Sunday, 25 January 2009


"A celebration
Of your teenage station
This Inexperience, sweet, delirious.
Supernatural, superserious.
Inexperience, sweet, delirious.
Supernatural, superserious,Wow." *
Superb ride today.
Decent turnout. I picked Jeff up with a bike full of cars, our Daniel went round for his mate ,Wig and we drove up to the top barn road to meet Gareth and Andy . The fun and games started early . Dan and I left ours in separate cars at the same time . We both went roughly the same distance to pick-up ,and then set off for Rivington. Logic dictates we would be at our meeting spot at around the same time . If anything ,Dan would be there before me. When I got up there and there was no sign I thought “ Here we go”.
As it happened Dan had gone to our old usual meet at the Yew Tree. Doh . Kinda my fault .
A bit more of a faff than usual then .
All present and accounted for we set off. I’m on the new carbon Cannondale Rize and keen to give it a proper go . I took it out a few weeks ago on my own ,but to be honest didn’t really flog it. I’d hoofed it up on my own and wasn’t wanting to get too far from civilisation.
Instead of going straight up balls out up the hill ,we headed down and away towards the waters edge of Rivington Resi and to Liverpool Castle beyond . A good warm up before the slog.
Wig is on his first ever MTB outing and riding the Carbon Moto. The incredible hulk. Last week at Delamere it seemed a bit too big of a bike ,so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s OK for a typical Rivi spin. A few long climbs ,and some good downhill blasts. Our Daniel is on my regular demo the Commencal Super 4. It’s the perfect ish bike for round here . If you want a 4”er that is. Tight and flicky . Like a big BMX with a bit of boing.
The climbing starts at the back of the school at Horwich and on behind the houses past the field of llamas ( honest )and on towards Wilders wood. A fairly relentless climb . We stop to disrobe before the final assault. I’m ‘in training’ for the cyclo-X thing in a few weeks so after a bit of a spin to the bottom edge of the woods I open up the Rize for the last killer climb up to Georges Lane. It’s a phenomenal result . Obviously you still have to pedal the damned thing ,but it responds so well . Like the Rush from a few weeks back ,but with more bounce you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d be less ,er , efficient . It’s not. I’m blowing hard on the very last bit ,my arms and chest are caving in with the effort,my heart is ready to ring for a taxi . I remind myself that this is what I need. No I don’t. I’m definitely over 100% of what is a sensible heart rate for a 40 year old as I get off at the top, legs jellified ,basking in self inflicted pain and glory at the top of my own personal K2. The cyclo-X race is only 2 hrs + 1 lap at close to max. I’ve just done about 4 mins.

Props to Wig for getting back on and honking up the last bit.
We next take the 'obvious' uphill across Wilders Moor to Humphreys Ditch. I'm just spinning now . Athletes would call this the recovery phase ,or something. We all have a crack at the now heavily eroded ditch and all fail miserably ,hanging our heads in shame.Big pointy rock excuse features heavily.
Our Dan and Jeff set off up the second part of the climb getting the drop on the rest of us. Dan's a good 50m or so up ahead when I set off.Time for another 'go' on the Rize. I up the pace just a smidge again and once again it doesnt disappoint.It's a bit squishy,the trail that is,but the tyres seem to be OK. I've had a bit of an issue with them though.Yesterday the back tyre was flat.I thought it'd picked up a puncture at Delamere so I grabbed a tube to bang in . As I squeezed the tyre to get it off the rim it 'parped'.I then realised it was full on UST tubeless. Doh . I pumped it straight back up and it held ,but I cant help thinking it needs some sealant squirting in. It's a matter of time before it gets 'parped' again on a blunt edge. I think. Theyre gripping/cleaning well though.Good.

Dan's conducting his own tyre test up ahead on the Super4. The verti' on the back needed replacing ,so I've fitted some 2.4 Conti folders . 'Mountain Kings'. He reckons theyre ace.They look aggresive and up the sticky climb are shedding mud very admirably.

Just as it's hurting I give it that little bit extra . 110% again. I'll pay tomorrow. As I close on Dan he fluffs the last off camber bit ,just as I planned. Bwa hah ha .Like I said though ,you still have to pedal the damned thing.

