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8th November 2015
Riders: Richard Terry, Keith & Greg
Box Hill, Norbury Park, Mickleham and beyond
12 degrees

What exactly are those round red things that turned up in the box with my YT Capra back in June? Turns out they are the famed 'bottomless tokens' for Rockshox Pike forks and they are used to increase the rate of ramp-up of your air-spring when it gets towards the end of it's travel.

Come again? Instead of you blowing through all 160 plush millimetres of travel and hitting the end stops, installing the bottomless tokens increases the rate of resistance at the bottom end of the travel making it feel like you literally have bottomless or endless travel instead of the 160mm.

And it couldn't be any easier to fit these either. Make a note of the air pressure in the left hand side of the fork using a shock pump (hmmm...50psi looks a bit low anyway). Remove the air in the fork by pressing the presta type 'pin' in the valve and then using a 24mm spanner remove the top cap of the left hand side of the fork.

Rather disconcertingly all you see is an empty tube but the important bit is the top cap. Screw one or two tokens into the top cap (in the first picture it's deliberately not fully screwed in so you can see the screw thread; tighten with an 8mm allen key and then re-install the top cap with the tokens.

Re-inflate using the shock pump and that's it: bottomless travel. The easiest upgrade you will ever make. Next week I will be installing the bottomless bands on my Monarch rear shock.

Which takes us to Sunday and Greg, Terry, Keith and I tackle a pretty soggy set of trails that are full of slippery leaves and tree roots and stick man seems to have been out on Life On Mars dragging large logs onto the trail; what a dick.

But it's mild and extremely autumnal and it's great to be on the bike as we head to Mickleham, Box Hill, Norbury Park and then back via Bockett's Farm gettign a wave from a cute girl (still got it) on the way as I cover circa 50km for the day.

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


15th November 2015
Riders: Richard Terry & Greg
Ewell to Leith Hill Tower & back
14 degrees

Given this week's poor weather I had been planning another local ride but a last minute text from Greg suggesting that we tackle the long door-to-door ride to Leith Hill and back had me changing the ride details late on Saturday afternoon.

However at that stage it was still pissing down having been raining all day and I really didn't think we had any chance of making it to Leith Hill in decent time or feeling fit to ride back too. After all this is a massive ride in the middle of Summer never mind a late Autumnal ride in the south of England. Oh and did I mention the 40mph winds that were forecast as the tail end of Hurricane Kate (what a lame-arse name for a hurricane) passes by Britain.

I recieved Greg's text whilst I was in the garage fitting the bottomless rings to the RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 rear shock on the YT Capra. I had fitted the bottomless tokens to the Rockshox Pikes last week and wondered if it was as simple an upgrade? And the answer was, yes it was, once I had removed the air pressure form the positive side, figured out how to remove the air can body fitting the rings to the positive side and then rebuilding was straightforward.

So back to Sunday and Greg rocks up to my house at 8-30 and we head off via the alleys and bridleways to get to Ashtead and then straight onto Stane Street. This is really sloppy and hard work and we skid and slid until we are past the 'Ugly Minger' section of trail.

From there it's a fairly quick stroll along to Mickleham Down although I struggle to pick up the right descent off the crest of the hill. I eventually decide to take the Bukkake Alley descent (apparently it's pronounced Boo-Car-Key unless of course you have your mouth full in which case it's pronounced ogg-glogg-gullllp).

Onto the road section at the bottom of Juniper Hill and we pass a big bunch of roadies who have stopped for a break. Turns out it's a group led by my good buddy Nick F although I don't recognise him at the time.

Across the A24 and the draggy climb up past Denbies accompanied with the wonderful smell of yeast working it's magic on the grapes there and a brief pause to spot Leith Hill tower seemingly miles away on the horizon.

We spot another three MTB riders on a similar route to ourselves. This is the local Cannondale club with all three rider 'Dales and one even riding a classic Scalpel with Lefty fork. They all admire the Capra and we follow them to Ranmore Common road before going our separate ways.

A slippery, chalky descent of White Down and across the A25 to climb up The Rookery where we spy another MTB rider that I keep on bumping into. A brief hello before we continue climbing and Leith Hill Tower finally hoves into view where we spy three well known local 'faces' in the form of Jonesy, Si and Niall out on a Dark Diary ride.

The force is strong at the Tower and without much ado we follow these three back down the Summer Lightning trail set with the promise of a new trail in store. But they drop us somewhere and so we return down the Rookery descent.

I'm smashing down the energy gels at this point, circa 4 and a half hours into the ride and some really tough climbs with lots of soggy surfaces and thick mud thrown in for good measure. But a tailwind up Pilgrims Way and then along Admira's track sees us fly past Bocketts Farm and drop down into Leatherhead then up to the A24 dirt jumps pointing a lost roadie the right way before the final climb up to Stane Street again. From here it's a simple 8km road trip back to Ewell and I gratefully push my bike through the side gate to set to it with a hose, sponge, selection of brushes and some fairy liquid.

What a ride.

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


29th November 2015
Riders: Richard, Lonegroover, Mark & Greg
Holmbury Hill & a taster bit of Pitch
9 degrees

No ride report last week as the week before last was one of the toughest weeks I have ever had in cycling. It all started on Friday 13th November when I weighed myself after a night out on the town. Okay, so I haven't been paying attention to what I have been eating but when I hit 14 stone or 89 kilos, my heaviest ever in 51 years I knew it was time for a diet.

Sam, my eldest has been doing a carb-free diet (similar to the Atkins diet) for a few weeks so I decided to join him in cutting out the bread, pasta, potatoes, crisps etc. I also cut out sugar too.

But I was still cycle-commuting, four days or 240 km in total, on a carb-free diet. Carbs of course are the fuel for exercise i.e. cycling so I was running on empty. Combine that with headwinds of over 45 mph on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and my 50:17 ratio singlespeed and there was nowhere to hide and one point where I swear I almost stepped off the bike and cried. It was brutal.

But I pushed through the pain in the way us cyclists do and was losing weight fast. Seven pounds or 3 kilos in the first five days.

I'm still dieting but as the weight loss was going well, 12lb's or 5 kilos lost by last night I had some rice with my chilli con carne yesterday evening and then some porridge this morning to fuel me on my way today.

And it worked, I felt much more at home on the bike in a svelte 13st 2lb or 83kg form as I guided Greg and Mark on their first visits around the Surrey Hills on an MTB (Greg has ridden here many times on his road bike).

We stuck to the usual trails getting splashed with plenty of dirty water spray but on the whole the trails were firm, much firmer that we have encountered on recent LOMAC rides and we all had a good time. Greg struggled a bit on the descents and it wasn't until half way through the ride that we realised his forks weren't even moving so he was in essence riding a fully rigid bike. But he stuck manfully to it as we waited at the bottom of descents for him.

Mark is a virtual work colleage and has ridden a few XC races but has been phased by the technical bits so I offered to lead him around the fun trails so that he could learn how to tackle the many different trail features outside of the stress of an XC race. And he generally coped okay with only one or two minor tumbles.

All the usual groups were out today with Wobbem, Jonesy and The Roominator in one group, Shane and his mate in another, Jim and the Join-a-Ride/Crash group out too and many of the local 'faces' also out.

Another really fun day out on the hills which was made better when I weighed myself on my return to see that I had hit 13 stone dead or 82kg's my target weight. I celebrated with three rashers of bacon, mushrooms and a cheese omelette which are all part of a carb-free diet, just no sauces allowed!

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on

 

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


 

Ride Archive

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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'