Monday, 30 September 2013

Looking Back but Looking Forward

Just over a year ago I took a trip down to London to see the greatest show on Earth, the Olympics. The motto of London 2012 was "Inspire a Generation" and as we lined up in Llandudno to start the Crudcatcher Coast 2 Coast Challenge in aid of Cancer Research UK it was apparent that we had surpassed that and inspired a generational gap of 30 years between the youngest and oldest riders. This age range gave us a fantastic blend of exuberance, experience, enthusiasm, entertainment and many other words beginning with the letter E (but not eggs in Toms case, I'll explain later).
Everything we accomplished over the last week has been out of sheer team work  and doing it together and just a willingness from the team to help each other out.  From team members helping each other lift bikes over styles, everyone waiting for me whilst I gave a lost Serbian girl directions to Corris, to moments like Mark riding back down the steep slog of a climb we had just done and then back up it to get Nick a new tyre after his exploded, the camaraderie was top notch.  I think the moment that exemplified this the most was on the way to Lynn Brianne when Stuart snapped the rear dropout of his frame putting down a massive stomp of power to get up a steep hill.  It had just started to drizzle again and it was the coldest and wettest day of the ride, we were all soaked and chilly from riding through the rivers at Strata Florida and at that point it would have been all too easy to bundle Stuart and his stricken bike into the support van and carry on, especially as we had the promise of the Doethie Valley to look forward to.  But there was no decision about it, we were getting around as a team, so with a quick bend of the bike to get the wheel free of the frame, we nursed Stuart's bike back the longer but safer way on the road. It was a tough old slog and added a good number of miles to the day's riding which wasn't helped by the fact that one of the forest roads we had planned to use had been closed off to public access, subsequently adding several more. Despite this, nobody grumbled about why we had to do it, yes we may have whinged about the cold and the hills and the rain, but everyone slogged away, bounced ideas around to get Stuart through the last two days and we got to our destination before darkness fell. That evening we were delighted when a replacement frame arrived courtesy of Stuarts son, and he was able to build it up to finish the ride.

A big key factor in the decision we made that day was the wonderful service we had from our support vehicles. When I first started planning the ride in January and the services of Kev and Gill were offered, I thought they would be great at transporting the luggage and lunch and that we would get to meet up with them  a few times a day for drinks and to stock up supplies, I was wrong. They got everywhere they physically could, turn a corner up a mountain and one of them would be waiting, or up a forest track and they would be coming back up it the other way, they even followed us through the river crossings of Strata Florida. Not only that, using our Viewranger software they were able to track us at most times so knew if we had taken a detour and where to meet us if we had.  Gill and Kev were absolute Godsends and nothing kept the morale higher than the sight of a pit stop for water and energy gels in the most ludicrous of locations.

Talking of morale, the wit and humour in the group was outstanding, I have not laughed so much in ages. Things that could have really stressed us became jokes, such as one of the riders not turning up in Llandudno without any notification or Steve's missing chips, which made him make a girl cry or Richie's missing kebab (although if anyone was going to have to make do with a tea of leftovers, the group's human dustbin was probably the best man for the job).  Everyone got the mickey ripped out of them, Tom became the group's  private Pike after his attempts to boil eggs for his lunch left him with a bag full of half cooked broken eggs, stupid boy.  My midlands accent was pulled apart after suggesting we would be seeing some Welsh Mayans (mines) and  Sarah took a barrage of "abuse" for her wagon wheeled, pocket sized bike. Then there was Tom's attempt at getting  some cougar action after ending up on a table for two with Sarah for a lovely farmhouse breakfast left them looking like they were on an uncomfortable first date (If Tom's girlfriend is reading this, don't worry they weren't, but boy does your boyfriend get red and embarrassed very easily). There were cries of "I do like a puddin' pet" in hammed up Sarah Millican accents and shouts of "Briefcase W*nker" at Alex because of his uncanny resemblance to Will Mackenzie from the Inbetweeners. Everything we have ground our way through has been with a bedrock of good old fashioned, route one forum humour. Some of the evenings reflecting back on the day's events, or even rehashing old stories as we got to know each other have had us crying with laughter, which has only helped make this week even more special.

