Thursday, 26 March 2015

Mad dash

Limited after work time ride tonight so it was a mission to pack in enough climbing for it to be a worth while workout before I had to get home. The woods and trails were amazingly dry, such a pity heavy rain was forecast for the hours after I'd finished today. Also i didn't really need lights until nearly the end of the ride and with the clocks going forward at the weekend this could be the last ride in "wintertime"
ride 34
10 miles
total 545
commute 173

bonus day off

unknowingly until My manager told me about it I had a day of annual leave still to use  up before the end of the financial year. I chose a Monday. As you might have read in a previous blog entry I snapped the chain the last ride I did on this bike, so after fixing it there was a certain amount of trepidation on some of the first few out of the saddle climbing efforts but it stayed in one piece the whole ride this time. I'd also raised the saddle and lowered the handle bars yto try and get a more efficient pedalling position. Also the 29+ front wheel and tyre felt much better than the ordinary 29" tyre on the FS bike. I feel much more confident with it. It's definitely faster too as I got a Strava KOM on this ride!
ride 33
25  miles
total 535
commute 173

something missing

With a Trip to Wales coming up Dan and I thought we should have a ride on the bikes we're probably going to take with us rather than the fat bikes.
I've recently written about how the fat bike "ruined" the ride on a ordinary mountain bike and how on a fat bike you ride like you are piloting a full suspension bike and plough over things rather than picking the most efficient line. Well now having ridden the full suspension bike I can reveal that it felt totally alien! Suddenly there are roots littering the trail. there are bumps and drops, all taken with a blasé attitude on the fat tyred bike. Turn into a corner and even though the trails have dried out fantastically there was no grip in comparison to having a 4" tyre. Things improved the further we pedalled as we got used to the limitations but for me the worst thing was climbing, Even though the bike is probably 10lbs lighter i hated the way it climbed, the front end lifting on steep gradients and that feeling of your power being robbed by the suspension movement front and rear. I'm seriously considering taking a HT to Wales instead. further testing needed i think!
ride 32
16 miles
total 510
commute 173

Snap!

I'm sure I checked it, it was fine on the work stand, the gears shifted beautifully. In fact i thought to myself how nice shimano gears are to set up. I measured the chain against the old one so it wasn't too short or long, there were no stiff links as i checked for this. The join was by a "quick link" so no problems there. So why 8 miles into the ride as i sttod up to power up a steep slope off the canal did the chain break?
the force of suddenly having no resistance on the pedals catapulted me over the bars and then desperately trying not to roll down the bank at the side of the path and into the murky water!
Not the best ride I've had for a while.
ride 31
9 miles
total 496
commute 173

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Mothers Day

after feeling tired and having no legs on this mornings ride, what better way to recover than to do for another ride over the highest hill locally! Still, my mom was pleased even if my muscles weren't.
one day, two rides, asleep on the sofa by 4pm
ride 30
12 miles
total 487
commute 173

missing nut

Today ride was tough for me, I really didn't have the legs and it was hard going keeping up with Dan and Ian. We rode on a little used bridleway, little used by bikes that is, horses use it a lot and evidence of their passing was easy to see. Easy to see but not easy to ride on. The route was very churned up in places, the soft, water saturated clay thick and cloying and full of deep  hoof prints.  we had to resort to pushing. Eventually we got to Rowney Green, pedalled up the steep road and into the woods. Last year there was some quite good singletrack routes here but there has been some forestry work and the tree have been thinned out. The machines used to do this have had a devastating effect and it's a bit of a mess to be honest. There is new planting but it'll be 20 years or so before it's back to how it was.
As i started the steep climb out of the woods i suddenly went from a nice low climbing gear to the highest hardest gear instantly! I got off pretty sharpish and examined the rear mech. the gear cable was flapping loose, the nut must have come off!. I spent the next few minutes looking for it as i didn't fancy the ride home in the hardest gear. It was then Dan checked the mech and saw that the nut was still there, so used to shimano gears I'd looked where one of their fasteners usually is, saw nothing and assumed it had gone. Dan though knew where to look and all i needed to do was rethread the cable and tighten the nut, how embarrassing!
there was a treat for us though to fortify us for the return journey and that was Tea and biscuits and Dan's folks.
ride 29
23 miles
total 475
 commute 173

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

bubbling on the brink of bonk

 I'm trying to lose the last few lbs to reach my goal weight. To do this I'm trying to control the amount of calories i consume. It's a fine balance and today i got it slightly wrong as half way into the ride I began to get the dreaded tell tale signs of "the bonk", that feeling of not being quite there, of wobbly legs and inaccurate steering. Not as bad as I've experienced before and now i know what's happening i can back off the pedalling a bit, have a sip of sugary drink and conserve some of my dwindling energy. I know that I'm almost at the high point of the ride and it's mostly flat or downhill. tomorrow i need to eat a few more calories!
ride 28
13 miles
total 452
commute 154

Fat bike V full suspension


another ride on a skinnier wheel has once again shown me how flattering a fatbike is. On tonights ride i was having to think more about how i tackled the trails, trails that are very familiar to me needed careful riding to carry speed and avoid the rootiest, muddiest and rockiest parts on a hardtail MTB with a 29+ front tyre and a 2.4" rear. on the fatty I'd just be bowling over over these features and ploughing into the thickest mud without worrying about the outcome, very similar (maybe not the mud bit) to riding a full suspension bike but with a slight weight penalty. It's sort of turned me off normal hardtail MTBs but is making me look forward to riding the FS bike again. In the back of my mind though is the nagging feeling that I'm losing the basic skills by using these easier options
ride 27
13  miles
total 439
commute 154

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

dry lines

the only good thing about the windy conditions is that it rapidly dries out the ground and thanks to walkers trampling the ground a dry line had formed on even some of the worst sections of mud.
The trail pixies have been busy too and the Kids trail has gained a couple of drops, which we noticed as we pedalled up to the start. Trouble is it's jut these kind of feature that might make this trail get closed down. If an inexperienced rider has a bad fall here and emergency services are involved it'll bring the trail to the attention of the rangers who I'm sure will take a dim view especially in this day and age of litigation.
ride 26
19  miles
total 426
commute 154

Monday, 9 March 2015

end of hibernation

Sunny Saturday ride today on dry quiet roads, still breezy  but in sheltered spots it felt like it was almost time to get the knees out! There was an extraordinary amount of cyclist out today, almost like they've come out of hibernation, where have you been all winter?
ride 25
20  miles
total 407
commute 154