Mavic Transprovence

West Coast Biking does not cover everything and once in a while we escape to hotter climates with dustier trails, but don’t get me wrong the cycling on the west coast of Scotland can be dusty! So I headed to the Maritime alps to work as the race sweeper for the Mavic Transprovence race 2016.

This is how the race is described by Ash Smith the race organiser:
“Trans-Provence is a manifestation of what we believe mountain biking is all about; a melting pot of our sport’s finest ingredient elements.

In physical terms this means a week-long itinerary of true mountain wilderness, a huge and varied catalogue of awesome gravity-fuelled singletrack from the High Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. It exists since 2009 as a rally-style race which many past participants will tell you is more about the adventure than the time on the clock.”

The race starts in Embrun and finishes in Menton on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, here are the stats:

Distance: 271km

Height Gain (all pedalling/pushing/carrying!): 9177m

Total Descending: 18003m

No. of Special Stages: 24

I completed the entire race course, collecting signs and tape plus encouraging those feeling the strain on their bodies aftrer long days on the bike. Below is a picture including myself of the team who make the race work for all the racers, including catering team, drivers, timing team, sign posters etc.

A very special race to be a part of. If you want to know more or race or go on one of the guided weeks then contact Ash or Melissa via their website, or any more info I can give you then just get in touch.

Cycle Touring Idea

Ardnamurchan Exploration & Beyond

Day 1 An Ardnamurchan circumnavigation taking in the remoteness, unspoilt and undisturbed peninsula’s scenery.

Day 2 Take a trip to the coast at Arisaig passing through Glenfinnan following the route of the Harry Potter Steam Train, passing under some of the spectacular viaducts until you reach the white sands of Morar.

Day 3 Explore out to the most westerly point on British Mainland on Ardnamurchan, again with a visit to perfect white sands at Salen.

Day 4 Time to cross the water to Mull to explore the island via its quiet single track roads, with a good cafe stop at the colorful village of Tobermory.

Day 5 Circle the roads that travel under and around the towering mountain that is Ben Nevis in the Fort William area, some fun and friendly roads to take you to very scenic locations.

Day 6 Cycle south in the direction of Oban, stop off at Castle Stalker and  then take a passenger ferry across to the Island of Lismore, which is all lush grassland sprinkled with wildflowers, with grey blades of limestone breaking through the soil.



Mountain Biking

Below are 2 fantastic 6 day holiday ideas which can be condensed to 3 day trips, adjusted and altered to suit you.

Highlands Trail Centre Tour

Day 1 Arrive into Fort William with Ben Nevis towering above, head out for your first days riding on the way marked witches trails at Nevis Range Mountain Resort, starting with flowy and fun green and blue routes then finish the day with a spectacular gondola up lift and descend the Giant Red route on a man made mountain trail descending more than 500 meters over 5.5 kilometers!

Day 2 Head west to Mallaig where we can  will take you on an adventure and we will team up with Minch Adventures taking a boat trip across to Knoydart peninsula and ride at the small community trail centre at Inverie, a magical experience crossing the crystal clear sea to a remote and isolated part of Scotland.

Day 3 Now to a renowned and fantastic play area on a bike at Laggan Wolftrax, this trail centre has everything for all with lots to do and some natural trails to also try.

Day 4 Heading north onto the east coast takes us to Learnie Red Rock and Golspie, two very different trail centres one in the woods with lots of berms and rollers then the other spices things up with some technical ascents as well as descents on open moorland above the tree line.

Day 5 Contin home of the famous and extreme 24 hour race held in January called the Strathpuffer. A fun and flowy area to ride with trails linking all over a large forested area.

Day 6 Glenlivet, Scotland’s newest trail centre takes us to the heart of the Cairngorm National Park and provides a fast, fun, riding location.

Important information, all trail centres either have great cafes on site or very close with tasty, high calorie cakes for sale.

Lochaber Single Track

Day 1 Get the head focused on the single track descents take in a few laps of the gondola at Nevis Range descending the Giant Red with some green and blue enduro style tracks mixed into the day though the woods.

Day 2 Head to Glencoe and complete a classic bucket list trail, the Devil’s Staircase. A spectacular and technical route, a very rewarding day on a bike.

Day 3 Complete ‘the dudes of hazzards’ enduro trails around the industrial village of Kinlochleven, providing long and fun single track descents.

Day 4 Take a trip up the spectacular Glen Nevis where there are hidden gems linking into other trails not yet seen this week at Nevis Range.

Day 5 A big mountain day into the wilderness that surrounds Ben Alder, an epic day on all proportions.

Day 6 Let’s now cruise at Laggan Wolftrax, sure to put a smile on everyone’s face, this trail centre has something for everyone including good cake at the cafe.

We will also incorporate Skye, Glen Shiel and Torridon into the above agenda’s if you wish.

The Importance of DIN Settings

img_3844DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization) and is the industry standard scale for release force settings for ski bindings. This is the tension adjustment on the front and back parts of the bindings, and it determines how easily your boot will be released from the binding.

The DIN setting you should have is calculated by your weight, height, skier type, age and boot sole length.

The correct DIN setting for you should be high enough that the skis do not come off when you don’t want them to, but low enough that the skis will come off before you are in danger of injuring your legs. 

Above is what is a very fine balance especially as you become a faster, stronger, more aggressive skiier, the more you increase your din setting as the more power you push through the binding. Equally crashes become bigger and the force required to eject your boot from the ski becomes higher. But to ski at a high aggressive level you do not want your boot to eject as you power out of your turn as this could then become a reason you crash. Tricky!

Food for thought but check your DIN settings, please. Mine were set well and I’m happy I had the balance right as any higher then the boot may not have released causing a total rupture of my ligament = season over and lots of intense training.

Useful link: