Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Rides

It's been a bit quiet on here recently - mainly because me riding pretty much every day for the last four weeks is not all that interesting for anyone but me (& the odd other bike nut).  I've upgraded the wheels on my Surly Ogre to Stans Arch rims & tyres to Nobby Nics - it's a marked improvement in weight, grip, reassurance, acceleration, rolling resistance &, most of all, fun.  The following week there was a rather chilly night spent bikepacking out in the New Forest just north of Burley somewhere.

Then Christmas ride season began - first up with the biggest group of Combe Raiders I've ever seen:

This on the strangely misty Quantocks - & quite damp under wheel as well. Dave got stuck on a stick:

Much to my surprise, I won the hill climb (by getting the furtherest up a rather steep & technical ascent) - I was well pleased with my giant certificate (that's a large & very good paperback on the left).

After not really earning it from a less than twenty kilometre ride, it was off to a nearby pub for the award ceremony & an awful lot of food.  Great time had by all - although I had to go for a harder ride the following day to get the most out of my two hundred mile round-trip.

This weekend past I managed two more Christmas rides - and associated meals of course.  The Vindaloo group of the local MTB club (which I ride with if I'm around every second Sunday - so hardly ever over the past two years) had their Christmas ride & curry planned very local to me on Friday night.  The bikes decorated with Christmas lights and wrapping paper and the costumes made the whole thing seem a lot more festive than the Combe Raiders event.  It was only a short local ride, but it was a nice warm, dry evening & there was plenty of good food.

For some reason I thought it a good idea to ride my single speed twenty-odd kilometres to the Christmas ride & dinner for the whole club - this after seeing a rather dismal looking weather forecast.  Anyway, it rained pretty much all day - but it wasn't cold.  Annoyingly, my front brakes failed about thirty kilometres in - so I rode most of the day with rear brakes of dubious usefulness (just as well the Forest is almost entirely flat).  Somewhere out near Burley & Picket Post our fearless leaders started to get a little vague in our route - just as we got out of the trees onto the heathland in the driving rain.  Oh well - we made it back to the pub eventually for another huge meal.  It probably was just as well I had to ride all the way home - wasn't really intending to do close on eighty singlespeed kilometres for the day, but I survived & really quite enjoyed it.

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