Post Royal Wedding ride report 30/04/2011.

Wife looked at me this morning and commented that perhaps I shouldn't go out as my back has come up all bruised. "Nah'll be fine" said I. And indeed it was. Now I'm not being a hero or macho, it just didn't. One of those looks worse than it is type things. Believe me if it hurt she'd be the first to know!

AD wanted to play, but as I'd fallen off yesterday I was keen to repeat the section, hence the ride as well in total, as I didn't want some subconscious fear of the section developing. So this meant a two part ride; downhill for the first hour, then uphill for the last bit. AD doesn't care really - he just wants to ride. We got to the bit where I fell off and rode it without incident. Indeed it is an easy section that holds no fear. Obviously the Maxxis High Roller is more of a nightmare than I give it credit for. The Aspen's I have fitted to the Pace were lovely today, far more grippy than they look.

The ride went by with only a few incidents. The first were the horses. Or rather the riders. The stable lads were exercising the race horses over at Epsom. Now a normal horse is fine; you say hello, they let you by. Not this lot as they clearly own the trail. OK the horses were flighty but at no point did the riders seek to countenance this, they just carried on holding us up for no good reason. They kept looking back and making hand gestures to confirm. Really they were utter pricks and there was about 12 of them. Curiously AD was patient as anything where normally he has no time for horse riders. In the end I snuck in front at a road junction and they were unhappy that I'd managed to do so.

The second was more odd. Some natural weather phenomenon has caused some odd flies to reproduce at an alarming rate. These flies are black, soft and hover in the sun. They are easily caught by hand and show no aggression or fear; they just seem to exist to hover. In some places they formed a dark cloud - must have been millions of the things. Riding along in the wooded sections was fine, but escaping into the sun meant riding into a swarm of the things. Most unpleasant.

Oh and some good news; there may be another rider tagging along soon. Funny but riding buddies come and go. Over the years I've had a good number of people come out but the relentless every Sunday rides I do seem to be straws that break the camel's back. Some kept it going for almost a year, others a single ride. I still have a few contact me every now and then. AD has stood the test of time, so now I'm not building from a base of a solo rider, which is always odd and puts people off for some reason. The new chap I shall call TC, the 'T' being for tall as he's about 6'5" I'm nothing if not original? Funny but I posted up an invite for a ride on the web and got no takers. I removed it. Yet on the actual day people were asking if there was a local ride planned. Yes! I'd put an open invite out, so get off your backsides and respond! I don't bite.

I digress. On the way back I popped over to Little Gatton as somebody told me that Sir Malcolm Campbell lived there, he of early speed records fame. I realise that people have to live somewhere, but he lived in my town! Just around the corner. Made me feel proud for some reason. Nice house, although surrounded now by new middle-manager clone-house boringsville. Interestingly - or not - he bought the house from Sax Rohmer, who wrote Fu Manchu novels. Now where I work is next to the house that Sax bought after he'd sold out to Sir Campbell. Who says that history is boring?

The Pace by the way is still being a pain. My LBS couldn't trace the ticking noise from the transmission, yet straight away it was there on the first hill. Indeed on some short ups in the middle ring it was an actual knocking noise. I've greased the seat post, lubed the chain, put in a new split link and greased the pedals. No idea what to do next with that one.

No ride stats. Sorry.

Oh! Forgot. The dreaded chalk path. Had to do it again and we flew down. Now this is odd. Yesterday I started it slowly and only got up to speed past the marker stone. I managed to get the chain onto the big ring. Today we started off real fast and I was bouncing around laughing. We flew past the marker stone and down. Yet I never went smooth enough to even consider changing gear - I was being bounced all over the place. How very odd. On my long-travel hardtail I was actually slower on the last bit than on the short travel one. Smooth in, smooth out I guess. Overall the Pace was way faster as the top section is all over the place, and the Tassajara would have struggled.

Now this made me look at the Pike forks I have fitted. These give 140mm of travel. At the end of the chalk path I'd hit my saddle hard enough to knock the seat post down 5cm. Yet my forks, from the dust marks, had also only moved around 5cm. I never get full travel from the things and for the life of me can't see why. Mind AD's were the same on his susser, and he'd flown down there at warp speed. Perhaps it was all small, stutter bumps? Back at home later on, bouncing on the things, I got a maximum of 8.5cm travel. Not quite 140mm is it? If I release air from them, they just collapse down, so that's not an option. I suspect that the negative air spring loses pressure as it always seems to be at less than 100lb no matter where I start with it. One to play with.

Whatever! It was a good ride.