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8th February 2015
Riders: Richard, Wob, Jonesy and Big Al
Leith Hill
Weather: 3 °C

After a month of not being able to upload to the site (new PC caused FTP issues) and not really being into my riding (strava stats down about 600km on the year already) I finally raised my threshold of interest enough to get out on a Sunday morning with Wob and the Gnarlsters™.

It's a select group featuring Wob or should I call him 'Shawn' with his new short, short haircut, most unlike the hippy, dropout look he previously had, Jonesy and Big Al.

I was the only rider on an old school 26" bike with Jonesy on his YT, Al riding his new Canfield Nimble 29'er and Wob on his Canfield Yelli-Screamy.

It also didn't help that no riding in nearly two weeks, not even cycle-commuting had left me with no fitness at all and I was lagging behind the group for the whole ride before crying off early as firstly my Avid brake pad spring got caught on the disc and once I removed that to stop the grinding noise I lost a brake pad leaving me with no front brake at all. It's no excuse that the pads needed changing anyway being almost worn to the metal backing. That's winter riding for you.

But in between this there was some good riding and plenty of banter and laughs as we made our way around the local jump spots with me sticking to the ground and using the camera and GoPro as an excuse.

Oh and I finally managed to fix a rear wheel that has been sitting in my garage for a couple of years. The Hope XC hubs that I bought way back in 2001 had needed servicing a couple of years ago. I managed to screw it up and had left it unloved in my garage. Only a visit to see Huey over the last couple of weekends has resolved it with an order to UK Bike Store bringing me some nice new pawls and springs to replace the badly worn and rounded off pawls that were in there.

It's just a shame that there's been not one but two new standards introduced to wheel sizes in the time that I've taken to fix this. That's another 26" wheel to lay around in my garage...

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


15th February 2015
Riders: Richard, Wob, Jonesy, LeeD, Carl, another Carl and Big Al
Holmbury Hill
Weather: 6°C

Yesterday saw me doing some maintenance on the still muddy form last week, dialled bikes Prince Albert (new brake pads, swapped bars out from SX trail, new bar grips, bar ends) and the Specialized Allez road bike (cleaned drivetrain, new brake pads and rebuilt rear hub which had about half a centimetre play in it).

Today was riding time on the rebuilt bike which performed okay although it still needs some tweaks. Two new riders to me today, both named Carl (and Carl).

After heavy rain towards the end of this week the trails were pretty cut up and I really couldn't get into the zone today, bottling out of stuff I would normally ride. Although it ended up worse for one of the Carl's who bust his wrist when he fell off on a long, steep, loose descent. Al escorted him back to the car which fortunately is automatic so he drove himself to A&E.

And not long after they left I decided to call it a day. As mentioned I really wasn't feeling it today and on top of that my legs turned to jelly as I'm still struggling for fitness so there was no way I was keeping up with the rest of the group. Oh well, next week...

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


22nd February 2015
Riders: Richard, Joe, David, Jonathan & Todd
Leith Hill
Weather: 2°C

More maintenance yesterday replacing the oil in my forks having made some new tool purchases from Halfords - a rubber mallet and some circlip pliers (I've always wanted some of them but never got around to buying them) plus some fresh new 5wt oil to replace the dirty old black stuff that empties out my fork legs.

With the forks freshly serviced I meet my work colleagues again for our second MTB ride in a month and it's IT nirvana with two PM's and three Dev's (don't worry, we undertook a risk assessment).

It's just above freezing point but the sun makes it feel warmer although the trails have suffered from more heavy rain during the week and yesterday's light smattering of snow with another hail shower over night turning most of them to mush. But we make the best of it as I take the team on a journey along some of favourite trails although I think they were doubting me as I made a mistake and had to turn around to check my bearings literally within 50 metres of Leith Hill Tower having just admired the great view from there.

But it was all good after that as I navigated the depths of Leith Hill and the Darkside to take on some fun and challenging trails. I'm riding better than last week so I'm happy but Joe has lost his mojo and is cursing to himself as he pauses at some trail heads or takes the wrong line on other trails and falls a couple of times.

Todd is new to the group but is a decent rider considering he hasn't ridden around here before although he manages to fall not only at my feet but right on my feet at the bottom of a steep descent and I have to ask him to move his elbow which is supporting all his weight whic hin turn is leaning on my big toe. I also suffer a minor fall when I hit a root and loose momentum. I'm just about okay but can't unclip and tumble forwards smacking my other shin on the pedal and leaving a nice egg-sized bruise on there. Another over-balancing moment sees me fall into a massive mud-patch but honestly I am still riding better than last week!

We beat the rain back to the cars for another good morning's riding.

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


 

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

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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'