19 Jun 2012

Moving on up (review : On-One Scandal 29er)

For a long time now, @twinklydave has been riding a 29er, so has pretty much every endurance racer I know!

My first experience of a 29er was not the best, a Specialized hardrock comp 29er, it was horrible like riding a Raleigh Bomber, it was a dog on the climbs, slow and unresponsive when pointing downwards, not for me then! complete and utter waste of money!

I was working in the Highland of Scotland when Jason (@terrahawk) pulled his brushed alloy Scandal 29er out of the back of a van, my eyes bulged at it's beauty, the I need one of those chip in my head went into overdrive, Jason's 1st in the singlespeed cat, and 5th overall in the race made the chip explode!

When the plan was being hatched i did have some worries, will it by like my current hard tail (cove Stiffee FR) a good mile muncher that can handle jumps, tight twisty single track and massive drop off's!

The Scandal arrived, was built in a reasonable 10 hrs (spec below) then off to do a lap round Clough lead mines route in Rivington, at first it felt tall, and I noticed myself braking harder than usual into corners, I soon found that I could shift my weight about and carve into the corners, the grin was starting to expand across my face. Climbing felt easy even on loose surfaces, but I knew it would do this! when it came time to point the bike downwards the first thing I noticed was the acceleration, damn its fast, I started to pick up speed sitting further back over the rear wheel this felt like the most natural thing in the world, cutting through the woods like a monkey on crack, when I arrived at my first water bar, the words "are you sure" boomed into my head, I had landed perfectly before my brain could make me hesitate and followed up with "where's the next one?"

I have not ridden my Santacruz Nomad for a while now because this bike is bringing me so much joy I cant put it down, why did I not get one earlier? Maybe because of a journey into the unknown, or the fear of change!  As bikes go this hits all the right buttons for me, A beautiful finish, nice weight and swap out drop outs (available in anodised red and blue) the only downside that I can think of ......... its made me want/need Titus El Guapo!!!!!


Frame : On-one Scandal 29er V2 21" super raw
Forks : Rockshox reba RL with pop loc
Wheels : Fulcrum red power 29 SL
Brakes : Formula RX 180 rear 2003 front
Bars : Raceface atlas fr
Stem : Raceface Evolve 90mm
Grips : Odi troy lee designs lock on
Headset : Superstar tappered T4 (would have preferred the on-one mixer but only avail in white/black)
BB : Hope Stanless steel bearingd
Crank : Raceface Atlas AM
Pedals : Crank Bros Candy 2
Shifters/mechs/casette : Shimano SLX 9 Speed
seat post : On-One Twelfty 
Seat Clamp/Skewers : Hope
Seat : Specializes Avatar
Tyres : Maxxis Crossmark

Where you been?

It's been a while hasn't it, what with work, house redecorations, walking the dog! training to attempt the Way of the roses coast to coast route in less than 24hrs (thanks Martin for all those massive hill routes you planned, did not feel like it at the time but I'm sure it has helped).

Busy is what its been, building @http://www.twinklydave.com/  race bike a couple of hours before he was due to jet for a major race in Italy (world solo 24hr championship), building my new 29er On-One Scandal in the same week, it all seems to have flown past.

Finally got some time off work to rest! but that's not gonna happen!   House still needs work, Wiggle Mountain Mayhem is at the weekend, and the way of the roses the weekend after, and just to keep me on my toes I have decided to apply for a new Job!

Besides all that I have had lots of fun riding with my mates this year, and Strava is keeping us more than honest, unlike some people on the site that seem to be able maintain 25mph off road on some pretty horrible climbs!! More about that soon!

I have started watching the weather for this years Mountain Mayhem, and after the last few years of dusty trails it looks like we may be in for a mud fest, so I may be in for a very busy weekend.

Time to push through and get back in the game.

10 Sep 2011

The empire strikes back

Scotland had been cruel on my last visit, the Peak ride made me suffer on a level I forgot existed!

It was time for some pay back, a van was hired and stuffed with bike and camping gear, we (me and Billy) headed off to the highlands in search of revenge and some fun.

