Sunday Ride

Posted: July 18, 2011 in 2011, Rides
Tags: , ,

This ride was going to be a change from usual. Miles of singletrack were on the cards as Rich and I left BCP car park and headed on out. He was riding his Anthem and I had brought along my Swift. I needed to see whether the changes that have been so effective on the mid week courses actually translated into singletrack. A gentle warmup took us down to Tightrope where it was a little bit too tight (in the early stages) for my big wheels and though I wasn’t slow, I can’t say it was fantastic. As the trail opened up in the second half the speed began to come through and I began to enjoy myself. A brief stop at the end of the trail (Rich was overheating) and we kicked off on our linking section between the red route and Santon Downham. Half was down one of our favourite bits i spotted a new (to me) spur so I took it and Rich followed. A great little roller coaster section spat us out at the bridge near the picnic area. We then headed out along the road to the start of our intended ride. Until now I had been going quite well and had discovered the two gears I was to live in for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I hit the singletrack hard and just seemed to pick up speed at will. Handling was spot on and the grip afforded by the larger contact patch was incredible. I did have a couple of front wheel washouts as I pushed too hard but stayed upright the whole time. Richard was close behind most of the time but was playing catchup most of the ride as the Swift started to display ride characteristics and speed I haven’t experienced for a long, long time. Slight pressure on the pedals was rewarded by immediate acceleration and a concentrated effort for a few seconds was enough to carry me through large ‘whoops’ with no further pedal input. Pumping these sections just resulted in more speed than I could cope with and I either had to brake or back off as the bends approached. Opting for the smoother option I backed off. Short, sharp climbs were despatched with ease and I was able to ride with ease and confidence as the bike was totally predictable allowing me to push the envelope occasionally to see what happened. Usually the result was me discovering that I had been far too conservative in the past and recalibration was required.

To cut a long story short, we finished the ride in record time averaging 12.1 mph over 8.5 miles of concentrated singletrack. Thoroughly elated, we headed over to SD and the old race courses. These were too easy as the Swift gobbled them up with ease allowing easy acceleration, the ability to carry massive amounts of speed through sections and awesome handling. I was having a blast while Rich was having trouble hanging on in some places.

all too soon this was over too and we headed back to BCP. The long road climb up to High Lodge saw my legs begin to fail and I couldn’t contest the sprint at the barriers as Rich poured on the power to cruise past me with ease. To finish off we rode past Madgett’s and followed the black route for a bit. Rich was in front and on the singletrack climb up from the orange road up to the top of the Beast I was millimetres away from his back wheel, urging him on as the Swift climbed like a demented thing. The bombhole at the top o the Beast was interesting, as climbing out proved simple with none of the effort or scrabbling for grip that I usually experience on a 26 inch wheeled bike. And so to the descent, we chose a double shocker/Lazy Boy combo and Rich just pulled away. I just did not have the same degree of control as he did (though I was riding a rigid bike….).

A quick sprint up the four bridges trail and we had finished. 28.5 miles at an average of 11.4 mph.

The difference between us was quite marked today. On the Swift I was able to get up to speed quickly and keep it over all sorts of terrain while spinning an easy gear. Rich was not far back and we were more or less well matched for speed but he was having to push a much bigger gear. At the end of the ride this left me feeling much fresher. The other advantage of the Swift was the bigger wheels…. I didn’t get my feet was wet through the puddles!

To conclude then, lowering the forks, ditching the risers for flat bars and using an in line post has put much more weight on the front end of the bike. In turn this has resulted in a total transformation as it has become a superb handling speed machine. The question Rich asked, and which hadn’t really occurred to me, is this: ‘if the bike behaves so much better with lower forks etc, why do Singular supply the bike with tall, noodly forks?’ I guess I’ll have to ask Sam that one.

There was no tune of the ride this time… my soundtrack was me, shouting to myself….go faster, faster, faster.

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