Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hurrah! It's the final countdown!

I am so excited that Aidan is nearly at the finish! I have butterflies flapping wildly around in my stomach.

He stopped last night 48.76 miles from Silver City (his last check point!)It looks as though he is still there but I reckon we will see signs of movement in half an hour or so.

Once he has reached Silver City he then has the last 133 miles to go!!!! Wahoo that is less than what he has been clocking up each day! The prediction chart thinks that he will make it in on the 20th day and 5 hours. The single speed record is 19 days and 16 mins and so Aidan may just miss that but who cares!

I think we can all say that he has done such an amazing job out there, To be in 4th place and only a tad behind the single speed record for your first time at this Epic journey is pretty darn impressive.

I am wondering whether he is going to keep his head down and try to do the whole 181.76 miles in a day, I wouldn't put it past him as I suppose he doesn't have to save himself for any more days of riding! We will just have to wait and see. Personally I think he will get in somewhere in the 19 day mark.

For anyone who hasn't seen Aidan as a film star take a look at this link:

I had to chuckle as I have written Aidan some letters that he can open along the way, for the letter at the finish there is something else inside the envelope that will be of use to him after one of the comments made by him on the video. I will not put the answer yet as I am aware that Aidan has had internet access and so I'd hate to ruin the surprise but I will reveal all tomo when he finishes!

Anyway let us all think of Aidan give him some shouts of encouragement and see him to the finish line!!!

GO ON Aidan you can do it!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Podium finish?

Ok so i've just listened to people calling in. Aidan is saying that he is going to up the pace now and push into the night a bit more.

Eric who is in 3rd place called into say that he is going to slow the pace as he is going to burn out if he continues at the pace that he has been doing.

Aidan is exactly 1 day behind him, can he push into the the night and catch him....... I reckon so. This week could prove rather exciting.

GO on Aidan you can do it!

Sad times

Hi All

Firstly Aidan is fine and doing well. He is in 4th position and heading towards Salida.

I felt that I should update the blog as Aidan has been riding alongside Dave Blumenthal for a good part of the race. Yesterday however Aidan went on ahead. I am so relieved that he did as Dave had a head on collision with a car/truck and sadly died today in hospital. It is one of those times that life seems circumstantial and I thank God that Aidan was not caught up in the accident.

I can't imagine what Dave's family must be going through, but my thoughts as i'm sure yours and many others are with his wife and daughter.

I never met Dave but it seems so surreal but it also highlights what a major event this is and how all the racers are taking a level of risk to fulfil their dreams.

May everyone remain safe for the remainder of this event and I hope that this terrible news spurs the racers on in Daves memory rather than wearing them down.

Aidan is on track to finish next Wednesday, I'll be glad when he's at the end. If you would like to see some pictures of Aidan and other riders use this link:

For those who chase dreams xxx

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two more states to go!


Well, how exciting is this race?! I could barely get enough signal on my phone whilst I was away camping at the weekend to follow Aidan, but when I could I was so happy to see him still eating up the miles. Now I have regular access again, it is truly amazing to see him moving up to 6th/7th place. Damn he's doing well! The first half is over and he is about to leave Wyoming and enter Colorado then hopefully it is all downhill from there into New Mexico!

I haven't heard from him since last week and so it was great to hear his voice on the online call in that the racers ring to say that all is ok. He was very upbeat and still had a good sense of humour as he asked if it was the tour divide complaint line as he would like to make a complaint.......... The race is way too long!!!!! He also commented that everyone is really nice to ride with, the scenery is amazing and he also said thanks to all of those who have sent him texts of encouragement!

I bet he makes it to Steamboat Springs by the time I wake up in the morning.

I have to admit that I have been doing a small tour divide of my own, in fact tour of Richmond borough! I am trying to get fit for this coast to coast that I have roped Aidan into doing with me in Scotland this September, he will find the 47 mile bike ride and other stuff through the highlands a piece of cake. So as to not make him have to walk pushing his bike beside me as I cycle at my fastest I have been going on 20 mile bike rides and they are killing me! There is one hill in Richmond Park that is frankly quite rude and results in bad language and puffing! I already had a lot of respect for all these crazy riders that are happy to go 130-140 miles a day, day in, day out but now I have the utmost respect for them although I think it is still highly insane!

