I had planned to use the Scott Scale 920 this weekend and wanted to get a feel for riding the South Downs Way. I realised that, apart from sections of the SDW between Amberley and Steyning, I try to avoid riding it. I might talk about it every day but I usually ride narrower and more technical trails. I had an idea that I would ride to QE country Park and back as I had the whole day. But after a lazy start and doing various jobs which included cleaning the Scale 920 I didn’t set out until one pm.
I could not bear to ride a dirty bike even though it made more sense to clean it after my ride. The Scale was demoed on Thursday and returned very muddy. In fact it was commented on by every customer that afternoon. The rider “didn’t think that it was that muddy”. I suppose that I should not complain as that perception and/or the alternative propensity for the indiscriminate use of the hose are key sources of income for our workshop.
The ride was easy enough heading out but tough despite my view that it had “motorway” status. The wind on my back helped. I had hoped to get as far as the A286 but turned back at Littleton End where the path descends to the A285. At that point the whole track was severely frost damaged and I wasn’t about to get the bike as dirty as it was before I had cleaned it. The journey back into wind was torture. My legs had gone. I was finished and ached all over. Was it man flu? A hangover from Tuesday’s effort? Lack of food? Riding in the afternoon or just the wind? I don’t know but I was really suffering.
It certainly wasn’t the Scott Scale 920. I had set it up and the cockpit was 20mm longer than my bike and 20mm lower. I realised that the last time that I had ridden the Scale was at the XC Southern Champs last June. I’d finished 7th so the bike must have worked alright. This one was even lighter and, like the last time, I was not going to ride a bike without a Shimano skewer so rather than just change the skewer I fit my wheels which saved me another 560 grams. The bike only weighed just over 10.5kgs/23lbs. The Scale was comfortable and fast, a great climber and the Syncros saddle was really comfortable. I’d change the grips and whilst I thought that Fox’s CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) handle bar mounted adjuster was great idea. I never used it. It stayed in Descend the whole trip. As my Kinesis FF29 is shorter and more upright and I am used to it I can’t honestly say whether the Scale is a better fit or not. I presume that it was better on the steeper climbs but as I felt so bad I can’t offer an opinion. I’ll try it again with a shorter stem.
An old friend who’s not been out for a long time joined me for the journey back but instead of providing moral support I struggled to chase him home. With the sun in the west and my route heading east I never did catch him. He has been my constant companion over the years but, like everyone else, has not been out for months. In case you haven’t met him, he only rides when the sun is out, he’s my shadow.
Here is the ride. Not very interesting but a real struggle, I even opted for the road/pavement from Muntham Farm.