So I’m back in the saddle. Not literally as I type* although that would be a clever trick, but metaphorically, as a way of saying I’m back riding the trails again and more importantly, enjoying it.
I’ve been out a few times recently, a couple of evening rides and at the weekend too. Our last outing was on Wednesday night which turned out to be the tail end of the hottest July day on record (36.5°C). A couple of new faces appeared which was also welcome and with the trails being dry, dusty and fast it was a great ride, rounded off by a pint in the pub afterward.
It’s amazing how the group dynamic changes when you get four or more riders out together. People can drop off the lead and swap around so you’re always chatting to someone different which makes the ride fly by, even though usually it’s slower because someone gets a mechanical. This time round it was Jeremy who slashed his tyre on the Landrover descent, probably getting carried away with how easy it is with five inches of travel up front! Finding the inner was only rated for up to 1.75 when he was running a 2.2 didn’t help either.
In fact, that incident has underlined one of the downsides of mountain biking – cost. Since I’ve been out again, I’ve ripped my shorts in an indecent area, stared lustfully at Dave’s new forks and Mono M4 brakes and seen Jem wreck his front tyre. Mark’s bottom bracket is also shagged and I need a new speedo for the On-one as well as needing to service all my Hope Mini brakes which would be a lot easier if I bought the Hope Bleed Kit. And that’s before I get to any real pimping!
On the plus side, the pleasure of new kit speaks for itself. I’m edging toward the idea of rewarding myself with something for the Rift Zone come bonus time in September. So far, the options include a new fork for the On-one with the Marathons going onto the RZ, a new Mono M4 for the front of the bike (possibly overkill with the Skarebs on there at present), an SDG Bel Air saddle, new carbon handlebars, upgrading to two 5W luxeons for my crash helmet for winter riding, a new windproof and the list goes on…
But, even so, good times… good riding, good company, good kit.
* In my more abstract moments I’ve sometimes wondered what an SDG Bel Air saddle would be like as an office chair – bloody uncomfortable I suspect!