Beta Alp 4.0

A collection of information as it arises. There's not a lot out there!

Friday, March 28, 2008

New gloves

I always struggle to find decent gloves for motorcycling; to complicate matters I don't wear leather so that rules out a large sector of the market. Last month Trail Bike Magazine ran an advert for Klim gloves that sounded pretty good. They claimed good protection, some warmth and waterproof for £51.

The UK distibutor for this US brand is Adventure-spec which seems to be a smallish eRetailer outfit based in Leeds. On the online shop the cost was £60 including VAT which is getting a bit pricey, but not too out of line of the competition. The gloves arrived within 5 days, but not to the dispatch address that I'd entered on the website. The gloves appear well made with tidy seams.

I'm never sure whether to order Medium or Large sized gloves; I have long but slim hands and so really need Large so that my fingers aren't caught at the ends, but Medium would give a better fit across the palm. This is a problem with online shops - but I went for large. This isn't ideal as the neoprene cuff isn't all that firm. I suspect the width is rather excessive in relation to the length for anyone. Since I ordered my gloves Adventure-spec have posted a size guide on the website which would put me on a Medium for width.

I've only used the gloves in the dry so far and for that they have been comfortable enough. As the fit was loose I wore some cut resistant gloves as liners for both the extra protection and as insulation (see the Ixion website for a discussion on Kevlar liners). I've had one low speed tumble in stones/mud and that hasn't done any harm to the gloves (or me).

I'm not going to wish for bad weather but some rain will be needed to test their water resistance!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lands End Trial 2008

After winning a Gold Medal on last year's trial there was a probability that I would be disappointed this year and I wasn't wrong.

For signing on at Plusha we had to make do with writing on the freezer in the service station as the cafe has closed down again. The rumour is that the rent is far to high to make a go of it, now that travellers don't have to break their journey on the widened A30.

This year Easter was on the 22nd on March was as early as it has been for years. The earliest possible is 21st so naturally it was dusk by departure. On the way to Bridgewater my headlamp bulb blew twice. The spare I fitted the first time had been carried for years so perhaps it had been vibrated far too much before fitting. Luckily the bulb is a plain H4 item so widely stocked. I was rather fed up with this though, the 6 small cross-head screws aren't the easiest things to deal with on a cold night. Also the LED lamps in the lighting indicators which I fitted during the summer are far too bright at night and dazzled me. They'll have to be adapted. You can tell I don't ride much during the night can't you.

I usually consider the first section to be easy, but this year it was the first that I failed, in common with many others. A restart box had been place on some slippery rocks and I took the wrong side and ended up sliding off. That was a bad start. Before day break I footed rather carelessly on a rocky section where more determination would have seen me through. At breakfast I gained a bit of a boost and thought that a bronze was still within my reach if I didn't fail another section. The tarmac approach to Crackington was littered with clods of clay suggesting that it might be a little gloopy at the top. As it turned out the clay was in neat piles easy enough to steer around. Thus all went well until Bluehills.

The 2 bluehills sections are traditionally tough but they can be cleared. The first has a watery pit and then a restart on a steep cobbled ramp. As I approached this I could see a dry band and amazingly manged to stop on it and do the restart. But then I under-revved and messed up my 'strategic' footing on the 90 degree turn to the right and managed to stall. What a waste! That made me lose any interest in working on Bluehills 2 and basically paddled to the top.

In theory the weather hadn't been bad. Certainly it was windy and this made the night cold but there was no rain nor fog. During the day I hadn't felt very well, alternately nauseous and with a headache but there was no obvious cause for this and I do feel as though I'm making excuses.

Although my score is poor I should take away the positive message that I very nearly cleared Bluehills 1...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New Tyres

It's only 2 weeks to the 2008 Land's End Trial so the TKC80s must be replaced with MT43s. I've a new rear tyre as last year's was a little worn by the time I'd done the whole 700km. The job is getting easier with practice and I manged to do both front and rear, on a cool day, within 2 hours. That's including changing to a 14 tooth front sprocket too.