Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Intelligent Designs Cycles - Welcome Aboard

I'm delighted to announce that I will now be supported by Intelligent Design Cycles. They will be helping to power me through every one of my winter miles by supplying the world leading Shutter Precision's new range of super lightweight, high efficiency, SP dynamo hubs.

I will be using the PD-8 disc dynamo hub, with IS 6 bolt flange, on my mountain bike and the PV-8 rim brake version on my road bike to power my LED dynamo light and also to charge my phone & GPS at times.

Not only are they small and light, but they come in a range of pretty colours too!

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Santa Cruz Christmas Santa Cruise

Sunday was a grand day out, organised by the endlessly and contagiously enthusiastic Joe Whitaker. An end-of-the-year, pre-Christmas Santa Cruz riders get together: The Santa Cruise (see what he did there?). So at 8am a huge collection of both Santa Cruz riders and Santa Cruz bikes slowly formed on a frosty morning at Cannock Chase.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dynamo A Go-Go

Once an engineer, always an engineer. Not long after I decided to start pushing my self to ride longer, I hit upon the problem of lights & winter. Specifically losing track of battery charge through daily usage as well as getting bored of constantly charging batteries and having stuff charging up on every available surface. Fast forward a couple of years, lots of research (aka reading internet forums), desparately recollecting the electronics of my engineering degree, the purchase of a couple of text books and several prototypes later and I have spent the last 18months riding, off the race course, illuminated by a hub dynamo powered light: the deanamo.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Winter Bike

It's that time of year when part of every mountain bike ride involves keeping yourself warm and dry, your tyres pointing in the direction you intended on travelling and your gears free of at least some of the mud and clag on the trail all around you. Most rides at this time of year I simply reach for the rigid singlespeed, more out of maintaince avoidance than any evangelical singlespeed nonsense. 

However, some days I must confess; it just seems like hard work. On these (hopefully rare) days, normally at 6:30am before riding over the Downs to work with my lunch and a laptop on my back, to give myself a fighting chance of not spending more time maintaining my bike than riding it and to keep the smile on my face, I have, this year, built myself a winter bike. Yes, it's not a Santa Cruz, but I did win it riding one, so I think I'm entitled to ride it a bit.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Winter Riding "Top Tips"

With autumnal wet weather firmly upon us, this winter "top tips" article originally appeared on BikeMagic, but I had such good feedback that I thought I'd pop it up here as it's long since disappeared off the news front page. The original article can be viewed by clicking HERE

Rob: Muddy but, apparently, comfy
Winter Riding Top Tips: Rob Dean on riding year round
Rob Dean talks mudguards, cold hands, mud tyres and racing mates in his winter riding top tips

Following our first Winter Riding Top Tips article last week from Rich Rothwell, another top UK enduro racer, Rob Dean, has taken time to share his advice for getting out on the bike whatever the weather.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tuesday Night Shenanigans

Stanmer's fast by day too!

Josh has been making movies again. Here's this week's Tueday night ride on a perfect, warm, autumnal evening of chasing mates round the fab trails of Stanmer Park in the dark. They say the only way to get fast for racing is to race, but chasing your mates on trails like these help a bunch too!

Monday, 31 October 2011

2011 - That's All Folks

With a couple of overseas business trips meaning I was unable to make both Dusk 'Till Dawn and Oktoberfest 12hr events, all of the endurance races I'd had my eye on for 2011 are done and dusted. It's been an up and down season but now it's time to forget about race plates, take stock, make new plans and get out on the bike and pile in the winter miles.

Here are few of my highs and lows:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Fame & Fortune: MBR Snippets Of Rob ×2

Following a quick answer phone message I was more than delighted to hear from Matt Hampton, editor of MBR, for a tips article he was putting together. A few carefulley précised sentences later and my words were off to press for the November issue!

To my great surprise, and my Mum's coffee table showing off pleasure, I pop up again later in the same MBR as a shining example of an advocate of The North Face jackets, not a tricky job when they make such lovely stuff :-)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Perfect Gift For The Cyclist Who Has Everything

Happy birthday to me
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago so, as well as going for nice big long a ride on my bike as a special treat, I was delighted to open up a huge parcel (who doesn't like getting a big parcel) to find the perfect gift: a combination of bikes and Scalextric, woo-hoo :-). 

The winter evenings are going to fly by.... and probably so is my cyclist as he exits the top of the banking!

