I like winter! It might not seem like it because I am always harping on about Summer, but I swear I do! Winter definitely has its perks. I can go snowboarding, the trails are a lot quieter, the scenery in Scotland is spectacular. But nothing can beat those Summer night rides, Travels & BBQ’s on the beach! So if I had to choose Summer for me would win every time and the good news is it isn’t that far away! The nights are stretching, the sun’s shining more & this week I got out on my very first after work ride without lights since October!
This was massive news! Recently when I’ve been finishing work at 5 I end up embarking on a full scale argument with myself trying to force myself to go to the gym! But last Monday was a different story! I drove home like a mad women dumped all my work stuff, threw my bike in the back of the car and headed for the trails, and within 20 minutes, me and my bike had made it to the North Face Carpark and we were on our way! Now it might have only latest just over an hour and it may have resulted me try to navigate myself back to my car in darkness, but to me this 100% signifies the start of Summer 2016 & it got me pretty pumped.
In 2016 Fort William will host the first MTB Girls Ride group ride out! If you are interested in coming along check out our Facebook Event. If you can’t make it don’t worry there will be a lot more rides throughout 2016!
2016 is bring some exciting times for me & MTB Girls Ride! Keep an eye out for some news we will be releasing soon! It has got me WELL excited!
Last weekend saw us make the journey down from Fort William to AE forest for the NDH TT. I am pretty much as novice to racing, but I have really enjoyed the races that I have done and can’t wait to get a few more under my belt during the 2016 season.
We arrived at AE bright and early to find the car park almost full, I had no idea this was set to be such a busy event. After a mad dash trying to find get Louise entered, find a cash machine & then a full face helmet for her we were warmed up and ready to go.
So we built our bikes up and off we went, ready for some torturous hill climbs to the top of the track to start practice for the day… when we ask a girl at the bottom which way to cycle up she looked at is like we were crazy (and rightly so) and quickly pointed out to us that we could cycle up if we wanted but she would’t recommend it. This was a push up track no cycling up required.
The push up ran parallel to the track so it made for some good viewing of the other riders coming down. The track looked fast, not very technical but definitely speedy. There were loads of girls out in force for this race, there must have been well over 20 of us there, in a field of 120 which is pretty fantastic. The girls were all looking supper fast on track and it was clear that the racing was going to be eventful.
We managed to get 3 practice runs in before stoping to refuel and heading back up to the top of the track for the first race run. Race runs always seem like a bit of a blur to me I don’t really take in anything around me. However after reaching the bottom I did know I wasn’t happy with my run, there were two parts of the track that I just could focus on and kept going off ( or nearly going off) the track .
After an hour, but what actually felt like no time at all we headed off back up the hill for our final race run, this run definitely felt looser, not sure about faster though.
Overall I wasn’t happy with how I was riding on the day and I knew that I could of rode a lot better. But it was an excellent day riding with some friends from home and friends from afar and the sun shawn for the entire day ( Not something that is common in Scotland in February ). Overall a great weekend of riding my bike somewhere new :)!
Thanks NDH for an awesome weekend! Can’t wait for more races in the next few months.
In the market for a new DH bike? Well it might be worth checking out Specialized latest news. Specialized have announce that they will be adding two new additions to their demo family. The new frame will retain the same distinctive look as the carbon version. The Aluminium frame is considerably cheaper than the carbon alternative, coming in at just $2400 for the frame in comparison to $4500. The cheaper of the two whole bike builds comes in at $4000 with the second build coming in at $6000.
New-look GT Factory Racing Downhill and Enduro team continues with Shimano Saint and XTR components for 2016 and 2017 seasons. The recently signed deal sees GT Factory Racing continue their 16-year winning relationship with world-leading component brand Shimano.
Riders such as Belgium’s Martin Maes are no stranger to working with Shimano. Despite only being 19, Maes has been already been part of the Shimano testing and development team during his time with GT and Atherton Racing.
Likewise, as part of the Trek World Racing set up last year, former World Cup Downhill winner Brook Macdonald (New Zealand) also continues his relationship with Shimano, where he will provide expert and invaluable feedback about Shimano components at the highest level of competition.
Joining Macdonald in the Downhill program are fellow Kiwi Wyn Masters, Sam Dale (UK) and Jackson Frew (Australia). Masters will join Martin Maes at the Enduro World Series and similarly Maes will also turn his hand to Downhill racing but will concentrate mainly on Enduro racing.
Team Manager Mark Maurissen is also a long-term Shimano fan having raced with XTR components for GT during the 1990s. “We need the best when it really matters so there’s no compromise for me, Shimano and GT all the way. I’m super excited to see what we’ve put together for the team. With the new faces in the team too I can’t wait for the season to begin,”said Maurissen.
The team’s GT Fury and GT Sanction bikes will be decked out with Shimano Saint for Downhill events or XTR for Enduro races.
Shimano Saint groupsets offer unrivalled durability for Downhill racing with single ring cranksets, two-way release Rapidfire Plus rear shift levers and hydraulic brake units featuring Ice Technology calipers and high-power ceramic pistons.
Meanwhile XTR groupsets offer the option of electronic Di2 or mechanical gear shifting on M9020 Rhythm Step drivetrains. Rapidfire XTR levers take care of shifting and Hollowtech II XTR cranks offer 1×11, 2×11 or 3×11 set ups. Combined with hydraulic brakes, XTR M9020 offers the finest example of Shimano’s engineering leadership and 34-years of experience in producing mountain bike components.