Our corporate sponsors have also been a fantastic help this week. The water from Mitchells and Butlers and Energy Gels and tablets from UES Energy have kept us going through the toughest of slogs and the inner tubes from Trek/Bontrager and rapid C02 inflators from MTB North Wales have really helped keep us rolling and quickly too, especially on day 5 when we suffered a plethora of punctures.  Finally the mapping and tracking software from Viewranger really helped us to not only find our way, but also plot new routes when we needed to and let the support team know that we had done so using the buddy beacon facility. Without the support of these guys we would probably still be on the side of a mountain, hungry and thirsty with flat tyres and lost. Thanks guys


And then there's the fantastic support we have had from behind the scenes. The sponsorship we have received to help Cancer Research UK has been amazing from the largest donations, to the £1 that a little girl who had lost her father to cancer gave to the supporters waiting at the finish line to donate, it's been touching to know that you have all been behind us and that you feel like the cause has been a worthy one.  We have also had great support from social media and it's been noticeable that our Twitter presence has seen us make huge inroads into the number of people aware of what we have been doing, a special thanks on that front, I feel would be appropriate for Lara at @charitybooster  who has tirelessly tweeted to gain support for us. Talking of support, we were overwhelmed that there were so many of you waiting to greet us at the finish line in Port Talbot with medals and drinks and food, it was certainly emotional but great way to end such a wonderful  week.


So something that started out as a crazy idea between a couple of riding buddies has turned into something that meant so much to all of us, collectively. It was clear by how crestfallen we all were when Ben had to sit out a 20 mile section through a bad injury that each other's fight had become our own fight too and behind all the fooling around we had become bonded together by an amazing experience. The magnitude of the whole thing  made even clearer when we hit the southern edge of the Black Mountains and saw the first glimpse of the sea, bringing tears (or grown men trying to choke back tears) and gasps of awe as we looked out towards the bay in the distance.  Sarah's mums story, Tom's and Ben's dad's story in a small part became our story as it was clear just what this colossal team effort meant. There was however still a day to go so with this amazing moment to guide us, we were resolved to get Ben back on the bike and across that finish line and complete the ride as the team we were.  It was with no small amount of guts, determination and ibuprofen that the next day we were delighted Ben was sufficiently recovered to ride, and with a bit of gentle route tweaking, at just after  5pm we rounded the bend onto Port Talbot seafront and crossed the line as a team.

In six days of riding, a group of internet weirdo's who kind of knew each other were now the original "Crudcatcher Coast 2 Coast Challenge Team" and I for one was very proud to be a part of it.


Here's looking forward to the 2014 Crudcatcher Challenge

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Day 6 - We bloody well did it!

After another morning fettle and packing the suppirt vans for the last time, we set off on the final leg of our epic journey.

We were back up to a full team, moral was high and we couldn't wait to get across the finish line.
The 1st stint was across a section of road before we got onto a fast rocky bridleway. Unfortunately Sarah managed to catch her bike on a rock and was ejected over the bars and landed quite nastily on some rocks. Fortunately there was no damage done to rider or bike so we set off again, avoiding a few horse riders on the way.

We then had another linking road section which took us from the bridleway to the start of a long fireroad climb to take us up to the start of a Sarn Helen section.
The Sarn Helen road was a wet boulder field, the climbs were tough and getting enough grip to keep the wheels moving was difficult.
Eventually the "road" started to point downwards and the guys with the longer travel bikes were able to let off the brakes and cruise along. For those of us with short travel bikes (and especially for Stu who was on his replacement hardtail after bending his other frame the day before) it was a case of slowly picking lines and avoiding the bigger rocks.
We made it to our next downwards section of bridleway which had been cut up by water and filled with boulders.

