Helen Findlay

My adventures in Middle Europe and The Colonies. This blog contains my own views and opinions and does not represent those of my employers, or any other organisation with which I am involved. Remember, just because it isn't Singletrackworld, doesn't mean it isn't shite !

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Haven’t done an entry for a while, so for anybody still reading, this is what I have been up to:

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals in Fort William. Awesome weekend ! Drove up by myself (and the three bikes in the back) on the Friday and met my friend Kim. The rest of the ERC lot were staying at a bunkhouse in a council estate at Corpach. As this would have broken both the “no bunkhouses” and “no council estates” rules, we were staying in a cosy wee B & B just above the main street.

The cross-country on the Saturday was fun to watch, if a bit predictable in the Womens with Gunn Rita-Dahle making her win look easy. A few Scottish girls were riding, and a couple of kiwis so I had lots of people to cheer for. I spoke to a couple of the riders afterwards, and it sounded like a great event to take part in, with big crowds and everybody cheering for you, so I am thinking about trying to qualify next year. I would come last, and be dogged by the motorbike that follows the end of the race, but I think it would be worth it for the experience.

Saturday night and while the boring (sorry guys) ERC folk stayed in their bunkhouse for a few quiet drinks, me, Kim and my new American friend Joe went out for a night on the town. Brilliant night, drank far too much and talked loads of rubbish with lots of mountain bikers I have never met before. Nearly lost Kim, who was busy trying to chat up the Norwegian winner of the Four-Cross on my behalf (what a friend) but remembered about her in time and went back to the club to look for her.

Although I have never actually thrown up in a Gondola, on Sunday morning it was looking well on the cards, so I decided to walk the 700 metres to the top of the Downhill course. Met up with Fiona and Martin and the rest of the ERC crowd to watch the Downhill, wandering down the course and running into people on the way. Every time I see Downhill racing I am both massively impressed and completely terrified at the skill of the riders. Great to watch, with the crowds cheering the British riders, including Steve Peat and Tracy Mosely who both won their events. Steve Peat was the last rider down, and in a nail-biting finish won by about 3 seconds.

I had forgotten that I don’t have a job at the moment, so when Joe suggested that Kim and I stay another night and go biking on the Monday it didn’t take much persuading. Spent the day riding the WC course at Ben Nevis and the black route at Laggan. A perfect end to a superb weekend.

Had some more mountain bike guiding work the weekend after, 8 Norwegians and Swedes wanted an afternoon’s riding in the Pentlands. They were all over 6ft, including the woman, so it looked kind of like the opposite of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They were a good fun crowd, if a bit competitve. I left them to it most of the day, then raced them up the last hill to the hotel, hanging just behind the fastest guy and overtook him at the very end. Well it had to be done really.... They were quite drinky too, having pints of Stella at lunchtime and wanting to be taken to the Flotterstone Inn en route in the Pentlands. Something to do with beer costing the equivalent of a days wages in the Skando countries I suspect.

Not much happening since then. My friend Janine came up last week from London for four days. We had a fairly mellow week, visited Rosslyn Chapel, where they have just started filming the Da Vinci Code, and the Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Modern. I had a job interview that week back at the Museum, which was all a bit fraught. Didn’t get the job in the end, but wasn’t that disappointed to be honest, not 100% sure about the job and only applied as my old boss (and her boss) had urged me to do so. Starting to look up the job pages and send off some CVs to a few places this week.

Oh, and I got a podium in the SXC series Elite/Expert race in Badaguish last weekend. Only cos only 4 girls entered the race, but I was going fairly well and felt good so pleased enough with that. Another mug for the collection !!

Fell off my bike AGAIN yesterday. On a really easy bit I have ridden over about 500 times on Falla Brae at Glentress. Forgot I had fast tires on, wasn’t concentrating, was tired and took a corner too fast. Splat. Blood gushing out of my knee. Didn’t think it was that bad and rode back to Edinburgh, but once I got the tights off and washed it, was quite a mess so had to go to the hospital to get it cleaned out and stitched. Nurse said to stay off it for 7 days. Ha ha ha – as if !!