"The passage of time ,and all of it's sickening crimes ,are making me sad again...." *
SEASONS IN THE SUN.
THE LUCKY ONES
Didnt quite make 11.00 at the leadmines this year.Still.
Lest we forget.
Good ride today. Met Rick and John and Michael on the barn rd at 0800. Jeff was in with me.Weather was cold early on . Wrapped up though it's OK . You know the score.Once you're out in it....
Set off by heading down ,skirting along the reservoir to Liverpool Castle.Had a few minutes,checked out the plumbing.
Out of the castle gate I turned immediatly to the right down a little 'off-piste' bank in to the trees. There's a bit of a path ,somewhere ,but with all the fallen leaves it was anyones guess. Just as I was thinking it was a tad dodgy big John decides to go truffel hunting right over the bars. After a minute or two we set out once more ,so it shouldnt be too bad ,but he could be sore in the morning.
We cross the main rd near the school and I turn up through the woods.I've swapped the tyres on the new demo Commencal for the industry std 'Conti verticals'.I feel the stock tyres are maybe more suited to dry conditions. I'll save them for the dry season then . (!). As the 'path' kicks up it becomes ever more slippery,wet leaves and roots all over.I make it near the top ,slipping and sliding just fluffing the very last bit and spinning out. Last week I purposefully left the shock settings alone ,riding 'fully -on'.this week I'm trying out the RP2 lever on the rear shock and the very handy 'poploc' fork lockout. I dont know if the tyres were the main factor ,or the shocks ,but either way it climbs well.
Traction's not an issue up the boneshaker at the back of the school.Just sit and spin.I carry on through the gardens avoiding the more direct climb to the bridleway and we soon pop out at the Pidgeon Tower end.Warmed up.
I'd have taken my kag' off if it werent for the biting wind.
We head up to the Pike. Matt magic 's out and about on his new pink singlespeed.Flying past ,racking them up."Morning"
I leave the bike 'locked out' for the climb up the Pike ,but as I approach that tricky first corner it's looking a bit slippy so I turn it 'all on',a flick of the levers.'Techno-biking'. As I've hinted at before ,all these labour saving gadgets take some of the 'experience' away ,but having 'experienced' a knee to the stem on this corner in the past I can live with it. You still have to pedal the damn thing.
At this point i'm not overly comfortable. I'm wearing my Aldi's finest winter leggings ,size M. It was all they had left after the Wigan Wheelers locusts had descended on the place at 7.00 on the Thursday morning. Anyway ,theyre a tad short in the leg . Napoleon -esque.Bunching up and squirming around between me and the saddle. Not good. But hey , only 6 quids.Momentarily I remember stories of Tour De France veterans talking of weeping anal ulcers,and press on.
Only 6 quid.
Very cold and windy on top of the pike . Wintry. We dont hang about too long. I remember to 'turn on ' the shock gadgetry for the downhill and head off into a fierce crosswind.That's a minor problem with new-fanglery. You actually have to remember to use it.Have you seen the Scott genius? You can download the telemetry for the downhill to a GPS enabled cappuchino maker on the handlebars ,sit back and it will lay quick drying tarmac in front of you as you descend and have a skinny latte waiting for you at the bottom.**
No such helping hands on the commencal . Only 4" front and rear. I said last week it downhills well. It does.The tyres were better this week too.It's a funny bike though. Up to now it seems to climb as well as the meta,it doesnt seem to be more 'xc' in any way ,although the lockout's more 'useable' and on the downhills it seems as good as the meta ,and in no way 'just a 4"er'.I dunno.It's not been down anything big yet,so we'll see,but the meta does it all so well ,so why not go for the extra 1.5".I guess it's a marketing thing. If you want a 4" we can sell it to you ,if you want a 5" ,or 6" , or , or .....
We turn past Pike Cottage and head up Wilders moor and 'Humphreys Ditch '. More slippin' an slidin'.Had a good crack at the ditch , a bit of pace and cleaned it . Doddle . Ahem.It was the tyres . Or maybe the shock , ( off) ,or ,or....
We spin up the road towards the TV mast.The shocks still 'off',bordering on rigid.Handy really.
Turn right along the slabs and then left .Today we're heading down the 'tunnel ' downhill to Belmont.Before that though we have to negotiate the boggy moorland diversion around the mast site. It's wet ,and boggy ,and slippy.Good fun though . Rideable. I have a vision of the future .One week .One of us .Up to our waist. In it. Not this week though.
We regroup at the top of the hill. More to think about.Shocks 'on' ,seats down ,tuck in socks.This is a good downhill. The biggest test for the super 4 up to now? Probably.Rumours are it's a bit more rutted and eroded than it was.It seems it as i'm flying down. Why would you need anything bigger and bouncier for this? The answer is right behind me ,and closing fast. He comes past to the right in a blur of white and green. A commencal 6" er 'superteam'. Hmm. OK.
I think I was on the Courier the last time I did this .
ME ON THE COURIER
NOW I THINK IT WAS THE STOOPS,ALTHOUGH THIS IS THE PIKE.
photo by Jon Wyatt.
We get to the bottom ,all in one piece.It's knocking on 10.35.We're still a good hoof away from Leadmines. Press on.A road section up 'sheephouse/belmont rd' from the 'Black Dog'. Shock-lock.
Michael's flagging a bit on his single ring GT jumpbike. I wouldnt want to swap. The guy has the heart of a lion though and doesnt quit.Up up up.
We cut up Spitlers Edge,just halfway,very wet ,very boggy and head over toward Leadmines . Not too far now.Another good downhill too.Slippy,hidden sticky out rocks.Good. Shock-unlock.
Finally we get over towards leadmines. It's gone 11. Ah well. It was a strong headwind across the moors of Sams Pasture. Shame ,because 'the' gate was open. Not quite carrying enough speed to overshoot the off camber into the field .
We observe the service from across the clough for a few minutes ,even more to think about,and then set off for the cafe as the participants/congregation ( it's not really a religious thing) start to come down the hill. We need to be in front of this lot or there'll be no cake left.I find and drop into a sneaky short little 'cornercut' downhill at the top of the clough.One for next week ? We'll see.
Earl Grey with Vanilla and a big slice of chocolate cake.
Just starts to rain as we're leaving. 5mins to the car . Result.
Brill ride.Brill bike.Brill tyres.No incidents.A little bit more than usual. But not too much . About how it should be.
*The Smiths. Rubber ring.
I let you know how the weeping anal ulcer goes......
Back to my old Aldi's finest tights I think.
**Actual settings may not exist.