Sometimes you have to ask yourself why you ride. To get fit, to, to keep fit, to be social, to get there, for fun, to be outside, or simply for pleasure. I acheived all but social. With the weather forecast looking grim I needed a plan to get the most out of my weekend. It has been eight weeks since my last mountain bike ride and I couldn’t have picked a worse day to get out. Or could I? It depends on your enthusiasm and aims. Saturday was exceptionally mild even well into the early hours of Sunday so the thought of riding in the rain didn’t seem too bad. In fact when I left home it was still mild and not raining enough for me to bother with a waterproof jacket. I enjoyed the ride all the way despite the increasing rain and dropping temperature. Clothing helps but so does a passion for being out there.
I wanted a change and did not want to strain my knee (ran too far last Sunday) so mountain biking seemed the obvious choice. When it is wet it is best to have a plan or destination in mind. Mine was Stan’s Bike Shack. I wanted to ride there using the route I had seen scanning the map. I also needed some dirt miles to be able to properly assess the medium Scott Scale 910 that is being sent down for me to try. I have this notion that I need a smaller frame.
The route is great for a novice rider or someone wanting an easy ride, the only real hill being Chanctonbury or, to be precise, The Wiston Bostal. In the wet like today new or inexperienced riders might find the mud and traction a bit of a concern.
The Wiston Bostal is my all time favourite climb. It is not too long or that technical but does require a degree of effort and skill to make it smoothly and fast when wet. The east side drops away steeply and changes dramatically with the seasons. As it is east facing and as I always ride in the morning I have been treated to some wonderful sights as the sun filters through the trees. No such vista today but there is still the odd tree resplendent in golden leaves amongst the rest of the bare winter trunks. Always beautiful.
I was riding the Scott Scale 720. My Whyte 29C Team has gone. And I am between
seasons/bikes. I am still going for a 29er simply for the speed and extra comfort but the 27.5 inch Scale felt great up and down and is more fun than a 29er. So much fun it’s hard to imagine it is the most successful bike in this year’s world cup winning nearly every race. Strange to think that a racing machine can be such a good trail bike. Things moved on from the early days of mountain biking?
Here’s the ride. I created a segment to get there. I know that you should never create segmets as there are so many crappy or repeated bits but this is long, will make a going to get a coffee fun and should help promote Stan’s Bike Shack. We all want Stan’s to be in business for years and years to come.