Monday, 11 February 2013

The Beastway

Most mountain bikers will have heard of the Beastway Mountain Bike Race Series at some point - it's one of the oldest around having started up some 20 years ago. It's also famous for being held in London. Well, sort of; it was at the Eastway Circuit, twenty minutes from the centre of London.

There was some controversy a few years back when the plans came out for the Olympic Park as they were going to be building over the bit of land and the mtb circuit plans weren't all that clear. Still, I think something got sorted out in the end. But it did mean the series had to move somewhere else.

Luckily the Redbridge Cycling Centre (aka Hog Hill) in Ilford had been built and had some manmade mountain bike trails. So the Beastway series has been homed there for a few years. But all good things must come to and end and the organisers decided in 2012 that enough was enough and that would be their final year.

They asked for further interest in anyone looking to take on the series and obviously I, as SIP Events, showed an interest. Tonight was the first meeting of the group of interested parties and willing volunteers and as no-one else really had any organising experience it sort of fell to us to say whether we wanted to do it or not.

Decisions, decisions. What with the new job and the other events it's a lot to take on. I'll have to have a good look at it but it would be a shame for it to just stop so I'll do whatever I can to keep the series alive.

Friday, 8 February 2013

This is the life

Now this is how I envisage life to be over the next couple of years; up at 8am, cook breakfast, ride down the road to Tring for a meeting with a colleague from the CTC at the stunning College Lake Nature Reserve run by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), coffee, lunch, ride home again in the sunshine going the scenic route via Ivinghoe Beacon.

All in all a pretty successful and productive day in terms of work and I managed to rack up 24 commuting miles without thinking about it. It's a tough life but I'm gonna stick with it for the moment.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Meeting Spaces

There's a whole world of business that I'm blissfully unaware of. One of those things is "meeting spaces" - basically a building full of rooms that people hold meetings in. This one was called WallaceSpace. In the old days they would have been called meeting rooms, now they're meeting spaces apparently. The only discernable difference is some bean bags in the corner and an endless supply of penny sweets, cakes and fizzy drinks, with a superfood lunch thrown in. Oh please!

At least I did get to have a go on an electric bike for the first time. They're rather fun. And rather zippy. I took a spin around some little back streets near Euston on one of the bikes provided by the Electric Bike Network, they sure do take off quickly. This sensation was audible by an "oooh!" from everybody that rode it. Good fun had by all, then it was back inside for a coke and some fruit salad chews. Just like being a kid again...

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Big Chill Swim

Sunrise on race day
Off up to the Lake District this weekend to help some friends out with an open water swim in Lake Windermere. Cold? I'll give you cold! I was in thermals and a down jacket and the icy cold wind was whistling across the lake and going straight through me.

Swim lanes in the marina - 30m across
First off it was the 800m races. It looked okay until the swimmers got out of the water and were too cold to even dress themselves and then shivered for over an hour. And before you ask, no, they don't wear wetsuits, or anything. Just swimming costumes. As the 30m races got under way the wind picked up and the temperature dropped - at this point I was glad I'd chickened out of doing my first ever 'chill swim' event as I'd have frozen to the jetty.

The day dragged on, really, really slowly. Open water swimming isn't the most exciting of spectator sports it has to be said. Finally I'd had enough of standing around being very cold and went to get a nice hot choclate in the rather lovely hotel I was staying in, the Low Wood Bay Hotel.

Huges crowds watching not much going on
The hotel was actually the highlight of the weekend, with some of the best hotel staff I've ever come across. Add to that great beer, great wine, a fantastic breakfast buffet, gorgeous food, cracking views and a superb location right on the shores of Windermere and you've got to go a long way to beat this place.

Low Wood Bay Hotel on the shore of Windermere
The plan to go for a ride on Sunday was scuppered by bad weather so it was time to head back south. Not a complete waste of a weekend, as I say, the hotel was lovely (and paid for), but all that way to do someone a favour, lend them a bunch of equipment to help their event and then don't even get invited to the party on Saturday night. And the whole thing cost me the best part of 200 quid, can't afford to do too many more favours like that.