22 September 2007

Holiday part 1 - Winterberg with Emma

So although it has been a full 4 weeks since my holiday, I'm still phaffing around getting the photos sorted and on Whereismal.  But here goes with pitstop number 1 on our holiday.  After surprising Emma with her birthday present when she first arrived here over 6 weeks ago, we loaded the car with biking gear and headed off early the next morning to Winterberg - my paradise.

waiting patiently

You've already seen two of my highlights of our 2 day stay in Winterberg.  Emma also rode brilliantly considering she's never ridden anything more extreme than a cruise along the seafront in Sunderland.  I shot a lot of sequence stills and the best way to view them is with the short video clip below:

Emma did crash 5 times during the 2 days but every crash was followed by laughter and not tears.  Tackling the berms below on the 6X track with good body position and just a dash of covering the front brake.  She must've had a good teacher ;-)

made it clear

There was one steep section that Emma was not best pleased with and took a fair bit of encouragement to get down.  But as you can see from the following photos she was nailing that smiling by the end of our stay.

down the steep scary part with a smile

looking down

fly by

My personal highlight was dropping the big funbox in the park.  You've seen the sequence shot before, but below is a second image of me flying like a birdie.

Leap of faith

Those with sharper eyes amongst you may notice I'm not perfectly straight which can be seen in the landing photo below:

landing bad

That put the willies up me so I didn't do that again!  If you zoom in on the above photo you can see my front tyre nearly folding off the rim.  Check it out below:

compressed front tyre

I think I was going too slow as I didn't even take a warm up run and stop on the top to assess the speed.  I just went straight for it - an awesome buzz but I think I'll do what I did the previous day and checkout my line first.  In fact one of my favourite pictures is of me doing just that below:

it's an even longer way down there

A couple of my other favourites are below.  Park rats shredding the dirt jumps, a mid flight abort and my personal favourite of Emma pushing her bike uphill showing her commitment for another go at the whoops.  Shame Emma doesn't like the photo though as she says my old biking shorts don't do her any favours!  But I think it shows a better story than some of my action shots


how far?!

not landing this one


Plenty more can be seen on my Flickr account here or by slideshow here.  Oh and soon as I hit the magic send button, I'm hitting the sack cos I'm up early and back to Winterberg tomorrow for what may be my last trip this season.  The weathers looking perfect, the bike is running sweet with my new wheelset and I've been reading a great tips book and watching a DVD I got for my birthday.  It's going to be awesome...

15 September 2007



13 September 2007

A really good but bad idea

Emma was over again last weekend for a visit and I organised something completely riduclous for us to do.  I was awarded at work a similar voucher to that of a Red Letter Day in the UK and I chose to hire a motor trike for the weekend.  Here's a picture of us both in the riding position ->

The riding position

The beast was collected just by the German border at 4pm on Saturday.  I thought it would be rude not to make a return trip to the Nurburgring for really testing out how well this thing goes.  3hrs, numb bums and a tank of fuel later we arrived in the dark at Herschbroich - a small village right in the centre of the Nordschlief.  I fully recommend the guest house we stayed at called the Pension Muhlenhardt but I don't recommend driving a trike in the dark whilst wearing sunglasses!

The next day was spent plucking up the courage to have a lap around the track.  I was pretty damn nervous to be honest which I think I hid from Emma quite well!  Our nerves weren't helped by the numerous track closures during the day for what we can only presume were crashes.  One severe enough to need an air ambulance and the owner of the M5 Touring below surely wasn't happy with his wide line choice?

Spanked M5 Touring

Well eventually it was all or nothing and we went for it.  We waited till about 6pm for things to quieten down a bit and saddled up.  It was much quieter at that time than my lap with the Focus and we were only overtaken about 10-15 times.  There was still a good crowd spectating at all the hot spots and we had a few cheers/waves.  We saw the aftermath of 2 crashes on the way around but generally the other drivers/riders saw us a mile away and I also took it quite steady.  Emma held on with all her might and I was pleased she had a seatbelt when I clipped one of the curbs!  She was apparantelty cursing me all the way round which I didn't hear.  But I shat myself when I heard her scream as we went round the Karousel - the high line of course!  We topped out about 80mph but that certainly felt waaaaaaaay fast enough.