We arrived in a piss wet Glentress late, decided to spend the night in a wigwam, a few beers where consumed and tales from history kept us awake until the we hours.

The morning arrived, and I was chewing at the bit, I had a point to prove to myself I needed to kill some trails and destroy the flea in my ear telling me I was to old for this shit!

The climb was carried out at a average pace, all shortcuts where employed to get to Spooky woods, the sun had arrived so had my nerves, doubt was pushed to one side as soon as I hit the first drop, bang I'm back baby!

Swooping down the trails, taking the berms as fast as my steed and skills would allow me, the joy started to spread, my body relaxed and it all started to flood back.

This is why I work in a boring job, so I can make my time filling and joy full, Billy was riding the trails nicely on his virgin ride, hitting the jumps, it all went a bit tats up when Billy got confused by the board walks, missing the board walk itself, only to pull up on his bike at the last min to avoid nose diving into a brook.

We finished the red route big grins intact, stuff high calorie pies down our pie holes (macaroni cheese pie, with toasted cheese lid) then jumped in the van to head off to Ae for our next stop.

Lost was not the word, when we finally pulled the van over to check the maps, we had travelled 25 miles in the wrong direction, we finally arrived at Ae car park at 22.15, nobody around, right we sleep in the van then, this was not the best nights sleep to be honest but it did keep us dry!

We awoke to the sound of workers arriving at the office not far from the bike/cafe shop, breakfast was consumed, and I showed Billy the DH route, Billy was not impressed, I on the other hand was having the time of my life, the Shredder was first, and no I did not attempt the road gap!

After a few runs, my arms and legs where starting to ache and time was getting away from us, we both decided to head home, Billy enjoyed his 1st MTB hol and I had removed all doubt from my mind, so take that Scotland.

I look forward to our next battle :)

Video Link, with Billy crash bail out :)

16 Aug 2011

My old friend pain (you weren't there man)

After very little sleep on Saturday night, I got up early Sunday to wait for Dave, breakfast consisted of black coffee, monster and jellied sweets. Dave arrived on time bikes and kit jammed into the car off we drove to Bury to pick up Michael.

Michael collected we sped off to Scotland for a secret meeting in Mabie, a long drive and we arrived at a petting farm!!! Good old sat-nav where would we be without it? (in the right place probably) a few J turns later we arrived at the bike park, which looked very posh with the stately home dominating the entrance.

A much needed coffee was glugged down, and a people started to arrive but no sign of the guest of honour, as we head back down to the car park Jason & Phil appeared, big grins included following god knows how many miles of riding to arrive at Mabie.

Surprise!!! Jason seemed chuffed that we had turned up on his Birthday holiday to go out and play, back to the car, kit on bikes out we were all ready to ride.

Jason, Phil, Lee, Dave, Michael and myself headed of to discover the frills (or Spills) of the North Shore trails and generally have a lads day out with bikes, ACE.

I could not find the energy to climb the hills and decided to blame it on the bike, but it was not the bike, I've got lazy over the past few months and it shows, we came to or first down hill section, at last i can have some fun, as i dropped in and hit the first jump the bike felt weird almost loose at the front even grip less, I put the whispers of doubt to the back of my mind and continued onwards, when we arrived at the north shore section we all happily made our way to the start and headed down the kerb size beam, yes we all nailed it (what happens on tour stays on tour)!

The riding had been tough, due to my lack of fitness and changes to my cock pit, it was about to get a whole lot tougher, as I took a corner I could see the slab drop down the trail, a few exposed rocks after it followed by normal muddy trail, easy drop off, roll out and power down, I cleared the drop but the dead tree stump to my right grabbed hold of my bars and sent me into the air, I hit the ground face first and continued forward on my chest and right shoulder, the bike the slammed into my right leg just above my ankle. Bollocks!! that's Scotland 2 - Fast Farrell 3.

A quick check that I was not dead, and quick look at the bike told me I was OK to carry on and meet up with the lads.

