NORWAY

This was my second trip to Norway, just three weeks since the last.

The night before my flight I packed the bike. Originally packing the prototype full sus. A late decision saw me go back to the garage and build up the FF29 with a similar build that I used for #eurotrip last year. Dropper, 120mm forks, 2.4″ / 2.25″ tyres, 50mm stem, 203/180mm rotors. It rides well like this. Need I to mention I kept it single speed?

The first day I built the bike back up and checked everything was working before we headed to Hafjell.

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We spent two days riding the trails there and the bike got a few fans. When everyone else is head to toe in body armour, full face helmet, 200mm suspension front and back, you stand out a little when you’re in a vest riding a singlespeed 29er – hard tail.

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My hands were wrecked afterwards though.

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The week that followed was full of a few runs, a few rides, a lot of slack lining and a whole load of water fun.

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From wake boarding to canyoning, to paddling some stray rafts back to the cabin.

Røafallene #røafallene #norwayaway #norway

A post shared by Matt Brown (@singlespeedmatt) on

When I’m writing this, my legs are still cut and bruised. Some scars that tell different stories to those I got from biking.

3 6 0 #røafallene

A post shared by Matt Brown (@singlespeedmatt) on

I won’t be back to Norway till the winter now. There’s a fat bike and a few sets of skis to get ready!

INTERLUDE

After I got back I’d been riding the Aithein quite a bit and did a little ride with Bruce (@32dugast). My Peak district cherry popped. That was only a few days before the last Nutcracker of the year.

ONE LAST TIME. NUTCRACKER.

Swaledale, Dales Bike Centre. The series finalé. Another favourite of mine.

The hardest XC race in the country?  Maybe. Definitely not one for singlespeed!

Going into the race, I was sitting 1st overall by one point. I was trying to better my previous results to get a chance of finishing in the top three. I knew there were a few fast guys entering that would easily beat me and could bump me out of the podium for the series.

On race day, inevitably the wind was strong but at least the sun was out.

My start went well. With 30 seconds to go, i decided to track stand for the start. As the horn went off, I was straight off up the hill. I wasn’t tying to push it, knowing I’d be the slowest up the hill out of the Elite and Expert starters. As I looked behind, I noticed a 5 metre lead over the others. Time to hold everyone up…

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Photo: http://www.digitalswaledale.com/

It only lasted a few hundred metres before everyone passed me.

I ran the same set up as Norway, 32/19 gear with 120mm forks, 50mm stem and dropper post. Worked well on the downs but I was never going to be fast on the up. I lost the most time on the back end climb into a strong wind.

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Photo: https://www.facebook.com/bigadigossage?fref=ts

After three laps I finished in third, a minute behind second. I couldn’t claw enough time back on the last descent.

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Photo: https://www.facebook.com/LMetcalfeMTBphotos?fref=ts

I finished the series with 152 points. Joint top.

WHAT’S NEXT?

CCC – 100km around Mont Blanc

#eurotrip – part of the above, a 2week trip to Chamonix, Morzine, Verbier, Riva Del Garda, Venice, and Cortina …

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