I don't know if you can see from this photo but note I have no seatbelt or helmet visor - it was certainly a liberating experience!

Nice helmet

So that was Sunday - a cracking day.  Shame the same could not be said for Monday.  We awoke at 5am to make it back to Amsterdam in time for me to go to work.  But the trike had other ideas as she would not start.  I thought it may have been the cold but numerous attempts jump starting and using jump leads proved that wrong.  The hotel owner and neighbours were really helpful especially for that time in the morning.  We gave in and called the roadside assistance company who came out to collect us on the back of an ADAC truck.

Damn ignition coil

To cut a long story short we were not home till 10pm but along the way we had a ride in a flatbed truck to the local empty restaurant, an ignition coil was replaced and several heated arguments and threats with the repairing garage, hiring garage and recovery staff.  We were thouroughly pissed off by the end of the day as the trike was ready to go at 10am, it was the payment that was the hold up :-(  Sods law meant that it was also pissing it down when we were finally "allowed" to go home.  But halfway home when the heavens really opened, Emma and I had to stop cos we were wetting ourselves with laughter.  Y'know the kinda tired laughter where you are laughing at the stupidness of the situation!  I've not laughed like that for a while...

A couple more photos can be seen here and in slideshow format here.  I hope to find a picture of us going around the track taken by one of the numerous spectactors.  If I do, I'll add it here...

05 September 2007

Leeds Festival 2007

OK so I am working backwards a bit here cos the Leeds Festival was the last jolly we had on holiday. But I still have some processing of the rest of the holiday photos to do so you can have this update in the meantime.

Emma and I joined Emma's sister, Nic, and husband Dave for the full weekends madness arriving on the Thursday. Kate and boyfriend, Dale, joined us on the Saturday and Sunday so it was a good group of revellers.

keeping warm

The campsite wasn't that busy as the more experienced Leeds festival go'ers amongst us suggested pitching up as far away as possible. It was still only a 30 min walk to the main arena so a good idea if you ask me. We had cracking weather all weekend, the suncream was passed around and the gazebo was even put up to shade us from sun not rain! This photo below is from the sun setting on Thursday night.

Leeds festival 2007 campsite panorama

It was mostly a blurry weekend as an obscene amount of cheap weak lager was consumed. But I think I managed to see Fall Out Boy, Jamie T, CSS, LCD Soundsystem, The Klaxons, Gossip, Maximo Park, Interpol, Kings of Leon, Razorlight, The Young Knives, Pigeon Detectives, Digitalism, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Red Hot Chili Peppers and U.N.K.L.E.

The biggest let down of the weekend had to be the Pigeon Detectives. I really love their album but the lead singer is an utter prick. He was leaping around the stage totally wasted like he thought he was god. Listen mate, just because you've knocked out one good album doesn't make you a genius. If he continues like that I don't think they'll last that long. Fame too quickly me thinks. It wasn't helped by the fact I thought I was watching a Busted gig as I was surrounded by teenage kiddies at the front of the crowd.

Ah well now I have got that off my chest I can go on with the highlights. I quite liked Fall Out Boy as the lead singer was not afraid to chat up the crowd in a much less embarrassing way than Gossip. But Gossip got my thumbs up for a belter of a voice and Bloc Party also had a great crowd rapport. Digitalism were a good match for my Daft Punk love but the highlight had to be Razorlight. Probably not due to their performance but more likely the amount of cheap shite lager we had consumed that day and the singing/dancing that followed!


RHCP closed the whole weekend with a monster 2 hour set. They were a surprising let down but good for me as I nipped off on my own to go see U.N.K.L.E. in the dance tent instead. It was fairly quiet in there as most of the dance mob did not realise how rocky U.N.K.L.E. are but I loved it. Some guy I didn't recognise came on to sing three songs of which one was Lonely Soul. A brilliant song for the last set of a top weekend :-)

Back next year? Hmmm not so sure, too many people for the size of the site and too expensive but maybe just maybe if the line up is closer to my tastes...

Checkout the rest of the photos here or in slideshow format here