Time for a breather. We regroup on the tarmac road that leads to the mast.Jeff's feeling a bit under the weather,but there's still no stopping him. Upward to the mast .
Just shy of the TV mast we take a right turn onto the slabs towards Smithills Moor.A fierce crosswind is hitting us,trying to push us into the mire. Cold too. Wigs doing well on the Moto . It's a lot of bike to lug up here.Mind you ,considering the complete absence of gears on their singlespeeds ,Gareth and Andy are doing OK too. I can see the simplistic logic of a singlespeed ,I just cant see me on one. If you excuse the pun.

At the end of the slabs we turn right and into the wind,making the downhill a bit harder than usual. Seats down . Atomic batteries to power. I want to get out of my comfort zone again so with a bit of big-ring action I wind it up again. It's gloopy and rutty and windy.Hard work. It's easy to make a mistake when your tired,and I nearly do. A deep steep sided water filled trench across the trail nearly grabs the front wheel. But doesnt. You can get away with murder on a bike like this. I cane it down to the steps,going a bit faster than really makes sense,just holding on.Turbines to speed.Turn and ride down the steps .Thwup thwup. This bike's something else.

Wig's enjoying the other bigger 'dale too. I guess on one hand it's still too much of a bike for this terrain. There's so much in reserve it's unreal. But on the other it's not so stupid heavy that you need a ski lift.

Gareth also rides the steps on his baby singlespeed which I dont think the kids can believe.How dare such old men be so death defying.
Dad and lad copped for the demo ride/cannondale schpeel.He started it. Kid was on a Orange 'Crush '. Cool.Theres a song in there.
Doubletrack bridleways now ,for a short while.Comfort zone is OK too.A few ups ,but well surfaced trails are deffo easier than 6" deep angel delight. We spin along and head towards Horwich quarry .And 'El Scorpioni'.
Up a short rise we take the turn marked 'Georges Ln' and after a fe minutes to scope a 'bivvy' location we set off down the Scorpion. I've not been don this for a hile ,and the last time didnt feel too hot. I think I was on the courier.Or the Axis.Either way I seem to remember being pinged around like a pinball.

The sting in the tail comes up quick.Weight back.The Rize loves it . Too easy . Being masochistic/ old school ,to me, this is a negative.Gareth comes pinging down ,closely followed by the Wigster on the big boy. That was "Proper good",apparently. Andy Rudd nails it on his teeny tiny ickle Soma thingy .Our Danny closely follows him ,walking down.He's punctured.A classic snakebite. Jeff brings up the rear,also walking . He doesnt wish to be stung ,it seems.

Theres a few minutes to kill now as I set about fixing Dan's flat. He takes the Rize up for a go on the last bit ,and Gareth regresses back to childhood for a few goes on the Moto.Going stupid fast ,and vocal with it.It and he is in its/his element.
All sorted we turn onto Georges Lane heading for the Pike. Back to front this week. The climb up the back gives me another chance to flaggelate myself with bike.I'm not really on the limit,but spinning well nonetheless.I've kinda had enough now to be honest.I've 'turned down' the forks for the first time ,dropping the front end.It's the key thing ( I think ) that all these 5" bikes need.It really does plant down the front end and does away with that floaty steering thing.Andy puts in a late charge and crests the top just on my heel. Singlespeed.
Busy today on top . A few more bikers , more than a few walky types. I warn all the kids to be mindful of other trail users as we set off down the front like a herd of marauding mongols.
Ice cream anyone?

Ritualistic saddle dropping ensues near the tower ( pig-e-on ,oink oink),Dan and I heading off on point.A few walkers choose my line for me ,plenty of room .And rocks.No slab for me ,as theyre stood right on the huck. For the first time today the Rize feels on the limit. I'm fairly caning it though. Right down the middle all the way,tummy rumbling.

Cafe . Earl Grey.Got the slab after all. Chocolate sponge .6" thick walloped with cream.Explain to Wig the true meaning of MTB.He's loved it.

Back to car. I can hear music. Mobile phone in the grass. Drove to Coppull to return. Good deed for day.

Bloody capital ride old bean.

* REM. 'Supernatural superserious '.

1 comment:

  1. Just came across your blog here. Sounds like a great ride and some very nice pics! And Tim, we can see you on "one"--drink the Kool-Aid and come on over to the dark side... ;o)