I felt tight for the rest of the ride, no strength at all in my legs and struggled to grip the bars, but I carried on slow at first, when you lose confidence in your own ability its always best to pace yourself.

When the ride was over, we shared tall tales and headed over to Jason's holiday home with the promise of home made soup, which was ace (thanks Debs & Jacqui ).

The drive home seemed to take forever, when I arrived home I flopped into bad and passed out.

I had an ace time despite the crash, thanks to all the lads and Happy birthday Jason the cake was lush.

I finally went to the hospital today to discover I have two cracked ribs on my right side, and that you get better drugs from the hospital than you do from a chemist :) will get the bike sorted out on Wednesday but for now its time for tramadol dreams.

22 Jun 2011

We are family (team Ragley JMC it) OSMM 2011

"An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing"

It's only been a year, I'm in a field again surrounded by hundreds of mankind's greatest invention the bicycle, last years OS mountain mayhem was the best I had ever attended, two podium finishes, sunshine and good friends. The anticipation over the past weeks had been at times too much to bear!

This is my Glastonbury, weekend away, lads night out and social gathering all rolled into one, it was gonna rock, a few beers later and the tiny tent I will call home for the next 48hrs beckoned.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain on canvas, when I finally got out of my luxury 1 man body bag the camp site we had claimed as our own started to buzz with the same anticipation I had felt in the weeks prior to the event.

Time passed, final inspections of bikes and kit, race time was upon us, time for game faces to be applied.

Dave, Jase, Lee and Sally all took position for the run, when they start running I head to the pits, it will be ages before I have to do something time to relax and take in some country air.


"Change my tyres to mud tyres for the next lap" there goes my nice relaxing weekend!!! To be honest it was nice to be working despite the fact that Dave's tyres were on tighter than a (add your own crude reference) Mud tyres on time to chill. More rain meant more cleaning of bikes, I must have cleaned a bike a lap sometimes 2, mud in my nails a few cuts I sat down for a beer as the evening approached.

All was going well, Dave was competing well and staying in touch with the leader Ant White, Jase was chasing down Dan Treby, despite a moment of self doubt, and suspension envy in typical Jase style, by the next lap which was super fast, his NO I ain't having that attitude had returned.

Dave came rushing into the pits, Ant had not been past, Dave was in the lead after another consistently fast lap, ant passed whilst Dave refuelled in the pits, I watched the pit work of our rival and tried to learn, sip of coke and a jelly bean and Ant was off down the course. I learnt one thing, Ant was a machine who ran off sips of coke and a jelly bean!!!

Jase had taken Dan in the morning, due to a recording error (may have been the lack of sleep and/or bike cleaning duties) we had missed a lap, "he's right behind me, QUICK" the pit crew, team riders, family and friends made sure he was out the pits in record time, we discovered later that Jason had lapped Dan whilst he had some breakfast! relief swept over us all and Dan kindly informed Jase whilst unlapping himself.

Dave had started to suffer, I could see it in his eyes but somehow he did not seem to mind, "two more laps to be sure mate" big push down the course with words of encouragement, I knew my work was done for another year.

Jacqui was the first over the line for the team of mixed vets recording an excellent 9th Mixed vets and 25th overall, Jason was next claiming 3rd place in the solo, with Dave pumping his blood and mud encrusted legs over the line to finish 2nd solo.

The results were awesome, and improvements were made, and personnel goals achieved, hats off to Ant White who had a flawless race, and to Dan Treby for his drive and sportsmanship (on a single speed bike) but most of all Hats off to Ragley , Team JMC it for the support, to the children of the race team keeping me awake (with somthing called pub-step)when all I wanted to do was snooze, to Phil, Budge, Andy, Jacqui and Sally for their help support, food and laughs (Andy the Stuntman Watson) Debs for the coffee and help, Michael for the banter, Lee and Rachael for staying up all night, all awesome, and to Dave and Jase for giving 100% effort and giving us all a good race to watch/be part of.
Its a strange thing to feel like you belong amongst people you see but only two maybe three times a year, a bit like a family, but without the argueing :)

2012 should be a cracker

31 May 2011

Oh Canada

After what seemed like an eternity traveling from Manchester we finally arrived in a sunny Vancouver, a quick walk around our hotel location and a drink me and Mrs Fastfarrell went to our hotel room to get some much needed rest.

