23 days till the flight

A busy week or two. Last Sunday was my last organised event, the Glentress Duathlon. There are three of these over the winter and I might try the other two when I get back from the Dakar.

Sunday was a nightmare. A mountain bike race of steep climbs and descents (nothing flat) through the forest for 12k followed by a 7.5k run (again steeply up and down). I lost a contact lens about half way through the cycle which meant I couldn’t judge distances that well. I was terrified that I’d trip over a root or something and pick up an injury. All of this was in horizontal snow and freezing temperatures. Finished 99th having picked up a few places on the run towards the end  – 1hr 47 mins or something like that.

It didn’t feel like a good event to end the formal training on but it still counts as a finish in horrible conditions I suppose.

Back to boring old training on my own now, trying to make sure I’ve got all the relevant kit and trying not to panic too much.

Have Fun


So the bike is apparently wrapped in bubble wrap and loaded in a container snug and safe on her way to Buenos Aires. The nav kit was apparently fitted and tested and all works fine.

Spoke to Duncan T this evening and we both agreed there’s no going back now.

Of greater concern, the full route has now been published on www.dakar.com. Most days are 600k or more. The longest special stage has 600k of race speed off road. Just reading the descriptions of the stages has been a 2 glass of wine experience. Race number 141 will do his best to get to the end of day one… 

Hoping for Sun in the Desert

Sunday night and the wind and rain are howling against the windows of the flat. Even with the heating on inside it feels cold just listening to it. Training is pretty much at peak level now – I’ll probably back off a bit as we get to Christmas. Ran 16k yesterday in the p*ssing rain. Not nice but felt worth doing.

Drove up to Perthshire last night to attend a private gig in a castle owned by one of Alison’s fiddle playing mates. A really good night with plenty music. We stayed in Alyth and took the road bikes in the back of the landrover so we could go for a decent pedal on country roads this morning. Rather stupidly we didn’t take a map. What started out as a gentle pedal in late winter sun ended up being nearly 3 hours of purgatory when we got lost and the weather turned windy and cold. Ended up on a climb up to 1300ft then repeated the exercise a couple of times to get over the hills back to Alyth. Freezing cold – it took me about 30 minutes in the landrover to heat up with the heater on full blast.

I’m kind of guessing that I might end up complaining about the heat in Argentina in January – but right now some sunshine and warmth would be quite welcome.

Some photos of the bike at my parents before it went to Patsy’s.

img_0107.JPG      img_0104.JPG

Busy Times

A lot has been happening in the last week or two. I delivered the bike to Patsy a few weekends ago. It took me 10 hours to drive a transit through tipping rain then October holiday traffic (I don’t have kids – I didn’t think) from my parents in Lanarkshire to Patsy’s place in East Sussex. Tony has been doing the final things on the bike so hopefully that’s all nearly finished and Patsy will take the bike to Le Harve next week to be loaded up.

I’ve still one or two paperwork things to sort out but otherwise it’s just a case of getting my kit together. Most of the riding gear is now in place. Dom at Kriega has provided me with a pile of kit which is brilliant.

The riding kit looks like the following

Airoh Stealth Helmet; Leatt Neck Brace; Oakley Crowbar goggles (x2); Fox Gloves; Acerbis Desert Jacket (Kriega Hydration Reservoir fitted); Thor body armour; 2XU Compression base layers; Thor trousers; Asterisk knee braces; Sidi Crossfire Boots; Kriega R8 Belt Pack

Spare gloves, Goggles and Helmet Peak will be loaded in the boxes.

Departure is getting ever closer.

Dakar Kit

I was at Glentress with Alison and Chris on Saturday. On the way there in Chris’s van he suggested that I should wear pink lace ladies pants throughout the Dakar.His thinking is that it will force me to ride carefully in order to avoid medics having to remove my clothing at any point…Hmm….I remain unconvinced


It has been a while since I posted a blog so there’s a bit to catch up on.