Not too long after starting, the majority of us were tripoding on the bikes or pushing as there was little grip.
When we reached an adjoining fire road we decided that the best option would be to skirt around the difficult bridleway as an injury now would have been a disaster considering how far we had come.
The next stop was at Resolven Lock where we had a rest and refuel while checking the maps.
Our next section was more road followed by a 12-13mph stint along the canal which took us all the way to Neath.

From Neath we climbed up the road and back towards Afan where we had been picked up by the coach 6 long long days ago.
We climbed up to Bryn Bettws Cottages before continuing onto the last descent of The Wall trail, Zig Zags, which would be our last proper bit of mountain biking.
From the bottom of the trail, it was a 5 mile cycle route down to Port Talbot.

The cycle route eventually turned onto the seafront and the finish line was in sight.
We were greeted with cheers, party poppers and more importantly for us riders, sandwiches and cake!

Its been an absolutely epic week, something I don't think any of us will forget. We had ups and downs, crashes, mechanicals, we got lost, we got re-routed and ended up riding at least another 5 miles every day.
However we stuck together as team and had some great fun and banter.

More importantly,  for such a small group we've had loads of support and donations and have raised a brilliant amount of money for Cancer Research.

I just can't wait to do it again!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Day 5 - "The Chipgate Scandal"

We actually started on a hight on day 5 Stu's frame was up into the early hours putting his replacement bike together, food and company had been good and clothes were suitably dry enough from the water fest the day before.

As we got in quite late last night due to a closed bridleway, we decided to change the route slightly and head down the road in the morning.
In no time we had coveted around 12 miles and were back on track and started to climb out of Llandovery towards the Black Mountain.
Unfortunately, about 30km in my knee became painful enough that I had to jump in the van to let the others carry on.

It wasn't much further to the start of the bridleway up the Black Mountain where the group left the support vehicles.
However about 10 minutes later Bails was back for a replacement tyre as Clanks tyre had decided it didn't want to be round any more and exploded.
So Bails grabbed the replacement and shuttled it up to the incident.

I've been reliably that the climb up the Black Mountain was very very tough and because of the number of sheep tracks up there,  it was proving difficulf to navigate.
While they were traversing up and over, the support vans took an hour drive round to the other side to wait for the crudders to appear.
From the top of the mountain, they finally caught sight of the South Wales coastline, boosting spirits over what had been an ardous climb.
The descent was fast and grassy with sudden rock fields to keep people on their toes. A few punctures were the only incidents fortunately.
Around 3 hours after setting off up the mountain, the riders appeared and headed the shory distance down to our accomodation for the night at Craig Y Nos Castle.

After a good food, (apart from Steves missing chips, which did eventually turn up 5 minutes after he'd finished his food), drink and relax we turned in for the night.

So now were up and its the last crudder breakfast... its been an epic adventure and although we're tired we don't want it to end!

1st Casualty of the CCC2CC

Unfortunately, a long road climb has forced me to bail out of the CCC2CC for the time being as an old injury has resurfaced and I've pulled/twisted something in my knee. Standing is ok, but I just can't put any pressure on it to turn the cranks and have been in considerable pain.

Thankfully our support guys are here to give me a lift so that I can try to recover with a combination of ibuprofen gels and tablets, however it is still hurting a fair bit.

I'm properly gutted, I had a twinge appear half way through yesterday but managed to keep the legs spinning.
Everything felt good this morning after I had a carpark warm up and good stretch while people were prepping bikes, but I think the anadin could have been masking the pain.
I was quite looking forward to the rest of today too. This morning was all on the road and the xc route over The Black Mountain was just around the corner.

The map shows our current location and how far we've come. To get so far and potentially have a game over is hard to swallow.

For now, the ccc2cc riders are a man down.

- Ben

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Day 4 - "Tom sounds like a steamboat"

After a superb refuel last night in Devils Bridge and comfy beds, we decided that we could have a bit of a lie in and bike fettle in the morning.
While we had planned to set off at 10, a few bike issues and a good 15 minutes laughing when Richie turned up dressed as a smurf meant we didn't leave until 10:30 putting us well behind schedule.

