Occasionally, everything comes together to make a cycle ride greater than you could have ever hoped.
Sunday was just such an experience. After weeks (months) of depression grey skies, Sunday was bright, crisp and blue and followed on from a couple of weeks of rain-free weather. The result just goes to show what we have missed out on all summer, tinder dry, dusty trails and an extra shot of enthusiasm from the riders.
Initially we’d hoped Mark would make it out for a Nail Trail requiem but it wasn’t to be, meaning his new On-one will have to wait just that bit longer. Spurred on by Mark’s no-show, Dave, Jem and myself headed off toward Newlands Corner with Jem and Dave on their singlespeeds and me on my geared On-one – well it was supposed to be a hardtail homage after all.
Not wanting to be outdone, I too resolved to travel sans gears meaning we all were able to keep a consistent and even pace. Reaching Newlands in just over an hour, and with the energy enhancing effects of dry trails spurring us on we decided to forego our traditional bacon roll and press on toward Box Hill.
Well, it was a great plan. And it was a great ride as our pace continued unabated. By the time we reached Box Hill, I was sorely in need of the restorative properties of Date Slice, so much so I had to stop on the Box Hill climb – I was just too knackered. Half an hour later though, and running on Date power the three of us managed to summon up the energy for the final few miles home. 33.5 miles after setting out.
Just think about that for a moment – 33.5 miles! On hardtails! And at an average speed of 10.3 mph…
That, for us, is certainly a record so many thanks to Dave and Jem for contributing toward what for me was the best ride of the year – fast, varied, physically challenging with few stops and great countryside and weather too.
I just need to think seriously about getting a singlespeed – what a difference it seems to make when you’re free from the mental effort of thinking about matters gearage. You just focus on the rhythm of riding, to great effect. What I really want is that belt drive Orange P7 singlespeed that the press keep taunting us with.