A did not start, a broken spoke and a stiff front end

3 06 2010

It’s been a little while since I last blogged and there are also some things that I just omitted to say, so this is a bit of a catch up.

First up is my realisation that doing 400 +km rides take a lot out of you. Back at the end of April I rode to Kent, and whilst it was enjoyable it was very hard at the end. Then two weeks later I blogged about the 600km Brian Chapman. I was feeling strong, rested and ready to face it. I was all packed and ready to go to Chepstow when I realised that I could not face the mental effort required to ride 600km. Sure, it’s a long way and it makes you physically tired, but it seems the memory of the pain at the end of the 400 two weeks earlier was still to fresh in my head. That’s when I realised that ultra distance events are more than just about your physical fitness, there’s a whole mental fatigue thing well. I figured that it was not critical for my training plan and the ‘big summer ride’ would not suffer. So I did-not-start, drank some wine with Rach and enjoyed a weekend celebrating my father-in-laws 60th birthday. So I still have unfinished business with that ride, but plans for next year mean it might have to wait until 2012.

Then last Thursday I was planning a long day ride on the fixie down to and round the Cotswolds. I follow the Beacon Roads CC  Cotswolds Expedition Audax route, revamped for this year. It’s a great 213km route that starts just south of Brum near Wythall. However, the night before on my way back from meetings in Worcester a spoke broke in the rear wheel, so looks like I would not be riding the fixie round the Cotswolds. That was OK but I knew that this coming weekend I really wanted to ride it on my next 600km as it’s just a more comfy bike to ride. Based an passed experiences I knew it might take a while to get it sorted, this was not looking good. Then I remembered Ben and Venture Cycles in Stirchley. So in I rolled, had a chat and Ben appeared at my house an hour later to collect the wheel. He thought he’d be able to get it done the next day and sure enough whilst out around the Cotswolds I received the call, all sorted. Fantastic, wheel fixed! I like his shop, it’s just repairs, I’ll be back Ben.

So the Cotswold ride happened on the roadrat which I really have decided is not suited for long rides on bumpy roads. The problem being two fold, first the forks are straight bladed and made of robust steel which means every little bump comes straight up through front of the bike and in to your hands which gets really wearing after a number of hours. And secondly, the wheels were built to be bomb prof, which they are, but they are heavy and again stiff. These combine to make the roadrat great for touring with wider tires and a lot of fun of-road but it makes long fast road rides more arduous than they already are. Despite that, I enjoyed the new Beacon Roads Audax route and went round the 150 miles in 9 hours, which means I’m getting quicker.

The plan this weekend is to head to Kent for a 600km ride. I will tell you about it if I do it as it seems to be a bad omen if I write about a ride before I do it.

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4 responses

3 06 2010
Redbike

I had a 600km audax planned for this weekend. However, i’m going to be a DNS. I just feel drained so a 600km ride probably isn’t a good idea.

I was seriously looking at swapping my fixie for something that could handle the stonny/muddy bridleways to work and perhaps a bit of CX in the winter.

My three bikes of choice were the Roadrat, Pompino and Genesis Day one. The Pomino doesn’t have the clearance for CX tyres and mud and the Day-one isn’t available as a frame only, so I’d almost decided upon the Roadrat. (Plus I’d prefer to have discs over cantilever brakes). This post has just forced me to re-think that decision.

3 06 2010
jamesrach

Given what you say about when you are planning on using the roadrat I’d say that it would be well suited. It works well with fatter tires and the straight stiff fork makes it very responsive when mucking around offroad, it’s just long road rides with 25c tires at 110psi when it makes you suffer. I’ve not fitted disc brakes yet but if I spent more time in the muck then I would. Having said that, have you looked a singular bikes?

3 06 2010
Redbike

I would kill for a Singular frame. Sadly they’re way out of budget new and i’ve yet to see one second-hand.

If I was spending that sort of money I’d go for a new 29er MTB and demote my existing one to commuter duties.

My plan was to buy a relatively cheap frame/frameset, swap all the bits over from the fixie, sell my existing frame and end up having paid as little as possible.

25 06 2010
Philip Whiteman

Just came across your blog and noticed the Beacon route. Really glad that you liked it. If you are interested we have couple of others too. The Montgomery Madness is a ‘200km permanent’ but is quite a toughy in terms of the hills. Another is the Snowdrop Express, an event that I’ll be organising in February 2011.

As for Ben of Venture Cycles, he is well-regarded as one of the best wheel builders in the area.

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