Upon waking the next day, the weather in Manchester had caught up with us and it was pouring down, water proofs where grabbed and off we went to explore our holiday destination, the city is huge like no other I have been to, with a park (Stanley Park) that was twice the size of my home "city" centre, and it was bike friendly with shared paths, bike only trails and real wild life, Jen got very excited when we came across a Raccoon in the park, we where both tired from a days walking and ended the day with a stupidly large meal, Nachos for starter (which could have passed for two main meals) and enchiladas for my main, with one large belch off I went to bed, only to wake up at 3am!! thank for gods for 24hr Tim Hortons (best coffee I have ever had and cheap as chips) and good old Macky Dee's.

We set off at 9am to see Grouse Mountain with the promise of views of Washington D C, the whole of Vancouver, Timber wolves and Grizzly bears, a quick train, sea bus and bus ride (all for 9 bucks) we arrived at Grouse Mountain, so had the fog/clouds, being British we decided it would be rude not to see the sights as we had traveled so far, getting up the short climb to the top (via cable car) was not as cheap as the earlier mentioned commute, $39 dollars for a 10 min cable car ride took us to a snow covered mountain top (the snow was at least 10ft deep) with views of well not much really, however we did get to see the two orphaned Grizzly bears, who both seemed bored of the endless amounts of tourist not sharing the chocolate bars and warm coffee they guzzled whilst taking photo's.

The next few days where spent, walking drinking and generally having a laugh, on Tuesday we headed of to the Greyhound station for our coach trip to Whistler, this was not like the Greyhound buses you see in the movies, it was smelly, Dirty and slow, we where delayed by 45mins due to a medical emergency which to be honest the greyhound bus driver was ace and probably saved a mans life, we arrived in Whistler and I was like a giddy child running from store to store, touching and smelling all the big fancy expensive bikes. Our hotel room at the Crystal Lodge was amazing, king size bed, flat screen 42", balcony, sofa bed, fridge, massive shower it even had a kitchen sink! It was Hockey night in Canada and the Vancouver Canucks where playing game 6 against the San Jose Sharks, win this and they where through to the Stanley Cup Final, off to the pub then, two pitchers and three shots of tequila later we where both hammered (the canucks won and every time they scored the manager gave everyone in the bar a free shot) a good night was had by all, however this made me very hungover the next day, the planned day at the bike park was cancelled, I walked round in a daze for most of the day, I did however book A bike for the next day and went for a walk in the woods with the Mrs, it was a good walk, but walking is for the birds, here's a link to all the pics if your interested.


The next morning I had a spring in my step, However Jen was ill, she did still pull herself to the Whistler Bike shop, I collect a £6k bike and got myself into character.

It was cold, wet and I had never used a bike chair lift, and I'm scared of heights this was going to be interesting, garmin on, full face helmet on and helmet cam ready I shoved the bike into place then waited for the chair lift, i was on my way. The ride to the trail head took around 15 mins, time to ride, to warm up I rode the B-line, I knew there was no big drops on this line off I went, it was fast but loose, with a few jumps and loads of tight berms, I kept low and tried to get as much speed as possible whilst spying out the sections of the A-line, I reached the bottom with a child like grin, that was quick! back to the chair lift. Not sure if I was ready for the A-line after seeing the massive drop off at the end, I decided to go for the Crank it up trail. Me and the bike started to gel and just in time for the first jumps, a couple of wall rides kept me amused and the first drop off appeared, the flow was perfect, hitting jump after jump it was heaven. When I finally built up the courage to hit the A-line the rain had stopped, heavenly traffic had created lots of sloppy ruts but the minion tyres where cutting through no problem, the jumps seamed to be endless and the final drop off was upon me, at least 8 foot of it, I planted the bike on both wheels and rolled off to meet Jen for lunch. Not all the trails where open but the A-line was enough to keep any biker happy, BLT devoured a quick kiss for the wife, off back up the hill for more stupid grin action, I spent 7hrs going up and down A-line X 4, crank it up X 3 and the B-line twice, ace fun.

