Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Enjoying the Great British Summer

It had been wet all day: Not the 'scattered showers with sunny intervals' forecast by the BBC but proper, heavy, persistent rain. All day! John even phoned to confirm that the evening's ride from Hambledon was still on, or whether there should be a modification of the route due to the inclement weather. We would however press on and the sky had even started to brighten as ride time approached.

Billy-Bob was enjoying a cozy night in on account of his wedding anniversary so it was left to Jon, Al and John to screw some enjoyment out of this grotty summer's day. Tea and cake lightened the mood and all were in good spirits as they set of for Exton, a route requested by John.

After a short road-ride through Hambledon the trio turned off to follow a bridle path through crops. Soon bikes were clogged with mud, Al suffering in particular due to his adoption of his rigid bike with v-brakes, the mud clinging stubbornly to the brake blocks. The mud had also seized the rear derailiers and bikes were washed down in the deep puddles formed on the road to Chidden.

As we turned off the road to follow the track towards the South Downs and Old Winchester Hill there followed a bizarre mix-up which would keep Al perplexed for days. A week into his two-week holiday excess, and a lunchtime glass of wine for the worse, Al lagged behind as the ascent started. Leaving the wooded section however, with a view ahead up the valley of at least 1/4 of a mile, he could not believe how out of shape he had become - there was no sign of the leading couple. He only realised something was amiss as he reached the ridge, expecting to find the other two waiting impatiently; there was no sign of life but the rain started as he inverted his bike to investigate his jammed jockey wheels.

Jon surveys the gloom from the
summit of Old Winchester Hill

It was five minutes or so before Jon and then John appeared over the horizon and explained that, with Wrong John in the lead, the turning into the woods had been overlooked. With the rain falling steadily the reunited riders made off along the ridge road towards Old Winchester Hill.

The usual debate surfaced at the summit as the correct route by bike is not obviously apparent. John and Jon favoured a nettle-infested overgrown track while Al took the rather more rebellious route straight over the top. Regrouping briefly there was then a long, steep grassy descent to the foot of the hill which soon strung the three out again.

The next section of the ride follows a tributary of the river Meon. Literally, as the river bed is an easier ride than the narrow, winding, muddy, root-infested footpath on the bank. This section is the reason why John had requested this ride as it forms his favorite part of our regular route. The recent rainfall had swollen the stream somewhat but it was still just about navigable.

John tackles the Meon River

The route emerges at Exton and the Shoe Inn was reached just as Al realised he had a puncture in his rear wheel. A pint of Wadworth Horizon was enjoyed in the rain as Al struggled with his slippery tyre. Jon remarked at the contrast in the prevailing conditions and those afforded to the Billy-Bob's wedding one scorching Saturday three years ago.

Al fixes his bike
while John looks on

We planned to tackle the rest of the route by road but in the end decided to use the faithfully disused railway line to get to Soberton. This may however have been ill advised - it was like a quagmire. Al and Jon led the way, plastering themselves in crud and emerged looking like creatures from the proverbial Black Lagoon. John took it a little more slowly and consequently was almost recognisable when the three reached the White Lion! We all enjoyed a pint of Hallelujah from Alton's Triple fff brewery as the rain finally eased off.

A rather soggy toast to absent friends
at The White Lion

The White Lion is a highly prized pit-stop on a ride like this on account that it is one of the few pubs on the route with easy access to a hose. Although primarily intended for watering the pub window boxes it adequately doubles as a bike wash. Jon and John paid particular attention to their new forks (left). While they have both recently fitted RockShox REBA forks, there is some debate regarding the comparative merits of the 'Team' model opted for by John and the 'Race' version used by Jon. The 100g handicap sacrificed by Jon would seem to easily be accounted for by John's liberal abuse of business dinners! Both however are highly satisfied with their choice.

All that was left was for the three to tackle the short trip by road up-and-over from Soberton to Hambledon Awaiting our arrival was the Beef in Black Sheep Ale that Al had spent the day constructing, and a delicious apple and blackberry crumble made by Tee in the confines of the warm, dry house while the lads were out: A warming casserole and comforting pudding ideal for a summer's evening in the saddle!


Route Map (click to enlarge):

Elevation Profile:

(Posted by: Al)

Labels: , , , , ,

12 Comments:

At 4:36 am, July 15, 2008, Blogger simon said...

It does not rain much here, but when it does it pours.

I used to ride in conditions like this but found the blend of clay and sand and water makes a clingy mixture that does not care if your bike is XTr equipped or basic..

The results are the same- ruined derailers,premature wear on all gear, and a chain that sticks ( and roots even water proof lights!)