So carry on pedalling Aidan, it is getting to the point now where I really can't wait to see him, if I could stretch my arm all that way, I would and give him a gentle push so that I could speak to him sooner when he finishes.

Hopefully this time next week I can report back that he has finished or is on his last day!

For those in the UK, enjoy this wonderful sunshine!

Adios Emily

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Speeding up!

Ok just a quick update as I am away this weekend and so will not be able to forward any info on.

Aidans last text was a couple of days ago and he mentioned that the tough part was "wet and nasty at the end". He has however managed to grab a chance to get some laundry done! Maybe the Mexicans won't be able to smell him coming after all!

He is now on a stretch in which he said he was going to start bivvying. This is helping him to cover a good amount of ground as he's starting the day nice and early. At the moment he has managed to move himself up to 8th place and has got a mention in the race up dates for the fact that he is making impressive progress and on a single speed!

Thanks for all your messages, I have been passing them on in texts, I have a funny feeling that he is going to get bombarded with about 8 from me when he next turns his phone on.

Taylor I have texted him, asking him to call in and I have given him the number on the website, for the rest of you, if he calls in, we can finally hear how he is sounding!

Anyway, if have more news I will update on Monday.

TTFN and have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tough cruising


Just a quick update to say that I have heard from Aidan. He confirmed that the spot wasn't working but he was too tired to work it out, however he is loving the riding, generally cruising well and no complaints about sore knees or tummy upsets (others are complaining of these things when you read the race updates).

He said that yesterday was tough but everyone was finding this. Looking at the groups progress today, it looks as though it is another tough day and taking a closer look at the terrain confirms this.

He is doing so well though as he has climbed to about 11th place, 10 people have scratched already and he should be at Butte, the fourth check point by the end of the day!

Our thoughts are with you Aidan! Just keep pedalling like you tell me to just keep swimming!

Monday, June 14, 2010

He's moving!

Hurrah Aidan is on the move and it would seem that he has been for quite a while as he has made it across the American border and is now in the town of Whitefish!

Whitefish is the 3rd checkpoint and has taken 2 days 12 hours and 21 minutes to get there and is 367.3 miles into the journey. I'm thinking the spot decided to have a break from reporting back!

Its great to know that he is well on his way, we can all relax and enjoy the ride!!!

Go Aidan!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tour divide so far....


Whilst Aidan is away I am updating his blog with information that I know.

So far things are quite varied.

He started well, he was in 5th place for most of the first day (Friday) and then he began to drop back a few places. He then stopped at Elkford. I thought nothing of this stop as Aidan had mentioned that he may stay in towns/accomodation for the first 3 days due to these areas being known for bears. However, Aidan was slow to set off which is unlike him. Usually he is up at daybreak so as to maximise the number of hours that he can travel in daylight. I did begin to wonder even more as to what was going on by the time that I realised that it was 9am and still no action. I then recieved a text from Aidan saying that he was experiencing his first technical problem.....his tyre gave out! This happened before he reached Elkford, he bodged it and limped the rest of the way.

Saturday therefore started with hitching a lift to the next town, Fernie, so as to get a new one. This set him back by half a day, then he was on his way.

With the problem dealt with, Aidan raced on and making good progress, overtaking people and covering good ground. From what I can tell is that he kept going into the night until about 2 am. If the spot is accurate he has taken some interesting deviations off of the suggested route, they look like short cuts however from a satelite view it appears as though he has decided to leave the trail and bump his way down the sides of steep mountains covered in trees! If his route for Sarn Helen is anything to go by, then this would be about right for Aidan!

Now though, Aidan hasn't moved for the past 12 hours 23 minutes and looking in more detail it took him 6 hours to cover the last stretch which should have taken 1 -1.5 hours tops. I am not sure what is going on. I can only imagine that there maybe issues with the tyres again? These were bought out there as the particular 29" ones he wanted and had been recommended were trickier to get in the UK and so he has not had a chance to test them properly.

I have sent a text in the small hope that he will pick it up and let me know what's going on, but it does appear that he is in a rather remote area. One positive thing is that there are still racers passing through the area and so I suppose if help is needed for whatever reason, it is there.

If i'm honest it is pretty stressful not knowing but I am know that Aidan is more than capable and so I am only hoping that when I wake up tommorow, there will be movement and a technical reason for this stop and that Aidan is safe, well and happy (maybe a bit miffed about bike issues).

I'll keep you updated.



Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Tour Divide Approaches!

