Thursday, 21 February 2013


It's funny sometimes how a day pans out .

Been working up on a windy roof . Big flat thing . Dont worry, you can't fall off  . Anyway , freezing cold up there , but being construction types , not too bad with the proper layering system on , and the industry standard brew : work ratio .

I'm away this weekend , no bikey bikey , so I'm kinda keen , and double motivated for a midweek eve sesh .

On the drive home , I convince myself it's do-able , providing the Ministry for Fun does'nt have other ideas , and start to plan a local , quick , pre-tea , route .
 Upon arriving home the daily in-law visit is still ongoing , and it could have gone into extra time , but I mostly avoid eye contact , and the kettle ,and head for the shed .

I still have 9/10ths ownership of Alan's Charge Cooker Hi 29er thingy , that, it's fair to say , I have'nt totally been at one with . 
I was at pains to point out that the rides themselves had been unfavourably muddy , and did'nt really suit the nature of the bike , and that it needed a spin up Rivi , maybe . 
So last week when we went up Rivi , I , er , took my old Fisher ...

It was a pre-emptive logistics issue . We went out on the Saturday , and the 29er was cleaned , thinking I might return it , so I took  my old bike instead . 
So , I open the shed , and there's the Charge at the front of the quiver .All cleaned and ready for action ....

It really has been a quick turnaround since I arrived back home . I have my kit on in 10 mins or so , and I grab my lights etc . Only then do I notice the early stages of bonk . I was kinda rumbly tumbly on the drive home , and I've eschewed the usual post work coffee and bickies .
Decision time . I can grab some food , which will delay me getting out , OR , I can just go out .
Remembering an article on how hunter gatherers could'nt possibly have hunted and eaten large meals daily , and how hungry bodies can find energy as a survival mechanism , I head out the gate .

Straight away the Cooker is flying .  Should that be frying ?

I havent got tons of time . Teatime is " at six o'clock !" . I have an hour at the most , and that's allowing for a little bit of  " the chips are ruined !" , lateness .
I have a country mile , or so , before the tarmac gives way to a farm track , still a touch wet from last weeks rain /snow / melt , and I hit it at speed with head down . There's the odd pothole here and there , and some less firm bits , but with the extra speed , and the big wheels I guess , it just munches them up . The track rolls up and down a bit too , but I just dig in , and keep on top of the gears , even getting out of the saddle for the climb over the railway bridge .
I can see that this type of riding suits the bike perfectly . It's been a brutal warm up though , and as I keep it going down the other side , I think if I'd had a snack before I went out , I might be saying hello to it again , right about now .
The circuit around the 3 Sisters is more of the same . The paths are OK , but in places quite wet , with long boggy puddles . Again , with the momentum kept high , it's not a problem , but I'm really feeling the effort now . I thought I was maybe a tad underdressed , as it is very cold , but right now I'm as warm as toast. The sweeping corners around the perimeter of the karting track make up for the hill I have to push up . In my , and the bike's , defence , it was very muddy . Sticky muddy . I ' zipped ' the back wheel on a root , and that was that . 

A half lap of the lake , and then the path turns for a slight downhill . Not steep at all , but about a half mile long , and all but straight as a die .
It's a bit of a rest , I suppose , but I still kept it hammering along into a stiff breeze . At the end theres a sneaky chicane and then a squeeze past a fence and stile . The bars are too wide .
Who needs a 700mm handlebar ? I realise we've moved on from the 22" bars of the early 90s , but these need an appointment with a hacksaw.
While I'm at it , I'd bang some bar-ends on .

The rest of the pain in pretty much every part of my cardio vascular system , means I didnt feel the pain in my hand when it hit the fence , and besides , I'm a construction worker . I have another perfectly good hand.

From here I'm heading over to Viridor Wood . It sounds like some Pratchett world , but in reality , its just a pile of old crap that's been grassed over with a few trees . Its coming on nicely though .
Its a gentle mound of a hill , and very exposed to the seemingly stiffer headwind . I've backed off  a little , and settled into my groove , but as I'm aware that the wind is shoving me back , I dig in again and try to get back on top .   I suppose it's those bigger wheels again , but fully wound up they do keep rolling well .

As it's a circuit , the wind ' shifts ' to assist me on the back straight , at the bottom of which is a tight left hander . I'd felt the other week that the Cooker was a bit wobbly at slow speeds ,and noticibly so on techy stuff in the woods . This is a slightly less techy corner , with a sprint out , and carrying some speed in , it rails around nicely as I head back.

I'm basically doing an out / back circuit , so I need to get through the 3 sisters again . Looking at my watch the chips must be just going in the pan , so I grit my teeth and get on with it .
The path back is mostly uphill now , all the way to where I can get back on the road in the Industrial Estate for the last few miles on the road .
The key really is to keep on top of the gears . Once it's on top of you , it's harder than a regular 26" to get back up to speed , so I'm fairly blowing hard as I hoof it up , and thinking about hacksaws as I squeeze through the gate.

I'd said the other week that I did'nt like the 2x10 gear set up . I'd still have a triple , but tonight it was'nt a problem . As I kept hammering along , I only used about 4 cogs at the back , and only once engaged the bottom granny ring ( on the 'tyre zippy' climb ).
It's a matter of horses for courses. In the end I was out for 41 mins , and had time for a shower before the chips were done. I'd gone at pretty much ' race effort ' for a good portion of that . Riding like that , the cooker was shining . Really nice . I'm sure it'd be great out with the lads up Rivi at a more sedate pace, or at a trail centre carving corners, but bogged down in the woods won't bring out it's best side .

So the day panned out good . It just means I have a bike to clean. I'll have my tea first.


  Alan's Charge Cooker Hi ....

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