9/10/11 ride report. The Steve Jobs tribute spin.

Firstly this was one of those rides that didn't involve an awful lot of planning; follow the North Downs Way to Box Hill, turn around and come back the same way. I'm not sure AD's heart was entirely in today's ride*, and I think he'd rather have been at the beach absorbing the last of the summer's rays. To be fair it did seem a good proposition. Hence I guess the agreement to do what is essentially a bit of a boring there and back spin. Oddly enough I quite enjoyed it for what it was; a leisurely spin in the country whilst having a good old chat. Actually leisurely may be the wrong descriptor; AD and myself didn't set a fast pace, but he clawed a lot of respect back for attacking each and every climb. At one point he was putting so much power down that he threw a rooster of mud off his rear tyre. No idea what's got into him, but he's really going for it on the hills, so I'm going to have to up my game big style there.

In the end we were out for 3 hours, and the chat at Box Hill cafe wasn't that long, so we did spend a good 150 minutes actually riding. I'm bemused as to how we spent that long to be honest, although two half circuits of Headley Heath helped, plus a slight detour to avoid my favoured muddy section. Oh the shame of avoidance! I suspect what we did was to chat, sprint a bit, chat, sprint. You get the picture? It wasn't a consistent ride, but for all that the process of sprinting followed by a slow spin was probably better exercise than a steady, but faster overall pace. Meant that I couldn't fall into default, 140bpm cycle-forever mode. Whatever we did AD was certainly sweating at the end**.

Oh and naturally we did the chalk path. This time I really stuffed it up. Walkers at the top meant I lost my favoured line, and then a horse rider at the trig point meant a stop and detour around the side on to the gravel. I'd also gotten something onto the sole of my right foot which meant slipping off the pedal all the time. In other words for me it was a crappy descent. AD naturally flew down there. I suppose the main question, though, is what was a horse rider doing trying to climb that thing? Must be a shitty climb up, and as she was dismounted coaxing her nag up, then it probably was.

Lots of Police at Box Hill. One on a mountain bike. They didn't speak to us, or many others, but clearly something is up in the cycling community. I've never seen Police there in 20 years of cycling. Odd. May be the Olympics, or the recent alleged criminal activity over on Ranmore. Dunno, but it doesn't bode well. Caterham for me next week I think. Also of note was the guy that had set up a mobile repair van at the cafe. An interesting idea, but if you can get there by bike in the first place, then a repair can wait surely?

Hardly any mountain bikers out at all. Saw one guy on a nice looking Santa Cruz. He smoked past us on Headley and set a good pace. We were chatting so didn't bother to chase. He happily opened the gate for us to pass through, and looked very sweaty indeed. He did seem a tad overdressed for the conditions, as was the guy in the bright orange cycling jacket consulting a map. I'd have stopped to offer assistance, but he looked a right stroppy grump so I left him to it.

At home I decided enough was enough with my rear wheel. It's been creaking for ages in the lower gears but today was just noisey all the time. Sounds like the spokes are too tight on the drive side. It needs a new rim anyway, so tomorrow I'll pop it in to Lee at C&N for a pro-rebuild. Damien has been convincing me of the merits of this for some years, so I'm going to give it a go. Damien thinks a stronger rim more suited to Snowdon may well be a better option than a lightweight, Surrey ideal. Can't hurt can it? And they do seem excited over the prospect themselves.

Oh and top tip; when you get back from a ride, do not do what I did and hit the booze straight away. Family wanted to go out, I was in happy mode, and the waitress rather coaxing. Bit wibbly afterwards.

*No discredit to AD here. My wife is the same when the weather changes post summer, and it just can't be helped. She gets really miserable. Some people struggle with the change and it takes time to re-adjust, if they can - I'm not sure my wife ever does, she just kind of hibernates. Personally I quite like the onset of winter and get oddly excited at the prospect of cold weather. This may have had something to do with growing up in the Midlands, where frosts by mid October were common and by the time of bonfire night 5th November it really got cold in the evenings. My kids don't believe me, but by December my bedroom window had ice on the inside that never went away and just got gradually thicker until the onset of spring. Even now I feel as though I'm missing out when a friend from Edinburgh tells me that their washing up liquid in the kitchen freezes sometimes.

**And my new Gelert bamboo wicking top was hideously smelly. Not sure if it was the top or me, but the heat of the day had a negative effect on my personal aroma. Perhaps that's why AD was so fast whenever he got near to me?