Warm dry winter cycling fun - I'm definitely the blue one here ;-)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A (mini) Adventure In My Own Back Yard

With some new outdoors kit to try out, and as the race season limps to a close (or as I limp to the close of the race season), Grace and I loaded up our bikes late Saturday afternoon and set off to try out our new equipment.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Un-Racing: The SDW 80mile MaXx Exposure: Disasters & Smiles

I love long rides along the South Downs Way ridge, so the annual Trailbreak MaXx Exposure event is always a highlight in my event calendar. After two punctures and a second place last year, crashing two days before it two years ago resulting in not making the start line and two punctures plus snapped and then twisted chain three years ago and a third place, I was determined for a clean run through the night this time and a solid ride. This was, very much, not how the evening would pan out!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Singlespeed UK Champs 2011

36 Hours after getting back from holiday, and with very tired legs (and what turned out to be a ludicrous tyre choice!) I set out this morning for the UK Singlespeed Championships and a very rare, for me, short XC "race".

I was happy to get around intact in super slippy conditions and ended up a satisfying 8th overall. Mostly I had a lot of fun and spent the day chatting bike rubbish with loads of good friends. A grand day out. 

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

New Toy - Flyweight Highball Singlespeed

17.9lbs of fun
I got back from a big old ride in the Peak District on Monday afternoon to find a big box that felt empty sitting in the dining room. Opening it I was pretty excited to find a new Santa Cruz Highball frame and a full set of Syncros finishing kit, including an FL 29er rigid fork, to build myself a new singlespeed to replace my venerable, but robustly built, and almost 10 year old steel mile muncher. This was going to be something a whole lot more whippety. I had a pretty big grin as I unwrapped everything and prepared to get spannering. The part I was most excited about was the new, all carbon, Syncros Fl 29er fork, and when I picked it up I wasn't disappointed, it's light and the bottom of the crown is solid, leaving no hole to bung up with mud, a nice touch.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A (Pennine Bridleway) Ride In The North

Not my pic, but you get the idea: PBW, it's remote-ish and there are lot of big hills. Perfect!
For the last year or so I've had my eye on the Pennine Bridleway Double as a ride that I want to complete, and one that I want to complete fast. Last year I had a go but a broken rear hub freewheel put paid to my efforts after only 20miles. Injury and a busy work/race schedule this year left me with one opportunity to have a got this year and so when the August bank holiday weekend came around I set off from Brighton, ignoring the weather forecast, determined to have a go at this ride and it was an excited rider that trundled up the M6 on Friday night, looking forward to a big day out.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

BigRobRacing's BigDogBlog

Saturday saw the arrival of the most eagerly awaited mountain bike event on the calendar, Morvélo's Brighton Big Dog, a 6hr race around my local woods; Stanmer park. The course is always a blast and this year my brother and Grace would both be racing in pairs teams too. It turned out to be a truly fun day out in the sun.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Competitive Grace's BigDogBlog

A last minute change of plan saw me racing this year's BrightonBigDog 6hr endurance race with "Competitive Grace". It's always a great day out with an amazing course organised by some amazing people, including local cycling apparel company Morvélo. Here's Grace's account of our BigDog in her own words:

Sunday, 14 August 2011

BrightonBigDog - Big Preview Video

Rory and Josh set out on Friday to complete a course check and to give us all a flavour of the great day out that next weekend's BrightonBigDog will be around the amazing trails of Stanmer Park.

Josh made us all a video to show just what a treat we're all in for with this year's course, endless singletrack bliss (with passing/recovering places and maybe a little uphill so we can all feel like we earned our dinner!). Enjoy, I'll see you there!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Squirt Lube - Welcome Aboard

I am delighted to announce that, from today, I will be supported by Squirt Lube, makers of the great dry lube that can be used in wet and dry conditions, meaning no more horrible wet lube chain gunk for me!

Everyone loves getting
parcels in the post
Squirt also make bike cleaner and chain cleaner. Not that I'll be using too much chain cleaner fro now on hopefully and, with winter fast approaching and rain a constant thought in the back of all of our minds already at this time of year, I'll certainly get to out their products through their paces. Fingers crossed for more life out of may chains, changing my lube & cleaners is certainly cheaper and easier than changing a chain!

The full range of squirt products is available from the lovely people at the xcracer.com shop

Thursday, 11 August 2011

2011 Race Equipment - Mt. Zoom

A lovely big box just arrived and it felt empty. This could only mean one thing: A package from Ant White's Mt. Zoom components.

