OK, so i took the afternoon off to go for a ride. The weathermen forecast rain, but i was up for it anyway – the ice that had started to outstay it’s welcome had gone so i could get up into the hills again. Woo.
Setting off I saw two magpies hopping about together and decided that it meant i would have good luck for the afternoon (i’m not in the slightest bit supersticious, but hey, you takes what you can gets). The rain was late in arriving so i set off in warmer temperatures than the previous few weeks had offered and span along nicely for an hour or so before hitting the climb up over the nick of pendle. I cruised up it in just about the same time as i was last summer, but with less gasping for breath, which was ace and as i dropped back down the other side of the hill into sabden a black cat wandered across my path. Obviously this meant more good luck.
Nope, it didn’t. On the next climb (a nice half mile long 1 in 6) I managed to pull my left foot right out of the pedal and nearly threw myself into a hedge. I doubted that the cleat could have worn out already so presumed that i’d just not got enough tension on for silly hauling-up-hills manouvres…i doubted it at that point in time, anyway.
The rain finally arrived after just under 3hrs of riding, so i pulled on my newly re-DWTed waterproof, hunkered down and got on with storming up some more hills. Sadly, the 1001 mile old cateye conputer decided that it’d had enough of me and promptly gave up working. Rubbish.
Scarily, on the big long descents down into wray i had to wind out the barrell adjuster on the rear brake…despite fitting brand new pads just last night, evidently there’s a fair bot of kit out there that isn’t compatible with wet weather!
Riding through lancaster at rush hour, in the dark and pissing rain wasn’t much fun, but mercifully didn’t take too long. I say mercifully as i was getting right royally fed up with dopey xmas shoppers wandering out into the road without bothering to look where they were going. I actually poughed straight into one womans bags of shopping as she lept out from behind a parked lorry to a chorus of “oohh sorry luv, didn’t see you there”. Gah! I’ve got somwhere in the region of 390 lumen blatting out onto the road in front of me, how can you not notice that you stupid cow! Anyway, she came off worse as her parcels of no-doubt-crap pressies took the brunt of the collision. Ha.
Back out of lancaster and onto the A6, still in the pisssing rain and it started geting harder and harder to keep up speed. I wailed in acknowledgement of the puncture i obvously had and set about hunting down a bus stop or similar shelter to sit in and fix it. I found one not far past lancaster uni and squatted in the dark, trying not to think about why everything around me stank of piss while i ran my finger round the inside of the tyre to find the offending thorn.
I popped a new tube in and fired it up to pressure using one of my recently purchased cheapo C02 cartridges. Ha, sorted in double quick time!
About half a mile down the road and something was definately wrong. I stopped and span the back wheel. The tyre had somehow managed to pop off the rim and repuncture itself. Arse. there’s not even anything to shelter from the still pissing rain under now.
2nd Spare tube was fitted, 2nd gas canister was dumped into the tyre. With the realisation that any more rubber related failures would mean a long walk*, as well as the knowledge that, should anything else go wrong and involve me stopping for any period of time i’d get very cold very quickly in this weather, I decided to cut the ride short and head home.
As i set off i had to wind out the barrell adjuster again – the rear pads now visably worn down after only about 75 miles of riding. Maybe the 2 month old cleats were knackered afterall and the tension on the pedals was fine. Maybe stuff doesn’t last anymore.
The not-too-old chain seemed to agree with that sentiment and decided that it would protest about being used in the winter by crunching, grinding and generally feeling like crap all the way home. Boo.
Oh, and to make sure i didn’t change my mind and head back out in to the hills, mother nature made sure all the roads were flooded. Properly flooded, especially the cycle lanes. Flooded to the point where i had 2 choices: ride over god-knows-what under the water, with my feet disappearing at the bottom of every pedal turn or get flattened by the tit-head drivers who decided that they should still drive flat out on the speed limit, despite not being able to see as far, or stop as quickly while giving me all of about 3 inches of room as they passed. Grr.
So, trying to find some positives from todays ride while my overshoes dry slowly on the radiator (and make the house smell of wet dog): 1) the jacket kept the weather out brilliantly, water was still beading off it after over 3.5hrs of properly lashing down rain. 2) I rode over the hills at a speed not dissimilar to last summer’s and i can’t tell i’ve been for a ride (legs wise, the house full of sopping wet clothes kind of gives it away) 3) i can’t think of anything else…oh wait, yes i can – now i get to have some banana and mango torq recovery drink, which is hella-tasty. Woo.
*well, i had some instant-patch things, should another tube have popped, but it would have required sitting around fixing the tube, which is a rubbish thing to have to do mid ride. Oh and i would have had to try and get the tyre back up to around 90psi with a mini pump, which is also rubbish.