Muddy Ground ice ride report 12/12/2010.

[This is a ride report taken from my old Workshopmanualman blog. It must have been a good day out with AD as this report is rather eccentric in nature. I like it a lot. Probably my best piece of writing.]

12/12/2010: An interesting ride.

Myself and AD out today, and not many others to be seen. Very poor turnout amongst the mountain bike brigade on the hill. Saw perhaps five others. One chap I stopped to talk to on a Santa Cruz Superlight; gave him a compliment about his bike. He didn't return one about ours. Don't you hate that? Next time I'll just point out how brilliant my UK made bike is and ask why he's on old skool American crap with low grade Rock Shox forks. Should re-set the balance. Other than that social faux pas he was a nice enough chap. Probably passes the port on the right though.

Anyway, Dear Reader I hear you gagging to know how the 1.8" rear tyre got on. Very, very well. So well I'm going to take it off and will probably never use it again. Eh? Well it is fast rolling, and does indeed excel in the mud, finding grip anywhere. But, once you up the speed you enter snakebite territory real fast. Tree roots, rocks, all become dangers to avoid. Hmm, rocks, avoid. Tad hard in the mud on the North Downs; chalk and flint hills aren't they [this information for my multitude of Argentinian readers]. Chasing AD down Reigate Hill I hit a rock and had that lovely sensation of rock meeting rim. Didn't even bother to look down, just stopped there and then. Luckily I had a spare inner tube with me. Unluckily it has sat in my backpack for almost two years. It too had a snakebite puncture, which wasn't apparent until I'd put the whole kit and caboodle back together again. So I had to fix the fix. Faff central. But the result is that I'm going to remove said tyre and put my lovely fat Aspen back on. Pity really as the Aspen doesn't grip too well in the mud. It kind of makes the bike into a rear steering machine, which is odd but you get used to it. Sometimes it does drag the front off line. Perhaps I'm being a bit silly with it? I'll see what spare tyre I have in my stash.

Actually with the bike upside down the difference in volume between a skinny 1.8" and a fat 2.25" was obvious. The 1.8" appeared to be less than half the volume of t'other. No wonder I got a snakebite. But then you did predict that didn't you Dear Reader? After fixing it all I put my stuff away, mounted my bike [boy do you have a dirty mind!] and went to ride off only to notice my defunct inner tube on the ground. Rather than put it back into my Camelbak I figured I'd tie it around my arm Tour de France Michelin man stylee. Have you ever tried such a thing? Probably OK with a skinny road tube but not a mountain bike one. I got it on happily enough, folded double, but once on it rode up a bit to under my armpits and constricted both my breathing and arm movement. Very silly.

The trails were odd. At the start we were wary of the remaining ice in the hollows, and expected horrid mud. But the trails were essentially dry with sections of slippery surface mud. We had quite a few front end slides, some at speed, but they were of the fun variety, not the "I'm going to hit a tree and break my face" type. By the end of the ride we couldn't give a toss about the ice, and just rode over it without any alteration in our speed. As mentioned, what mud there was, was a gooey slime but it was fairly energy sapping. I felt as though I'd done a much longer ride. AD pretended that he was fit as a fiddle, but I knew deep down he just wanted to cry in pain.

My chain oil - Finish Line ceramic wet lube - was lovely. I like it. Got back, washed the bike down, came up clean and fresh.

Somehow I broke my glasses. Probably age related, but no grief; they were only £30 and have lasted a few years of being bashed into trees.

Where did we go? My default loop to Epsom Downs; I like it and AD has never attempted it. And yes we did stop at Ali's cafe. It's just a natural place to do so. Coffee still shite, and big bollocks was there again, shouting his obnoxious pudgy face off. However, AD was in chatty mode, and if you don't buy a cake it's cheap enough, so it was a happy stop. Made all the better when some young girl stopped to buy a burger. Blond, nice figure, face OK probably after five or six pints, if you work on an oil rig, submarine, or have been married as long as I have. See girls like that everywhere, especially in my dreams. What made this one a bit of a looker were the jodhpurs. Don't know why, but a girl in smelly jodhpurs does it for me. You always wonder if they're after a bit of rough man for a quick, dirty humpy pumpy in the hay. By Headley we do indeed look rough, even smell a bit horsey, and she was certainly giving me the eye. Me, and not AD you note. He's a bald munter whereas I look like an air brushed Brad Pitt.... However, there is also that worry that if you do get your man out for said humpy pumpy, here's a girl used to being around horses.... and it was a cold day....

After the little stop I went to put my Camelbak on. The bottom was wet, as it usually is at the start of a ride. Normally I put this down to being wet after filling, but 2 hours into a ride this excuse didn't hold... er... water. Anyway at home I had a look at the thing. Two holes in it near the cap - suspiciously like a snakebite puncture. I thought that these things never burst? Looked on-line and the reservoir is £30 on its' own. £30 for a colostomy bag! Dug out my £3 Tesco one. Should do the trick.

On the way back we bumped into a guy who was a bit lost. He asked how to get to Brighton. We were on Colley Hill at the time, and naturally asked if he was doing it off-road. "No I'm cun*ing f**king well f**king not" came the reply. I guessed he may have been a little stressed out. Turned out he was following the London to Brighton bike ride route and had got lost. Being on Colley Hill, off-road we were indeed able to confirm that he was indeed lost, and this knocked his confidence a bit. We've both done the L to B and know that it kind of goes via Coulsdon, Fanny's Farm, Merstham - so he wasn't that far off really; a mile at most. We gave him an idea which way to go, and suggested he follow us to the A217, which he did. He rode between us and commented on his journey: "F*cking bike went into a fri**ing tailslide and I co*king well c**ting fell off" type thing. To be honest he was a bit of a bore, but we let him ride with us as he was lost. At the gate he was still with us, and myself and AD rode off happily on the ice with a certain nonchalance borne of being out on it for ages. We waited at the Urban Kitchen for him, but he didn't turn up. Obviously his navigational skills were so poor that he couldn't even follow us along a single path. That or he f**king well c**ting gave the f**k up on us bas**rds and chose to c*cking well c**ting go f**king home.