Because I ride alone into the Wollemi National park etc- reliability is everything, or its a helecopter rescue job. So No more.

If you get a lot of punctures- have you tried the goop that seals the leaks? The bike shop should be able to add it to the inner tube....

BTW what are the new front forks like !!!!!

 
At 7:45 am, July 15, 2008, Blogger simon said...

ps- met a guy who was ranked number 3 in australia when he was young. At 75 he still does 300km a week

He told me- to keep fit on a bike for real you have to ride every day. No good risding big rides once a week.

If you want to keep in "touch" ride every day- even short distances...

Interesting! I would love to think I would still be riding at 75!

 
At 3:32 pm, July 15, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

"...keep fit on a bike for real you have to ride every day. No good riding big rides once a week".

Does it say "keep fit" anywhere in our mission statement?

:o)

W

 
At 1:01 am, July 16, 2008, Blogger simon said...

ahahaha! but you are fit mate!

When is someone going to answer my technical question??

 
At 8:53 am, July 16, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

Simon, on account of your constant badgering you will see that I have supplemented this post with an additional paragraph dedicated to Jon and John's new forks. I trust this will suffice?

W

 
At 10:38 am, July 16, 2008, Blogger simon said...

thanks mate! to a degree- I want to know weight, travel and features.. I would like to know just how the bikes handling is affected by such a change. Overall good/great/nothing....??

Can they cpmment...? I am really into techno stuff

 
At 11:43 am, July 16, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

"..weight, travel and features.."

Click on the link - it will take you to the technical page for the REBA forks.

I will try and summon a critical apraisal of the forks for the next blog.

W

PS You are a very demanding reader!

 
At 11:46 am, July 16, 2008, Blogger TCA said...

ROCKSHOX REBA Technical Data

TEAM:

Travel 85/100/115mm (AM)
Travel Adjust All-Travel,U-Turn (AM)
Weight* 1583g (3.49 lbs),1841g(4.06 lbs) (AM)
Spring Dual Air, Air U-Turn
Spring Adjust Air pressure via dual Schrader Valves
Damping Motion Control
Damping Adjust External rebound, low speed compression to 'Lock', external Floodgate
Lowers Magnesium, IS disc mount
Lower options Boss or disc specific
Crown Forged, 7050 T-7 aluminum
Steerer Tube Aluminum 1 1/8
Upper Tubes 32mm, 7000 series straight wall aluminum, low friction anodized
Standard Colors Diffusion Silver, Black (AM), Diffusion Black (AM)
Options Remote
Suggested Rear Shox Monarch
Upgrade Over Race: Lighter 7050 crown
Max. Recommended Rotor Size 210mm
Notes *Weight based on 265mm 1 1/8 steerer

RACE:

Travel 85/100/115mm, 80/100mm
Travel Adjust All-Travel, All-Travel
Weight* 1610g (3.55 lbs), 1783g (3.93 lbs)
Spring Dual Air
Spring Adjust Air pressure via dual Schrader Valves
Damping Motion Control
Damping Adjust External rebound, low speed compression to 'Lock', external Floodgate
Lowers Magnesium, IS disc mount
Lower options Boss or disc specific
Crown Forged, 6061 T-6 Aluminum
Steerer Tube Aluminum 1 1/8
Upper Tubes 32mm 7000 series straight wall aluminum, low friction anodized
Standard Colors Diffusion Black, Black (AM), Diffusion Silver (AM)
Options Remote, 29er
Suggested Rear Shox Monarch
Upgrade Over SL: External Floodgate
Max. Recommended Rotor Size 210mm
Notes *Weight based on 265mm 1 1/8 steerer

 
At 8:46 pm, July 16, 2008, Anonymous B.B said...

Beef in Black Sheep Ale! now that sounds good. Jon take note, not that I'm poo pooing you infamous Morrocan Mutton Stew.

B.B

 
At 11:50 pm, July 16, 2008, Blogger simon said...

thanks!!! :o)

yes i am very demanding!

 
At 1:00 pm, July 21, 2008, Blogger Maalie said...

Greetings from Austria!

 
At 4:31 am, July 22, 2008, Blogger simon said...

Worzel:- the Giant Iguanna with the judy forks is a great entry bike for David who is 11 this year. ( in fact probably a littel too good)

I agree withyour comments about the forks. Even thought the bike has only done 100k I can see by his riding style ( jumping off berms and humps) that they will not last. I thik the frame is good as too the wheel set

What is interesting to see is- he rides it as fast as me keeping up easily.

Soon he will fly past me...

:o)

 

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