Jaymie Mart - BARBADOS NATIONAL DOWNHILL TEAM - one of the most colourful and well loved athletes on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup tour today.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Little snow, big snow.

So, I managed to wrap up at work a few days early this year.....it gives me time to chill before settling into my new position/promotion in the New Year.....and what better way to chill than to go on a wee excursion to what could potentially be the coldest corner of the US! Wisconsin.....home of the Harley Davidson, Chicago, Cow farming, Coors Beer, The Great Lakes, a heap of holy cheese.....and last but not least the home of TREK!

B and I got bumped into some comfy seats on the plane and had a luxurious ride out to Chicago where we literally ran the Chicago Airport marathon to catch our bumpy but speedy flight to Milwaulkee where we camped for the night......after an amazing home made curry.We woke up bright and early on Monday morning with an action packed scedule and started off the day the US way, with a Starbucks to warm our bellies before hitting the Harley Davidson museum. To be fair, neither of us care to much for Harleys, but both engaged with the impressive archive compiled within the walls of the museum.There was everything there, the first Harley, Evil Kinevils bike, helmet, a belt driven Harley, push bikes, custom bikes, ladies bikes, war bikes, pizza delivery bieks, dragster bikes, clay bikes used to help with the design.....belts, jackets, studs, over sized bearded enthusiasts, large cups of carbonated drinks, greasy burgers, side cars and complimentary HD pint glasses!! If it had Harley Davidson on it...it was there, well archived, documented and on display! It was GREAT.

We then headed off to the domes, three dome shaped horticultural glass botanical domes. They was a desert oasis and a tropical jungle. Nothing to write home about really, I think the real McCoy is better, once you have been to the egyptian and arizonan desert and the carribbean, most bases are covered, but some of the plants were amazing, and it was so soothing to smell the tropics and step into the warmth for half an hour!

We found our next rest-bite from the cold in the Wisconsin museum of art, which was the coolest museum I think I have ever been in.....the building itself was unreal, shaped like a bird, the wings actually close in and cover the roof.
On the inside, the view (below) through the structure of the building was unreal....it even had heated parking in the basement parking lot!! After a beautiful lunch, we strolled slowly into the main building and burned some calories in the Act React exhibition which was unreal. It was a digital installation exhibition, with 6 pieces that required the interaction of the entire body of the viewer! Basically, you got to interact with different pieces of art and have a giggle while doing it!!

I spent the next few days in Madison, chilling out, checking the museums, Christmas shopping, catching a rotten cold and loosing my mind at the HQ of all bike HQ's TREK! It was wicked, Dylan (senior suspension engineer....advanced concept group) gave up an hour of his morning and gave me a wee guided tour.....we went through the main building, the Sales room, R and D, colours and concepts type section which was all new and spangly, marketing, productions, painting, decals, hole punching, the whole sheeeeeee-BANG....then we got onto the really cool bit.....

The entire collection of Lance Armstrong TDF bikes and Contadors 123 race bikes.....as well as President Bush's 08 frames, complete with the presidential seal! After all these years of racing and time in the bike world, it was so cool to see how a bike goes from the ideas stage right through onto the peg first hand.

We were kind of forced back to Milwaukee a day early....did I tell you how cold it was out there? Well it was three times colder than the average freezer.....on the last night, the weather forecasters forcasted an ice storm! With the fear of being trapped in Madison and missing our flight home....and more importantly, Christmas as we know it.......we de-camped to Milwaukee for the last day and experienced the ice storm from the luxury of a retro art deco hotel in downtown called the METRO....this isn't a photo of the hotel below...just a cool set of stairs, what ever tickles your fancy hu?!!With an in room hot tub......we had no option but to chill out and sit tight and wait to see if our flight was running! Unsurprisingly, the airport in Milwaukee came to a complete stand still after the storm dumped 12'' of snow in a heartbeat. The guys did a stirling job and worked their butts off to get it open by 4pm on the Friday......our flight was 5pm.....we made it out and home YEA! I swear, you could have easily confused the airports in airport in Chicago and Milwaukee for a massive snow blower display comp ground......I have never seen so many snow blowing machines gliding around fanning snow left right and centre! Before we left tho, we managed to have a little fun in the snow and just how an entire city clear 12'' of snow off EVERY road AND footpath in the speed of a sneeze! Have you ever noticed that little flakes of snow make big smow on the ground...and big flakes of snow lie wet and heavy and melt quickly making little snow? Little snow, big snow, big snow, little snow!! Think about it, it's one of my Mums theories!

