Lazy Sundays

A quiet day today. Finally finished tidying up from the BBQ by cleaning both BBQ’s and returning the borrowed one to it’s rightful owner.

Went for a quick spin on the Craftworks. The SRAM trigger shifters work superbly, only once did I forget and try to shift up a gear using my index finger. I did accidentally shift once when I nudged the lever with my thumb, but other than that they were nice and precise and easier to use than Shimano. Having now ridden a familiar route, the bike is a lot more balanced with the Fox Vanilla’s on the front. The next upgrade will probably be a 185mm rotor for the rear to replace the 160mm on there at the moment.

Unfortunatly it’s back to work tomorrow, and it’s also the start of the skittles season. It’ll be interesting to see if we can manage to raise a complete team this year.

Another Saturday, another hangover.

Had a BBQ for a few friends last night. A few people didn’t turn up, so in the end there were only 6 of us eating, and there was far too much food and alcohol. The last of the guests stumbled off home around midnight leaving me to finish off the last of the wine. I ended up falling into bed about 2am which probably wasn’t a wise move.

Today was mainly taken up with building a wall in the garden, or more precisely watching my Dad build a wall while I struggled with a hangover. Popped down to the LBS at the end of the day to get a few bits to try to cure the erratic shifting on the Craftworks. Came back with new Sram Attack trigger shifters, new 9spd cassette, and a new 9spd chain. Even after only a quick spin I’m very impressed with the shifters, they seem more intuative than the Shimano equivalent. If I can get my head working properly tomorrow, I’ll go for a proper test ride.

Mike has written a much better report about White’s Level than I managed. Shame about the ugly bloke in all the pictures though :)

White’s Level

Today was “riding day”. I picked Mike up at 9:30 ish, and we headed off in the direction of Afan, planning to ride the new White’s Level trail. After missing the turning the first time, we finally parked up and found someone to take our parking money. Bikes were extracated from the car and we headed out looking for the route. And promptly went the wrong way. After looping back through the carpark, we started out again, this time in the correct direction.

The route itself is quite techinical. It starts out with about 6km of singletrack climbing which is relentless, and not always particularly easy. However this is pretty much all the climbing on the route. You get it all out of the way in one, fairly hefty, chunk. Once at the top the trail points downwards and comprises lots of rocky singletrack, with a couple of bits of fireroad to link sections together. I managed to pile myself into a bank once whilst trying to avoid falling down a hill, then a bit later drifted the front wheel into a large rock at the side of the path and exited the bike over the bars. Slightly battered and bruised I carried on.

All too soon the ride was over and we got back to the carpark. There we bumped into the trail architects, and started to dismantle the bikes. They tried to tempt us with talk of a 6km descent which is part of the new, as yet unopened, 46km route. The downside of this was that we would need to ride the 6km climb again to get to the start of it. This idea lost out to getting lunch in the cafe. That was until the offer came to drive us to the top of the descent. Now we were talking.

The bikes we loaded into the back of the van and we set off. Eventually we arrived at the top of the descent and were pointed in the right direction, and promised a 6km descent back to the carpark.

This was a fantastic descent, smooth and whoopy at the top, followed by a loose rocky part in the middle with some rather large rock steps, them more rocky singletrack. The only downside of it is the 40km you’ll officially need to ride to get to it. It didn’t feel like 6km long, but thats probably because we were having too much fun riding down it. I also avoided crashing which was a bonus.

With the riding over, we reloaded the car and nipped back down the road to the cafe at Afan for sausage, egg, and chips, washed down with cold Coke, and cups of tea. Then it was time to head back to Bath.

All in all, a good days riding. The White’s Level trail needs to bed in a bit more, but is a nice technically demanding route which is well worth a visit. If the last descent is anything to go by, the new 46km route will also be fantastic.

Fork off

The new IS +25 adaptor arrived this morning so the Craftworks now has nice Fox Vanilla 125R forks, and the Stiffee has the Z1 Drop-Offs.

In a spooky co-incidence sort of way, I was offering to sell my Jack Flash frame to someone on STW who wanted one. Turns out it’s the guy who I bought the frame from last year who turned out to be my ex-neighbours brother-in-law.

Gears are gay

I think the gears on the Craftworks are jinxed, I just can’t get them set up properly. They were skipping and jumping on the way home tonight, although I gave them a quick tweak just before I got back.

The last time I fiddled with the gears on the Stiffee, they worked perfectly first time, although the overly-long full-length cable outer on the Craftworks might have something to do with it. I am quite tempted to make the move to 9 speed, get a 11-34 cassette, and drop the 20T chainring.

What is it about Ikea?

2:30pm on a weekday afternoon and the place was absolutely packed with people. It took me two circuits of the carpark to find a space, and then I would quite cheerfully have murdered about 100 people in the store who think it’s a good idea to block the entire aisle whilst having a conversation, or tying a small childs shoe-lace, or generally just being a total fuckwit.

At least I managed to get the one main thing I wanted which was a 4th Benno DVD storage unit. I think I must have too many DVD’s, although the fact I don’t have room for a 5th unit somewhat limits things.

Bike snobbery

Whilst out riding today, Ian and I had a lengthy discussion about the merits of plain old Deore kit. Ian was riding a mostly Deore equipped Ricky Martin demo bike, and I was on my trusty Craftworks. We came to the general consensus that Deore is pretty damn good, and there is no need to spend the extra on anything “better”.

After a moments contemplation, we both realised that our personal bikes are pretty much exclusively XT or XTR equipped with Hope providing the hubs. All I have in the way of Deore is the hubs and cranks on the Craftworks. Ian doesn’t even have that.

Time to face facts, we are bike snobs who quite happily pay the extra for XT or even XTR in cases.

Bikes = Great

It’s an oft-expressed equation, but one that deserves repeating.

After the excesses of last night I went for a ride this morning with Ian. Once out of the house my head cleared, the hangover departed, and the riding was excellent. The Craftworks is getting better and better despite the randomness of the gear changes.

I seem to be running out of books to read so a trip into town might be in order for this afternoon.