Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

December 8, 2008

fussy chains

Filed under: bikes,lunacy - other peoples — dgpowell @ 11:22 am

Fitted new chains to the scandals last week, feeling confident that there was enough life left in the cogs to see me over winter (i prefer to replace the drivechains in spring, in the (vain) hope of not killing said new drivechain over the dry dusty summer months).
I was wrong.

Rode out of the house on sunday morning on the xt equipped bike, to do an hour or so on the flat before meeting up with people, and barely managed to pedal away from the front door, the drivechain was so worn out!
I did about 8 miles spinning really REALLY gently before giving up and nipping home to grab the more xtr-ed scandal for the rest of the ride.

Sadly that wasn’t much better – the middleburn hardcoat-slick-shift middle chainring has lasted the same amount of time as a bog standard (and notoriously cheese-like) xt middle ring…well, to be fair it’s slightly less shagged, but is still shagged enough to not work properly. Arse. Luckily (or sadly, depending on what your priorities are) the big ring was OK and didn’t slip, so I spent the rest of the day churning huge gears. Grrr, check me out with my uber-powerful legs 🙂

Sunday night was, predictably, spent searching the internet for replacement parts. Vomit inducingly expensive replacement parts. Given that I’m not going to have any ugrades as a result of all this spending I feel a bit robbed really…Over 30 quid for a 44t chainring (and this isn’t even the XTR one)?! Pardon?! Is it made of pure gold, hand crafted by naked virginial laydeez before being transported by flying unicorn on a cushion of purest silk?! You thieving sods!

Luckily the ickle 22t chainrings on both bikes had no signs of wear whatsoever 🙂
In fact, the small chainring on the xt scandal is god-knows how old and still barely scuffed (I’ve been racing it for a couple of years and I’m pretty sure Brant (and various magazine journos*) had ridden it once or twice beforehand…)

*and we all know mtb journos are lazy and weak and ride everywhere in the diddy chainring…

December 4, 2008

the antithesis of smart

Filed under: bikes,lunacy - mine — dgpowell @ 2:20 pm

Ordered myself some more (new) winter riding kit yesterday off the ever-present-in-my-internet-history-folder wiggle, after realising that i could no longer get away with calling my old altura cresta gloves “gloves” anymore; they’re more “hole” than “clothing”, the thermal lining is so compressed they feel thinner than some of the summer gloves i own, they always smell like i’ve been wearing them for a good long ride even straight out of the washing machine and putting them on is much like using your fingers to find your way through a labyrinth of unstitched layers – taking an absolute age.

The same story comes in to play with my overshoes, all of which resemble the wetsuit remains of a shark attack victim and tend to flap about on top of my shoes rather than snugly encase them in warmth and water repellancy.

In fact it would be easier to say that I look a state during the winter most of the time – a sort of antithesis of jeff kerkove, with attire than could be described as “homely” at best.

It’s not that I’m a skinflint, god knows I’m happy to spend money on bike related kit, but much of any outfit i wear while riding has memories attached to it – those altura gloves were bought at a bike shop one january afternoon after angela and I had braved the blizzard conditions to ride to a local race (a local race that was cancelled due to the weather, typically), they saved my fingers from frostbite on the ride home and they’ve put up with all sorts of abuse ever since. My tatty endura overshoes kept my toes warm during the 2007 strathpuffer when i ran out of brake pads and had to walk all the descents for about 15hrs of the race.

New stuff just seems souless in comparison. In fact I’m only just starting to class the on-one 3/4 shorts as truely being mine now they’ve got a hole in the knee (must sew that up actually) and a bit of scuffing from sliding around in the mud at various 24r races this past summer.

looking like a tramp while on a bike is my speciality

So, this new kit that’s on it’s way, how long before it feels like mine? The strathpuffer’s in just over a month and that’s always good for legendary stories (plus you end up wearing everything you own…giving everything a good chance of being noticed) and I’ve got a few nice big rides planned before that, maybe this new stuff will take over from my holey old stuff in double quick time. Maybe. I guess I’ll know when i throw out the crusty gloves sat next to me right now without shedding a tear…

December 2, 2008

slip sliding away

Filed under: bikes,new car — dgpowell @ 12:17 pm

We’ve been “blessed” with some proper winter weather over the past few days – you know the sort, really low temperatures, but with no wind and no rain to spoil the party, so it’s actually been a pleasure to get out into the countryside and make the most of it.

Angela and I nipped up to ambleside on sunday and, well, ambled really. A short route round Loughrigg (suprisingly empty of walkers/riders – presumably most people are to wussy to go outside when it’s below freezing) was full of full-on frosty winter views of the hills. The lake district looks ace at this time of year when it’s not immersed in cloud, but sadly I forgot my camera so you’ll have to imagine it (or go there yourself).
Oh, and should you go to ambleside in the car, the little pay and display car park on the way into town is free on sundays between now and christmas – so don’t stand around in front of the P&D machine counting out change like we did, as you’ll look like an idiot…

I also decided, while wandering around loughrigg terrace, that it would make a fantastic night ride location and would be about the right length to nip out, play about and get back in the pub before getting too cold, must sort that out sometime…

Yesterday’s ride was ACE. It was minus 3 when i rode out away from the house and, despite my fingers stinging for the first 15 minutes until i warmed up properly, i got my clothing spot on for the conditions. the temperature guage on my computer never got above 2 degrees but i remained toasty throughout and spent the entire day grinning.
The frozen ground didn’t eat brake pads (in fact the standard organic ones I had fitted had barely worn down at all when i got home), the lube on the chain lasted for hours as there was nothing to wash it off and i didn’t even get wet feet 🙂
I rode around, up hill and down dale for about 6hrs 45mins, not at a flat out pace (tis not the season for that), but spent much of the day searching out the tricky, techy trails that are usually too sloppy and muddy at this time of year and nailed most of them in a most pleasing way.
Only one “off”, when i misjudged the frozen-ness of a big muddy pit and lost the front wheel into a bog, but plenty of smooth (i hesitate to use the word “skillful”, but it kind of was) flowing riding got me up/down/across/over/under most obsticals and kept my spirits high. So high that i didn’t want to go home as the sun set, but being poorly prepared i didn’t know how much battery life was left in the bar mounted dinottes, so i called it a day and nailed the final descent as the last rays light just about lit up the trail in front of me. Nice.

The random patches of sheet ice weren’t quite so much fun, but hey, you can’t have everything i suppose, and they did give me a chance to practice riding VERY gently every now and again! Plus they were a small price to pay to find the top of winter hill completely solid for once!

Oh, the car is in “very good condition throughout” apparently (mr draper would be proud), but apparently my spare tyre has a puncture…which is VERY ODD considering it didn’t have a puncture 2 weeks ago when i replaced it with one of the old rear tyres. Hmm. Dubious…

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