Yes it that time of the year again when the TV, radio, newspapers, your favourite web site and blog’s are highlighting the past 12 months. Personally, I would rather forget the past 12 months, it was not great the first time round and I can’t see the highlights being any better. Having mentioned the past 12 months in my last blog posting the only thing I am going to say about 2011, is I hope 2012 is better.
Due to the weather I never got to go for a ride on Thursday, it was wet and windy. With the wife at work I brought the bike into the kitchen and spent an hour or so on a small job to hopefully eliminate the squeak on my bike. I removed the chain-rings and chain-ring bolts, cleaned them and then reassembled with a little copper-slip grease to hopefully eliminate the squeak.
Friday dawned damp and miserable with the threat of heavy rain to come in the afternoon. While having breakfast I received a message to say that the ride was still going ahead although the distance had been shortened due to the conditions. So I loaded up the van and then headed to mother-inlaws to drop our son off then headed out to Sturminster Marshal which was where the ride was starting from. By the time we left there was 14 of us and the rain had started to fall, we did not get very far as we had our first puncture within 20yds of starting. Apparently a small flint like stone from the ride leaders drive was found in the tyre. We were soon back on our way as the rain continued to fall, our fist section of off road track came with a health warning as parts of it were chalk and in these wet condition more like ice, they were not wrong. The front wheel was sliding around on the chalk between the grasses bits trying to find grip, it made avoiding some of the deep puddle interesting as you could not just suddenly change direction.
The rain by now had changed to a fine drizzle, the riding was through mud. The basic of the ride was that we would go around Badbury Rings and then head out to the old airfield at Tarrant Rushton. There is only a hanger, a couple of other building and the some of the perimeter road left there now. We slipped and slid around Badbury Rings on to a narrow trail about 6″ wide. This narrow trail which is sunken into the ground is difficult enough in the summer with the long grass, stinging nettles and over hanging branches. But now the entire pathways has been cut back but you still have a narrow trail which is just a stream of mud which you have to stay in the middle of to avoid hitting the sides otherwise you end up falling off. Fortunately everybody made it down in one piece and in my case with a lot of dabbing of the foot to help with balance and forward motion.
Another climb across an open field of mud before we came to the airfield and around some of the perimeter road. As we left the airfield and down a narrow trail along the edge of a field I saw a mouse or a vole like creature scurry across the path just in front of my wheel not once but twice. 14 miles later we were back at our starting point where the ride leader turned hostess laying on a mini buffet and drinks (tea to sloe gin) for all the mud splattered riders. I think it was more of a slog than a ride and as can be seen from the picture below it was dirty, yours truly is far right.
Due to bike cleaning duties (I was only able to hose the bike down yesterday) and dads taxi duties this morning I was unable to get the bike ready for the last ride of the years so I will be starting off the new year with a ride tomorrow after fulfilling more dad taxi duties taking the daughter to work.
Finally to all of you a happy new year and may it bring you the joy you are looking for.
On Thursday it rained, then rained again and just for good measure absolutely chucked it down late afternoon. We went shopping as mentioned in my last blog and the shop were packed. I think the families were using it as an excuse to pick-up there Halloween goodies for the weekend except at Sainsbury which had a half price toy sale. There were people wandering round Sainsbuys with two trolleys, one for food and one for toys.
Friday was another day for riding, went out in the afternoon, went for a ride across the local heath then into Delph Woods then down the Castleman Train to the Roman Road at Upton, then up the hill until I turned off on to Upton Heath. I have only ridden this bit once before and I thought the turn off was in the first quarter of the hill not the last. This part of Upton Heath is the part that was featured on the national news earlier in the year when it went up in flames due to a suspected arson attack. The whole area has now started to regrow, the only sign of the fire is the blacken trunks and branches of the trees and bushes. Apparently the wild life has moved back into the area, I met a photographer who was stalking a deer which after I came rattling down a hill had moved into a clump of trees and out of site, opps
Saturday I had to work, only made worse by the fact that I had to travel to the head office in Worcs. so no riding. I was supposed to be riding with the son today but he stayed over at the mother in-laws last night and did not want to come back for a ride, add to that it has been raining all day so I did not go in the end. Definitely going out riding tomorrow morning regardless of the weather. Going with the wife to Moors Valley where we will both ride the Through the Tree trail and then I will shoot off and ride some other bits while she pootles back to the van. I am not back to work till Wednesday so I am hoping to get another ride then.
