MG the eco warrior saves a snake. Ride report 8/5/11

Woke up to wet stuff falling from the sky. Quick Google search identified it as rain. Huh thought I, can't be arsed with a ride. Plus we were meant to be going to the Cowpie show with the kids. Decided not to do either. Wife then shoved me out the front door on my bike - fairly clear message to get out from under her feet.

Decided to sat nav what was supposed to have been Friday night's spin. Essentially the parallel path to the M25 over the Buckland Hills, then to Headley and back. So that's what I did. It was fun but quite frankly after Friday any ride will be dull. The rain of the morning, added to my Maxxis Aspen tyres, made for the odd slippy moment but not as many as you'd expect given the tyres lowish profile tread wise. I didn't hack along though - just fancied a nice plod in the woods. And it was lovely; the rain made everything smell fresh and clean, and the temperature was just right to avoid sweating. In the end I did around 35km in just under 2 hours, so my plod was actually a reasonable pace off-road. No high notes; 45km/h the maximum off Reigate Hill. Gosh on Friday we must have been approaching 60km/h down there. Shudder the thought.

Not-So Secret Singletrack was pleasant, and although I didn't stop at "I'll serve you when I've finished talking to my co-worker" Ali's I did spy out the corner of my eye as I zipped past what looked like a Muddy Moles splinter group; Paul901? Dunno, but whoever they were they trailed me down the Not-so-Secret and I heard them whooping with delight.... After that it was the NDW back. Here was my snake saving incident. No idea what the fellow was, but he was about 30cm long and greyish brown. Looked healthy if a little pissed off at not being able to climb out of a gulley. So I picked the chap up and moved him on in life. He didn't exactly thank me for the intervention, but I could sense he was happy being off the trail. [N.B. somebody has suggested it may have been a slow worm. Sorry, but that has little impact as a header - MG saves worm!]

My Pace is still noisy. Suspect it is the Superstar pedals lacking bearing grease or not being tight in their threads. Can't be arsed with it.

On the way back I passed the little drop that us locals have been developing just off Gatton. A guy in front of me did a double take as four riders bore left into the woods at speed, followed by sounds of bikes falling through the air. But I knew what they were doing and smiled. Now this guy was 50m in front of me and for want of something better to do decided to chase him down. The upslope I couldn't do much about him, but on the gravel drive I caught him at surprising speed. Exiting onto the road I again couldn't keep up as he was easily as fast as I. Looking at his bike the reason for this disparity was clear; his brakes. He was running cantilevers against my discs. On the gravel he must have been riding to a speed that he could stop at, which with those things isn't that fast. I've never been able to compare canti's with discs before, but boy did they lose big time.

Didn't see many people out on the trails at all, so for once had myself as company. And I must say what an entertaining fellow I am; didn't get bored with myself at all. Sent some wind-up texts to AD, which he replied to in good humour so he's on the mend. Told you his head injury was nothing to compare with my knee; a mere scratch against my massive wound. Really why he went to hospital to get it stitched up is beyond me.

Naturally seeing as I'd removed my mudguards both myself and bike were filthy. How people run without them is beyond me. They are going back on pronto. At least it was nice to ride a bike where the seatpost doesn't gradually drop over time - should have changed the clamp ages ago. Oh and I have finally managed to adjust the reach on the sodding Magura Julie front brake. For ages it has lived just beyond the reach of my fingers, meaning each application was a last minute grabbing action. OK pointing in a straight line, but on singletrack it was a pain. I suspect that it breaking last week dislodged something in the adjust mechanism as now it actually works. Lovely thing to have, a non-grabby front brake.