Hats of to EMFF 2011

OK, so this post might have wiff of basking in glory about it, but what the hell. The Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival looks like it has been another huge success, which is ace news not only for the reasons on the picture above, but also because it is a film festival that gives little guys like us a chance to tell our stories. Yeah, there are some of the years biggest and best mountain films on the bill, but Stevie always seems to find space for a few slightly smaller efforts. The faith he put in Pretty Sweet 2 really helped it hit home how worthwhile this film making thing can be. It is great news that the festival continues to shine and hopefully will continue to give a few of the little guys like us a chance to show what we are worth.


Cubes In The Woods

So earlier this week I headed out into the woods to help Matt off of the ever excellent Twelve50 Bikes make a bit short film about his new bicycle:


Swiss Alpine Adventuring

Sometimes the internet can be an awesome thing. It was one of those times that saw an email drop into my inbox. It's message went along the lines of 'really liked your film, if you are filming a 2nd one, how about you come over to Switzerland and I'll show you some trails'. That is not really something you say no to.

And so it came to be that Dave and I were booting a Fiat Panda up the steep side of the Malojapass, and probably one of the best riding weeks I've had was about to start. We were returning to Davos, my and Cal's favourite resort from the Dirtbag Megatour before meeting up with Dave (yep, that is three Daves) of Swiss Alpine Adventure. In short it was super awesome. Certainly one of the best weeks riding I have had. As we racked up almost an hour of footage we have very few photos, but what we did film is looking really quite good.

I think what made this trip was the local trail knowledge we were let in on, both the massive descents Dave showed us around Lenzerheide and the smaller trails the super friendly expat population of Davos/Klosters let us in on. (If your reading this Stewart, thanks for one of the best days riding I have ever had, and also, get in touch man) Whilst locals will always know their local trails well though, it appears Swiss Alpine Dave's knowledge extends to every corner of Switzerland. If you want a few days guiding get in touch with him...

Other highlights were the pass camping, the kebabs, the breakfasts and the free lift passes.

A week of Swiss Bliss


Pretty Sweet 2 - The Details

So this blog has kind of died a little recently. We have had a bit on. Mostly getting this done:

Yep, it is finished. Sighs of relief all round. After Stevie's kind offer we had a bit of a rush on these last few months to get it all togethor, but I for one, feel really quite pleased with how it has come out.

So, the premier:

Friday October 7th, Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival

Details of tickets and all the other good stuff taking place at this years EMFF, can be found on the website; www.edinburghmountainff.com. As for those who can't make it to Edinburgh (It looks as if this list will unfortunately include us), we hope to make a few more film festivals before eventually getting the film up somewhere for all to see.



Then The Rain Comes

We went the Lakes. It rained. Cal and I got one decent day and one showery day of riding in amongst the Dunnerdale fells, and on the silly scary slopes of Skiddaw, but when Dave W turned up and the camera came out, the weather rather turned to shit. Still, all was not lost. Whilst we didn't quite get the haul of footage we were hoping for due to the camera's dislike of the rain, few shots came out nice. The relative shelter of Grizedale was nice, but the trails seemed to loose more grip with every water droplet that hit them, and the one new trail we found kept concentration levels high. Dave's comment that it would be a great bit of trail in the summer raised a laugh, what with our visit coming 2 days after the solstice. The 2nd day had been set aside for a new tilt on Helvelyn, but with rain falling, and thunder on the forecast, it turned in to an out an back up to Grizedale Hause. Whilst it may not have been the ride, or shoot, we where hoping for, new trails were ridden, and walkers impressed. A route for when the real summer arrives.