The start of the day involved a gradual road climb which was ok apart from the driving crosswind.
We eventually made it to the 1st bridleway, which was when the rain really started to come down. On came the jackets and it was heads down to keep the momentum up. We crossed a few undulating fields and through farmyards before making it to the 2nd road section.

We made our way towards Strata Florida, a mad 4x4 greenlaning route (the support vans loved it!).
We had a hard technical climb to start, which wad made worse by driving rain and very cold wind.
We stopped for a puncture repair before heading down to the fun stuff, and happily the rain and wind eased off.
Strata Florida was a combination of rutted 4x4 tracks, river crossings and loose river beds.
As it had beed raining, the rutted tracks were knee deep with water and the rivers were swollen and fast flowing. This lead to possibly the most fun on a bike ever... pedal mashing through rock filled, almost wheel deep water lead to a few close calls and Tom imitating a steam boat pretty accurately *chomp chomp chomp*.

We were planning on doing the lower section of the same road, however we passed another cyclist who advised the way ahead was impassable.
This actually worked out in our favour as unfortunately the rocks of Strata Florida has bent the rear triangle of his frame.

A quick trail fix got his wheels rolling again, but it was now damage limitation mode and we had to get to the next rest stop asap by road.

We covered 73.5km and climbed 1,484m before getting into Llanwrtyd Wells.
Stu is now awaiting his spare frame and we are looking forward to a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Day 3

Day 3 was hard. I think that pretty much sums it up.

67.3km ridden/pushed/hike-a-biked up 1,940m of Welsh valleys.

Unfortunately it wasnt the best of starts as we has a late night dash to the local take aways at the last minute when we realised the restaurants were pretty much all closed. This meant energy levels were quite low.

We started as we meant to go on though, with a long arduous climb through a farm and onto a bit of road to take us towards Machynlleth.
Thats when we hit the 1st of our difficult climbs/hike-a-bikes as there was a lot of forestry work going on and they had destroyed the bridleway.
We eventually got to the top, took a few fire roads and did the final descent at mach.

After a quick bike shop and co-op refuel, we headed out again up and along road to get into the wilderness.
A few miles in, we realised we were behind schedule so had to take a "short cut".
This short cut can be recognised easily on the attached profle picture! It was a huuuge climb/push taking us from 20m to around 460m!
However the views were spectacular.

After some long undulating xc across mountsin, we then eventually joined the trails over at Nant Y Arian to do the final few sections before the final slog over to Devils Bridge which again took in some long pushes along steep inclines to get us on the right side of the hillside.

But, we made it.
Dinner has been devoured and its time for sleep.

On to day 4!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Day 1 + 2 done!

2 days down 4 to go!

Unfortunately I had no signal yesterday so was unable to give an update...

Day 1.
It was a hard slog, unfortunately most of the 1st few km were long and flat which meant that the climbs came in big chunks nearer the end of the day.
The 1st rocky climb out of Conwy was a bit of an eye opener and set the tone for the rest of the day.
It didnt however prepare us for one of the longest, steepest road climbs we've  ever seen.
Luckily the support vehicles were to hanf all day which meant we could refuel at the top of all the climbs.
We eventually got to the Marin at Gwydir forest for a run through part of the trail centre and into the bunkhouse at Bettws y Coed having covered 34miles.

Day 2.
We started off well with a climb from the bunkhouse up to Penmachno.
We had some long fire road climbs and eventually made it onto some superb singletrack.
After riding some of Penmachno, we had a few more road miles followed by what can only be described as a mental climb up through a quarry and eventually to the top of a huge mountain with a superb view.
The desent on the other side was possibly even more stunning, something we'll possibly never see again.
It was then another linking road ride and onto some fire road before eventually linking onto the Coed Y Brennin trail and again some brilliant singletrack.
We then had another long fire road then road slog before eventually getting to our next bunkhouse.
Currently trying to sort food as we're all STARVING!

First 2 photos are day 1, the rest are day 2.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

It all begins now...

