Cas and Rob join me on a road ride as I try to get some level of stamina and fitness back after my two week trip to the USA. And of primary importance is to reduce that blinking deficit denier (see top right) which I had wresteld down to 200k+ pre-holiday but after 15 days inactivity on the cycling front was closing in on 1,000 km behind schedule again.
Hence the road ride to put in some relatively easy miles and I take the familiar route around to Cas's house (no sign of Grazia or her silk pyjamas this morning though). Rob is already there ready to go and after the usual faffing from Cas we head off shortly after 9-30 a.m. and onto one of our usual circuits.
We head through Leatherhead, Effingham and Ockham before turning left onto part of the 2012 Olympic road race course along Gulleshill and Hungry Hill Lane where we catch up with a mixed bunch of riders on road and slicked up MTB's. As we head past them I hear my name shouted and it's my cycle-commuting buddy Alistair who has been roped into the sportive.
We chat as the miles go by and Cas regales us with his tales of his recent London to Italy road trip whilst Cas and Rob admire the smooth lines, sleek design and multiplicity of pockets of my Gotham City Bikes top purchased on aforementioned holiday.
I'm rolling along okay but when Cas and Rob accelerate I have to really push to stay in their draft and they disappear off into the distance as soon as we hit any climbs as I head rapidly backwards.
But I'm holding my own, ooh-err missus, as we head into Shere village and I'm slightly ahead of the other two who have been held up at a road junction. I'm climbing up the six-percenter at a reasonable rate but going at my own pace when I start to feel light-headed and see some flashing lights.
Oh no I think, is this an unscheduled meeting with the man with the hammer? But as Cas and Rob plus some other bloke claiming to be Chris Froome catch me up we settle into a pace that is too hard for Froomedog and we drop him like a stone and head into Peaslake for a welcome break in the village stores.
And with a sense of dramatic timing the weather takes it's cue to change and the heavens open with bucketing rain. It's all over in about 12 minutes as we stand in the shelter of the stores and Cas keeps the local talent entertained with some story or other.
Rob is on domestique duties filling the bidons and once completed we head off past our more normal setting of the bottom of the Barry Knows Best trail and are halfway to Ewhurst when I realise I have left my re-filled bottle in Peaslake Stores. With 50km to go and having had hydration issues recently I return to collect the bottle and have a quick chat with Nick on his sky-blue 'Strange' Orange who has come down off Pitch Hill before we frappeé le rue once more.
A great ride with the only disappointment being some of the road surfaces which have been subject to so-called re-surfacing duties by the local council which appears to basically consist of dumping two inches of grit across the whole road for half a mile and leaving it.
I've always been frustrated that when the external bottom bracket bearings go it's only ever the non-drive side bearings. The drive side is well protected by the crank arms and so seems to have less water ingress. So I've got a collection of worn bearings where only one side is actually worn.
What to do about this? Well, I whipped out my trusty Endura bearing puller and set about swapping over the bearings, gently removing the 'top hat' cap and those worn and rusty bearings and replacing them with used but still serviceable bearings.
A very short ride up to Epsom Downs to watch the start of the penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain and thi stime I take the wife and she's riding a bike for the first time in about ten years.
Welcome to Maurice, a local rider who is fairly new to MTB and looking for someone to ride his brand new shiny Specialized 29'er with. And we fit that description as we head across the usual trails to a slightly damp Ranmore common.
photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015
all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015