Can't remember if I blogged about the last time I rode my Mountain Bike - it was about a month ago and was just a ride along the bike path to meet Mikey in Penzance. I'm not sure why I decided to ride him (Gary) rather than Ted - there was a reason at the time, but can't remember why now. Anyway it was an awful ride. Gary felt heavy and sluggish, plus I felt very uncomfortable; the position felt wrong, despite lots of en-route adjustments. It kinda felt like I was on a sit-up-and-beg bike. For the first time in ages I didn't enjoy the ride. As I struggled into a strong headwind towards Penzance, it even crossed my mind that I possibly preferred road riding now. It made me feel sick just thinking that, as I have always enjoyed riding off-road and loved mountain biking.
Thankfully watching the MTBers at the 24hr race and then my Scottish cycling experiences (where i'd cried out for suspension and knobbly tires) rekindled my love for mountain bikes and I was desperate to get home and dust Gary off and ride the local single track.
So on our return to Cornwall a plan was hatched. First of all I needed to adjust my riding position, so I borrowed a flatter and longer stem off Mikey. But just as importantly I needed to make Gary lighter - so off came his bell and bottle cage. Predictably, this didn't make much difference and he was still a tad heavy - after all, despite the years of having him, he was still practically how he looked when he came out of the factory with lots of entry level heavy parts.
Coincidentally, after seeing Deb's bike (during our very brief pitstop in Mcr) "Cindy" (which is the same Kona frame as Gazza but with lots of shiny parts), Mikey also had a plan. One of his bikes was currently out of action - something to do with leaky brakes, so I could borrow the forks and wheels off it. Mmm... now that lightened the load considerably.
After shedding possibly 6lbs, Mikey also offered to lend me his carbon bars. This was super! By the end of the morning Gary was a whole new bike. He even got some new pedals as I changed them to SPDs. He looked awesome and was such a dream to ride.
And ride we did. We stayed local for the first ride. There were clouds of dust from back wheels as we zipped across the bone dry trails. Loose rocks and ruts posed no problem to the new suspension and Gary and I floated over stuff like never before. Tracks that I have often struggled on were effortless and I had no time to over-think obstacles, we just breezed over them. Mikey seemed genuinely impressed with my achievements and pointed out that it was my first "proper" off-road ride with SPDs and that I hadn't batted an eyelid. I was having a blast, it was super!
Still hyped up the following morning, we decided that as were going to the LBS in Portreath (to get me some new baggies), we may as well do the Coast to Coast ride again, so we packed the car. Just before setting off we got a call from my Mum, who we invited to join us. After helping her get her hybrid into the car, we set off. The weather was slightly duller than the previous day but the track was still dry and dusty. Another super ride was had and 19more miles added to my weekly total.
(I can't mention my Mum and this ride without mentioning her spectacular fall - Sorry Mum, it has to be said - It was pure comedy gold as she attempted to ride over a 15ft high and steep mound that the kids use for "sessioning". She was practically at the top when she started to fall. Crumpling into a heap with the bike on top of her she landed on the floor. After confirming she was OK, hysterical laughter ensued as she stood up covered from head to toe in a thick layer of dust!)