After a good journey by coach up to North Wales, a good social evening and birthday celebration for Stu (Stu wad 50 yesterday, happy birthday fella!) And a decent nights sleep, its time for the crudders to awake and prepare.

The day is 30.92 miles and will see us climb 4,661 feet.

So, just a short update for now, I need some breakfast!

Picture from yesterday while waiting for the bus.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The day gets nearer!!

With just a few days left to go before we embark on our epic challenge, we thought it would be a great idea to pull together our training and preparation efforts over the last few weeks and months and what the ride means to us. Doing any form of distance cycling is difficult, but doing long distances over several days, or even a full week, is even harder and is not something many can just walk into. We've pushed ourselves to get fitter, get used to the conditions and mileage we'll be riding and having fun along the way too! Along with the training there was always going to be the matter of the equipment we'd be using, and how best to adapt our steeds to the rough and challenging terrain we will be encountering. Above all else though we are all doing the ride in Aid of Cancer Research UK, but there are many reasons, differing between each member of the group, as to how and why our humble little group assembled to do this fantastic challenge. Here's a few of our stories from our training and how we came to be where we are now!


My training started rather late on in the summer. Commitments to university assignments meant very little riding over the end spring as we headed into summer. Once the riding commenced, it turns out we actually had a decent summer and there were rides aplenty. Before University I rode at least twice a week and considered myself pretty fit; I could cover long distances without too much trouble or go for a quick blast and have fun. However the sheer workload and lifestyle that goes with University had a big impact on my fitness. Despite having incredible welsh trails such as Nant Y Arian and Coed Y Brenin on my doorstep, my riding plummeted and with it a lot of my confidence and fitness. After my dad was diagnosed with Cancer last summer, I strived to get fitter and follow his example; nothing should stop you from enjoying yourself or achieving your goals. I started to ride more again and with it came back my fitness and my confidence to push hard on the trails. Once I'd signed onto the challenge, this became even more important, as even at my fittest, this was not going to be a walk in the park. After a weekend in Betws Y Coed riding Coed Y Brenin and an uplift at Antor Stiniog with a few of the others on the challenge, I really started to pick up the pace with my riding and training.

My local trails are not the gnarliest by any stretch, or the steepest, but they are still demanding on fitness and technical skills. It's an almost ideal playground to get the miles in, and it's quite easy to cover 30 miles in a little over 3 hours. I recently did a week of pretty intense training, attempting to replicate the sort of mileage we'll be covering on the challenge. A weekends riding Cannock Chase's Monkey Trail and some of the off-piste trails with Mark was great, being a similar fitness and technical riding level we know when we can push each other and when to slow the pace if need be, but that's a rare occurrence! I spent the following week riding my local trails at a steady pace, with a few sections allowing myself  to let it rip, the lure of chasing a KoM on Strava is often to strong to ignore! Alas the week didn't turn out quite as planned, the mileage wasn't as high as I'd hoped over the week, but it was still a great workout and I now feel pretty comfortable. Whether I feel this way on the challenge is another story all together!

One thing I can feel comfortable on is my bike. I've had my Ibis Mojo HD for just over 2 years, and it's without doubt a brilliant bit of kit, that is equally happy slogging up steep climbs as it shredding it down the trails. The only modifications I've made for the challenge are adding a double chainset and the associated parts. I'm an avid single ring, 1x10 rider, preferring to stick with a rear shifter and leave the front alone, having no bailout gear leaves you no alternative but to push it harder! In view of the literal mountain of climbing we'll be doing, a smaller gear will allow to spin the legs and cruise to the top (well in theory!!).  Now the start of the ride is so close I cannot wait to get started!



Being more of a gravity rider (read: lazy), I initially found it difficult to get out and find some hills to climb.
I can usually be found pushing my 38lb freeride bike up a hill or riding uplift bus, so it was always going to be a bit of a challenge for me to get into the cross-country groove.However, with this being for such a great cause and with all the support and donations we've had, it’s been really easy to get focused.

