Watagan Wednesday

3 11 2010

For quite some time I have been planning to ride the Sawmill trail in the Watagans and have continually postponed it as things got in the way. Foul weather, world solo’s, work and HMBA commitments have scuttled a few expeditions however the stars aligned today and I packed the car this morning and headed off into the golden sunshine.

I had grand plans of taking the camera and shooting some award winning images of idealic trail but promptly forgot to pack the camera. Next time i’ll remember….. maybe.

My first stop was Gateshead cycles where I dropped in the Anthem for some TLC. I have only had the bike for 18 months, however, it has done its fair share of kilometers and I am pretty sure every component on the bike needs some loving. So it is getting a full overhaul and in the mean time, the single speed is my go to bike.

Arriving at Pringles Rd, I geared up and rode 5 pedal strokes before deciding I would put some air in the rear tyre. I didn’t have a spare 29er tube (only a 26 er) and with my recent history of pinch flats,  I figured I had better save myself some hassles and add some air now rather than trail side later on.  Twenty pump strokes later, I pull the pump off only to hear a gushing torrent of air ejecting itself from where the valve core used to be. It seems that the shearing stresses placed on the valve by the mini pump, combined with at least 10 previous mini pump inflations (yes, it had been patched that many times!) was just too much and the tube gave up the ghost.

I stared at the bike in disbelief for a few moments while weighing my options. Should I shoe horn the 26er tube in there and chance a ride without any form of spare tube? Should I suck it up and drive the 15k’s to the bike store and get some tubes? Sanity prevailed and I went to see Dallas at Breakaway Cycles.

While there, I finally got around to getting rid of the old Nevegal on the rear and purchased a Maxis Aspen. I’ve become a total fanboy of the Ardent on the front and the Aspen looks equally adept as a rear tyre. I bought a few spare tubes while I was there (I still owe you one from the Berresfield ride Kev) and mounted the new tyre up in the shop before heading off for round 2 of man vs tyre.

Thankfully, this time there were no catastrophic tube failures and my ride went perfectly smoothly. The aspen is surprisingly grippy when I am grinding up steep pinches on the single speed and was even better under brakes. In short,  I think I have found my perfect trail riding/ touring tyre combination. It was certainly much grippier than the small block mistake I was running several months back.

The start of this ride is an asphalt climb that eventually changes to dirt fire trail while climbing continuously, it’s long and unrelenting. The gradient  holds steady at nearly 8% for over a kilometer in the middle and the whole thing lasts for nearly 10 ks. A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have blinked at this and had even contemplated doing hill repeats on it. Today, it hurt me. I made it to the top without stopping however there were times I could taste blood while doing it. Its amazing how quickly you lose fitness when you don’t ride for a couple of weeks and this was the perfect example.

The second portion of the trail is almost all descending through rocks, sandy berms, roots and puddles. There were small puddles, big puddles and MASSIVE puddles. I gleefully smashed through them and covered myself from head to foot in mud and didn’t once think about the well being of my drivetrain. Single speeding doesn’t suit all the riding I do and i’ll never forsake gears altogether, but I won’t be riding anything else to puddle bash.

Saturday morning should see a repeat of this ride with the cogheads followed by some exploring in Patterson. Sunday morning is the HMBA 3 hour that I intend to ride on the single speed and finally, Sunday evening will see me riding Manly dam. It is going to be a fairly hectic weekend but I think my riding mojo has returned.

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10 responses

3 11 2010
b rad

abandon the buttons

unnecessary trinkets

4 11 2010
Dallas

It seems Ive taken a job at Gateshead as well as my shop, no wonder I dont have enough time in a week to ride.

4 11 2010
pi11wizard

You’d like it at Gateshead, they have doughnuts!

(I made the exact same mistake in reverse in the first draught of this post and it seems I overcorrected – now edited).

4 11 2010
Flogger

SS Sunday – Woohoo!!

4 11 2010
Sammydog

So it took you all of what?, over night to loose your mojo, Drive to work…phfffffff.

4 11 2010
pi11wizard

I’m fickle

Sent from my iPhone

4 11 2010
mclovin

I`ve lost my mojo to and if any one finds it please let me know ?

4 11 2010
b rad

I left you a stack of work for tomorrow Dallas, all the shite jobs for the new guy

4 11 2010
Sammydog

Come on b rad, we all know that no-one really works in a bike shop.

6 11 2010
The Dan

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