12:00 am Bikes

Too, too busy. But strangely happy. Probably ‘cos the sun’s out and I spent yesterday alternately hammering around Afan Forest Park on my singlespeed and building trails. The 9feet.com trail at Afan is pretty much a 100% volunteer effort, and they’ve taken to working on open trails so they can flag riders down and put a shovel in their hands? Fine by us, particularly since we went to Afan with a bit of trail building in mind. And very satisfying it is too. We ended up doing a couple of hours, helping to link up the top section of the Hidden Valley with the bottom section ? the builders have been working from both ends in a Channel Tunnel style, the difference being that making it meet in the middle is a lot easier. And it’s not underground, obviously. Anyway, we built a whole corner. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s not until you try building trails that you realise how much work goes into it. Watch out for our corner if you’re out that way - sweeping right hander with a slight uphill approach. You’ve got a fair amount of speed as you come into it, so watch out for the tree stump on the outside? Huge respect as ever due to Phil Lee and the Singletrack Mind guys (and girls) who’ve been working on the 9feet.com trail for about three years now.

The trail’s hosting the Singlespeed World Champs this year. I hadn’t planned to ride a singlespeed there until the day of the race so as not to frighten myself with how hard it was going to be. But the geared bike was indisposed so I had no choice. And it was fantastic. Not easy, but not impossible ? got all the way around in 32:17 with only minor grunting and with all joints intact. In a race situation it’ll be hard going, though. The climbs are mostly fireroad, largely of that grade that you can grind up without too much bother but that begs you to go faster? The Worlds are 1-3 June 2001. See you there…

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