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ZWIFT at BIM Show Live

My day job is as an Information Management Consultant for Major Construction Projects and Estates Management at PCSG – whats that exactly I hear you say – well its making sure the right document, drawing or 3d computer model is available in the right version at the right time to get things built and then to maintain them going forward – sometimes the acronym BIM is used – Building Information Modelling but my role goes well beyond that.

Anyway the UKs main conference on BIM – BIM Show live was this week in Newcastle. I was speaking with one of my clients and generally networking but one of the exhibition stands run by BIM Technologies had a zwift hill climb challenge to raise awareness and money for MIPIM charity ride later this year. (MIPIM is the worlds premier property and development conference in Cannes)

Olly Thomas from BIM technologies is taking part in the Legal and General MIPIM bike ride and he cajoled me to have a go at the challenge (not that I needed much persuasion)

The leading time was 2.41. Ive never ridden a zwift before and on the TACX Neo it was amazing – I went out way to hard trying but soon settled into a decent rhythm and using the gears to keep the cadence high.

With about 20 people cheering me on I smashed it in 2.27 but was completely broken afterwards and it took me about 30 mins before I was back to a normal temperature, even then with no blue inhaler with me I was struggling with wheezing for a couple of hours !!! you dont think youd need an inhaler at a BIM Conference !!!

Later on someone pipped me by 2 seconds and finally Olly jumped back on and managed 2.17 but ill take a vets victory I think 🙂

Good luck to Olly on his way to Cannes – you can sponsor him here







Kona Fire Mountain 1991 – reborn

This photo is of my 1991 Kona Fire Mountain, taken outside my Student house on column road, Cardiff in about May 1991. I road the bike both for commuting, recreational mountain biking and even the odd race until about 1999 when I bought a replacement (Raleigh ex works race machine). I then lent the bike to a Walton Chasers junior who took it off to use as a student commute in Sheffield for about 5 years. I got it back briefly and then gave it to a friend who used it for commuting in Matlock before moving to York and using it there for a commute until about 4 years ago.

Eventually her bike to work scheme made it redundant and I got the frame back and it has been gathering dust in my garage.

I’ve been thinking about building a commuting hack bike for the 4 mile ride into the station when I don’t take the Brompton with me on the train and thought the Kona frame would bring a bit of Retro to the Stafford station bike racks.

I’ve used all sorts of old bits, with a donated fork and just had to buy a seatpost and a stem to get it up and running.

I’ve only pootled up and down the road – it rides OK but its definetley rose tinted glasses – how on earth I rode it up and down Snowdon in the early 90s I have no idea!

Forest of Dean – double header

The attraction of foot orienteering and mountain bike orienteering on the same day, a couple of miles apart and in the lovely Forest of Dean was just too good to ignore. The morning of the event dawned rainy and cold in Stafford by the forecast for FoD was good which overruled my initial thoughts of binning it due to a very light morning dose of manflu – well a runny nose…

The foot orienteering organised by Bristol Orienteering Club was superb, a gorgeous mature forest and well planned. I got into a great head to head race with someone I knew, Gavin Clegg, after I fluffed a control and had a great time. Good too was to catch up with my old junior coach Anne Donnell – now 86 and unfortunately unable to get out into the forest she was helping at registration, pointing people in the right direction. 

I shoved a tiffin and can of drink down my neck and then headed up the road to the Cannop Valley mountain biking centre – which was heaving with riders, the day having turned out to be really quite nice!

The Mountain Bike Orienteering was really well planned by Black Mountain MBO on an excellent map and after 2 hours of pedaling I finished tired and happy ready for the long journey home. 

Event report here

A trip to Costa Rica

This Christmas we decided to push the boat out and take advantage of the extended break for a big trip! Costa Rica was our destination. We had a fabulous trip to this wonderful country, below a few highlights and a few hints if you are planning a trip yourself.

Rafting – La Fortuna

La Fortuna is brimming with companies which will take you rafting however we struggled to find someone who would allow our Holly (13) to do anything approaching grade 4 rapids. In the end (booked from the UK) we used Wave Expeditions. It took us well over an hour to reach our river but it was worth it with over 15km of continuous rapids with very little respite. All three of us ended up in the water (all very exciting) and one of the other boats in our group ended up capsized…. twice !!

Although clichéd we did find out first experience of rafting excellent fun and at times a proper challenge. As with most orgainsed ours we finished with a ‘traditional’ meal, however this one was the best of them all by a long way. We also experienced here some ‘proper’ rain with it coming down in stair-rods.

Hot springs and river – La Fortuna

Just up the road between La Fortuna and Arenal is a random bridge over a small river near the Tabacon Resort. The great thing is if you find somewhere to park and follow your nose is you end up in a series of gravel and rock pools with lovely hot volcanic water to lounge in! and all for free!

Original Canopy Zip Lines – Monteverde

Another clichéd activity, although originating in Costa Rica! We opted for the ‘original canopy tour’ apparently the first one ever, conceived originally for ecologists to explore the canopy. Again this activity was brilliant, commencing with a huge tarzan swing out over a valley and then a series of some 15 zip lines we spent a fantastic morning zooming through the forest, culminating in an 800m long zip line which started in a tunnel of trees before launching out into space across a large valley!! Also included if you want is a rapel to the forest floor and a climb back up, first up through the heart of the tree and then out on to a very exposed ladder!

