Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wow - I want to be able to do this!

Found this on the Epic forums. Watch all of it, it gets progressively crazier!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wicklow 200

Last weekend Mel and I got ourselves involved in the Wicklow 200. It's basically a 200km tour through the Dublin and Wicklow mountains with about 3,300 meters of climbing. Mel left about an hour before me (you can start anytime between 6am and 8am) so that she had more time to complete it and that we could meet somewhere in the middle.

The course was really nice taking in some beautiful mountainous scenery – a good chunk of which I had not seen before. I eventually caught up with Mel, who was riding my cross country bike with skinny tires, about 4 hours in. I was very impressed with that – I was flying along on my efficient road bike (got it two weeks ago – lots of fun - it's red :) ) and it still took 4 hours for me to catch her!

It was a beautiful day for that type of event – mostly sunny, not too warm and both of us really enjoyed it. The pizza and ice-cream afterwards tasted great.

There were photographers along the route – here are all the photos I could find of Mel and I.

The descent off the Wicklow Gap

Starting the Slieve Mann climb

Mel after she finished

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A couple more pictures from Spain

The view half way up a mountain before our first major descent on the first day

One of the streets in Bubion

Clive on a climb

The view up to the next village

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bubion, Spain

Last weekend I went to Spain with a group from Epic to do some mountain biking with a company called Switchbacks. The trip was amazing – easily the most fun 4.5 days of biking I've ever done. The weather was a bit dodgy when we arrived into Malaga but apart from that (and you can see from the photos) it was perfect – not too hot, just warm and sunny.

Bubion - the village we stayed in. This was the view from my house :)

Don (I think) descending the final section of a long rocky trail

Us after the first day of biking - the water was so nice and cold

All of us who went on the trip (apart from Clive)

Kieran descending the "Impossible Corner"

The trails where pretty rocky and almost all naturally formed. My favorite trail was the Cresta Run which was basically a 10 minute descent down a gullied bermed trail. Everyone came away from the trip (more or less) injury free with fully working bikes :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Riding through a bomb hole

Everyone seems to be putting videos on their blogs... So, here I am going through a bomb hole at the Balinastoe NPS race. It's not exactly a 20 foot gap jump... give me time :)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wedding in Germany

(The first post by Mel onto the Blog!)

Ryan and me went to Germany to my cousin Gesa's wedding with her long-term boyfriend Joerg of eight(!!) years two weeks ago. As my big sister and Ryan and me had booked different flights from Dublin, Ryan and me arrived first in Hamburg-Luebeck on the RyanAir flight and then were picked up by my parents to then drive on to the Hamburg airport to pick up my sister. So it took actually quite a long time until we arrived happily in my childhood home where my little sister was already eagerly waiting for our arrival. I had not seen her since last year September and before that for about another year or so due to her and me living in different countries for a while (she was actually doing an au pair in the States).

As lots of guests were expected Ryan and me had to sleep in the sauna house of my uncle which was not too bad apart from the fact that the shower of one of my uncles tenants was broken and this person had to use the sauna house shower in the very early morning... he woke us up when trying to open the door which was locked from the inside and I was so tired and confused when he came in I started to talk to him in English! "Was fuer ein verruecktes Maedel" he must have thought. Ah well, the next day saw the arrival of my brother with his family from Munich and so we were all together awaiting the big day.

Dressed in beautiful dresses and gown we attended the wedding that took place in a chapel in a picturesque little castle in the middle of a lake. An awe went through the guests when the beautiful bride went down the aisle in an amazing white dress. The ceremony itself was enjoyable and quite funny actually, especially when we found out we won't have song books and have to sing some songs by heart and therefore they quickly chose some common church song classics were everybody at least knows the first one or two verses but the words got more and more mumbled towards the end which was really funny and then the Pastor wanted to sing another verse but nobody else knew the next one, so the organ stopped as well – hilarious! Anyway, the rings were exchanged after quite a long vow and lips kissed and flowers thrown and pictures taken and we made our way to a really nice restaurant with a big hall which was tastefully arranged with red gaze laid over the tables. Ryan even got a specially translated menu card! When the 80 odd guests had finally all found their assigned table a few speeches were given and then the big feast began with an amazing starter plate of nine different little tasters followed by the main course of three types of meat with crocettes and different vegetables and after a break to let everything settle a bit we had an amazing ice cream buffett. Mmmmh, pity you can't eat more than your stomach can hold, it was sooo tasty! But I understand it's a good thing as well – the amount of cycling and running I have to do to get rid of all that again! Finishing off with a few schnaps to help the digestion, the dj soon put on the tunes and the bride and groom started the dance with a slow waltz and soon the family and friends joined in. The evening was mainly spent eating, chatting, watching funny acts involving an elch and a blue bear and trying to put a good figure on when dancing until about 4am in the morning when the sun started rising again.

After a good nights sleep (no shower interruptions – or at least non noticed) and some shopping in Flensburg Ryan was introduced into the first family tradition of playing canasta – even winning the first time round and into another traditional family ritual (eating LOTS of icecream). After a good nights sleep we had to head to the airport again (this time we all went on the same flight from Hamburg – my big sister, Ryan and me), but what was that: traffic jam from half way onwards! We actually cut it so tight that we arrived 47 minutes before departure only to find out that our airplane was delayed for 50 minutes anyway – ppphhh.... . And so was spent a delightful and tasteful (literally!) weekend in Germany.