I actually rode on that tube and tyre for about two miles. I was expecting a blowout at any second, but I did make it back to the trailhead. I was fortunate enough to have gone to Alpine Bikes in Innerleithen to rent a bike. They sent me out on a Trek Remedy 9.9. One model up from my bike at home. It is not after one can hire a bike better than the one at home. Alpine Bikes is my favorite bike store in the Tweed Valley. There are some other nice places to hire bikes and get them repaired but Alpine has always come through for me. I wanted to show the difference between "natural trails" and "man made trails". Natural trails around here can be pretty old walking, hunting, sheep or 4x4 paths. Man made trails for mountain biking are constructed much like road is. The trees are cleared and a rock base laid. Then "features are added. Some features seem very natural, some are adds just for fun and some, well the build was trying too hard and actually seem out of place. Trail building like this in Scotland is pretty new. The first trails were built around 1998. The designers have learned from the past and, as this has been so popular, trails have been built for all levels of riders. The first trails were built for the more advanced riders, now trails are built for everyone. There are downhill trails, cross country trails, free ride trails practice areas everything. Because it rains so much here these trails are designed to be used in all weather conditions. No closing the trails here because of a little rain. The locals ride the natural trails when it is dry and the man made trails when it is wet. The parking lot at Glentress seems almost full every time I am here. Mountain bikers travel from all over Great Britain to ride these trails. For me being able to ride no matter the weather makes for a great holiday. All I need is my raincoat and contact lenses. Thanks for reading. Don
I am on my second leg of my European Holiday. We left Liverpool a few days ago to drive up to The Borders in Southern Scotland. I am staying with Andy and Ros in their flat in Peebles. Scotland has been named The best Mountain Bike Country by IMBA many times. The Borders has led the way with many areas with specific mountain bike areas. The most popular are called the 7Stanes. These areas all have man made all weather mountain bike trails. This means they are designed to be ridden in heavy rain. If you know any locals they will take you on a ride with "natural trails". These are trails made by land rovers, old cattle drives, hill walkers and sheep. You will need a dry day to ride these trails to not get stuck in deep mud and cause damage to the countryside. It was natural trails we were on yesterday. We started in Peebles up an old old forest road, we then turned on a 4X4 track and then a combination of walking, sheep and cross country trails to the top of a ridge. Then it was over 6 miles of spectacular downhill. I have been told about this downhill hill before but this was my first chance to ride it. The views from the top spectacular, like many hills in Scotland. It was a calm day, unusual for around here, some sun and dry. Today is a different story. We have a wet day so we are off to the man made trails of Glentress and Interleithen. I happen to be with the Mountain Bike Ranger who is the caretaker of these trails, Andy Wardman. It is nice to have a guide to keep show me the best of the best in Scotland. Thanks for reading. Don
My stay in Mallorca is over and I am on the second leg of my holiday, England and Scotland. When Andy flew over to Mallorca he had to fly from Manchester, England as there were no flights from Scotland. That meant on the way home we both flew back to Manchester. Ros, Andy's girlfriend cheerfully picked us up and off we were to Liverpool where Ros's parents live. Barbara and Frank welcomed me like a long lost friend. Though we had never met before we felt like we knew each other. A quick tea and off we were to see the sights and visit with Barbara, who was in Liverpool getting ready to sing in a concert, Mozarts's Requiem. Then it was time to see the sights. A couple of Cathedrals (Anglican and Catholic). A modn shopping area and then to the famous Cavern District and the Cavern Club, made famous all those years ago by the Beatles. Liverpool was full of people of all ages enjoying the night life. The Cavern Club was packed as were many other pubs and dance spots. A quick dinner at Everymans and then off to the concert. A combination of daylights saving and a late night made for a late morning. It was off to the beach and the outdoor sculpture. This sculpture consists of 100 bronze statues made from the artists own body. It is quite disconcerting to see all these naked men looking out to sea. This afternoon we are off to Scotland. The sun is out and England is looking its best. Green, trees blooming, and daffodils everywhere. The photo of the Beatles music sitting on the piano was not staged, that was the music on the piano when I walked in. And, yes, everyone in Liverpool calls everyone love just like we learned in Help and A Hard Days Night. Thanks for reading, Don