Seasons greetings and a joyus NOEL to you all! Jme. XX

Friday, December 05, 2008

NEVEN! I love you!! I check my site meter once in a while........and I have a few links from Nev's site to mine...which means there is traffic coming here from Nevs site!! How geeky is that?! Anyway, she's got into a crazy 'tag' fest and it seemed fun, so I thought I would join in. Nev has tagged me into doinga list of 6 things about yourself that people might not know!!

Okay, so here goes.

1. I have a small scare on my forehead from falling off an icy wall when I was little. My Mum told me I shouldn't walk on the wall as it had ice on the top, my stubbornness carried me through and I fell off and bared the scar ever since. What made it worse at the time was that a few days later my Grandparents flew in from the Caribbean and spent their time in the UK with their granddaughter who had stitches SLAP BANG in the middle of my head. I went back out on the wall and made it to the end....It is the ultimate scar of stubbornness!

2. I am the ambassador for the dry hump.

3. My favourite meal is Christmas dinner and this year I get to spend it with my family and my lovely boyfriend B.

4. I have a hammer toe! It's gross and it was made that way by not wanting to give up my roller skates when I was little!! I wore them until they were way too small and they deformed my toe. Hammer time! My beautiful relationship with my skates came to a bitter end after failing my attempt to 'skate down the stairs' at home. It resulted in a wounded me and a few smashed photos, some broken glass and a confiscation of the skates!!

5. I have a grade 5 in the viola and have passed many singing exams. I used to sing in the church choir and at peoples weddings. This is where I first developed my penchant for vino....although I don't suppose drinking a wee under aged dram of communal wine was or is the done thing...esp not in the eyes of the church?!!!

6. I once thought I was TANKGIRL and shaved my hair completely off when I was 16, I also had my lip, tongue and ears pierced. Looking back, I resembled a pin cushion for around 8 months!

So, there you go!
I tag the following people....

1. Fionn
2. Tara
3. JC (Joules Coventry)
4. BB...which forms the perfect excuse to get a blog up and running!
5. Melissa...even though Nev has tagged you, I think you need an extra nudge! X
6. Undecided...I will come back to this.....

K, gotta run, busy day ahead and fun to be had.

Sweet out chickens. XX

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coaching the buffday boy!

So with Winter comes cold days, short nights and a reluctance to ride, dare I say it!! Stepping out and getting pinkies and toes cold is not my favourite past time and could be easily traded for a rather large caramel machiato a healthy chunk of millionaires shortbread (from the Hub of course?!) and many an hour chewing the fat!