Well, it's been a successful few days in Canada for me. It turned out that the guy I sat next to on the plane from London lives in Canmore (about 20km from Banff), and he was good enough to offer me his sofa to sleep on for a few days. He's a nice guy and awesomely kind to help me so much. That seems to have set the tone for the other folks I've met here too...

I went for a ride yesterday with another local and it was rough going. I loaded up my bike since I should be getting used to the weight right now, but the local trails in Canmore are not very bike-packing singlespeed friendly. Steep ups and rooty singletrack awaited us. But before we even got to the singletrack, I had to have a little sit down from the climbing. And I'm supposed to be riding the Tour Divide? Oh, dear. I'm hoping it's the altitude and I'll get over it. I'm hoping that the trail itself won't involve gravelly granny-ring climbs. I'm just hoping. After a brutal 6 mile loop, we stopped back in the town and I ditched all the gear. With my bike feeling insanely light, we rode on the other side of the valley and it was fun to have more of a normal ride. The trails were flowy and fast with the odd steep rock slab. Lovely.

So now there are just a handful of things left to do other than wait. I'm going to head over to Banff later on today. Hopefully, there will be some other racers about. Then it all kicks off on Friday. I can't wait to have the first 100 miles behind me and know that I'm on my way. The weather forecast looks promising but I'll take whatever I get for the next 3 weeks.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Conwy to Swansea In Pictures

On Monday 24 May, I set out to ride the length of Wales off-road. It was to be fun; a test of kit for the Tour Divide; and a bit of a confidence-builder in respect of the big event. I largely followed the Sarn Helen route published by Mountain Bike Routes UK, but diverged to get in more off-road and where I couldn't understand the instructions. I had a deadline of being back in London by 8.20 on Friday morning to get a train to a stag do in Edinburgh. Easy.

Things went pretty swimmingly overall. The bike, my new Singular Swift, was absolutely flawless. No mechanicals, long legged, and comfortable. My actual legs also worked pretty well. They powered along every day and didn't have too much trouble with getting up to do the same again the next day. My food selection was fine. No stove and various snacks kept me pecking into my feedbag and somewhat topped up. I did appreciate buying hot food in Brecon, but this will be possible on the TD as well. My GPS worked perfectly, eating 1 set of AAs in just over a day. My kit-packing didn't work so well, but I learned a couple of things:

You have to pack the Epic Designs rear bag carefully. I kind of knew this, but this ride emphasised it. Unless you have some good solid stuff at the nose of the bag, putting your food at the back can make it slop down annoyingly. It worked really well on the last day when I had things sorted out.

The "drybag round the bars" is difficult to achieve with a big bag. My 40L bag was consistently buzzing the front tyre until I ran out of gaffa tape for repairs. It was an ongoing source of frustration and caused me to have to stop repeatedly. My plans are twofold. I will reduce the amount of total kit (in the light of the Welsh ride) and I will use an Alpkit drybag with guides for the straps holding it to the bars.

Overall, I made the ride from Conwy to Swansea successfully, though I had intended to go to Gower and back. Unfortunately, train failures on day 1 meant that I couldn't set off from Conwy until evening and the deadline of being back in London for the stag do made me ditch going over to Gower. I'm writing a proper story to be sent to whichever magazine might want to print it so on here it'll just be photos. Enjoy...

The route:

Conwy Castle at the start!

There were no sheep around and no sign of sheep poo, so this sheepfold was bed for the night.

Sunrise over a misty valley - this felt really special.

Fancy wedging your bike through that lot? I didn't either, but I managed to drag through to the point where I eventually found the right trail: 20m up the hill, where they hadn't felled all the trees. Doh!

The trails I saw at Coed Y Brenin were all coming towards me, so instead of riding against the flow it was time for fast forest roads.

At this point, I thought I'd blinked and turned up in NZ.

Standard bike + golden sunrise shot.

That post is a trail marker. Don't fancy it much.

I knew there was something funny going on with that trail. After over an hour of knee-deep pushing, you have to laugh.

Beautiful scenery between Brecon and Swansea. The trails themselves were fun too. Too fun to stop and take photos :)

I was on the Sarn Helen Roman Road repeatedly during the trip but this was one of the few signs.

It's not all forest roads. This descent was properly properly GRRR!

The final stats from the GPS and, in the background, some idea of how much drybag repair was going on(!)