I had started out on a lovely 853 steel Merlin Rock Lobster hardtail, but as I was racking up the miles it was soon clear that the frame was slightly too small and it would be murder on my sensitive bits over such a long distance. I had a lucky break on a forum and picked up a hardly used 2008 Specialized Epic full suspension frame for a bargain price. Since swapping out the frames, training has been much easier and more enjoyable. I've been riding trail centres, but also found some good long routes from home that take I some pretty decent climbs so hopefully I've done enough to prepare myself.

Climbs are going to be the most difficult thing for me and I’m probably the slowest climber out of the group, but hopefully I can just keep the cranks spinning and the speed constant. Either that or I’ll be hanging on to the back of Stu’s trail pack! Day 4 has around 2200ft of climbing, so I’m for some amazing views to keep me occupied.

I’ve suffered with slow recovery after long rides, but recently I’ve changed my diet and added a recovery supplement and it definitely seems to have helped. I’ve packed a huge tube of deep heat so I’ll be stinking out the hostel every night doing my best to keep feeling fresh.

I think we have a great group of people involved in the ride, so I’m sure we’ll spur each other on when the going gets tough.



Every time one of those charity fundraisers tries to stop me in the street, I smile and mutter a ‘No thanks,’ as I keep on walking. I can’t help but ponder what goes through people’s minds as they happily hand over their bank details and send their £3 a month to support a good cause and have nothing to show for it apart from a mention on the bank statement.

I remember that day the topic appeared on Bikeradar. I instantly wanted to reply but had to think about it, was this something I could really do? It didn't take long for me to decide. Which leads us to the here and now.

I knew that for me to do this and come out the other side it would take a change in lifestyle. I couldn't do it just on the brief time I escaped work each week to get out for a ride. I joined a gym. I commuted the brief six mile round trip to work (until I apparently broke a rib or two playing rounders at a work sports day.)

Do I feel ready? No, I'm bricking it. That is what makes it so exciting. Do I think I can complete the challenge that lays before us? Hopefully. That’s what makes this so important. We are just ordinary people, with ordinary lives. We have things that get in the way, not enough time in the day. As I always say, nothing’s ever fun if it’s easy.



After agreeing to take part in the CC2CC, I realised that I didn’t have the correct bike to undertake this mammoth ride. Yes, I own three mountain bikes, but neither of them, in their current build would have been suitable.

First there is my 2004 Coiler Dee-Lux. This was my first full suspension bike. Very sturdy, but also quite heavy. No matter what I’d adjusted, changed or moved, I’m yet to find a riding position that’s comfortable to ride all day on this bike. I’d rebuilt it as a sort of race bike last year, but it would still be too heavy to ride for 40 miles each day.

Then there’s my 2004 Giant XTC. My original XC race bike. Rebuilt from ‘spare’ parts a couple of years ago, it now acts as my 2nd commuter bike, shod with slick tyres. Not sure if my “gentleman’s area” would cope with riding a hard tail MTB for 40 miles of off-road each day. Also, not sure the very old skool RockShox Sid forks would take that sort of abuse.

And finally there’s my 2000 Giant NRS/XTC. This was a ‘no expense spared’ to make as light as possible build. Every nut/bolt/screw has been replaced by either alloy (for non load bearing) or titanium (for load bearing). Most of the parts were sourced from KCNC with weight saving being the main focus. In its final build, it weighed 20.1LBS. Which, for a 27spd, disk braked, full suspension bike was quite impressive. However, this bike was not built for the rigours of the CCC2CC. Light? Yes, very. Robust? Not really.

So, what to do? I had 3 mountain bikes, but neither was suitable. My good lady wife would have buried me under the patio if I’d purchased yet another bike (My N+1 currently equals 8 me also having a road bike a TT bike a CX bike and a BMX). So, I decided to build just the one bike, using the most appropriate parts off all three:

From the Coiler – I took the wheels. Mavic X319’s on Hope Pro II Hubs. Built to be strong and reliable.

From the XTC – I took the drive-train - crankset, front and rear mechs, all Shimano XT. Very reliable, spares readily available and easy to service.