So there I was quietly working away at home on Monday and my mobile rings, nothing new there then, it normally never stops ringing. But surprise surprise it was Virgin Media Complaints department (yes the same department I have e-mailed twice without reply). First they apologised for not contacting me earlier, they have a back log of complaints (not something you want to broadcast). For the next 20 or so minute we discussed the problem I had and the work that Virgin are supposed to be doing, the end result is that the work is in hand with no time-scale, I currently have 1 month credit for the broadband and I will be calling in 4 weeks time to get another months credit if there is no improvement and will keep doing so until it is fixed. I think this will be going on for a few weeks yet…………
I have a few days of for the sons half term, so as he decided to he wanted to go with his aunt to Southampton, I was free to go for a bike ride…………in the rain. The day did not start well, I woke up the second the alarm went off and could not go back to sleep, I had planned to stay in bed till at least 8am but got up at 7:15. I went to get my GPS out and check the route I wanted was loaded on the gps and I could not get it to switch on. This meant a change of route so instead of the New Forest and exploring new routes I would go to Moors Valley and ride some bits I have not ridden for a 12 month or so. After loading the van in the rain I decided to give the gps one last chance and it worked, so it was Burley here I come.
I had packed my rain jacket and trousers ready for the onslaught but as there was very little rain when I set off, they stayed in my bag but I was expecting to be getting them out sooner rather than later. So I was more than a little surprised about an hour later to be taking my jumper off as the sun was out and I was getting a little warm. A short while later my gloves were taken off as my hand were sweating in my gloves (first time I have worn them since last winter). The route was a shorter version of the Autumn falling leaves ride, I was trying to avoid riding some of the roads (I’m a mountain biker not a roadie) and trying some alternative paths to the wide gravel fire roads. Well some of those paths were wet, muddy and flooded, it was er, interesting. I enjoyed my 20 miles round the forest, was expecting to get absolutely soaked but never got wet (if you don’t include anything below my knees).
More riding later in the week but apparently we are shopping tomorrow……….
Got up and looked out the window at 6 oclock this morning the sun was shining and it was clear, so I went back to bed. Got up at 8 oclock looked out the window and it was pouring down so I got up. I had intended to watch the rugby but getting up late and being beaten to the TV by a 11 year old I opted to keep an eye on the commentary on the BBC sports web site.
I left the house for my ride at 9:15 in bright sunshine but a little cool, within a couple of miles I had taken my jumper off as I was hot. Two miles later I stopped again this time with a puncture. Again it was the front wheel and again it was one of those Dr Sludge inner tubes. This time the valve was still fully connected to the inner tube, there was no sign of any seepage of latex sealing any leaks in the inner tube, there was no sign of any foreign object poking through the tyre. I have no idea why it went down, the only thing that is certain is that those Dr Sludge tube are a waste of money and those two tubes from today and yesterday are going in the bin.
After another couple of miles I stopped yet again, this time to put my rain jacket on, it was *issing down. Eventually it stopped raining but I was not going to be fooled so easily and kept my jacket on. By the time I reached Sopley Common (I was riding the Throop loop but in reverse) I was over heating so I stopped to take my jacket off again. Two mile later I stopped again to put my jacket back on again as it was *issing down again and that is the way it stayed all the way home. By the time I got home I looked like a drowned rat. I picked up some new water proof trousers in the week…………..guess who left them at home this morning!!
I don’t know what it was but I was completely wiped out this afternoon, I had several things I wanted to do but in the end I just sat on the sofa with no energy to move off the sofa. Having a early night to night as I have four morning on the trot when I have to be up earlier than normal for work so I want to make sure I get some sleep.
Yesterday dawned as forecast, absolutely peeing down so no riding for me, instead I gave the Cannondale a bit of a service and fitted some new pedals, Superstar Nano Tech, the bearing in the old DMR V8 pedals were becoming a little crunchy despite servicing.
As can be seen they come in a variety of colours, I opted for black to go with the bike, had a chosen another colour for the bling factor I would of ended up having to replace more parts on the bike to further enhance the bling factor which I can’t afford to do at present.
After bike service it was out for a bit of shopping and visiting the lbs for some info on the headset fitted to the Cannondale. I have been looking for a replacement since I found the damaged seal earlier in the year but I had not been able to find any info. Thankfully the shop were able to tell me I needed a Crane Creek Zero Stack 1.5″ to 11/8″ which in turns is a ZS49/28.6 49/30 Part Number ba0077k. It now added to the shopping list.
By mid afternoon the sun had broken through but I was happy watching the Tour De France so that where I stayed.
I was awake early this morning eventually surfacing at 7am. After breakfast I saddled up and set off on my normal Sunday Throop Loop with an added section going around Ashley Heath this should of give me around 30 mile round trip. I was going to take the gps to record the route, but as I was leaving I realised the bracket for the gps was still on the Whyte, so left the gps at home. Outward journey was OK but when I got back to Hurn forest on the return journey the heavens opened so I stopped and put on my water proof jacket. I normally refer to this as my “boil in the bar jacket”. That is not to say that it is a poor jacket but the fact that I perspire and putting any jacket on even in the middle of winter will have me sweating buckets. Today was no different, when I got home I dropped my arms down to my side a water (my sweat) ran out of the sleeve’s and my t-shirt was absolutely soaking but because it was a decent cycling t-shirt it wicked the sweat from my body and held it in the material.
The eating over the weekend has gone fairly well, weekends are always the hardest time for me. Tomorrow night weigh-in will let me know how I have done.