The Deeside Trail

I'd been keeping an eye on the Deeside Trail website and group since it's inception over a year ago. Since then there have been 2 group rides and various people doing it as an individual time trial (ITT) using GPS data to prove times and routes.

I wanted to join them. Looking at the route on the website I could see it stretched westwards from it's start point in Banchory, into the Cairngorm National Park past the market town of Ballater and then into the mountains around Braemar. It then looped back around northwards taking in more remote mountain passes before some of the steepest and longest climbs in the last third as it headed back to Banchory again. It looked a challenging route. Others who'd done it already didn't disagree.

Capital Trail 2017

I found myself signed up for the 3rd time to join the group ride of the Capital Trail, a 250km, 5000m of ascent, bikepacking trail. The route takes riders from the beach (literally....it starts on the sand!) at Portobello, Edinburgh around a big loop which encompasses some of the best riding and trails in Scotland. Although never too far from the nearest town, the route at times feels remote, and the high open hill tops certainly need to be respected, especially in bad weather.

It's a tough ride, the climbing would be hard enough without the added weight of overnight gear that most people carry. The inclement Scottish weather also means riders need to be prepared for the worst it can thrown at you, adding even more to the bike weight.

Wear Sunscreen

I always liked this song.
The words originated from an article written in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich in 1997. It had the title of: "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young"

Soon an urban legend rose which attributed the text to a commencement speech by Kurt Vonnegut, the author famous for his novel "Slaughterhouse-five" published in 1969. He never made a commencement speech, but said he'd have been proud of this one had he made it. For a long time his lawyer was inundated with requests for copies of the text.

Dirty Reiver 2017

Early in the year, I signed up again for the 2nd Dirty Reiver event, a 200km gravel race ( I rode the first one, which you can read about in my book). This is not really my normal type of ride, but I enjoyed it last time (funny how memory gets skewed over time) so thought I'd give it another go.

The date of the event was almost upon me as I realised I probably hadn't been doing enough riding. I also had a bit of a bug and wasn't exactly feeling brilliant. Still, this was no time to be mouping around, I checked my 29 hardtail bike over, oiled it up and drove myself over the hills down to the remote village of Kielder where I'd booked myself a spot in the camp-site for a couple of nights.


Glacier Exit

Some friends set out on a trip to explore the glaciers of Alaska. Instead of adventure, they found a man named Rick Brown, and a story of how climate change is drastically altering our landscape before our eyes. The glaciers that Rick calls home are now disappearing at an alarming rate — it only takes one month for them to recede the same distance that used to take hundreds of years.

GLACIER EXIT from Raphael Rogers on Vimeo.