Riding for pleasure not pain

The ride

View NW from Amberly mount
View NW from Amberly mount

I rose early excited by the prospect of riding on frozen ground. My wife was surprised that I didn’t want a lay in but some winter days are special. Its not all about going flat out, I told myself, ride for pleasure not speed. And I did. I stopped to take pictures, chat and to take it all in.

Whiteways hidden singletrack
Whiteways hidden singletrack

Riding through the singletrack in Whiteways I saw a bunch of riders and totally forgot where I was. The only time that I come up behind riders on single track is in a race. The red mist descended and I picked them off without saying a word. Incredibly rude and not like me at all. Please accept my apologies. After that there was a short section of single track that more or less follows the 80m contour line from the Denture main fire road to the little carpark on the road to Madehusrt. It is flat, very twisty and rooty and is a great test of you and your bikes capabilities. Today it was the best that I ever ridden it thanks to the roots being dry and the mud either frozen or not too wet. My FF29 is king here.

Kinesis FF29
Kinesis FF29

It wasn’t as cold this morning (-4) as it was yesterday when I rode to work and, with a clear sky, the sun had started to do its worse for my journey back. I chose the most frozen route that I could find and opted to climb Amberly Mount. That also gave me the excuse not to climb my usual run back via the road through North Stoke. I’d told a rider about it and know that he’d be keen to see how slow I am at the moment.

Don't just pedal harder when clogged with mud
Don’t just pedal harder when clogged with mud

I was now on a mission to avoid as much mud as possible and rolling down past the gun club I met two young lads looking bemused at their bikes. They couldn’t have been more covered in mud. I had written a warning on Facebook and on our news page about the risk of riding on melted trails and one poor lad had ripped his rear derailleur off. Reading this you have been warned again. By contrast to these two novices I bumped into a very experienced bunch at Findon Teas Rooms. Their bikes were hardly covered in mud. One was a racing adversary of mine from the past (I must sign up for the Gorrick Spring series!) and another was Darren the wheel builder. I’m proud to say that my bike was the cleanest despite riding 47km including a heap of singletrack. Cleaned it with only 2 buckets of water! I know that you guys like your hoses and we like your servicing business, thankyou, but when it comes to my bike I treat it with the care that it deserves.

The kit

Bike: Kinesis FF29 – fast and furious! Now shod with Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.25.
Jacket: Gore Windstopper AlpX 2.0 zipoff – windproof and breathable and it looks as good riding a road bike as it does in the dirt.
Two base layers, one was the earlier version off the Fox Draft jacket – warm and wicking.
Shorts: Northwave Evolution Bibs, Endura MT500 Spray shorts – comfortable, light weight and the Spray shorts keep the crap out.
Tights: Old Sugoi – the same as the Endura Thermolite bib tights – warm, wet or dry. Head: Buff and Kask Vertigo – best helmet you can buy.
Gloves: Northwave Evo Artic – warm and they could work my touch screen phone!

Northwave Celsius GTX boot
Northwave Celsius GTX boot

Boots: Northwave Celsius GTX – warm, toastie, dry and as good as my racing shoes.

Next ride I’ll be a bit quicker. Strava

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Peter says:

    Hello. Very good post – thanks.
    Btw, do you know any nice – not so muddy – track from Rustington/Angmering to Whiteways/Houghton Forest? I tried ride via Angmering forest, capain’s copse to the south downs way, but it was so muddy so I gave up. I’m new in West Sussex – it’s why i’m asking. Thank you. Peter

    1. There are a lot of options and some of the tracks in Patching Wood and Angmering wood are definitely off limits in the winter. The recent rain and now frost have made most trails really muddy but it is not always like that. As you are local the best way to help you would be for you to come into the shop. We have bespoke digital maps that I can give you.

      1. Peter says:

        Cool. Thanks!

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