Soller Deia Binisalem by email@example.com at Garmin Connect - Details This is more a blog about new technology than where we went yesterday. The first year I came to Mallorca I bought a prepaid phone card so I could call home. Though I do speak Spanish it was difficult to navigate through all the different voice menus and make a call to the USA. Kathy, on the other side of the world had a new cell phone, but she was at a workshop in San Diego and the hotel where she was staying was out of range for her cell phone carrier. The result being we didn't communicate for over 10 days. Today I use Skype, I can see her face live over the Internet and it is easy to get hold of her and for some reason it is free. Maps, that is another thing that has changed. The first year we all had maps, but we had to guess which were the best roads, now they have a special cycling map with the best routes already picked out. Of course there is the Garmin. John Riley, my friend from Wisconsin, just wrote to me and announced he and Margaret are going to be in Mallorca next week, not knowing I was already here. He wanted to know if I had some good suggestions for routes, in case the Trek Travel routes were too tame. All I had to do was send him my Garmin downloads, just like the one on this blog. He can then download them to his Garmin and not have to worry about where to go. It is amazing how quickly things have changed. Though it is fun to make fun of all these gadgets, and how people are obsessed with cell phones, GPSs and computers they have made my traveling easier. It doesn't make the riding more fun, but it does make finding routes a little less stressful and I like to share my experiences with you at home and that is simple in this new world. Thanks for reading, Don
I can't help but use that word magical. This photo was taken close to sunset as Andy and set off for a night ride. We were half way up first climb and I looked back and that was the view. I have seen this view many times but this one was special. It seems kind of crazy to do a night ride when we have all day to ride, but it is an adventure to ride at night ( we have some very good night lights). There is no traffic so in some ways it is safer. On this day Andy was getting in In the afternoon and we wanted to watch Milano-San Remo on the television. It was over at 5:30 so we rode at night, we, wouldn't have had this view otherwise. Yesterday we decided to see the scenic coastline between Valdemosa and Soller. We stopped in Deia for some food and drink. Deia is one of the most beautiful towns on the island. It sits almost one thousand feet above the Mediteranean Sea, mountains behind and the sea below. Today we are headed out to another spectacular view, which is the lighthouse on Cape Formentor. Two small climbs and a tunnel gets to the point furthest north and east. On a clear day one can make out Menorca in the distance. Like I said this place is magical. Thanks for reading, Don
It seems like a map is part of every conversation when one is on a bike holiday. In the morning at breakfast in order to plan the day, at all the stops just to make sure we are where we are supposed to be and of course at night at dinner so we can recap the days route. With the advent of the Garmin GPS we also have to email what we did and of course check it once more for ourselves just to be doubly sure we actually should be tired. The other part of a bike holiday to Mallorca is the cafe. Should we stop in Bunyola, or wait until Soller. Maybe we should stop at every bar we see and have cafe. Some of the cafe is perfect, some not. Imalways have cafe con leche. Coffee with milk. Most of the time it is just the way I like it. In the next photo you can see what Mallorca looks like from about 1500 feet. The mountains you see are full of windy roads with climbs from 5 to 15 kilometers. There is also lots of flat land to ride in. It is one of the reasons I like coming here. Hills to go hard, have fun on the descents, and look at the scenery. Flats for those days the legs need s rest but you just feel the need to get out. The last photo is how we try to recover after a lo g day in the saddle. The pool is cool, though not ice water, so we stand in the pool for about 10 minutes. Don't know if it works but it seems to. I took that photo from my hotel room. I felt like some National Enquirer photographer. I am asked why do you always return to Mallorca every year. Travel is many things to different people. For me it is not about adventure but about seeing old friends, enjoying the sunshine in March and getting in some fun miles on the bike. Mallorca is the best place I have found for that so I keep coming back. It is a long way but I find it worth it. The last few days I have been catching up with my friend Neal from Leeds in Great Britain. I only see him once a year so it is good to see how he is doing. A few minutes ago I was walking down the street and I saw our head waiter from another hotel we have stayed at. He recognized me stopped and said hello. Kind of nice. Right now I am sitting in the hotel waiting for Andy to arrive. I spent some time with him last fall but I haven't been in Mallorca with him for a number of years. That will be fun. We actually met here in Mallorca six years ago I think. Take care and thanks for reading, and a note to Matt, those are chainrings on the pillow. Special 42 tooth chainrings from the states. Better than mints. Don
