X-factor sadness ride report 27/11/11

Now Dear Reader I know you've grown to love my blog for being totally unconcerned with cycling of late, but I have some bad news.

I went out for a ride yesterday.

Yes, myself and AD hit the Downs once again, and what a pleasure it was. True the walkists abroad were all grumpy - not a smile or cheery hello from any of them, and we're polite as anything these days, slowing up for them and everything. The horse riders were also miserable, and one was on a nag that he plainly had no control over. We'd stopped on a downhill stretch [naturally!] and were stationary when the last nag of a group of three went all jumpy. We should have guessed something was up as a cyclist prior had gesticulated to us in some form of warning. But boy was this horse out of control. Jumping and kicking. I'd have hated to be in AD's position as he was right underneath the thing, almost literally. Nasty experience that one.

And then there was the woman with a rotweiler on Colley Hill. The dog must have weighed in at 60kg easily. It was big. I'm used to dogs and have had a few in my life, so I'm not easily put off by them but even I could see that this one was potentially an issue. Naturally the stupid cow had it off the lead and had no control over it.

Oh, the ride. Sorry got distracted. We didn't stray far; loop to the caravan to listen to the woman server chatting away to a couple of walkers. Always a pleasant ten minutes that; standing around whilst she chats away to a couple of elderlies. Gives one time to reflect on life. Although we didn't go too far [actually "we" is the operative as I'd been out for an hour before meeting up with AD] it was all good riding. My initial hour was in slurry heading over to Banstead Heath, so I wasn't initially impressed with the condition of the trails. I got covered in a light, muddy slush. But meeting AD we headed off down into what has become known as "Phil's Bush" - an area slightly overgrown, ahem. Both of us emerged onto the trail proper with cut legs and AD suggested that it wasn't pleasant riding through that. But of course Phil's Bush leads onto Mud Alley with 200m of nothing short of quagmire. Clay soil churned up by horses. I like it. AD naturally tried to muscle his way through and was doing nice power slides, but this just uses energy. Best try and find a gear that uses up all of your torque and puts smooth power down.

Now so far I'd struggled with keeping up with AD. My legs have gone to matchsticks you see. But on the first downhill section it all started coming back and I pegged myself right on to the tail of AD as we threw roosters of leaf mulch up. That was fun. But downhill sections only make up perhaps 30% of a ride - he nailed me on each level section, and blitzed me on the ups. I won for perhaps 400m of a 30km ride. Thanks for your patience with me on the day!

Got back plastered in mud but with a big smile on my face. All one needs in life isn't it?

Oh and you're dying to hear how my pro-build went on the rear wheel? Yes? Well I'll take this opportunity to tell you Dear Reader. It felt..... the same as the factory build by Hope originally. You'd guessed that though hadn't you 'cause you're clever like that. And the annoying creaking noise, has it gone? Had but came back later into the ride. So if you are in the market for a new wheel, buy one from Hope and don't bother getting one laid up. It'll be more expensive and no better. But if you bust a rim, then it does save perhaps £80, so potentially worth doing. Or alternatively buy a used complete wheel from eBay for £100, cut your old hub out of the bust wheel and sell that on for £50.

Moving on to better things.

Gosh! Who'd have thought; the one with the dyed red hair, and who cannot remember a lyric to save her life, and who I cannot for the life of me remember her name [Janet?] has left the X-Factor. I'd have thought with her lack of talent she'd have done better. And why, with her odd pronunciation, did she not do a Bjork number? Jessie J certainly showed the whole lot up didn't she? Misha-B is the one I like, but to be fair not a single one of them is that good when all is said and done. One suspects that the record companies have got their acts together and are mining the talent pool a bit better? Dunno, don't care!

Off to look admiringly at my muddy bike now ;¬)

p.s. I've bought a BMX. It's an old skool GT Air of 2008/9 vintage that I got off eBay. Now I've never ridden a BMX before, never even looked at one to be honest. Bought it for my daughter, who is 8. Yes, MG has bought a sodding great 30lb BMX for an 8 year old. Worse it has a 42t front ring. Worse it neads new brakes and a good bit of fettling. Worse today I popped into Halfords to get some bits and noted they've an 8ball BMX at half price. Didn't have that the other day. Poo. Looks like I've bought myself a BMX to fettle as I'll have to get the 8ball for her now.

Now how different is a BMX to a mountain bike? Not much? Buggeration, they're worlds apart. Different crank arangement, handlebars have wierd brakes that allow for full handlebar rotation and they are small and way heavy. On the plus side my 5 minute ride home suggested huge fun. Bt that 42t front ring hurts. I'll have to man up there big style.