These parts are the the sweating the detail parts, hunted down & race tested by Ant, who has developed an excellent selection of those attention to detail finishing parts that turn a pretty light bike into a really light bike, without sacrificing durability or function.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

SlTS 2011: Mixed Pairs & Competitive Grace

This weekend I returned to Sleepless In The Saddle 24hr race. Last time I raced I won the 24solo category. This year would be a little different as I was racing with my immense pit crew, directeur sportif and ever patient & supportive girlfriend "Competitive Grace" as she is known in the The North Face office, in the Mixed Pairs category. We were up against some experienced pairs so, as it's Grace's first year of riding & racing, we decided on the ever sensible "smash it, smile, enjoy and hope for the best" tactic.

The race went better than we could have expected! We led every lap and came home with enough time for Grace to have a little lurk to win the mixed pairs category for team The North Face / Santa Cruz. Good times :-)
The North Face / Santa Cruz (Rob and Grace)
take to the top step of the podium - a happy team

Pic: Rob Crayton

Here's how it all went:

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Just what is it that you want to do? VIDEO

A great "this is why" day out in the sun on the South Downs with Josh Ibbett, Dave Arthur of BikeMagic and Juan Christen of Magicalia

Josh made us an excellent video that captures the day (and Juans two rather painful crashes) perfectly, no further explanation required. Enjoy...... we did, and that's even before we'd finished with fish & chips on the beach in the evening sun :-)

Get well soon Juan x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Interview on singletrackworld.com - Rob's Tips for SITS

This interview with me originally appeared on singletrackworld.com, the popular forum & news website of Singletrack Magazine as a prequel to SITS 24hr race. It's now dropped off site front page, but was pretty popular and I had a lot of good feedback at the time, so I thought I'd pop a link back to it for anyone wanting to read this kind of tips article. It's a collection of my experiences and, more importantly, the hard learned advice that has been kindly passed to me by other racers such as Ant White, Ian Leitch and the other top guys listed on the right of this blog, who were already winning races when I first set out to challenge myself at endurance events.

To read the full piece, you can click through to the Singletrack page HERE, or just click "READ MORE" below. I hope you find some of it as helpful as I have.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Woo-Hoo! MBR Feature on Brighton, Featuring Rob Dean

Front cover & Brighton is the
main feature - woo-hoo!
A couple of weeks ago Matt Hampton, editor of MBR magazine, came down to Brighton to see what all the fuss was about. 

We met up with local club, Brighton MTB, some of the Brighton Explorers multi-sport club, Oli Pepper, the man behind Morvélo and directeur sportif of the KMP and Jon "Chickens" Aston, maker of beautiful, lightweight steel bikes who is starting up a local frame building business. Oh, and me as a local racer. We took Matt around some of the local singletrack, across some of the exposed Downs ridge and gave him a taste of the BrightonBigDog race course. A true flavour of some of the highlights that Brighton, and its back yard, the South Downs, has to offer anyone who like their mountain biking.

I was lucky enough to get my own panel in the article, reminding me just how lucky a rider I am and of all the great support I've had. It's a nicely written piece by Matt (and it makes a nice addition to my Mum's coffee table too!).

Sunday, 24 July 2011

TwentyFour12 24hr Solo - It Wasn't Mech (sic) To Be

Last year TwentyFour12 was a mixed and, ultimately, disappointing weekend for me. This year I was determined to ride at the front and make amends for missing a good chunk of the season through injury as well as laying these demons to rest.

Unfortunately, I retired from the lead having held the 1st place for the first 13hrs, due to a combination of a random mechanical bike failure and my shoulder just not being up to the job.

Still, a great weekend, a great course (the toughest UK 24hr course yet?) from Martyn Salt, helped by Paul & Sara of SIP and signs that some kind of form is returning to the legs. Third time lucky next year?
Yet another rear mech unhappy ending in Plymouth: The one on the right is NOT meant to look like that!
Here's the low down on my weekend's racing, as far as it went:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

New Bike! Santa Cruz Highball

All calm on Hove Esplanade in the morning
sunshine, silently hiding the speed within! 
On Sunday I headed over to Pedal and Spoke in the Surrey Hills who were hosting a Santa Cruz demo day with three thoughts in my mind:

  1. Ride some of the famous Surrey Hill trails
  2. Meet Howard & the Pedal and Spoke guys
  3. Pick up my Santa Cruz Highball  new bike!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Na Na Naa-Naa Na Na, I've Got The Power - Brought To You By SNAP!