Classic Wales

Just like the old days. Classic Welsh trailcenter riding.
So back in the early days, when trips to ride bikes outside the woods where rare, most trips were to the promised land of North Wales and it's man made trails. Shaking ourselves to shit over the rocks of Coed-Y-Brenin was the holy grail of riding back in the early years of this century. But then Coed-Y-Brenin changed. We returned to Gomez et-al armed with better skills and bikes, only to find the classic pieces of trail gone, however away from CYB all was not lost. Whilst the Marin Trail slowly eroded into maturity, and Machylyneth remained as glorious but distant as ever, Penmachno opened some time after the first wave of trailbuilding had swept the principality. However the formula remained unchanged and we got yet more of the man made yet fairly untamed good stuff to ride. Problem was, by the time Penmachno had its 30kms of singletrack going we had moved on to pastures new; pastures up big mountains, with big rocks, and a fair degree of tech. Yeah, the Marin trail remained a staple of our riding, but we where no longer making long drives for trail centres, our attention had been drawn to trails down the side of mountains and glens, that had come into existence through centuries of foot traffic and erosion.

Problem is, we missed out. Due to Ste's desire not to do anything to big before exams, but a desire to get into the hills non the less, we headed to Penmachno for the first time in 5 (I think) years. And it was great. It was 'classic Welsh riding' just as I remembered. It had the slippery rock, the benchcut, the jurrasic park sections, sections that made you think a bit, the feeling of being somewhere remote out in a big forest. As much as I love the Marin trail (and we followed our Penmachno ride with a lap there) it has become over familiar, it was nice to be riding a new, or mostly forgotten about, trail in Wales, almost like back in the day.

Anyway, that was a rather long way of saying Penmachno is bloody good, and hopefully a few of Ste and I's shots from the day will make the final cut. There were not many trails I would have enjoyed riding more than 40kms of Wales purpose built finest.


Not Dead

So this blog has been a little quiet over the last few months. Not to say there has not been any riding done, just with exams and all that there hasn't been much time to write about it. With summer stretching away in front of me, and Cal, Dave and Ste still busy I got the summer started with a bit of classic highpostin' XC around Grizedale with Dad and Wilf. It was boss. I think I have neglected Grizedale over the years, instead heading for the techy trails higher up on the fells, but the tracks in the woods are such a perfect mix of techy and flowy it is hard not to have a good time.

Dad on slab. Not bad for an old dude. Note Saddle still sky high, this man takes highpost pride seriously.
One decent in particular I wish I had not neglected, as whilst it didn't have the same Height drop as an actual mountain, if you where prepared to pedal it rewarded you with flow by the bucket load. That one is earmarked for a bit of filming in the not to distant future.

Filming huh? Well, plans are slowly coming together and, say it quietly, a film is starting to take shape. The first round of soundtrack requests were sent of yesterday (One is back allready, bless you Message To Bears). This time I think we have more of an idea of the film we want to make, and it is more of a case of shooting to fit the plan, as opposed to just putting all the footage together in coherent order. This puts a bit of pressure on to get footage, but it seems to be going well so far.

Ste in cold, cold North Wales
We got all the winter footage required during a cold day at the Marin trail. That place is a godsend when the mountains are covered in snow and the woods mud is knee deep. Just glorious, lonely, eroded flow in the hills for 25 km.

The now 3 year old tradition of the Lakes Easter roadtrip took place under steely grey skies for the most part. 3 days amongst laybyes and high passes of the northern fells. 4 passes remains a classic as ever, bookended by two days of exploration.

Its all downhill. Slate grey Lakes.
A few good shots where had but I think we all agree a return is needed to stock up the footage, and just to get out on these trails again.

And then the first dry spell of the year came to the woods, right on top the the busiest part of the year for us all. Mother nature can be a dick sometimes. Anyway, many fine nights where had in the loam and dust (now sadly departed) and Ste and I got a few shots in. Hopefully the glorious weather will return and we can get a few more in before the bracken covers every trail.

As for the future, flights, hire cars, mountain lodges and everything else that goes with bicycle adventure is slowly being booked. Switzerland, Austria, more Lakes and a return to Scotland are all hopefully part of the future. I also am pretty keen to try and explore some more of the big mountain potential of Snowdonia, despite previous experience on Carnedd Llewelyn (Just too gnarly). Geograph and the OS seem to show a few 500 meter plus descents lurking in them hills. Hopefully we'll fit a race in as well. Got to hold on to the hard won Tour De Nevis crown. All in all, it should be a good one.