Well, the good thing about the autumn/winter change over is my birthday! I have never looked forward to it as much as I did this year....because this year I was simply spoiled rotten! My lovely boyfriend literally whisked me off my feet! We went to London, stayed in the Hilton in Trafalgar Square, suited and booted (dresses for the ladies) we drank cocktails in the rooftop Garden with my Bro and Sister-in-law and then hot footed it to the play house to watch Flamenco Flamenca! It was a nothing short of fabulous!! Hungover, yet throughily chilled out, on Sunday we culture vultured it up and went to St Pauls Cathedral and then to a Rothko exhibition at the Tate Modern.When you get to a certain age, it's hard to make birthdays special, so I guess you have to do it for each other! Boy did I have a hard benchmark to reach!! The thinking cap came on and so did the light!Last week after a whistle stop few meetings in the US, B drove up to meet me in the Lakes. The first stop was dinner in a lush wee country pub with roaring log fire! We had a cup-o-scruff with my rentals then voyaged back up to the lowlands of Scotland. After an excited opening of the presents, and swift, refreshing 5km morning run we ventured out on our sexy Session88's to meet no other than Mr Chrispin Bowbag Ball, DIRT SCHOOL extraordinaire!! It was B's first outing on his new bike...the lightest DH bike in the world and the actual one featured in this months DIRT top 100, so that alone was pretty exciting!!
I arranged a skills day for us all with Chris and boy was it a good one! We rode just off my doorstep on the DH trails in Innerleithen for most of the sunny part of the day! It was great, Chris really pin pointed some of our weaknesses and switched out brains on.The following day, I had to be in London for an interview, so I called my bro and arranged a tour of BBC Radio 1! It was a cool place, totally reminded me of my student days, real hectic and loads of organised clutter!! We saw Edith Bowman on air, Zane Lowe just hanging out, Aled kicking back in a meeting and Scott Mills preparing for his show. We hung out in the Live Lounge for a bit which was definitely the coolest part....just to know that that was a studio where so many famous artists have layed down a snip of there music there was almost spooky.

So all in all, winter ain't a bad time, a time to chill out, climb (which is coming back onto the agenda as of next Saturday), running, XC day and night riding, DH, road, lil bit of hockey, cakes, early nights with the candles on and BATHS!!! I just wish the white stuff would fall!!


P.S The bottom two photos are of St Marys Loch.....on a perfectly calm day!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heads up..............

Hey troops,

I just wanted to give you the heads up, I had a text from Chris Ball from Dirt School (A.K.A UCI technical deligate and SCU DH devo coach) yesterday morning telling me that he had found his van smashed up and the contents stolen.

They took all sorts from his van, but most importantly, his factory Ironhorse, with green hope brakes and hubs and also 09 Fox forks and shock. They also stole timing and video kit.

If you hear anything or see anyone on his bike, please call the police and call Chris. His number is 07736321795.......or drop him an e-mail, his address is on his site.

Thats the official line.......if you do see anything, namly some pikey pikey, do as you likey skooting round on Chis's pushiron, feel free to push him off, kick him in the goolies and if you so happen to have any gaffa tape and a permenant marker, do take it upon yourself if you are feeling burly, to strap him to the nearest post and scribble humiliating obscenities on his forehead while waiting for the police to come!!

The Barts.......Barnes and Mart tied the knot!

I remember writing about Liz and Adam getting engaged on here ages ago, in fact I think it was like the 2nd ever post, I though it would be the funniest thing to post photos of my older bro Adam in a Jimmy Saville wig sitting in a dust bun....stranger things have happened since, trust me!!

Anyway, last weekend, Liz and Adam lived their dream wedding day. Months of planning and hours of thought went into their day and it was nothing short of beautifully wonderful! It was so 'them' everything they ever wanted rolled smoothly into just less than 12 hours!

The church was beautifully decorated, the Father a riot, the guests were all correct and present, people who have enriched both of their lives, lovely, wholesome and fun people! The choir brought the house down.....Adams speech rocked, the addition of sound bites and a personal congratulations from Jason Donavan himself went down a treat......the cake was lush, as was the food, the Austin Princess was white and old and very sleeeeeeek.......the music was ace and the moves were top.....and the Inn was just amazing, every room was individually decorated and elegant, 4 poster beds, african parrots, the most amazin collection of antique furniture, and one of my old flatmates favourites......Molton Brown bath minitures!!I was the worst bridesmaid, so busy, struggled to get the dress fitted, missed the rehearsal as I was looking for shoes and a strapless bra.....and briefly a pair of spanks, until I realised I was 27 and had no excuse to spend £35 or wear hold it all in pants/tights except for shear laziness and a twinge of gauging on rich and indulgent grub!The wedding breakfast was lovely...hosted by Mother Mart, herself (My Mum). We had a some great nosh and a giggle. On the morning of the wedding, I hot footed it cross country to get ready with Liz and her sister Kath. I took with me, under strict instructions from my brother, one last rolo, a CD, a wrapped box and a list of instructions......Liz was to play the CD, eat a rolo and on the 2nd track open the box. The first track was my brother talking to her.....the second track was Hotel California.....the box contained a platinum Hotel California disc, a silver inscription and a photo of where they would spend their first night on honey moon......in THE Hotel California! Not much renders me speechless, but that DID......I cried........and so did Adam......
The photos were taken by a couple called the Lawsons, and they were just the most fantastic couple ever and it shows in the beauty of their photos! If you are getting married any time soon, it may be worth checking out their site www.lawsonphotography.com