Pedal + the end of my crank were left
lying in the middle of the road

SNAP! Quite an alarming start to the day, but maybe all the turbo sessions with the shoulder injury did pay off in the end. I pulled out the end of the road and promptly fell off in the middle of a flat, straight road, right in front of an oncoming car, which was very confusing until I found my pedal and end of my crank at the end of the road, where I'd started!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Back In The Saddle (some more)

Wonderful Brighton singletrack winding through
the trees & there's miles of it :-)
After having such a good day out yesterday, I had no option but to get up eaerly to repeat the feat before heading off to a BBQ on Sunday afternoon, so it was full of optimism and anticipation that I swung my leg over my bike and headed out, in the opposite direction from home, with plans of doing the classic "Eastbourne and back" along the SDW, stock training route. It didn't take long in the sunshine for my plans to change, and for the better.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Back In The Saddle

A wonderful way to spend an evening after watching a tour stage
After far too long, I'm finally back on the bike properly and able to ride almost entirely unhindered by my shoulder. Boy does it feel good to be back on the bike and riding without discomfort or worry of knocking it; being able to let my mind wander and my legs just sit beneath me and spin away. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

2011 Race Equipment - Lezyne

A mystery box was just delivered by Rory Hitchens of Upgrade Bikes & Lezyne, and when I opened it up I was pretty excited to see a host of Lezyne shiny goodness for my race bikes :-)
Here's a a bit more detail of what race kit I chose from their staggering range and why (along with some pretty pictures of their elegant kit).

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Elastoplast Mayhem

Pic: Dan Milner for The North Face®

Just under 5 weeks since I suffered a separated shoulder injury, I lined up at the Mayhem start line to see how the recovery had gone. Read on to see how me and my taped on shoulder fared......

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Long Way Home - Making it all Worthwhile

The greatest commute in the world?
It had been almost three weeks of enforced time off the bike after separating my shoulder before I ventured back onto the MTB for a few gentle, short and slightly sore, commutes to work. However, when I left work on Thursday, the lure of the South Downs was too great.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Here I Am

Rob Dean
Pic: Joolze Dymond
So, here it is; Rob Dean finally has a blog.

This is a blog about me, endurance mountain bike rider Rob Dean. Given how much time I spend on my bike, at least 99% of it will be bicycle and bike based adventure related so, hopefully, if you're reading this you like bikes too.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Heroes Of The Sport

OK, a bit of shameless self publicity, but isn't that what a blog is in many ways anyway?

A big thank you to Rob Lee of the KMP and founder of the Seven Deadly Spins, for a very flattering mention as a hero in the sport of endurance cycling in the UK in a recent blog post. Keep it up Rob!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

UK & European 24hr Solo Championships

Coming so early in my race season, in fact, this was my first race of 2011, this was always going to be a tough ask to pull out my best performance. In the end, I left pleased with a solid weekend's riding, overcoming early mishaps, a momentary crisis of confidence and some terrible weather overnight and secured a steady 6th place, to set me up for what I hope will be a very consistent year of racing.

Rob Dean in action at Newcastleton
(pic: Joolze Dymond)

Friday, 6 May 2011

2011 Race Equipment - Exposure Lights

Custom logos courtesy of the great team At Exposure Lights
As soon I arrived at Newcastleton for the 24hrs of Exposure, I caught sight of the great guys from Exposure Lights. They wandered over to say "hi" and brought with them one of the most important pieces of equipment in an endurance racer's arsenal - lights. These were not just any lights but their new Six Pack and the latest Diablo Mk.2, custom laser etched with my two title sponsors logs: Factory!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

24hr Race Tips

Originally published on BikeMagic, I wrote a few words for editor, Dave Arthur, in the lead up to the UK24hr solo championships.

Read the original here, or click "READ MORE" to read it all for yourself here.

I hope the tips are useful, but not so useful you beat me with them out on the course ;-)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Ice Creams & Riding Home Into Sunset

Today I had my best day out on the bike yet this year:

I didn't go particularly fast. I didn't go particularly far. I didn't do anything particularly "rad". The trails weren't particularly "sweet". Everything was just nice; my legs felt good, I didn't really notice them and they just kept spinning, it was a glorious sunny day and I got home just nicely tired having finished into a brilliant sunset orange sky. I wish all days could be like this.