off.

At the end of the day, we all got what we really came for. The event mug to add to the collection. Post race brews never taste better than in those Dyfi mugs.

And what do I have to say about Ade's mirth while passing me with my chain woes?
Not much. I'll just let this video do the talking.

And here's a lovely little edit of the weekend from Will Sanders.

2013 Howies Dyfi Enduro on Pinkbike

A big thanks to Jon Brooke from rightplacerighttime for the photos of the weekend.
If you rode the Enduro, he's probably got some snaps of you too on his website.

howies Dyfi Enduro 2013

Ade-and-Ruben

howies Dyfi Enduro 2013

howies Dyfi Enduro 2013

howies Dyfi Enduro 2013

Carbon Cycle

  • Posted by ruben
  • 7 March 2013

The carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about carbon footprinting. I have a friend who believed that owning and feeding a dog was more carbon intensive than owning and fueling a 4x4.

The truth is that depending on where you draw the boundaries you can prove anything with carbon footprinting. So if your 4x4 is super efficient and only drives 6,000 miles a year and if your dog eats loads of meat that has been reared just for it (i.e. not a by-product of other part of the meat industry and not mixed with vegetable/rice feed) then yes you can show that the 4x4 has a bigger footprint.

So I wasn’t that surprised to see that US Republican Ed Orcutt declare that the CO2 emissions from riding a bike are greater than that of driving a car. Clearly Mr Orcutt is deluded. Particularly as he cites the greater expiration of the cyclists as being the cause. We can ignore Mr Orcutt on the grounds of stupidity but the carbon impact of cycling is dead interesting. Here’s some food for thought.

Mike Berners-Lee in “How bad are bananas?” looks at the impact of cycling a mile. Now the interesting thing is that it depends on what you’ve eaten. This is the fuel for the bike. So if you are fueled by cheeseburgers the impact of cycling a mile is 260g of CO2e but if you are fueled by bananas this falls to 60g. These figures take into account the embodied impact of the bike per mile.

The embodied impact of a family car kept for 200,000 miles is 100g per mile plus the impact of burning a mile’s worth of fuel (between 150g and 200g per mile). But this doesn’t take into account the fact that the car driver will also have eaten food but that the calories from this food are not burnt off but accumulated. This in turn has a knock-on potential impact of running a health service to deal with those non-cyclists who become obese (note: not all non-cyclists become obese).

So the impact of driving a mile in a car is the impact of the fuel use, the embodied impact of the car and the impact of the food eaten by the driver. So if the driver eats cheeseburgers this gives a figure twice as large as that of a cheese burger eating cyclist.

Phew, that’s complex. The key thing is to understand is where the boundaries of your study are. My advice to Mr Orcutt is to get his facts straight, trust the science and ride a bike more.

Words and facts by Mark Shayler at tickety boo

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