Firstly, the MH Survival of the Fittest a week or so ago was much harder than I thought it would be. The knee was a major problem and I dislocated the right shoulder 6 times throughout the event. And I got stuck in an bouncy castle…. embarrasing.

Good fun in retrospect though. I recommend the event for anyone who fancies something a little bit silly. I’ve since been to see Corina the Masseuse from Optimal Fitness in Edinburgh (link to the left). She had a real go at my ITB and my shoulder so both are feeling much better.

Training cycle last night ended up with a puncture so I had to walk home the final bit to avoid wrecking my wheel rim. Annoying.

All sorts of stuff ordered now. New helmet and knee braces are due to arrive this week. I just need some Kriega bits and gloves and the kit is all but done. The bike is with Crawford at CCA Designs getting some graphics made up – big Saltire and the Shepherd and Wedderburn logo. I’ve just approved the mock up and think it will look great.

I’m planning a day off training this evening then some swimming tomorrow morning before work.

London Calling

In the London office for a couple of days. More reasons to avoid training. I’m just off the phone to Duncan Tweedy, a fellow Dakar rider who is also with Team Desert Rose. He’s been away buying spares.

I seem to be having a difficult week with training. Running the day before the 10k in Inverness seemed to aggravate my knee and although the 10k itself was ok my right knee really suffered afterwards. I had a quiet week training last week but went up a Munroe (big-ish hill in Scotland for those not in the know) last Sunday and the knee was really painful coming down the very rocky path.

I’m not very worried as it doesn’t affect me on the bike but it could impact my training so I need to go see someone to try to get it fixed.

I’m entered in another 10k race this Sunday – only this one has obstacles -the MH Survival of the Fittest race in central Edinburgh. Should be fun if the knee holds up. Might try to get in some mountain biking at Glentress or Innerleithen on Saturday.

Congratulations to my colleague Alison Struthers on passing her CBT – welcome to the two wheeled world – tis all downhill from this point…

 Have Fun



The bike progresses. Finally got it out for a run today. Still leaking a little oil from the output shaft seal so I’ll need to get Tony to sort that. I’ve changed the seal about 10 times but it still leaks. No idea why.She does have some grunt though. I’d kind of forgotten how much torque there is off the bottom end. I’d slightly also forgotten how noisy she is with the open can. Apologies to the guy trying to tee off out side Biggar. I think I gave him a fright (although he probably heard me coming).

October Training

The 10k in Inverness went well. 43:46 I was very pleased with. The training run the day before was awful so I think I was annoyed with myself which helped.

 This week should see me finishing off the bike and getting back into a proper training regime after a couple of weeks of adventure races, riding in Spain and work trips which were all good but kind of interrupted the flow of regular training. I reckon I’m still doing the right stuff but I start to worry when I’m not in a training routine.

The next event is the Edinburgh “Survival of the Fittest” in about 10 days time. Apparently this is a 10k run through the centre of Edinburgh with obstacles along the way. Alison had a couple of glasses of wine one evening and while checking her e-mails on my computer accidentally entered us in the event. Hey ho.

 I also need to sort out the final procurement of bits and pieces for Dakar. I was going to have a helmet painted up with the Saltire but can’t really afford it so have decided against that. I’ll post the total kit list at some point so everyone can see what I think you need to take to the Dakar (and hopefully someone will point out the obvious omissions).

Have Fun

The First Post

Charlie Mackenzie (webmaster of www.scottishenduros.co.uk) has been doing a fantastic job in setting me up this web-site. This is me trying out the blog feature for the first time so hopefully it works.

In training for the Dakar, I’ve had a number of firsts this year. I’ve done my first triathlons and my first adventure race (the Wan Day 8 hour race in the Pentlands outside Edinburgh – highly recommended for those who like getting muddy). This weekend sees me entered in my first competitive running event – the River Ness 10k in Inverness.

 The Landrover is loaded up with running gear (and mountain bikes and walking gear and swimming gear – Alison likes to be prepared for any breaks in the weather) and we’re off to Inverness after work today. If there’s anything left of me after the weekend the next post will update as to how I get on.

 Have Fun – Paul