After last Sunday’s rapid dumping of the bike in the shed to go and get dry and warm I was greeted with possibly the dirtiest bike I have ever seen this morning. Cleaning the bike moments before embarking on a muddy ride seems a little counter intuitive but believe me it was a state.
It was so disgusting that I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo to share with you. It was embarrassing to say the least. However, its amazing what a little motivation and Muc-off can do. Within 10 mins or so the bike was in an acceptable condition to be seen in public. The chain, cassette and dérailleur were looking reasonably clean and some wet lube meant they would soon be clicking and running smoothly. A quick start, 8am out of bed and 9am on the bike, meant that initially pedalling was a struggle but I soon warmed up.
Meeting some local riders for a muddy 30km was the last thing on my mind when I opened my eyes at 7.59am, but I had agreed to meet up and didn’t want to let the other guys down.
There were only 3 of us and we soon set about making it up as we went along. Shall we do this bit? What about going over there? Have we got time for that? You know the sort of thing. This is the beauty of a local ride on familiar trails – its easy to freestyle a little and add and take away from your plan (or lack of) as you go along. Some of the slower riders weren’t present so instead of hanging about and pacing the ride we were able to do a little more than is usual.
The conditions were atrocious. Mud tyres can only give you so much and in this part of Wiltshire we have a lot of clay that becomes treacherous in the wet. We dug in and climbed and slid around the local country side with a few sketchy moments and one off.
My Storm Control tyres have suffered from some inappropriate use over the summer – I should have taken them off – and have finally had their day. This didn’t help with grip and mud shedding. Though I found that even the most mud packed tyre, clogged gears and tired legs can still sprint up a hill when pursued by some rather interested cows.
Again I ended up with cold feet – not wet as I had the longer socks on. I put this down to the summer Specialized SPD shoes I have been wearing. They are of leather and mostly suede construction and just soak up the water, and in this weather cold water retained in shoes and socks doesn’t help.
We stopped for a tea and some chocolate brownies at The Divine Cafe in Cherhill and I decided that I will buy some over shoes rather than buying some new shoes just yet. As well as some new mud tyres.
Back at home I gave the bike a thorough clean and lube which made me feel good and the bike is ready for my next ride…