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Date: 5th December 2009
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Terry, Sue and Ronnie
LOMAC to Box Hill, Headley Heath and back
Weather: 8°C

The Weather God is kind to us again this week although the Fitness God has deserted me. Not sure if it's anything to do with the seven pints of Guinness and Cobra that I had with last night's diary of a mountain biker Christmas Curry or not but I'm sure that didn't help. Still, it was a good evening and everyone enjoyed it.

It's a proper winter ride with 100% hard tails in evidence and 60% (that's 3 out of the 5 riders to you) represented by various models and marques of dialled bikes frames.

At least the endless rain has relented though. I felt lethargic on my work commute on Friday. I had no zip in my legs but put it down to the cold: 2 degrees on Friday morning even though I was wrapped up tight and warm.

Actually, whilst I mention winter gear the freebie 'buff' that I got from MBR has turned out to be a revelation. It came with September or October's magazine and at the time I looked at it with disdain and wondered when I would ever use it, filing it in the 'spares, unlikely to ever be used' box in my garage. But now the temperature has dropped by over 15 degrees C it has come into its own.

An open ended tube of thin, stretchy material I use it in the neck warmer mode (pull it over the head and tuck it inside your jacket collar). It is very effective as it can be pulled up to cover the nose and mouth if required and despite the thinness of the material seems to retain heat/keep out the cold very well. A big thumbs up from us.

Having ridden to Ashtead I felt fine and as we pulled away from the LOMAC and off road I was with the pack. However I soon started to drop backwards and scraping a wayward branch along my eyeball didn't help. Luckily my eyesight was fine and the contact lens stayed in but it was sore for the rest of the ride.

The trails were pretty churned up as we made our way along to Stane Street and I was dropping further and further behind but I caught up at the top of the Alpine trail and set off first to get some pictures.

The Alpine trail is a fantastic off camber, rooty ride with a nice drop to the right of you as you traverse the side of Mickleham Down but on a day like today it was sketchy as hell and the last rooty section that I usually love was like glass and both me and Dave went down on our sides as we failed to negotiate the steep run in.

As if I wasn't tired enough already we then tackled the Happy Valley climb and I'm ashamed to say that I was off the bike and pushing up to the top.

That was it for me and after negotiating Headley Heath we split up into 3 groups with Dave and Sue continuing the planned ride (well done both of you for covering circa 36 miles in those conditions), Terry and Ronnie heading back to LOMAC for an early bath and me taking the road option back to Epsom.

Despite covering 23 miles, at least 15 of those were on the road and the final insult was as I rode up the gnarly flat tarmac surface of my road a spoke suddenly pinged and broke. It was obviously showing it's discontent with my poor effort.

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 20th December 2009
Riders: Richard, Davebus (briefly), Neill, Sue, Lee, another Lee, Rob and Felix
Winter Solstice: DMB to Headley Heath, the Mole Valley and back
Weather: 1.5°C

My first ride report in two weeks. Last week I was up early, dressed for riding and just wheeling the bike out of the garage when I heard a clicking sound that told me I had forgotten to repair the broken spoke and also replace the worn down brake pads on my rear wheel.

So after hastily dropping out of the ride (none of my other mountain bikes are rideable at the moment either due to various reasons) I sat at home fretting about missed opportunities.

Opportunities continued to be sparse this week and as the cold snap begins to bit I haven't even ridden to work. The last commute was 10 days ago (a week last Thursday) so I was a little concerned about my fitness levels for todays ride.

Saturday afternoon saw me in the garage repairing the spoke and replacing the brake pads. The spoke change was one of those annoying ones on the side that requires you to remove the cassette as well but after repairing this there was an obvious wobble on the wheel and despite playing around with spoke tensions for 20 minutes or so I couldn't get it straight.

So I decided to ustilise an XT rear wheel that was on one of Sam's bikes. This necessitated another removal and refitting of the cassette (to prevent using a different cassette with a slightly used/worn chain). Finally even after replacing the brake pads the rear brake decided to play up and it had no power in it so I simply removed it and put on another Hope XC4 brake that had been on the titanium frame.

