Life in the last year or so has been something of a whirlwind (slightly more than it normally is).
During last Summer I moved house. At the end of Summer I finished a contract that had lasted two and half years and took off on a trip, at very short notice, for almost three months in Nepal. The Nepal trip concluded unexpectedly with me being at the sharp end of helping to run the 2016 Yak Attack Mountainbike Race.
Two days after returning from Nepal I purchased a 6 acre wood with a friend, which then ended up being a solo purchase. Then my Uncle offered me a ten week contract rebuilding a fire damaged recycling plant in South-West London, which happened to start just five days after formally signing for the purchase of the wood, and ended up being a sixteen week contract.
During this time period I, unexpectedly again, ended up with a small shareholding in Yak Attack (due to the overwhelming generosity of others). Shortly before finishing my contract in London my friend Phil Evans (Yak Attack head honcho) asked me if I would like to help out with this years Rumble in the Jungle race in Sri Lanka which quickly escalated into a month long pre-race expedition to check the condition of the trails and to reconnoitre any potential new ones.
See what I mean? And breathe…
And so that’s where I’m currently at. I concluded the London contract last Wednesday, spent a few days hurriedly scurrying around the wood getting essential jobs done (mostly in the rain), and today I began packing for Sri Lanka, ready to fly tomorrow. My feet don’t feel like they’ve touched the ground in the last twelve months (but in a good way of course).
Yesterday I called in at Alpkit for the first time in ages to stock up on some essentials for the trip.
I came out, quite by accident, with a new hoody. Sri Lanka will be seriously hot most of the time, 26-28c at night and 32-40c during the daytime, but at higher elevations the evenings can sometimes be cool. I had been scouring my pile of adventure clothes for something reasonably light for just such an occasion without success. I had no intention of buying a new jacket until I spotted their new release “The Griffon” hanging up. It’s a lightweight, grid-backed, fleece, and it’s rather a stylish looking piece too 🙂 Just the thing. The initial stock came in last week and sold out virtually overnight much to my disappointment. AlpCol and AlpNick came to my rescue and rustled up a medium sized one from the sample stock, best of all it’s unique to me with it being a slightly different colour to the final production model, yay for me! At £35 it’s an absolute bargain, you will be hard pushed to find anything of similar quality for anywhere near that price. The new stock is arriving very shortly, go check it out if you’re looking for something that is probably perfect for a British Summer 😀 You’ll have to buy your own though, you can’t have mine!
Talking of Alpkit, as I often do, I’ll be packing quite a few of their items again for this trip. The Drydock 50 duffle bag has been something of a revelation on recent trips. I’ve absolutely hammered mine since I bought it and it still looks brand new. For Sri Lanka it’s all about lightweight and breathability so I’ve got a handful of Kepler Merino Tee’s and three pairs of Faro shorts to start with.
I took a pair of the Faro shorts out with me on my last trip to Nepal and they were so good that I had a friend bring me two additional pairs over when she came out, absolutely brilliant.
I’ve also packed the superb and minimalist Gravitas Jacket for the moments when Sri Lanka’s epic rain storms hit us out on the trails.
I bought myself a splendid new pair of Five-Ten Freerider mountainbike shoes (which won’t look brand new after a few weeks of wading through swollen rivers and jungle in Asia). Five-Tens have an unrivalled reputation in mountainbiking (and climbing for that matter) for being the best flat-pedal shoes out there. That’s because they are. Mine are blue, and dead good.
Sri Lankan Airlines sponsor the race and they have kindly granted Phil and I an extra 10kgs of luggage allowance which means that I have been able to pack a luxury item or two. I’ve treated myself to an extra pair of underpants (Alpkit of course), four instead of my usual three pairs. Another of my must-have travel essentials these days is my polycarbonate cafetiere, I’ll buy some locally grown coffee on arrival and I can then have a decent brew no matter how far from civilisation we might stray.
Everything else will be packed into my Osprey Stratos 34 rucksack. I’ll be writing an in-depth review on this when I return home. It performed faultlessly during my trip to Nepal and I doubt very much that it will falter on this trip either but I felt that two rugged trips into different environments should be the least it gets subjected too before being appraised properly.
I will be popping up on social media all along the way and I should hopefully post at least one update on here. I’ll be back in a month, byeeee! 🙂
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