We had seen several zip line companies on our way out too ‘original’ and found our trip to be much less busy, commercial and had a great feel to it.


Cath fell in love with Montezuma! This ex-hippie community on the south tip of the Nicoya peninsula is very remote and unspoilt with the rainforest tumbling down to the beach. The only downside is the dust kicked up by the various 4x4s and quadbikes on the gravel roads but away from these are amazing beaches and of course the warm ocean, great for swimming and surfing. A highlight for Beer lovers is a nearby microbrewery La Selva– served UK style on tap in the La Cascada ‘B’ Bar just across the bridge from the hotel Amor de Mar.


Night Tours

In Monteverde and Quepos / Manuel Antonio we went on organised guided night tours around the cloud and rain forest. With a guide we slowly mooched around trails which by day could be walked very quickly but with 10 pairs of eyes and the guides knowledge we spotted all sorts of creatutes: Snakes, Frogs, Sleeping birds (balls of fluff) spiders and larger mammals. Without the guide we just would not have seen what we saw!

La Paz Waterfalls

On the way from Poas to La Fortuna La Paz waterfall gardens are great. We arrived early and had the gardens to ourselves. Getting past the standard zoo like enclosures which contain various rescue animals which although interesting the highlights are the waterfalls themselves which are spectacular and the humming birds. We were given small plastic ‘flowers’ to hold which contained a nectar like solution and the wild birds queued up to feed from our hands – amazing. At the end of the waterfalls walk there is a café which serves the largest portions of yummy cake we have ever encountered!

Travel, Beds and Munchies

The food and drink at this establishment is fine but the real attraction is the bird table out back next to the terrace. As long as the local cat is not prowling there is an abundance and variety of wild birds attracted of all colours, shapes and sizes.

The food at this roadside Soda is excellent but they also have a fantastic terrace view looking out over lake Arenal with a bird table which again attracts lots of colourful wild birds.

Montezuma has its share of low end backpacker accommodation. We however were in the beautiful Hotel Amor de Mar. Great location fantastic breakfasts and comfortable rooms.

This place is very cool – an old american transport plane converted to a bar…..

  • Sloth’s and Monkeys

‘Have you seen a sloth yet’ was the standard conversation between travellers with kids. We were lucky enough to see a sloth on the first morning but then did not see one until down in Manuel Antonio when we saw a few. We spent days in the middle of the trip eyes peeled for the elusive sloth and were getting worried we might not get to see one.

Monkeys seemed to be everywhere and if you couldn’t see them you could certainly hear them!

  • Getting up early.

With darkness coming at 17.30 and a dose of jetlag we found going to bed early and  getting up early (by 7 most days) was rewarding with attractions and beaches being quieter and packing more into the available daylight.

  • Cars and Roads.

We took a chance and hired a ‘normal’ car not a 4×4 and travelled independently. We found the driving to be challenging but fine. There are a lot of gravel roads which vary in condition and at times have huuuge pot holes and are sometimes very steep. The roads into and around Monteverde and the Nicoya Peninsula are particularly challenging. We found however that out Toyota Yaris sedan (ie with a boot) was perfectly OK and although some more ground clearance would have been useful did not stop us. The roads in general do require care and concentration and in the towns requires very defensive driving with eyes in the back of your head to avoid small collisions of which we saw quite a few. (we didn’t take out the extra insurance).

Pearl Izumi Champion Team

A couple of months ago I applied to be a member of the Pearl Izumi Champion Team. Amazingly they selected me along with lots of other people from a diverse range of backgrounds, abilities and 2 wheeled disciplines.

Next step will be a day in Milton Keynes in the New Year where we will get some limited edition kit, be briefed on what we will be up to, what we need to be doing as brand and cycling ambassadors and probably a ride out.

Initial introductions on our team’s private facebook group show we make up a jolly bunch keen to share experiences and I am looking forward to meeting everyone in 2017!



World MTBO Masters Championships 2016

britishteamWow, what a weekend…. Talk about burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, I came back completely shattered and longing for a long sleep but a great time with lots of old friends.

The event was completely centered within the city of Kaunas, the races taking advantage of the dense path networks inherent to rolling forests so close to large populations. The long race was well…… Long, very long, very very long and I was completely out of my fitness comfort zone. The mass start race was organised as a one person relay, riders coming back through the start zone a number of times, riding the various sections of the course in different orders.

I had a good start but as I came through the start after the second map I realised I was not racing any more, it was just a case of a challenge to finish the course. I eventually rolled in after well over 3 hours, completely broken…

Unfortunately there were a few problems with the Sportident Air in the results and with my experience of the system and my role at the event as  IOF Juror I spent a fair bit of time after the race helping out.

