Weekend Rides

Posted: October 3, 2011 in 2011, General

This weekend was a swimming sandwich, a ride Saturday morning, a swimming session in the afternoon and another ride on Sunday morning. The long walk Sunday afternoon doesn’t really count.

Anyone in the south of England knew that Saturday was going to be a scorcher so to avoid the heat, I stirred at some unearthly hour in the morning and fumbled my way towards consciousness. Notwithstanding the puritanical hour at which I arose, I did not manage to escape the cosy embrace of the house until about 8.20 by which time it already felt warm, but not too warm. A road ride was the order of the day. I hadn’t planned anything but decided to go with the same route I rode last Sunday. 40 miles sounded about right, it is a lumpy ride and it would give me the chance to try and stay in the big ring. (Since starting to ride 29ers on a 1×9 setup I have learned to spin admirably but have lost any ‘grunt’ making big ring escapades hard work.) The morning was gorgeous, the traffic light and only the merest zephyr of wind to impede me on the outward leg. I had not taken my camera this time but it didn’t matter, the day is imprinted on my mind, a collage of sights, sounds and smell blu tacked up in my skull. The ride itself was without incident but despite the lack of wind I was still struggling to improve and only managed to knock 3 minutes off my previous effort. Anyway, rolling into the drive I headed for the kettle and the biggest mug of tea I could muster, followed by another.

Sunday dawned bright-ish with the promise of warmth once more. Rich had cried off again but I was to have two companions, Dan (henceforward ‘young Dan’) and Dan Tille who has just come over from the States. DT was on a crosser so we were able to take unfair advantage of him on the rough stuff later in the ride. We set out from BCP, down the singletrack to the bottom of the Beast then off toward High Lodge, down ‘Chris’s Knickers’, over the road in Brandon and off to Santon Downham. My legs were playing silly buggers for a while, refusing to wake up until we were well on our way. I had an interesting time crossing the bridge by the car park, the new bars on the Niner are so wide there was only the smallest of gaps between the bar ends and the handrail. We had a mini audience (mainly horses) so I had to ride it: honour saved we pressed on, well the two Dans pressed on while I kept trying to remind my legs what was expected of them!

The ‘Gay Trail’ did not live up to expectations as most of it is being prepared for a MX event however it was ok most of the time, just not the smooth band of hard packed delight we have grown to expect. We took one or two breaks for conversation with DT frankly amazing us with tales of the size of the fields at CX events (think 1,300 entrants -that is right isn’t it Dan?) and bike shops the size of large car showrooms. Riding resumed and Young Dan and I kept zooming ahead benefiting from an intimate knowledge of the trail and having the right bikes for the job, while DT was doing really well considering he was on a crosser. Once we branched off the main trail and back onto the ‘good stuff’ he was on our tails all the way proving that given the right sort of surface, a CX bike can hold its own, even in the tight confines of the forest.

Having explored this bit of the forest we headed off to FR24 and rode some of the good bits but time was running short and I had to head home. As usual, when we hit Forest Drive my legs went on strike and I eased back into a gentle spin while the two Dans powered up the rise.

End game in sight, we wound down and ambled towards BCP when young Dan announced he had a flat. Another case of tubeless tyres losing their puncture protection when the goo dries out. Must find out the recommended frequency for topping up!

In the car park we bumped into the Revel’s crew looking hot and dusty after their ride. Don’t worry guys, this time next week you will be needing wet suits!

A good weekend of riding then. It was nice to meet DT who has some interesting information to impart – more of that later.

  1. Dan Tille says:

    Yup some of the cross crusade races in the north west (around Portland Oregon) of the states have 1300+ people at their cross events (one of the events last year had something like 1700 folks at it).

    Most of the smaller stuff I did around the DC area had 500+ and the larger events had around 1000. ‘Cross is easily the fastest growing/most popular bicycle races in the US right now. Great atmosphere. The local stuff got food and beer vendors to come out to all the events last year so you could cheer everyone on and have a drink after your race was over.

    Ha, the shop I worked at that you are referring to was actually a specialty car showroom…

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