Here I am in Mallorca for my 10th time. Though we generally have pretty good weather here there are days when it rains. Our first day was like that. We landed I bright sunshine, something I have not seen at home in a while. What was more remarkable was in Barcelona it was pouring rain. We were all quite hungary and my bike was still in Newark so we went to have lunch at my favorite Don Corleone's. Sitting in the sun drinking a cafe con leche. This was the experience I was waiting for. I was extra smart this year and put my shoes, pedals and helmet in my carry one bag. I went to the bike shop after lunch and picked up a rental bike. I was ready to go before the others had finished putting their bikes together. We started out and all looked fine. There was the odd dark cloud around but it looked clear. Well what we were in is what is called a sucker hole. After about 15 minutes it started to really rain hard. We gathered under a tree, put on our rain coats and headed back to the hotel. Our shoes were soaked, along with everything else. The photo of the shoes on the wall is my invention. I used some hangers to suspend the shoes in front of the vent. Dry shoes in the morning. The other photo is my bike bag. When we returned from our first day out my bike was enroute to the hotel. Even with the rental bike it was sweet to see my bike in one piece. Today we had another problem. Joe's bike had a shifter problem that was not repairable. We took it to my favorite shop and they were willing to get the part from their sisters shop, and have the bike ready by tomorrow morning. They even loaned us a bike so Joe could pedal the. 40 ks back to our hotel. Ciclo Gomilla in Binisalem. The same kind of service Sunnyside would give. It looks like sun for the next few days, I will try to get some more photos and more stories. Don
Tomorrow I head for another adventure across the Atlantic. It has become an annual event for me, spring riding in sunny Mallorca. You can see by the photo why I go. It is, as my friend Baltimore Bob says, magical. Windy roads, lots of friendly cafes with very good Spanish cafe. I really look forward to this trip. This year more than most. We had a dry and warm January. When I wanted to ski I was on my bike. Then winter came back and we seem to have had snow, rain and cool weather for about a month now. I have been on my skis but by March I am ready for some cycling. Barb and Lew are joining me again along with Joe and Deborah, my good friends from Portland/Seattle. I was telling Serena, who came last year with her husband Ben, that I had a fantasy world where all my friends came every year. I won't mention them all but believe me I have many friends who I have met on bikes in Mallorca and now we are friends. Serena and Ben are not coming this year, neither are Kevin, Ali or Pete. One very special friend is coming and that is what I am really looking forward to. Andy, my very good friend from Yorkshire, but who lives in Peebles, Scotland is going to be my roommate. I usually see Andy once a year, but he has not come to Mallorca for a few years now. It will be fun to show him some new roads, and of course ride the old ones again. Andy is just 30 and I seem to be over 60. I don't know why we get along but we do something about being kindred spirits. We aren't really even a lot alike. But we get along and that is the part of the holiday I am looking forward to the most. I also get to visit him and Ros in Scotland for a few days as I needed a place to stay between Mallorca and my trip to watch the Tour of Flanders. The hardest part for me is simple it is leaving home and my sweetheart. It would seem that after almost 40 years of marriage we would be glad to part, but it isn't like that. We do have different likes and dislikes and while I would rather be on my bike she would rather be in her garden. She does travel but not as much as me. So off I go, with a bit of a tear in my eye. This year I started taking piano lessons and I find playing music quite emotional. I practiced today for the last time until I get back and I was so sad afterwards I started to cry. I guess it is good to love my music and my piano teacher (Kathy) so much. I am all packed and now we are spending a quiet day together. Not really doing anything much. That is what I will look forward to when I get home. Some more quiet time. I will be writing from time to time about my trip. Thanks for reading. Don
