SUNDAY, MARCH 1

Trail Tune-up #2

This was the end of my recovery week. So I did 3 1/2 hrs on Saturday and 4 1/2 on Sunday. This was after a particularly satisfying fitness test on Friday night.

Before my ride on Saturday, I picked my bike up and decided that the rebound definitely wasn't working properly on the forks. They had felt like they were "packing down" last weekend and my arms and hands were getting sore. I never get arm pump, but I did last week.

I'd ordered the stuff I needed, but hadn't been sure if I was going to service them for a few weeks- Spare time being a rare commodity and all that. Tim Flookes had sent the stuff out the previous day. He must have been holding onto the postman by the neck as I phone him at 5 to 5pm, as I got the bits the next day! Awesome.

2hrs later and I had stripped the forks off of the bike and partially serviced them with new oils and lockout cable.

So I rode from my pad to Cwmcarn and did a couple of laps. I then rode home for tea and medals.

It was strange having forks that work, and work properly. It was heaven!

No arm pump or hand pain.

Result!

Today (Sunday) was trail tune-up day #2.

I went to Machynlleth and tried to rid myself of 3km of road. Well, that was the plan but it didn't quite work out that way.

The route I had worked on was going to be harder because it had a lot more climbing in it. But it was climbing on boggy Bridleway and extended puddles of sheep poo on the various feeding stations. This was not fun. It was really slow going and very smelly in places.

I then realised my mistake in not spending enough time perusing the map properly, which is not like me.

The mistake?

I ended up at the BOTTOM of the chute. This is a huge and fun downhill, which runs on a bridleway and on loose slate. It's a great downhill, but a seriously bad choice for a climb. It took me about 20mins (I think) to carry and ride to the top. it wasn't fun.

Of course, I still had to get to my turnaround point for the day, and it was miles away.

Lesson 1. learned: 3km of unwanted road, is well worth it in this area.

I got a spurt on so that I could get over to Nant-yr-Arian and change a part of the route. This would save me 2Km of road.

The change of route actually provided a much better trail which proved to be much more exciting. The only problem is the big puddles which take a fair bit of navigating around, or riding straight through.

But let's go back a bit...

...The ride, wound up and over towards the top of Mach and where it becomes Nant-yr-Arian. It's more of a concept than a geographical point, but I'm sure everyone would have a similar idea if they were at the same place and going the same way.

This is where we have a bit of scary singletrack, and it's on the originally planned route. You are riding along a valley side on a rutted trail with a drop off on one side. It was all fine today, until I caught my pedal, stopped dead, and teetered on the edge of losing my balance in the direction of the valley floor.

The valley seemed huge and steep!



I survived.

Next was the first of 3 river crossings, which all see the water reaching well above the axles. This is the one that I carried my bike through about 5 weeks ago.



I got just as wet riding it, as I did when I walked it.

Lesson 2. Your feet will get wet and you WILL enjoy it.

Each river crossing was done twice, out and return. Although the others were narrower, they were just as deep.

The weather has been good, with no rain for the past week, so these are the water levels that I can expect from Mid-April to Mid-May when I plan to do the WC2C. I just need to decide if it's worth riding through them, or walking; with respect to maintaining the bike as serviceable for the whole route.

Hmmm?

So, by the end of today's ride I had gotten myself covered in sheep muck and mud, and washed it off (6 times). I had also managed to wipe 2Km of road off of the route around Nant.

The 3km of road around Mach is staying. That's enough trail tuning for this area.

A good weekend.

It's back to full training loads again, tomorrow.
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