As ever, if you want to get involved with the Pretty Sweet project in any way, feel free to get in touch.


Alpine Dirtbags

So Cal and I's Superalpinemegaride made print this last week, and as ever I feel pretty chuffed/stoked/really quite pleased to see our pics/words in print. We even got on the cover this time (Kind of)

I think 'Big Adventures, Little Money' sums up a bit more than just that trip to be honest. Anyway, the mag as a whole is a cracking read as ever, and for anyone with a few minutes spare the Hefty B-roll from our trip can be found below:


Making of Film 2 - Pt.1

OK, so, we have a deal. Singletrack want a second Pretty Sweet, mostly because they are nice like that. As such we are going to try and make one for them, and I reckon I'll try and blog a bit about the experience. We have a few plans afoot but for now, we'll post a few stories from 2010, and the accumulation of footage so far.
Still no.1 Lakes Gnar
So, what ended up being our first 'shots in the bag' day was a sweltering ride in July. My overiding memories of it now are of major chaffage issues and Dave W pulling of some tech riding miracles. I think we are all keen to get some 'Fell tech' shots into the film as gnarly, but slow, trails are a firm favourite and hence Dave and I headed to the top of High Street with this in mind. After a quick nap upon reaching the summit we set of towards Nan Beild with a few shots in mind.

The Big Gnar Staircases favoured by fix the fells featured, and whilst I pottered down on a hardtail, the ginger one made things look much smoother. Probably due to the suspension and huge fork he is now lugging round the hills on top of the skills he had anyway. Taking the radios made filming much easier, and the reduction in shouting at each other TO GO was nice. Bleep when your ready kids.

After a few shots on the staircases to the West of Nan Bield we headed over to the east side where things kicked up a notch. No staircases or obvious lines on this side of the pass. I was off form but Dave W picked out some gnadgery lines for the camera, and whilst a few didn't go, the majority of lines and shots came out pretty nicely. A few hikers impressed (really should get that on camera one day), we headed homewards.

And this meant riding Nan Bield. Whilst not as full on as the north side, the south of the pass is the classic, allthough a bit flat to make look good on camera, singletrack,. As good as it is, we were having issues. No idea what happened but the chafe was horrendous. Heat, sweat, summat else? Who knows. All I know is when I got home I nearly burn't my riding shorts. Bastards.

After drinking tea for five, stood up, in Wilf's cafe we tried to work out the best way of getting home. Sitting was massively painful and neither of us had alternative shorts. The options were walk it, or drive. Needless to say it was a looong drive back down the M6. Not sure whether the decision not to just drive home with no kecks on was worth the pain in the end....



February has been absolute balls. The winter as a whole has been some way short of Last year's high standards, but whilst December and January saw some cold local woods action, we have all just been waiting for February to end.

I may have ridden nearly every day during this past month, but the same commute day in, day out really can't compete with a heavily layered up trip out into the mountains. I could moan about circumstances and what not, but the long and short of it is that no mountain biking just plain sucks. The good thing is, winter is nearly done with and the future is looking promising. Flights booked, plans made, and hopefully a pay off for all those dark nights lost to geograph is coming soon. It may still be 2 weeks or so till the first opportunity for proper mountain bicycles but once that date comes, the summer is on. Hopefully we can make the most of it.


Pretty Sweet 2, The Beginings

Yep, we are setting out to make a second Pretty Sweet film. It will be shot in HD and hopefully will be ready for screening at the end of autumn 2011. We plan to stick to the 'Trail/All Mountain/XC/Call it what you will principles of the original Pretty Sweet whilst also moving forward and creating something that is a marked step up from the original. The film should once again be serialised on Singletrackworld.com

If you are interested in getting involved with the project in any way, be it the filming process, screening the finalised film or too see an early edit of the HD footage from 2010, feel free to get in touch


Off Season

We don't really get an off season for mountain bikes in our part of the woods. Sure, we have a 'going up big mountains is not so feasible' season, but bikes are still involved whatever the weather. Here are a few pics from off season so far.