Sunday, 29 October 2017

Dartmoor Dividends ....

Yesterday we had an early morning shakedown to Dartmoor via the Teign Valley and climbed from the from bottom of Steps Bridge to Moretonhampstead - a great climb on the whole with a couple of super steep sharp sections offset by a decent long climb on good tarmac, washed down with a fast decent into the base of Morton before a 20% hill asks you questions as you actually arrive in Moreton, a typical damp Dartmoor village.  Mildly slower over the three miles but there was a nasty head wind pushing us back and post 85 miles on Tuesday it was nice to spin up the legs.

This kind of ride asks questions of the rider and the kit as it is one of those days when a climbing bike is required heading up, but once at the top, a team car would be ideal and you can transition to an aero-bike and super deep wheels to enjoy the way down as the road currys favour..

That said I took the TCR over the F8 yesterday as it suits this ride. It is something else. We literally buried it on the Lustleigh road coming back and whilst topping out at 40.3 mph on the flat I held 20.7 mph for 6 miles. Again a bit boom or bust bike riding as I call it but 'Devon dividends' can be like that, what you lose you gain. There are too many great descents for overtly controlled bike riding going down and the thrill of hammering the bike is just great.  This segment or section of road has become and all time favourite of mine and begs for the beanz though care has to be taken as you do get the Saturday and Sunday car drivers pottling about, unaware that we are holding 35-40 mph in sections going down. In the year 2017 I have shaved 8 minutes off this decent simply by getting fitter and thus faster as the year progresses. But do not let the image of the segment below trick you, as fast as it is, there are some very heavy switch backs and a couple of off camber 15% climbs which bring any speed to a brake shuddering halt which is a shame.

My kit was flawless yesterday and again winter looms so it is nice to enjoy the 'A' bikes before the single speed comes out to play. It is a real luxury having an SL TCR and a Dogma F8 in the stable. I am a lucky lad. The 303's stay on the TCR and the Spin wheels stay on the Dogma. Horses for courses. A wasp to a bumble bee. They are very different bikes set up with different kit. Short reach bars on the TCR as longer reach (39.5cm) as a bike frame, where as the Dogma has a longer stem and a long reach, long drop classic bar for comfort and position as a shorter reach bike overall at (38.5cm) reach which is great for long fast cruising miles and super fast descending with a mildly slacker head tube. That said both bikes light up at fast speeds as you would expect from a race bike. At 15-18 mph they basically ride the same. Go north of 18mph and the after burners engage, which is how pro bike riders feel 24/7. I will smash through my 400 miles a month target for October and will see how November pans out. I only did 170 miles last November after crashing the bike in between Ashcombe and Dawlish Water with terribly greasy roads rendering my traction moot after a car appeared from nowhere. Of course the clocks have changed now and really where are in what I feel is winter for the British bike rider now. However, it is glorious sunshine today. Result.

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