The weather hasn't risen above 1.5 degrees since we had the snow on Thursday so there was still plenty of snow (and ice) in evidence as a large group set off from Dead Man's Bench at Epsom Downs at just after 9-30 a.m. including a guest appearance from Lee who hasn't ridden with us since April 2006.

It's (almost) the Winter Solstice and with all the snow around what better way to celebrate the middle of Winter and that from this day onward the day's will start getting longer again and dare I say it the riding conditions start to improve again (crosses fingers).

Unfortunately Davebus has had freehub issues on the way over from LOMAC (it's frozen in the cold air) and he has to leave us just after we cross Epsom Downs heading towards Crow Lane. So having reduced to a group of seven we push on under the M25 and left towards Headley Heath.

The snow is 3 or 4 inches deep in places although the ground beneath is frozen rock hard and so the going is reasonable with just a few soggy bits in places but the bikes and our gear survive the day with hardly a splash of mud on them.

Reaching the Secret Singletrack the snow is the perfect depth to allow us to ride fast without fear of sliding on any ice but also allows us to drift around corners and Rob likens it to a luge run on a bike; great fun.

Turning through Nower Wood we cut across via 'Like on Mars' to the long fast run down 'Alsatian' which is firmer than Headley Heath but can still be pretty much ridden in a 'no brakes' style.

I'm wrapped up well today and not feeling the cold at all; my MBR buff is again doing sterling service and is employed in mouth and chin covering mode today. In fact there are four MBR buffs in the group today as well as a few we spotted being worn by other riders heading in opposite directions to us.

After crossing the A24 we come across the most treacherous section of the ride. a steep descent on a quiet back road. This hasn't been gritted and is covered in sheet ice and Rob, Lee and Sue take a tumble on the tarmac although no damage is done.

At the foot of the road we decide it's time to pull out the hip-flasks that we have brought with us with whisky appearing to be the preferred body warmer.

We have covered a decent distance and so decide to cut along the A24 to the King William pub and then up towards Norbury Park before crossing back again and heading for home via the Juniper Hill climb and Stane Street losing various riders as they head off towards their houses/cars at LOMAC, Chessington and Dorking.

The drag up to Epsom Downs sees Felix and me encouraging Lee to drag his weary body the final few miles before the finish.

A good ride with 25 miles covered including the cross country route to the start point for me and I was pleasantly surprised with how I coped with the distance after the lay-off.

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 28th December 2009
Riders: Richard, Sam, Dan, Frazer, Steve and Charlie
Banstead to Box Hill and back
Weather: minus 2°C

A DOMTB family ride today as I ride with my son Sam, brother Dan, cousin Frazer and another cousin Sarah's husband Steve and son Charlie and it's minus 2 degrees as we set off from Nork (near Banstead).

Now despite having eleven bikes in my garage I was in the embarrasing position of having to borrow a bike. With the titanium frame now departed and Sam wanting to ride his own bike (the Prince Albert) I had to 'phone a friend' to assist: thanks Cas, the Klein was great, nice and light and not even too small for me either.

We rode here so often back in the day that we had even started finding and naming our own trails; Track 'F' being a prime example although it's now heavily overgrown and unrideable.

A low key ride so soon after Christmas and Sam's first time out on the bike for far too long. The only preparation he has done for this has been drinking in the bars and clubs of Portsmouth where he is in his fresher year.

Consequently he suffers and after seeming okay at the start by the time we have reached Walton-on-the-Hill he has vomited his breakfast and is looking distinctly green.

After a pause for breath though we push on and although Sam struggles he sticks with us and we reach Box Hill NT cafe for a refreshing hot, sweet tea which puts a bit of colour back in his cheeks. The sun has warmed up the countryside a bit and it's about 3 degrees by now which helps.