Dave suggested I write about Franco Pellizotti (he lost his appeal and was suspended for two years from bike racing this week), and Susan suggested I write about new technology. I am not going to say too much about Franco. He didn't test positive his blood values were suspicious. I do not have much to say really. I do know when I had surgery 10 years ago my hemocrit level was over 50. I don't know why but I would have been kept from racing. I guess the bottom line for me is they are really just guessing he took drugs. Does not seem fair. Technology next. Velonews has decided that 29er bikes are the innovation of the year. I guess that is cool, but I am pretty sure they have been around for a lot longer than this year. That being said I got mine this year and, yes, it is cool. I am not the born again 29er owner though. I have a Trek Superfly 100 Elite. It weighs in at 23 pounds with pretty big tyres. It goes fast up hill and it seems to do everything else pretty well also. It doesn't have those 29er issues one reads about. It goes around switchbacks, it does a wheelie as well as I can manage, it rides over rocks and through snow better than my 26 inch bike. It only has 100mm of travel but with the big wheels that seems like enough. I also have 26 longer travel Ibis Mojo HD. That really flies downhill but my Trek is still a fun descender. What I am convinced is it is a better race bike and a great long distance machine. If you haven't ridden one you should give it a try, even If you are small. Two of the best female mountain bikers from the USA both ride 29ers and they are 5'4" and 5'2". Now one last bit of technology. Fischer Skis have been selling a ski called the zero for a fe years now. It has only been available as a race classic ski. An expensive quiver ski. It has had lots of success though. Next year they will have a wider version called the super light. I have had a chance to ski on that ski a couple of times and I am duly impressed. It feels like a wax ski. Fast, no noise and good kick. I really feel this ski is going to be the ski of choice for those that classic ski at Meissner and Mt Bachelor, or even more as I used this ski through some fresh snow and it worked quite well. Time will tell but this seems like a real revolution in the nordic world. I am off to Europe next week. I will be writing about our adventures in the blog so keep abreast. I am looking forward to some warmer days on the bike. Thanks for reading. Don
Sunnyside Sports is where I work. I also am the majority owner. Sometimes this is difficult because I think of all of my coworkers as friends first. That being said Sunnyside Sports is not a place to hang out. It is about hard work, treating customers with respect and getting the job done. Those that see all of this fit in. We have just hired four more coworkers. I did none of the interviews, one I hadn't even met until her first day of work. This was on purpose. I am trying to get out of the day to day running of Sunnyside Sports. My goal is to have exchanged ownership of the Sunnyside by 2015. I want the decisions to be made my the new owners not the old owner. Sunnyside is my other family. Family is not all about play, it is about growth, working together and being there for others when in need. That is how I feel about Sunnyside. We have been hurt, like all families, by this attitude, but we have also been rewarded. I do not let the being hurt distract me from what we have tried to do. We have monthly meetings and at these meeting it is very apparent how well we all get along. Many modern businesses use the term "team". I see all the time in ads for recruitment that companies are looking for "team players". At one time I thought that was a good term but I have come to the conclusion that when a company is looking for a team player what they really mean to say is someone who will follow orders and do as the boss says. Sunnyside needs those attributes also to a point. What we really want is more. We want people we can work with in the day and then go for a ride with on the weekend. We want more than team players we want family members. When it was just the two of us (Gary and I) it was pretty easy. We worked almost every day and we both knew we had to give a lot to make Sunnyside work. Now there are 16 of us (at least that is my count). I realize a group of 16 is harder to deal with than a group of two, but it is still my goal to have Sunnyside a family style work place. I am excited with our new faces (Jared, Andrew, Bruce and Katie) I hope they fit in like the other 12. I hope to go on rides with all of them and do the fun stuff which Sunnyside is all about. Sunnyside was named because we are on the Sunnyside of the Mountains. I like to think of the song though and think that Sunnyside is about the Sunnyside of life.
Hi, I am Don Leet an owner of Sunnyside Sports. I love cyclo cross racing, mountain and road riding and Nordic Skiing. I also love my sweetheart for over 35 years, Kathy. I started doing a blog because Susan (one of my business partners) told me to. Now I do it because I like to. Please enjoy.