West Stow Loop

Posted: May 11, 2011 in 2011, Rides

Went out on my own last night for a mid length ride. As this was my first ride back after being ill, and I have West Drayton coming up this weekend, I wanted to find out if my legs had deserted me, my fitness had disappeared along with bucket loads of used tissues and to give the revamped Swift a bit of a shakedown.

Conditions were ideal, hardly any wind, warm, dry and on the few road sections, the ride was practically devoid of traffic. On the way through Fornham I spotted Rich on his way out to the Tuesday night race, he very kindly offered me a ride which I politely declined! I needed miles, not speed.

There was a lot to discover on the Swift, I had a new riding position, courtesy of the inline post, new wheels and tyres, new rotors and a revised approach to gearing. I will be fitting a 36 tooth chainring soon but I wanted to get a grasp of what has been happening with the gearing. First off, the rear tyre was too soft, it hadn’t lost any air but 35psi was too low. A few pumps by the side of the road and it was sorted. I don’t know which hit me first, the new position or the wheels; whichever it was, once I got off road I was able to get up to speed far quicker than before and it was less effort to keep the speed high… a definite result. A few tweaks on seatpost height and my position was pretty much sorted.

The new KCNC rotors were not the braking revolution that I had expected but I may be asking too much on a first ride. I had cleaned the rotors before fitting but they were still a little slow to bite. Having said that, as the ride progressed they felt progressively sharper. A little mud and they’ll probably bed in nicely.

The gearing was pretty much as predicted. I was using two gears off road and only got to the 11 tooth when zipping along the tarmac. Basically, 6 gears were unused and to all intents and purposes unusable. A 36 tooth chainring should open up a wider range on the cassette.

Well what can I say? The ride simply zipped by, my legs were fine and I managed a respectable average speed. From the perspective of longer fire road type rides then the Swift has emerged with flying colours; it hasn’t been tried on extended single track rides yet so only time will tell if the acceleration will carry over. I know exactly where the weak spot was and when I next get over to BCP I am going to give it a working over.

The end of the ride is traditionally the Lackford Lane thrash and it simply whizzed by. I put down a first time for the fat old gits category (6 minutes 39 seconds), a mere 30 seconds behind MM’s last effort-  which is good for me. I got my HR up to 180, which it hasn’t seen for a while.

An interesting phenomenon that I had forgotten about. Whenever I ride hard on a summer evening, I get home, shower and then turn into a furnace. I radiate heat by the bucket load and this continues most of the night.It generally prevents me from sleeping and true to form, last night I was in meltdown. I didn’t start to cool off until maybe 2.30.

Ride stats:

Distance: 26.45 miles

Time: One hour 41 minutes

Average Speed: 15.7 mpg

Average HR: 150

Max HR 180

Tune of the ride:


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