It's then a fast run down Box Hill and a wide, grassy descent that I haven't ridden before made more interesting with all the frost on the chalky sub-surface. Dan almost bins it as he pulls a broadside to try and impress us but as the tyre suddenly grips again he almost gets bucked off the bike but manages to hold onto it.

Up Juniper Hill and along Stane Street to get back to Epsom Downs and Sam struggles up the final climb before heading back to Nork.

23 miles covered on a cold, cold morning; a good ride.

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 31st December 2009
End of Year Review

In common with all high performing organisations I thought I would give myself an end of year review for 2009. A bit of self-appraisal is good apparently: well that's what they tell me at work anyway!

A typical review with my line manager might start something like this: "so Richard, tell me what went well and what didn't go so well during 2009?". Yup, straight out of the idiots guide to line management.

Enough of that though, here's a summary of my 'dirty dozen' high points for the year:

  1. For me, 2009 really kicked off on the 2nd March which was the first day I started commuting to work on the Bianchi Via Nirone captured on video here. A 36 mile round trip to Canary Wharf 3 days a week really started to rack up the miles and I ended up covering 3,456 commuting miles for the year. This was obviously a massive step up in terms of my fitness levels and led to...
  2. ...longer weekend rides. Instead of 20 miles at the weekend being a bit tough we started extending the mileage and by the time summer was upon us we were regularly doing 30 to 40 milers from LOMAC to Leith Hill and back again.
  3. I also started to vie for position at the front of the pack on the climbs instead of trailing way off the back and learnt to love not fear the classic 3 hills rides from Davebus.
  4. The level of my video shooting and editing went up a good 3 or 4 notches during 2009. Compare a typical MTB video from 2008 to an MTB video shot and edited during 2009 to see the difference.
  5. I also arranged for a decent portal for them all to be viewed through and I currently have 76 mainly MTB videos available for your entertainment.
  6. I upgraded this site from a dial-up connection to a broadband connection between me and my site host. This was a background change only but it did mean that it is now far easier and quicker to upload regular updates as well as higher resolution pictures which led to …
  7. ...the resurrection of the DOMTB Advent calendar. The daily updates were beyond my patience levels in previous years. The upgrade with my site host also led to…
  8. ...me finally working out how to organise my pictures into a decent gallery structure (as seen in the advent calendar). Thanks to Steve and Matt for the final touches.
  9. We also had our second social night; a good evening was had by all in the Ashtead Balti House although it certainly adversely affected my riding the next day.
  10. I finally, finally rode the London to Brighton bike ride on an official ride day (even if I hadn’t err cough, officially entered cough.) Now when anyone discovers that I’m a cyclist and asks the first question that I always get asked ‘have you done L2B?’ I can truthfully reply yes; and I rode back too!
  11. And that return trip totalling 100 road miles makes it the furthest I have ridden in one day.
  12. The only downside to the year is that despite my fitness levels sky rocketing my technical skills have taken a back seat in 2009. However, I did ride the 'proper' line over the large root on the Numbskull trail on Ranmore Common for the first time. So here’s to 2010 and the skills course that I have arranged with Astounding Adventures for the first week in January. Who knows I may book a course with the legendary Jedi at ukbikeskills after that!

Happy New Year to you all.

Check out the latest videos we have uploaded

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 31st December 2009
Riders: Richard and Cas
Road Ride
Weather: 5°C

The last day of what turned out to be a fantastic cycling year for me and Cas and I pop out for a quick 40 miles on the road bikes.

It's allegedly 5 degrees but there is a significant wind chill factor as we turn for home and the strong headwind is chilling us to the marrow. Cas has bought his hip flask with a strange concotion of whisky and brandy in there. As the cold starts to bite we hit the flask 3 times. Good job I was riding not driving home.

We drop off to see everyone's favourite dispensing optician in Ashtead whilst I fix a slow puncture before the final few miles back home.

Happy New Year everyone.

Check out the latest videos we have uploaded

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


 

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Untitled Document

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Top

click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'