The Saturday brought the middle race in a spectacular venue across a huge bridge a short ride from the city center near the university district. I was much happier with the distance and had a good race but again I spent a fair bit of the afternoon in my role as a IOF juror before heading out to dinner that evening a a late night with lots of friends from all over Europe.

sprintmapSunday morning brought a hangover and very tired eyes as we headed out of the city to a beach alongside a river where the Sprint race was to be held. Luckily I had a reasonably late start so well the clock beeped my start time I was fine. The sprint race was one of my best ever races, on a fantastic map and other than a spidersweb of purple lines well planned. Riding off track was allowed so I used some foot O skills a little cutting through when I made a mistake but essentially had a great ride. Coming into the finish was great fun along a springy singletrack next to the river. As I crossed the line I heard my name called in second place…. there were a few riders left to finish so I didn’t hold out much hope but as I watched the screens over the next half hour it became clear I really had had an excellent ride and I was in third.

Unfortunately I found out to my embarrassment at the prize giving Id actually been knocked into 4th after a rider was reinstated however I was really chuffed with 4th.

We had another good night out in Kaunas on Sunday before I got up at stupid a’clock to head for home and straight to work. Overall a fantastic event and well done to the rest of the British team, particularly Charlie who yet again came hoe with a clutch of medals!

World Masters MTBO 2016 – Lithuania

This month 5 years ago I ended my burst of late 30s fitness jumping off a garage roof in Russia at the World Cup MTBO final in the sprint. I kept going that week but the long race from which I retired with sore race was my last proper international race.(see here!)  This weekend completes my return to recreational racing with the World Masters Champs, running alongside the World Cup final in Kaunas, Lithuania. The last 6 weeks hasn’t been the ideal prep, I trashed my ankle at the World foot O champs spectator races and then got a dose of manflu which to be honest is still lurking under the surface.

Anyway I picked Lithuania as its flat (hills were never my strong point) and there is a large team of British Masters going out so the ‘Holiday’ side should be run.

Friday is a mass start long race – I am just going to chill out at the back of the race and see how it goes, enjoy the orienteering and riding as it will be all too easy to have the red mist come up and blow up after 90 minutes and start making mistakes or worse still hurt my back.

I am really looking forward to the middle and sprint races on Saturday and Sunday but not the silly o’clock return flight home on Monday morning.

The event website is for more details

Entry lists are on Eventor




Brompton World Championships 2016 – Race Report

Preparing for the Brompton World Championships held in London on the iconic Mall is a strange one. It’s the event that doesn’t take itself seriously but somehow is becoming a hyper competitive must do event for all sorts of Bromponeers. The competitiveness comes in many forms – yes the race itself with gridded positions based on seeding, attracting huge names such as Michael Hutchinson and David Millar but also in some other areas. The best dressed award brings custom tailored suits and other bizzare outfits, pimped Bromptons include enormous chainrings and carbon wheels and then there is the folding race.

13886946_10157176672595414_1078936940548893946_nHolly and I arrived early enabling us both to get a lap of the freeride London in – a 12 km closed roads spin around London’s normally jammed roads, taking in some famous landmarks.
Next were the various stalls to look at and sample and the Women’s Classique Criterion to watch. Oh and I had a go at the fastest fold challenge and ended up with the slowest fold after getting the pedal stuck on the frame pump – oops, very embarrassing.

mall1So finally the race. We lined up in 4 waves opposite our bikes (folded) at 20 second intervals all the way down the Mall based on our seedings. On the horn and flag we sprinted across the road Le Mans style for the great unfold.
I made sure I got my saddle correct (I have a scratch on the seatpost to mark the height) and then had a good unfold, although a little fumble on the frame spinner. I then tonked it down the Mall and tried to get the first lap in as fast as I could staying out of traffic on the outside getting past loads of slower riders with higher seedings. I realised straight away that I needed a bigger gear, running out of cadence but I soon settled into a good speed and concentrated on taking the corners as fast as I could and by the end the gear was spot on for my legs.

13901477_10157178839270414_568803845128602789_n13902572_10157178839335414_2934071362643636973_nI was really struggling to find anyone to draft, just slowly overhauling people one at a time as I went though lap 2 and into 3. I had a major near off on the corner into Horse guards on lap 3, taking speed through on the outside up against the barriers there suddenly were some stragglers who forced someone wide. I am not sure quite what happened but I ended up unclipped and bounced off the barrier with a few ‘oooos’ from the crowd on the corner and a couple of ‘well held’ from the guys behind me as a clipped back in and got out the saddle to regain some speed.
I then realised why I couldn’t find anyone to draft – I had about 10 people behind me while I did the work. Soon 3 or 4 of us started to work together and I started to race properly, getting a rest on birdcage walk and working hard up the Mall.

13882519_10157178839005414_2174729731508398881_nEventually as I neared the finish line on lap 6 the lead group with David Millar, Hutch and the defending champions streamed past taking the bell. I dug in and kept up the pace using various people for shelter before a final sprint for the line, an awesome feeling on the Mall with the crowds cheering.
I managed to get a parade lap in which was fun, crowds had stayed on the major corners and it felt very special to be cheered outside Buckingham Palace and coming onto the Mall again for the final time.
Final results are now out – 88th – well chuffed with that laptimes were consistent at about 3.45

Full results here


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