From the NRS – I took basically everything else – the frame, brakes and cockpit.
In June, I started to put the bike together and everything was completed for the first training ride at Afan in July (see earlier blog “Did I say it was hot…”). The bike weighed in at a shade over 24 LBS. Not too heavy, but also not too light and more importantly, not too fragile.

Although the NRS coped reasonably well with the Afan trails, I’ve had to change a few of things:
The KCNC seat-post, whilst extraordinarily light, didn’t hold my saddle in place, which is sort of what it’s supposed to do (note the angle in the picture above).  Granted, its okay for lighter XC type riding – which is what it’s designed for, just not hard-core trail bashing. This has now been replaced with a much sturdier one from Superstar Components.

I’ve also replaced the uber-lightweight KCNC seat-post clamp with a Hope quick release one. You never know, I may need to lower my saddle at some stage.

I had installed the Alligator I-Link gear cables onto the NRS. Again, very light, but in an effort to reduce weight, I’d made the joint between the frame triangle and rear stay too short. This created a fair amount of “ghost shifting” when the suspension moved. So, I ordered a new liner and cable (they are specific to this set-up) and made the joining piece about an inch longer. This has alleviated the problem. I’ll ensure that I’m carrying a couple of spare cables in my back-pack during the ride as ‘normal’ cables don’t fit.

And finally, I’ve added the carbon bottle cage I won in a competition from Matrix Cycles. This is one seriously light piece of kit (I’ve done sneezes that weighted more…). Having run out of energy drink during the Afan training ride, I realised that I may have to have a back-up. As a Type 1 Diabetic, I need to keep my sugar levels topped up during any riding that I do. This is done through the energy drink I consume. For the CC2CC I’ll have a drinks bottle with a very high sugar content drink in this cage as my emergency back-up.

As for lights, (just in case we’re delayed out on the trails) I’ll be using my Lezyne Micro Drives. These are my commuter lights. They’re reasonably light, very bright and can be recharged from a USB socket.

I’m still undecided as to which tyres to fit for the actual ride. I’m currently using Maxxis High Rollers. These are okay on the current dry and dusty trails, but I’m considering switching back to Panracer XC Fire Pros. I’ve ridden and raced these over the years and they’re quite predictable in all conditions except gloopy mud. I think this decision will be made closer to the ride, when we have an idea of what the weather will be doing. I’m sure there will be a few other changes prior to the Challenge. Again, depending on what the weather has been doing prior to setting off from Llandudno, I may fit mud-guards. I’m considering changing the bar-ends for the ones of the XTC, which are a bit more comfortable. The more I ride the bike, the more I have an idea as to which components will work better for the Challenge. 


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A Big Thanks and A Mobile Test!

I just wanted to say how grateful all of the crudders are with all the support and encouragement we have been getting from everyone, including all the Facebook and Twitter shares and retweets.

At the time of posting this blog, we are £55 away from £1000 online and that excludes all of the generous donations we have been recieving in person from friends, family and co-workers.

Being a small group and arranging this mammoth event (in distance terms anyway!) has been difficult at times.
I'm writing as though I know what I'm talking about, but the credit has to go to Gaz who has arranged pretty much all of the route and accomodation.

As our event has also been fully accredited by Cancer Research UK, we met with Kelly at the South Wales branch last week.
She has been brilliant in supporting us and advising us, providing CRUK t-shirts, banners and tonnes of ideas.

With only 18 days to go, we're all training hard, planning and preparing. I'm confident that the ride will go with out a hitch and we are all really looking forward to it.

Which brings me on to my "mobile test".

In order to keep all of you, our supporters, informed of our progress, I plan to write some short blog posts on the way and hopefully post a few pictures too.
This is the 1st attempt at a blog post from my mobile so hopefully it uploads as planned and there isn't too many spelling mistakes!

We'll also be tweeting from our Twitter accout - @CrudcatcherC2CC - so if you can follow and re-tweet as much as possible it would be greatly appreciated!

Finally, as always, if you can spare some money to support our ride for Cancer Research, please follow the links on this blog.

- Ben