THEY DID IT!! Congratulations guys!! ALL MY LOVE. Lil J. XXX

Shladminger STRIKE 4.

So, this was the 4th time I have screwed my race head on and ridden in a World Cup at Schladming, and for the 2nd time, this was the final round.For some reason, pracci started on the Thursday and race was on the Saturday which was as mixed up as fried eggs on a slice of carpet with a dollop of engine oil for breakfast, I mean, it's a world cup, it's not meant to be rushed!! Whatever the UCI say tho!
The course was AWESOME, it will always be one of my favourites, a true alpine course, fairly natural, steep and fast! It has an element of everything except rocks, but I think that is true to the terrain. It's flowey and smooth to ride, but towards the end of practice and into quali's the braking bumps were pretty vicious.

Much like Fort William, the breaking bumps and length of the course were the killer and drained your energy so quickly, those smart enough to sign up to the self preservation society did the best thing and rested, there wasn't much to learn......it was more a case of conserving energy!
True to form, I loved practice and nailed everything I set myself up for.
When Quali came around, I rode cautiously and fluffed up in places which I should have blasted through.

I finished 25th, miffed and questioning whether it is possible to race to this level and work and do everything else whilst maintaining any kind of level satisfying personal achievement is possible.....it is all to easy to spread oneself thin and become that ever so common, 'jack of all and master of none'. I have some training and thinking to be done over the winter........one thing I we all need to remember is....... FAT BURDS don't fly!!Fi Kicked off the after party in style scrounging not 1 but 2 kegs of beer from the local Schladminger brewery, we gathered in the troops for some pre party party beers and collected donations for our friend Tara Llanes! As always, everyone was super generous and dug down DEEP! Everyone was in the pits, kicking back for what seemed like hours after the race. Intense threw an awesome party for the riders with cranking beats and beer which took us upto about 11pm.

When we had to figure out a away infiltrate this crazy building where the party eventually moved too. For some reason, the club was incredibly hard to get into, the riders were like spiders, sneeking in through any open door, ducking and diving, bribing the bouncers, climbing in through the ceiling, you name it...but we all did it! The day after we had the most perfect hangover cure, schnitzel and strudel with ice cream followed by a 7km downhill off road go kart race............it kinda speaks for it's self hu!! The go karts were just awesome, beat up ragged ole things with crappy brakes! You could slam on the anchors and rail them round the corners......you needed goggles for sure as you kick up so many rocks when you braked!
On our last day, we all hung out at one of the coolest castles I have ever seen inbetween Schladming and Salzburg, the silliest thing is, I don't know what it was called, but it had an awesome falconary centre in it with the coolest collection of birds I have ever seen in one place...check it. The castle looked like sonething out of the Sound of Music, it had the coolest brickwork and surrounding fortress.

We headed to the airport, all ready for home, exhausted and craving a home comforts....cleared security, spent the last of the euros on chocolate and crappy flavoured water only to be told out flight had been cancelled.......dooom loomed! Thankfully we were in the safe hands of Mr super organised and super efficient B, who got onto it sharpish. Before we knew it, we were back in Salzburg in a comfy hotel waiting for another day in the land of the Sound of music and another bunch of traditionally laderhosen clad Austian chappies to slap our visuals senseless!!

Rhodeo Mart.