Well what a day!
Dr.S organised the route, Old Ned, P20, M-Trax, Reanimation and myself turned up to tackle it. Incredibly all the machinery was fully retro with Dr.S on his awesome Fat Chance, Old Ned on his 'mystery bike', P20 on a gorgeous Ritchey (not sure what model), M-Trax aboard a lovely Raleigh M-Trax with mint RC-35 suspension forks, Reanimation on his stunning and finished Muddy Fox and me on my Raleigh Dyna Tech.
The Mystery Bike
So the waiting was over and the day was upon us, but what would Old Ned produce from under the blanket's in his car? The tension grew as we surrounded his car boot, finally the blankets were peeled back to reveal a mint full suspension
DBR Dual Response! Probably the bike I least expected Old Ned to produce.
The day started with warm sunshine and gentle winds. Mid ride the clouds gathered and the rain poured, we feared the worst as the heavens opened. However just minutes later the weather improved vastly to glorious sunshine. I think we all caught the sun and were spurred on in moments of tiredness by the beautiful day and breath taking scenery.
Alarm bells soon rang when Dr.S brought out his map, cut from a recent issue of mbr, a 'killer loop'! From experience these maps are a bit vague, thankfully M-Trax had a proper map and some local knowledge.
The route lived up to it's 'killer' title, it was a beast. Arm busting downhills, long climbs in the saddle and long climbs where the bike required carrying. With the exception of a few forest tracks and service roads you just couldn't switch off and relax for a minute. For me this is probably the most difficult mtb ride i've ever taken part in.
Sadly we had two retirements on the ride. Firstly, Old Ned who sadly just couldn't get along with his full suspension bike, a real shame as he'd teased us with it for so long and it looked great. He took the long and winding road back to the car park (quite a ride in itself). Fantastic to have you there though Old Ned, just stick to the Scott next time.
Secondly, we lost M-Trax at the half stage, the Ladyblower Inn. A wise move if you ask me as the second half turned out to be the killer. Great to have you along though M-Trax, hope to see you again at the next meet.
Accidents, Losses and Mechanicals
A part from me testing the depth of a ditch early doors there were no accidents or mechanicals to speak of. Testamony to the spannering skills of all who rode, from looking at the terrain you'd have put money on a few flats and bits falling off.
We did however loose M-Trax and Reanimation for a short time. Whilst they were studying a proper map Dr.S, myself and P20 sped off down another killer descent. When they looked up from the map we were gone!
Along the way we came in contact with many of the great unwashed (aka modern riders). Many of whom were astonished to see us in such terrain, on retro bikes, in retro clothing (in some cases) and roaring past them in some cases also. One of them past judgement on my dayglo Raleigh rompersuit calling it 70's, which raises the question 'how can someone so badly educated be able to afford an expensive Specialized'? This Labour government has alot to answer for!
Two modern riders needed treatment for shock when Dr. S and I blew them away on route to the pub (Like I say we were on route to the pub)! They did try to respond but their soggy 6 inches of suspension and 2.5" tyres just weren't a match for our retro rigid bikes and retro tyres.
If viewing pictures of retrobikers, on retrobikes, hanging out their backsides and occassionally testing the depth of ditches are your thing, your in luck! P20 and Dr.S both took enough photo's for 10 retrobike meets. I'm sure they'll both post up in due time.
The Longest Day
We set off from the car park a little after 1015 and arrived back just after 1830! Without doubt the longest RB ride i've encountered. The pace early doors was a bit slow and there where plenty of stops for slower riders to catch up, filled with stories and banter a plenty. We also stopped for a good lunch at the Ladyblower Inn, the smell of salt and vinegared chips led each and everyone of us a stray.
The second half of the ride was gruelling. Firstly, due to our heavy chip filled stomachs and then because of the bloodly great hill between us and the finish. This was the very same hill we'd been shaken to bits by earlier that day as we descended it, now we had to climb it! With bikes on shoulders for most of it we concoured it eventually and then greeted by the rocky, bumpy, rutted singletrack we'd climbed at the very start of our adventure. A can of Red Bull later and Dr.S was unstoppable as he powered through this technically demanding section on his full rigid Fat Chance. P20 was flying too on his fully rigid Ritchey, stopping occassionally to take more photo's. Reanimation and myself bringing up the tail on our full rigids, with arms and legs fit for the scrappers.
(Please add any of your own)
1. Cancel Dr.S's subscription to mbr magazine.
2. Take a proper map.
3. Whilst reading a map keep an eye on the other riders.
4. Full suspension is not for old men.
5. Front suspension looks good on girls bikes.
6. Modern riders need education.
7. That ditch was big enough for one adult male, but not with bike.
8. Chips are great, but sit heavy on your stomach whilst riding.
9. Be prepared for a long old day.