Saturday, September 24, 2016

And now the end is near...

I've done my last day at work for a while. It's a strange feeling to walk away from a place that you've really enjoyed being at, knowing that you won't return. 
Two and half years ago I got a phone call for a short term project - "Three weeks work, four at the most". I'd worked there a couple of times before and was familiar with the people and familiar with the drill. I didn't anticipate two and a half years to be honest, but I've loved it for the most part.
Progress, however, means that I won't return; production is moving out to the far east - Vietnam - and the south east - Essex. The world keeps turning. That's life.
It has provided me with a decent income and plenty of flexibility to pursue my passions.
Today I fly to Nepal for ten-plus weeks. It's been worth it. I'll miss the people, some of whom I consider to be good friends and not just colleagues, but we'll meet again.
People, friends, characters.
You can travel all around the world and see the most amazing things but you will always remember the special people more than anything else. The memories you make in life are almost always connected to people. I like people.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

First look: Planet X Super Deluxe Bike Bag

Planet X and On-One are a well established direct-sell company with a decent reputation for well priced products.
Today I picked up one of their Super Deluxe Bike Bags (£89.00) for my upcoming trip to Nepal.
With a meagre 23kg luggage allowance I was in need of a lighter weight bag instead of my trusted Evoc Bike Travel Bag (which weighs in at a hefty 9kg).

I spoke to Planet X before travelling to confirm that the stated weight was indeed "just over 5kg" and was told that it was "virtually nothing". 5.01kg was the answer I got. This was important to me.
So when I arrived home I popped it on the scales. Guess what? 5.9kg, that's 890gms more than I was told. In my book that's just under 6kg not "just over 5kg".
Bad start, don't lie to your customers.
After removing the unnecessary shoulder strap (it's a wheeled bag after all), a pointless small accessory pouch, and the padded wheel bags, it weighed in at 4.5kgs. Much better.

Aside from that my first impressions of the product are reasonably favourable.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How to: Hike-a-Bike Thorong La, Annapurna - Yak Attack.

Other than "Which bike?" and "How to train?" the question I get asked the most about Yak Attack is how I carry my bike over Thorong La.
I have written a few times previously that my preferred method for this most testing of stages is to porter my bike attached to a rucksack.
In past years I used an Osprey Atmos 35, this year I'll be using and testing the 2017 model Osprey Stratos 34 (release date is February 2017).

Partner announcement: Osprey Europe.

I'm delighted to be able to announce that Osprey Europe are once again partnering me with some product support.
I will be testing two new products during my Autumn 2016 trip to Nepal.
The Stratos 34 Rucksack and The Talon 6 Lumbar Pack (both due for release in February 2017).
I have been using and recommending Osprey Packs for many years (as a paying customer).
My Atmos 35 Rucksack (review here) has done thousands of miles around the world; sadly this has now been discontinued from their product range. I looked at suitable alternatives and The Stratos 34 is very similar. Likewise my trusted Talon 8 Lumbar Pack (review here), which has also done thousands of miles of trail running and mountain biking, hasn't been available for some time due to a streamlining of the range which saw the Talon 4 and Talon 8 usurped by the current 6 litre model.
Thankfully they were happy to supply me with one of each to test and review so that I can continue to recommend a current product to my readers. If they are up to the job (or not) you will see an in-depth review on my return in December. First impressions and early use suggest that Osprey have hit the ground running as usual. I'm dead impressed so far.

My first YouTube video - Welcome to Chase The Rainbow.

I posted my first video on YouTube. It's crap, but it's a start :)
I'm a one-take wonder. One day I'll learn how to edit and stuff.
Damn, I look an old git on camera :D

You can also follow Chase The Rainbow here:

Thank you for looking, see you soon.
Please don't forget to Like, Share, and Comment, if you enjoyed it :)

Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

News: Tour of the Dragon - Bhutan.

The results are in for this years 7th Tour of the Dragon in Bhutan.
An epic one-day mountainbike race in The Himalayan kingdom that covers a daunting 268kms with over 4000m of ascent, and four high pass's - Kiki La 2870m - Yotong La 3430m - Pele La 3430m - and Dochu La at 3150m.

The top three positions in the mens field were all scooped up by Yak Attack racers. That bodes well for an epic scrap come November when they will all be toeing the line for this years 10th anniversary edition in Nepal.

Canada's National Champion - Cory Wallace - took the top honour in commanding style with a 37m 54s lead over nearest rival Rajkumar Shreshta (Nepal) followed by Roan Tamang (Nepal) a further 17m 25s back.

The racers were faced with appalling conditions for the first 150kms. 
In Cory's own words: "Unforgettable day racing in Bhutan today. Thick disgusting mud for the first 150km, monsoon rain, then some epic climbs with a destroyed bike to finish the day. Top 5 hardest rides of all time in my book".
I think that says it all.

Results from TotD facebook page:

7th ToD winners- Men Category.

1st Cory Wallace (Canada)- 13 hrs 2 min 5 sec.
2nd Rajkumar Shrestha (Nepal)- 13 hrs 39 min 59 sec.
3rd Buddhi Bdr. Tamang (Nepal)- 13 hrs 57 min 34 sec.

Women category
All the women did not cross the the 4th pass (Dochula) before the cut off time.

Riders preparing to start at 04.00am local time.
Canada's Cory Wallace crossing the finish line after an epic days racing.

You can also follow Chase The Rainbow here:

Thank you for looking, see you soon.
Please don't forget to Like, Share, and Comment, if you enjoyed it :)

Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.