If there is a bad time to sell your second MTB (yep the Cotic is gone), it’s the week before your first MTB develops a critical fault preventing you from riding it! So with the only working bike being my CX/commute bike, in commute mode (full length mudguards, puncture proof road tyres), any weekend riding currently has to be of the road variety…and as a committed mountain biker through and through, this is not good!
So first of all, what’s happened to the Rallon? Well, on the last ride I noticed my driveside pedal wobbling so cut the ride short and headed home, thinking my 5-6 year XT pedals had given up. They had, but that wasn’t the issue and it was actually the aluminium pedal insert in my carbon cranks that had worked loose. A fairly common issue with these cranks apparently. So resigned to the fact the bike was unrideable until getting my warranty replacement sorted, I decided after 18 months it was time to strip the bike down, get the frame bearings replaced and get my fork and shock serviced by Dave at RSF Suspension. Might as well get it all done now and ready for race season.
So, in need of a ride a couple of weekends ago, I headed out for a road ride on the CX bike. I had a rough idea of where I’d go and with a 20mph northeasterly, figured I’d head down towards Zennor and back. Now, I realise one of the attractions of road riding is being able to churn out the miles in relatively quick time and with relatively little effort. The sun was out, the scenery was awesome and the tailwind was epic and I ended up 29 miles away at Land’s End in an hour and three quarters. Hmmm…I was almost convinced road riding wasn’t as bad as I thought.
After stopping for an overpriced sandwich, I walked back out expecting more sunshine, only for it to be grey, dull and now with a 20 mph headwind. The ride home was a chore made worse by increasingly tired legs. Still, I was determined to crack 50 miles and when my front door was in sight, 55.95 miles were on the clock…so I rode up the street and back to knock it over 56, for my longest ride in 7 years.
Did I enjoy it? Well, the first half was alright. The second half not so much. After another, shorter road ride last weekend, road riding feels very much more about watching the stats on the GPS…how fast am I going?…how many miles have I done?…what’s my average speed? The views are there, but staring at the road for hours on end isn’t exactly thrilling for me. I get that you can switch your mind off more in terms of the road in front of you and that there might be something in keeping a consistency of effort going rather than the short and sudden bursts when riding off-road…but that enjoyment hasn’t found me yet.
I’m definitely NOT a road rider and I can’t see myself ever really getting into it. Yeah, I’ll do a bit on my CX bike when training for the MTB season, or if the weather’s been that crap that I just can’t be arsed with ‘another muddy MTB ride’ (although winter Cornish roads are literally as muddy as the trails so it’s not much cleaner). ‘CX rides’ are a good compromise so I’ll be sticking more with those in the future I think when mountain biking isn’t an option.
The good news is that Silverfish were amazing with my Raceface cranks and being up the road, relatively speaking, a 2 hour turnaround on the warranty replacement was impressive. This week, the frame bearings should be done and next week I’ll have the suspension back, just in time for the Pearl Izumi meet up and ride at Woburn Sands in a couple of weeks.
I’m looking forward to the induction, but looking forward even more to riding a proper bike again!