Humbling but still enjoyable

It wasn’t until 5:30pm yesterday that I finally decided what today’s ride would be. I am so torn between road and off road that I usually leave the decision to some one else. If there is a race on that’ll decide, if there is a bike to test that’ll do it but yesterday my riding buddies were leaving it to me. What made up my mind was weight and effort. If we were to mountain bike my colleagues have 20lbs and 22lbs bikes. Mine weighs 24lbs but my light wheels were on the Riftzone (26lbs). I’m already 10kilos (22lbs) heavier than Joe so weight is an issue. I still had to faff about as my road bike had been stripped of its Strada 46mm deep section carbon wheels and so I had to hunt about for my cassette, fit standard brake pads and reset the gears. I took my Ultremo Rs home but lost the will to fit them and so road with winter tyres (Grand Prix 4 Seasons).

I met up with Will then picked up Joseph and did our Goodwood Loop. Nice and flat on the way out then hilly and pretty on the way back. We were going to take Will for his second road ride and teach him what’s what. At Tangmere, I told him that despite the fact that he was quite capable of powering off the front he was pushing a very big gear and although it wasn’t a problem riding with us it could be if he was riding with fast riders (since riding with Will I have to admit that I am both slow and old, and another thing: heavy).

From here we began to climb over the Downs to East Dean. Will just rode away dropping Joe, and I just tried to minimise the gap. I rode up faster than ever before but that is no consolation if I was still bringing up the rear. Will has a weakness: descending. I can’t claim to be able to drop him but I can leave him miles behind on the descents. I really like descending and cornering – it’s the mountain biker in me. Just like mountain biking I make a real effort to improve my technique and efficiency, no point in losing speed or wasting energy coming out of a bend.

Whilst I was feeling tired on the way out I woke for the return leg. This is my favourite part of the ride. The closer we get to home the harder I want to ride so for a while I can enjoy being at the front. The lanes from Duncton, through Sutton to Bignor are some of my favourites.

At the end of the ride Will moved up to lead and I watched him power away at 25mph. With his oversized jacket unzipped and flapping in the wind he made such a hole in the air that it was quite easy to stay in his slip stream. Riding with him certainly puts me in my place. I thought that I was a reasonable rider still capable of holding my own in a road or mountain bike race. I have been humbled.

Here’s the ride

What about the kit? Back on the Fulcrum Racing Ones was hard work. They are great wheels but no where near as comfortable as Darren’s Strada 46s. However, it was nice to have a stiff set again as I like to sprint and the Fulcrums are definetley better for that. The 46s are a sportive riders dream.

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