I spent the next day with whatever illness Jen had picked up, managed a little bit of XC riding in the afternoon near the lost lake trails which where entertaining, but my brain could not help thinking about big down hill runs.

It felt like I was back on a plane in no time at all, it was an ace holiday for which I have to thank my wife. "Thanks Jenny your Awesome, when are we coming back?" Soon, very soon.

(Helmet cam fotage links below)

9 May 2011

Highway to hell

All the gang/team had arrived in Scotland to compete for the coveted UK/European 24hr endurance champs in Newcastleton, Scotland. It started bad with a promise of a pasta party scheduled for tea time but only arriving in time for supper!! I was here to be the race support from which Twinklydave could attempt to destroy himself all in the name of glory.

Race day seemed to approach fast after a restless sleep under the stars, the stars had spent the night above a thick black layer cloud which was spilling its payload all night without remorse.

For some sick reason I decided to change Dave's headset on the backup race machine 1 hr before the start, whilst removing the cups i managed to t**t my hand with the hammer, everyone expected a wall of blue words to be expelled from my cake hole, but i managed to control myself and get on with the job, 35mins later the Ragley TD-1 was ready to race, and I was making my way to the start in Newcastleton village centre.

The top 10 from last year were seeded, which put Dave at a disadvantage as he started with the pack at least 80 back, beer collected from the local shops and back up the hill and wait for Dave to arrive, as the leader speed past our awesome pit area (set up expertly by Phil & Budge) I was expected Dave in about 15 mins, but as the chasing pack came past Dave had made up 75 positions in one lap and was running in 5th!! The advantage given to the seeded riders from last year demolished by a rider not at the peak of his fitness in a single lap, and going toe to toe with the biggest punchers in the field.

As the race wore on Dave managed to stay with the leaders despite the rain which greased the trail for 18 of the 24 hours, it was all going according to plan when Jason came into the pits with half his ass scraped off and not looking so happy, ointment was applied (not by me Mrs_Terrahawk was on enrolled for this task) 2nd bike passed over and off he sped, next was Budge, he had tried to head butt mother natures foundations and damaged his neck in the process, two painkillers and a quick grit of the teeth back out for another lap, unfortunately that was Budge's race over, his job as pit crew member had just started.

The race did not go well, Dave pulled up after 12hrs racing at the sharp end of the pack, crazy and erratic heart rate the main cause for concern. Phil and Andy finished their 12 hr races and posted results beyond their expectation, Lee also had a solid race and was recruited into the team JMC racing family. Jason worked through the pain barrier and dread full conditions to beat last years result and finish 4th, ace :)

The race left me feeling a little deflated, I did not last 24hrs for the 1st time ever, sneaking in a 4hr Knapp (this means I owe Michael 4 hrs at MM).

The race was a logistical nightmare with catering miles away from our pit area and navigating to and from during the night involved crossing the race track at least 4 times, the timing was dreadful, in a race that claims to be the UK and Euro 24hr endurance Champs does not have chipped timing!!! ive been to fun events where all the profit's go to charity and they still had chipped timings, get it sorted for next year.

It was however good practise for the main event at MM, think I have gone a bit soft as last year every event I attended was rain free, 1 headset removed replaced, 1 wheel truing and re tensioned ( for Scott, he has no team support, and I'm nice like that) one bar end repaired (thanks Andy) 1 wheel change, 1 saddle bag repair, 1 disc brake pad replaced (as 1 pair had a bent backing plate) 9 bikes washed and re-lubed, 4 cans of monster, 4 cans of larger, 6 bottles of cider, 20 fags, 1 AC/DC hour, 1 Beatie Boys hour, 3 bruises (leg/arm/hand) 1/2 hour of monster induced dancing, not a single puncture!!!!

Mountain Mayhem will be better.