12 miles, new Salsa fargo, wet, windy, didnt feel much like riding....
new Fargo, decided that Jack and I will be doing some 2 and 3 day rides this summer, the Fargo is in my opinion the perfect bike for this as we will be doing mixture rides, thats on road, off road and anything in between rides, he will be on the cream version, I will be riding the new blue version.
55 miles, back lanes and sausage butty, felt tons better today, might have been to do with the bright spring sunshine.
Headed out to Jodrell Bank, 2 reasons, I like the back roads way I can get there, went out via Pickmere, across to Knutsford and then out to Goostrey.
The best reason though is the sausage butty, without doubt the finest sausage butty £3.50 can buy, accompanied by great coffee and a view to inspire.
First ride after a few days on Anglesey, walking in the magnificent weather, winds like you'd never believe, unfortunately I picked up an eye infection, probably something blown in by the wind.
So, I set off without breakfast, aiming to get something along the way, no idea where I was going, headed out into the battered lanes of Cheshire, I was glad to be on the Fargo with the state of the roads. Before too long I was out near Knutsford and thought about the cafe at Jodrell Bank, so thats where I headed, a coffee and a Cliff Bar.
Raining and hail on the way home, and of course that ever present headwind, I'm begining to think that its not really there, just my legs are so heavy !, by the time I get to the outskirts of civilisation I'm staving and starting to feel the early stages of bonking so head over to the bike shak to see Simon.
Two gels later and I'm good top go, ten mins of catching up on each others news and I'm away off home, 44 miles, 3200 Garmin calories.
Legs were heavy after yesterday, I wasn't going to go out but the sun was shining, so I went out.
Almost the second I left it started raining so I headed back for a rain jacket, in fact it looked like light showers, perfect to test the Scott Divider jacket I'm reviewing for STW, light weight and allegedly totally waterproof.
So off I set, aiming to get to Jodrell Bank along a mix of on and off road, just short of 50 miles round trip, I've all day so will be pootling along at a sedate pace.
By the time I got to the river it was throwing it down, cold rain and hail, great.
By the time I got to the Lym end of the TPT I was cold, my legs and hands were soaked, my top half however was warm and dry, the rain just beading on the fabric of the jacket and rolling off, I was surprised at how effective it was.
By the time I got to Tatton Park I was wet, cold and bloody miserable so turned for home.
By the time I got home I was wet, cold, bloody miserable and hungry.... but not wet up top.
So, a soul and bike destroying ride, only positive was the jacket proved to be everything it claimed.
Met Greg at the wardens hut and off we set, no agenda other than to meet up with Nick and Rob at the Anderton Boat Lift, I hadn't factored in the headwind which meant we were running a little behind schedule but no problem, a quick call and the plan was readjusted, ended up at Delamere via the River Weaver path, and we'd managed to dodge the rain and hail that everyone else seemed to have suffered today.
By Delamere my legs were toast, cake, sausage butty (thanks Rob), two coffees, a cliff bar and a bottle of nuun restored enough strength to get me home, slowly....
68 miles in mud and against a headwind, pleased with that after just a week back on the bike, four rides in and already my legs are getting stronger, my waist lines is receeding and my alcohol intake was almost under control last week :-).
In other news the Brooks Cambium saddle I fitted to replace the Swift fitted like a dream, so much so I can see this being my saddle of choice for the Vaya and other long haul bikes. I'll be swapping out the Brooks bar tape this week, Lizard Skins 3.2 DSP tape is to replace it.
Its fair to say that I've given the Brooks saddles and bar tape a fair trial, probably 18 months use on the Fargo now, I love the look of it, and its reasonably comfortable but not enough to contemplate really long days in the saddle, I'm sad about that.
Riding chat was mostly about bike packing long routes, making plans, choosing kit, and of course bikes and new zealand, I can feel myself becoming something of a zealot in my espousing of this wonderful country, its fair to say that if Janet and I were younger we'd be seriously considering moving there.
For those who are interested this is what has piqued my interest.
Five hours sat in the saddle, slowly grinding my drive train away at about the same speed as my fitness is returning, seems a fair price to pay, the recent high rains have left their mark on my local trails, either heavy mud, deep puddles or both with not much solid ground.
Despite what I thought the Surly Knards were actually perfect for these conditions, not a great deal of grip but the big carcass floated over the top of the mud and the treads cleared well, it got to be quite fun when a turn was required and soon became predictable.
Sore sit bones today, in hindsight getting straight out on the Fargo with the Brooks saddle after such a long break wasn't the smartest move ever but served to confirm that the Brooks Swift saddle has served its time, I have a Brooks Cambium ready to be fitted, just need to find some bar tape to match the slate grey colour.
Other thoughts, I've been focusing heavily on the Kiwi Brevet after talking to one of the guys who was riding this event, it really appeals to me, especially after spending some time in New Zealand, its fair to say that this event (and the earlier in the month Southern Brevet) are appealing more to me than the Tour Divide.
I've entered the Welsh Ride Thing, after spending most of my riding time alone last year (by choice) this year I want to get out and ride with people, that is actually get outside on a bike instead of talking about it.
I have a long list of friends all over the country that I am going to visit this year, ranging from Cornwall up to Edinburgh, and lots of places in between, and I'd really like to push the photography and writing this year, maybe I can combine the two ?.
First mountainbike ride of 2014 with Barney, one lap of the red and black, 2 stalls at the drops, no damage done, sore wrists and backside, coffee and the biggest slice of toast in the world to finish, tired now.
Its been 8 weeks since I last threw a leg over a bike, in that time I've been in New Zealand and Singapore, its been a whirl wind of travel, new places, new experiences, lots of smiles, lots of great food and drink and just short of 45000 kilometres of carbon based movement.
Because of this I have lost most of the fitness I gained last year and oh boy does it show, today was the first day back in the saddle and as is always the case that fitness hill is even steeper than last year, 28 miles today on the Salsa Fargo with a seeemingly ever-present headwind. I was only pootling along but it hurt, everywhere it could, sat here now 5 hours later and legs still tingling, its going to be a hard few months to get back.
But, I'm happy to have had the privilidge of doing what we did, and losing some fitness and gaining some fatness is a price worth paying.