Shimano Europe’s sports marketing team will be the crucial link between the European-based GT Team and Shimano´s product development teams in Japan. Shimano’s Rudy Bouwmeester added, “Our relationships with Mark and GT go back a long way. We know we can put complete trust in the team and its riders to not only showcase our products at the highest levels and toughest conditions but also to help us develop and refine the way we engineer world class components.”
The Enduro team kick off their race program with a two-day race in the Chilean high Andes mountains over the weekend of 26-27 March, which will be supported by Shimano Latin America. The Downhill riders’ season starts two weeks later with Round 1 of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Lourdes, France, supported by Shimano Europe.
ION the Brand
ION Bikewear is definitely unique in comparison to most other bikewear out there. Their lines are inspired from surfing, which is where there roots lie. Initially established in 2004 they focused on wetsuits & neoprene products for the international windsurf, kitesurf, surf, SUP and wakeboard scene. ION’s unique combination of high quality products wrapped in a progressive style and design found fans all over the world – becoming the global market leader for wetsuits and harnesses in the wind- and kitesurf world.
Then in late 2012, ION took the same approach to the slopes, launching a separate bike division with functional cycling gear, clothing, accessories, gloves and protection.
I absolutely hate layers! To me the worst thing about Winter riding in the UK is that you have to wear a load of layers. It makes me feel really restricted & uncomfortable when I am riding. I have been waiting years for a solution for this and it looks like ION may have gone and cracked it.
I have spent the last few weeks testing this ION Womens Aerial Insulation Jacket. As the name suggests the jacket is designed to keep you warm, the Primaloft Silver lining in the jacket is designed to keep you warm on even the coldest of days. The jacket also has Thermo Mapping which prevents you from over heating.
The front of the jacket has a soft durable water repellency shell that will keep you dry during light rain shower, the back of the jacket has Technostretch fleece to let heat escape. The fleece like material on the back of the jacket doesn’t have any water repellency in it so I wouldn’t recommend this jacket for rainy days, but it will offer enough protection if you get caught in a small rain shower.
After previously wearing ION clothing I had high expectations for this jacket. I have always found their kit to be of high quality and durable in all conditions and I wasn’t wrong. ION once again met my expectations, the jacket is extremely comfortable, it is non restricting which makes it easy to move around the bike. The primaloft silver lining & the thermo mapping in the jacket are ideal for keeping your body at the right temperature, preventing you from becoming to hot or too cold, therefore allowing you to conserve energy on your ride.
One of the great feature that comes with a lot of ION clothing these days is the Clear_Optics: integrated lens cleaning fabric helping you to keep your lenses clear on even the muddiest of days. The jacket also has two front zipped pockets reducing your chances of losing stuff during your ride.
This jacket isn’t just great for a day on the trails, it is also excellent for days on the hills hiking or even going out for a run. I have used this jacket now for a range of different activities and works fantastically for them all. The jacket retails for around £147.99, which is fairly reasonable for the quality & diversity of the jacket. The jacket is reasonably light and will easily fit into most backpacks.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L & XL
ION is about challenging yourself, experiencing nature and feeling its force. Therefore ION develops gear that is not only smart and innovative, but also transforms this passion into an unique design.
This product was provided to MTB Girls Ride F.O.C from ION UK.
I think it is fair to suspect that the makers of Xbionic are crazy mad Big Bang theory fans. They know the science behind all of their gear…even the socks.
I have been testing some X Bionic bike gear over the last few months. X Bionic were pretty adamants when we agreed to do testing that we test their whole kit and not just one or two pieces of it, they believe that in order to get the full potential out of their gear you need to match it with the right pieces. So even though the reviews are posted individually all testing was done when the pieces were paired with other X Bionic clothing .
Our Xbionic testing has included everything from jackets to socks, throughout the next few weeks we will be providing you with reviews from some of their line. Up this week is the Anatomical Bike Beaver Top.
“Because you need your energy for more vital things than sweating or freezing. The relentless search for efficiency in weight and performance ability ends with rodent. He’s perfectly adapted to the moist, cold enviroment, having been outfitted by nature for millions of years. The beaver. His coat is the inspiration for the unique material Macrotermes™. Half as thick as traditional fleece it still manages to improve on insulation. In combination with the 3D-BionicSphere® System it creates a product of the highest performance: the Beaver Performed Shirt™. It took a long time for the development department to be satisfied with it. The sport-specific fine-tuning began: computations, honing of details and function. In the end we have a perfect product especially for all types of cycling.”
Material: 86% polyamide, 14% elastane
We have been testing the Anatomical Bike Beaver top for a few months now. The top is essential a fleece, but it is a lot more to it. The top is fitted and the material is a lot thinner than your standard fleece top. The 3D-BionicSphere technology built into the top combines different techniques to aid your bodies climate control, preventing you from becoming to hot or too cold, therefore conserving your energy on a ride. The MicroDiffuser on the collar allows hot, moist air to escape and support the body temperature inside the jacket.
Technology wise this top is great for a climate like the UK, where we can experience a number of different temperature within a few hours. The top is comfortable as well, despite it being very fitted, the elastane allows the top to move with your body as you move around the bike. I have wore this top under a jacket & with just a base layer underneath and each time the top was great.
I would definitely recommend this top for all cyclist whatever your discipline. It is a great training top. I have been testing the top in winter & have been very impressed with it. It is clear that a lot of research has gone into the top and the technology behind it works very well.
The top retails at around £199, this price tag might put people off but the quality of the top and the performance you get out of it make the heavy price tag worth every penny.
Next Review SphereWind Jacket
This top was provided by X Bionic FOC to MTB Girls Ride.