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Training Log Archive: GD44

In the 7 days ending May 30:

activity # timemileskm+m
  MTB4 72:14:54 321.96(4.5/h) 518.15(7.2/h) 8933
  Total4 72:14:54 321.96(13:28) 518.15(8:22) 8933

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Sunday May 30 #


Cleaned and maintained the Spark after the HT550. Notes below:

1. Front brake pads didn't need replacing (did not replace them during event either). Probably good for a few more 100kms.
2. Rear brake pads. One side was quite worn whilst the other had plenty of life left in it. So I replaced these.
3. Front tyre. Vittoria Mezcal 2.5". Pressure 20psi so this had remained constant throughout the event. Tread in good nick too.
4. Rear tyre. Vittoria Mezcal 2.35". Pressure ~26psi so had remained constabt throughout event. Tread was OK considering the amount of sliding it did on the very steep rocky descents. Good durable and low rolling tyres.
5. Rear shock pressure 190psi. This had dropped ~20psi during the event.
6. Front fork air pressure 80psi. This had dropped ~10 psi during the event.
7. Eagle NX chain - not reached 0.75 so kept it on.
8. 10-48T Garbaruk cassette - signs of wear but OK for a while yet.

Saturday May 29 #


Drive back from Ambleside to Cardiff. Approx 5hrs inclusing food/pea stops.

Friday May 28 #


After a late breakfast at the Real Food Cafe (Tyndrum) with a few other riders, I made way down to Ambleside to stay with Craig & Lucy. Ben and Sabs popped over for a pizza too. Great to catch up.

A few beers and a whisky too!

Thursday May 27 #


Final results announced and I finished 6th!

1​Liam Glen3-11-00singlespeed record
2Andrew Hutcheson3-17-19 
3James Hayden3-18-59 
4Jim Higgins4-14-15 
5Steve Chapman4-21-18 
6Gary Davies5-00-08 
7Steve Waters5-06-12 
8Lars Henning5-07-02 
9Phil Clarke5-07-50 
10Mike Toyn5-07-50 
11John Fettis5-08-47 
12Annie Le5-08-55 1st female
13Pete Crawforth5-13-43 
14Chris Moorhouse5-19-28 
15Nick Carter5-21-20 
16Ian McNab5-21-35 oldest ever finisher, 65
17Nick Bubb5-22-31 
18Emma Holgate5-22-59 2nd female
19Chris Sleight6-03-30 
20David Murray6-05-31 
21Rob Waller6-10-17 
22Tom Robinson6-10-34 
23Iain Cormack6-14-42 
24Mike Dennison6-16-38 
25Crispin Hoult6-16-45 
26Ruth Crewe6-19-56 3rd female
27Russell Jones6-20-07 
28Johnny Baker8-03-43 
29Martin Brown9-01-59 
30Andrea Rodgers9-03-39 4th female

54 starters
Two that finished ahead of me were DQ'd:
Josh Ibbett - needed to follow other riders to find his way due to GPS problems.
Rich Rothwell - stayed in a bothy (
Others DNF or shortened their route considerably and therefore not ranked

12 AM

MTB 10:53:28 [2] 57.63 km (5.3 kph) +1346m

HT550 DAY 6

I managed to go through the early hours of Day 6 without any sleep. At midnight, I had just crested the summit (330m AOD) after Fort William and was near Lairigmor ruin.

I arrived into Kinlochmore/Kinlochleven in the early hours of the morning whilst dark after a very technical descent which needed a lot of walking.

I then faced a ridiculously steep climb beside some water pipelines out of Kinlochleven. OMG it was steep! At this point, I put on a playlist from my phone and played it at full volume for the next few hours.

Once past the top of the pipeline, the track undulated up to a high point of 548m near Beinn Bheag. The following descent was asptly named devil's staircase. I didn't ride much of this as it was very steep and technical, plus I was a little wobbly!

