Being a rough, tough mountain biker - the mid-week mince.

Wanted to go for a spin yesterday here in Surrey but the weather was just wrong. Cold and wet. I don't mind cold, and I don't mind wet. But +1 degree C, a slight wind plus greasy rain at times means for a horrid time on a bike off road around here, or indeed anywhere. Put it off until today, so I was quite excited to see frost and -2 degrees C. Just right for a spin and I made my daughter laugh as I did a silly dance whilst making beakfast. Made sure that I set off before the temperature had a chance to go above freezing.

And that's just the point I stopped being excited about the ride.

It wasn't the cold that did it; I was overdressed if anything. It wasn't that I'd been browbeaten into taking the unsuitable 31lb Bat Fastard bike with the silly dropper post. It wasn't that I had to fit the ride in whilst my kids are at school. It was the sheet ice everywhere that did it for me. Yesterday's wettness had been spread evenly all over the trails and nobody had been out to churn it all up.  Ice is fine to ride on if covered in snow or roughed up a bit. But today it was like riding on an iced up pond. OK the areas like this accounted for perhaps 5% of what I rode on, but mentally it may have well been complete coverage. I rode all tensed up in anticipation of the next icy bit. Of course at no point did I slip, fall or otherwise have an incident on the ice. I went at a reasonable pace, but not a fast one. My speed though bore no real relation to the actual conditions, which were essentially fine, but I ended up mincing around as if I'd be dead any time soon due to a fall.

All quite pointless. If I'd been out with anybody I'd have manned up PDQ but alone the trail demons took hold and freaked me out.

What a doofus I can be sometimes.

In actuality trail conditions were as good as they get. The ice was restricted to areas where vehicles can go, and everywhere else was just hard, grippy ground. Naturally my subconcious spiteful self made me hang around the slippy places, instead of allowing me to set off down the North Downs Way where the trail would have been lovely and fast. This also amplified the mass of the bike I had and didn't allow it to shine on a more downhill orientated route. The one downhill I did was taken at speed, a speed that burnt the brakes in a big stop at the end.

And my bike? It just got on with the job. It was a little insulted that I called it fat all the time, and rightly pointed out that even at 31lb it is still perhaps 110lb lighter than me. I really need to shift some mass but the lure of cake is high. What's the point of life if you don't give in to temptation every hour or so? But Dear Reader you're dying to know if the 50mm stem that I pinched off the PACE is better on my other bike? Actually it is. There's luck for you. But really, 31lb is way too much for any self respecting bike isn't it? Doesn't help that I'm trying a Rockshox Reverb on it, or have some heavy flat pedals. I have looked at lightening the thing, but at a £1 a gram - or in essence a £1 for every negative gram from now on - that's an expensive option.



  1. Great reading! It's looking like it will be a white weekend around Reigate! Hopefully the snow will cover the ice. Looking forward!

    1. Ha ha! Yes, agree and it has. Went out for an evening spin tonight and it was fantastic. Cold yet bright and fressh - fantastic to be out! Hope you're enjoying it too.


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