Sunday, 16 March 2008


If the wind were colours
And if the air could speak
Then whistle as the wind blows
Whistle as the wind blows....*

Rivi.Usual thing these days. Drove up with a car full of bikes for an action packed ,fun filled , demo type day. Well ,half day. You dont wanna be putting folk off.

In the back,'for evaluation purposes 'I had the Commencal Meta 5.5.1. I still think it's a dead good bike ,but it's been acting the goat the last few weeks . 'Goat's' a bad analogy as ,of all things,it's been skipping uphill. Not in a mountaingoat skree skipping style,more a rear mech skipping style. More of that later. Also in the car I had the Fisher HiFi Deluxe.Chris was to bedemo-ing that. He already has a Gary Fisher hardtail and was interested to give it a whirl .Bringing up the rear is the workhorse of the bunch.The GT Avalanche 2.0.Steve was trying that out . He has a few bouncy bikes in his quiver and is thinking about doing the ultra trendy rigid singlespeed thing.Obviously the GT has gears , that work ,and suspension forks that sometimes work,so he's at least half way there.

Steve and I met Gareth, Andy Rudd,and Chris on the road to the top barn.Usual thing,bit of fettling,and away.
Slight variation to the route we've done of late.Headed down and away from the barn and turned left,heading in the general direction of Horwich school.A bit more of a warm up than usual before the long climb up ,behind the back of the houses then up towards Wilderswood and up the final tarmac section on The Old Rake climb. A tough qtr mile or so of a 1:4 taking you up to the top car park on the corner of Wilderswood with a stiff breeze getting up as we crested onto the bridleway .We had a minute whilst Steve put a bit more air in the GT and then carried on to the corner of Wilders Moor for the climb across to the mast Rd.This was quite a toughie. Every week can be a bit different.Cold ,windy ,slippy muddy. This week we had the lot. Ace.There's this tricky cutting that wheelgrabs for fun about a third way up.On the best of days it can be a challenge. Today it was too much of a challenge.It was the conditions,man. Yea ,whateva.

"Those 29"ers look bigger in real life .**

We waited here at the top ,'for a blow'.It wasnt half 'getting up'.Really strong wind ,not gusting,just 'on'.We got back on ,with the wind head on ,and headed to the leg( I dont like to mention) was dragging a bit ,but then if it was to give me grief anywhere it'd be here. It's a right proper slog to the top ,not helped by the fact that ITV have got the road shut for 'essential work' on the TV mast. What is essential about TV ,eh ? EH ?

So we 'divert' across the moorland battlefield ,which actually wasnt too bad.If you dont count the freezing headwind,sticky mud,and foot deep boggy bits.Well ,it's all a laugh.


So we head on ,beyond the mast and turn left toward the stoops.It's a top downhill at the best of times,so today would be no exception.just over the rise at the start proper ,it was very very windy. Very windy.The top section consists of a series of gulleys and little drops. Nothing usually too challenging,and still quite flattish,rolling,but with a crosswind that was almost literally pulling your helmet off the top of your head,it was right tasty.Garth (that's a typo ,but i'm leaving it in ),went off to play with Andy and I hot on his heels. It fairly speeds up fairly quickly,but if you 'let go' it's one of the best downhills there is.I had a bit of sideways action ,but being dead good ,i whipped it back in ,with a satisfying smile to accompany a textbook manouvere.No ,really . Get lost.
Chris and Steve seemed to be practising their textbook moves also ,although I'm not sure whether or not they'd brought out the wrong books.Chris especially seemed to have brought a book on surfing. Whatever works . Dood.

Ok ,onto the lane .Decision time.R and Lead Mines ,or L and over to the gardens. Gardens .It's a winner every time.
A bit of 'step class' followed by some 'off piste' action through the trees.

We carried on down through the gardens taking in the bombhole and heading high up towards the grotto . It looks like for safety reasons the man has fenced this area off . It's only an unprotected 25' drop . I dunno. The HSE ,eh ? Nevermind . We scope it out anyway , and decide it's not to be opting for some steps to the side. Not for me though . The meta's got a flat. You know it can happen to anyone.
No big deal . Give's Gareth time to mess about .

Puncture fixed ,we're off. I'm not saying we were lost ,but we werent exactly where I thought . A slight 'diversion' required.Over a woefully inadequate barbed wire fence and across 'steve McQueen pasture' to bring us out within a few minutes of the caff.
Tea ,toast."falling in luff again" (on the piano !) You can guess the rest...
Great ride.Mini epic.With only minimal 'leggery'( I dont like to mention it )
Smiles all round.No rain,not too cold,no pike. Shock horror.
Meta update: I think it needs a 'mech hanger'. The gears were acting up again and under closer scrutiny the mech isnt hanging dead plumb.Could have had a knock. I'll check the textbook.
Oh,and the second hand tube I put in went down again.Ace.
GT update: OK ,it is what it is ,a capable entry level bike ,it rides great ,stops well but the fork could be best described as adequate.I'm sure Steve has some other adjectives to describe them.
*That's R.E.M. "Wendell Gee" Folk-ey.
** Just to clarify . It's 26".

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