I popped out onto the A82 at Altnafeadh but had to follow the Old Military Road to the north of it. I cycled past the Glen Coe Ski Centre and approximately 15km from the end of the race, my etrex 32 said that I had completed the route. I was very confused as I was clearly not back in Tyndrum. I panicked a little and stated heading back up the track I had descended. Luckily, I decided to stop, get out my map and compass and double-check. It appeared that the GPX file was shortened when I had combined the two supplied by Alan Goldsmith (the HT550 organiser). Doh!

My neck was getting very weak by this point and unable to hold my head up! I took off the Joystick to make the helmet lighter. This helped a litttle but didn't overcome the problem. So I had to keep flicking my head up so I could see where I was going - LOL!

There was an unexpected HaB after Loch Tulla and before Bridge of Orchy. This wasn't welcomed!

Before Tyndrum, I mistakenly started heading down the main road but soon realised I should have been on the track on the other side of the railway. SO I headed back and crossed underneath the train track to join it.

I finished just over 5days and was delighted.

I put the bike in the car, checked into the hotel, had a shower, had a snooze and then went back out to the Real Food Cafe to see Steve Water come in. More joined as the afternoon wore on. Great afternoon.

Wednesday May 26 #

4 AM

MTB 19:03:22 [2] 179.23 km (9.4 kph) +3031m

HT550 DAY 5

After a good night's sleep in the newly constructed farm shed, I headed out of Strathcarron and found a water tap outside a house in/near Attadale. I soon caught up with Steve Waters after that who had passed me whilst I was sleeping and stopped to sleep ahead of me.

We rode together for a while but he stopped to fill up from a stream. I carried on up the wrong track! I soon realised my mistake and turned back around and went the right way.

Steve passed me along this stretch because I had to stop and change the batteries in my etrex32. I rode into Dornie and took a photo of the Eliean Dorian Castle. The shops/cafes weren't open as I was too early but this wasn't too matter because Steve said there was a Jet gas station slightly further on.

After a short steep road climb, I descended and stopped at the gas station. I had some sandwiches and picked up a roll plus chocs/sweets for the next long section on the Affric Kintail route. I also had a cup of tea!

I was familiar with the first 10km of the Kintail section from doing it in the 2019 ITERA Adventure Race where our team did it on foot. The route went south after 10km in ITERA whilst it continued east towards Affric in HT550.

Arrived in Tomich with lots of signs to a MTB cafe but couldn't see it anywhere. So i carried on!

What followed was a long gradual climb beside some electricity pylons through Guisachan Forest (no trees) to an altitude of 550m AOD. It got very cold on this section when the intermittent northern wind and rain arrived. The descent was fast and thrilling though into Dundreggan (Glen Moriston).

Another big climb followed on an Old Military Road up to an altitute of 400m AOD and then back down to Fort Augustus where I stopped for food. I had chips, mushy peas, tea and a coke. Yum.

I checked the tracker and saw that that Steve Chapman was ahead of me and that Steve Waters was behind me by ~5km. I wanted to leave before SW arrived so ate quickly, picked up some AA batteries from the gas station (as I was on last set) and headed off.

The section from Fort Augustus was canal path initially so was very flat and fast. However this turned into undulating forest trails beside Loch Lochy, then more flat canal on the approach to Fort William.

I asked a resident if I could get some water and he obliged by saying that I could use his outside hosepipe out the back. He also knew of the race as his friend Emma was doing it!

I then proceeded up into Nevis Forest on the West Highland Way up to summit at ~330m AOD near Lairigmor Ruin at midnight with the intent of pushing through the night with no sleep to reach the end of the race.

Tuesday May 25 #

3 AM

MTB 20:12:36 [2] 131.54 km (6.5 kph) +2189m

HT550 DAY 4

Monday May 24 #

12 AM

MTB 22:05:28 [2] 149.74 km (6.8 kph) +2367m

HT550 DAY 3

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