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1st December 2013
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Adam, Tim, Cameron, Betalf & Terry
LOMAC to Headley Heath, Norbury Park and beyond

Weather: 9°C

No rain that I can recall for a week or so and a mild day leads to firm and fast trails as we head over some familiar routes and some newer trails such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin to take us to Headley Heath, Norbury Park and many places in between.

And what a sentence that is to start the ride report, kind of a stream of consciousness approach to a diary entry. Hey, I'm just writing this shit for my own enjoyment anyway!

We are joined by Cameron this week, fresh to the forum and he fancies trying out the the local trails in the company of some other riders. Plus Betalf is back having recovered from a broken ankle sustained in the Italian mountains in September.

Up the horse piss climb, down past Coral Bazaar and up to Headley Heath to ride the classic Secret Singletrack. The trails are lovely today, moist but firm just the way us boys like it. Across Nower wood and then through Life on Mars, down Stane Street and down to the A24 where we cross and head along towards the bottom of the Norbury Park climb.

Cameron does well to stick with us for three-quarters of the ride but following a break for tea and cake at the new Pilgrim Cycles Cafe which is a bike shop/hire/ cafe that welcomes riders and is well-placed for passing traffic in the ticket office at Boxhill and Westhumble train station (visit it, it's a small independent business and well worth supporting) his legs go pop on the final few climbs. There's those long sentences again.

But we coax him up the long climb that is the Alsation trail (most usually ridden downhill not up) and then the shorter 'Wall' climb and we are back in Ashtead to end a great ride. And my bike doesn't even need cleaning; not often you can say that about a December MTB ride.

Unluckily for Cameron we were on a mission today and Adam's great route was not only hilly (750 metres or 2,500 feet of climbing) but because of the good conditions we covered it at a fast pace too. We'lll go easier on you next time mate!

Don't forget to check out the much anticipated 2013 DoMTB advent calendar too for previously unseen photos.


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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

8th December 2013
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Tim, Betalf , Jess & Terry
Holmbury and Pitch hill

Weather: 10°C

An seasonably mild weekend sees the temp hit double digits. Combined with a lack of rain for two weeks the trails have dried out too and it was only the jackets and winter gloves that gave away it was December and not mid-Summer out on the hills.

Holmbury YHA car park is rammed as I roll up at 9-10 a.m. We spy Shane and Ian who are on an alternative ride as well as Jess and a small group ready for some schooling. But it turns out Jess is just out for a morning run with her dogs (she wouldn't let me use the term bitches and yes, I know one of them is missing from the pic) and she decides to tag along with us.

Up to the top of Holmbury via Surfer Rosa and then across the unknown trail towards the top of BKB and it seems like we've only just started rding when Betalf has a mechanical. The chain goes over the largest cog on his cassette and jams in his spokes. Luckily there's no damage but a very loose brake pad makes it's presence known when he removes his rear wheel (didn't he have brake problems the first time he rode with us too?).

But we are soon on the move again and head down BKB and then past Peaslake Stores and up the longish climb towards Pitch Hill trig point and I'm feeling strong today as I leave the others in my wake.

Despite numerous blood tests over September and October the Doc was unable to find anything wrong with me. Which is great but doesn't explain my general tiredness over the last 12 months (well, aside from having ridden 11,000 km). So I decided that me being constantly thirsty was not diabetes (confirmed by the Doc) but simply dehydration. So I've recently been hydrating myself pre-ride using Nuun tablets or High5 Zero tablets and it seems to be improving my performance.

We bumble around the top of Pitch Hill for a while tackling Trail 1 and Trail 1.5 and then head for Curly Wurly while Jess gives the dogs a break.

Myself and Terry shoot down there but there's a long pause at the end for the next rider to appear. It's Tim with news that Dave has broken his seat post and headed back to Peaslake stores for an early cuppa. Apparently it was something to do with a massive weight hitting the nose of the saddle; no more comment.

We continue back up the Zig Zag climb collect Jess and the dogs and then down Proper Bo and up the other side to drop into Supernova. El Tel takes a siesta on the trail as he goes too hot into a corner and a combination of weight too far forward and crossing up the bars eject him over the front and a heavy fall onto the trail. He's sore as Jess helps him up but able to ride on and we head down to the stores to catch up with Dave. He decides to push on back to the car while we use the Return of the Jedi climb to take us up to the Yoghurt Pots. This has recently been finished and the final sticky corner been fixed (thanks Mark and co, yes I saw it referred to as this on the official Facebook report) and then down Telegraph Road to the car.

A santa's sackful of strava medals seems to confirm that the conditions have really been really good today and for the second week runnning I don't need to worry about cleaning my bike after the ride. Just sling it in the garage and roll on next week.

Don't forget to check out the much anticipated 2013 DoMTB advent calendar too for previously unseen photos.



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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

22nd December 2013
Bike maintenance

It's been a hard Winter's night and I've been riding like a dog or something like that. The Trek 1200 that I have been using for commuting duties has had to see me through some tough weather conditions over the 2,000 wild, wet and windy kilometres that I have ridden on it since the middle of October.

It's already had one new set of brake pads bought and swapped out hastily in Evans Cycles, Canary Wharf when the original pads wore down to the steel backing on one particularly wet day and started gouging my new rear wheel. In fact it was such a hasty change that I only noticed today that I had fitten them upside down!

So today saw me avoiding yet more miserable conditions outside, no mountain biking for me and I sat in my man-cave instead for half an hour and fitted two new sets of brake pads.

The Shimano 105 brakes are looking a lot happier now and hopefully my rims won't wear quite so fast.



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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

27th December 2013
Riders: Richard & Cas
Road ride: Richmond Park laps

Weather: 9°C

Christmas has come and gone again and I haven't managed to tackle any of the Festive 500 that I was supposed to cover this week. So I turn to my 'go to' guy for road riding and give Cas a call and arrange a few laps of Richmond Park. God I hate that place, it's so boring seeing the same thing lap after lap after lap with the same morose riders heading the opposite way around.

But at least in this kind of weather (wet n windy) it has two main advantages in that it is close to home and you only need to ride a few k's into the wind before you turn 90 degrees at the roundabouts and have a tail or crosswind instead.

We had the lot today, sun, rain and a bit of hail all wrapped up in 21mph winds. We started off riding anti-clockwise laps and put in three and a half very difficult laps. The headwind was brutal on the long drag up Sawyers Hill and we were struggling. We got the benefit on the other sections but this was tough.

We had enough of this and did the figure of eight across the park centre and had a small break and a tot of whisky out of my hipflask and Cas's 500 ml's of port & brandy before putting in another three and a half clockwise loops. This time the tailwind pushed us down Sawyers Hill and the headwind was much less brutal on the other sections. I even got as far as thinking I was enjoying this (almost).

But we put in a good show that took me over 11,000 km for the year. We finished in the pitch black and rode home on our commuting lights..



Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015



Ride Archive

December 2015
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015
March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


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'