Sunday, 6 October 2013

Crash Boom Bang

At the beginning of the day I thought to myself, today won't be more fun or exciting than yesterday... LITTLE did I know what was about to happen.
Six of us started at Dorking Station. Today was an intermediate ride, so none of us were going to get away with a flat route, we were going to work and earn our tea & cake.
We started with the White Downs and connected with the 22. At Abinger, Marie stared at the cows and made a voluntary dive into the grass, we realised a noise on her back wheel shortly after her tumble. Liezl is an expert in v-brakes and quickly found the problem. The rim burst/split and was rubbing against the brake pads. She opened the brakes more and Marie was able to continue the ride with her front brake only. She was determined to be on this ride especially after the mission it was to get to Dorking on time. First she missed the train as they changed the platform at the last minute, then 'Spiertier' Willie fastened the quick release so tight that she couldn't get the front wheel off to put it in the back of her car. Her frustration gave her the extra strength she needed and she was able to join us in the end. 

Mechanics at work
We stayed on the 22 up to after Shere. We then followed the route crossing the train line and went up in the trevine/kloof. It is a bit of a longer, technical climb but with a nice gradient. That part of Peaslake is usually quiet and you feel totally removed from the rest of the world. I was so proud of everyone as we were all equally matched and sitting right on each others wheels.
At the top of this climb we (Pokkeltjie & myself) rewarded ourselves with some fun in 'Die Sloot/The Ditch' as we call it. The Ditch has 2 lines, one steep smooth line and one less steep, but rooty line. Pokkeltjie went for smooth and steep and I went for less steep & rooty. Liezl went first and as she finished she wanted to turn around and look what I did... By the time I stopped I spotted her flat on her back in the middle of the road, moaning and groaning. I instantly thought, collarbone... Luckily nothing was broken and the moaning & groaning was just attention seeking. :) We decided that we would like to get Liezl's style on video, so she had to have another go. She did it brilliantly again and even rounded it off with a nice jump. I had total brain failure and didn't get it on camera. Liezl then volunteered to go a 3rd time. I was starting to consider to try her line WHEN I spotted the little tree stump roundabouts where you would land when you come out of the jump.
Seconds after my last thought my tree stump fear happened. Liezl's back wheel landed on the tree stump and she got catapult over her handlebars! 3 seconds went by before her bike landed on top of her head as she was busy pushing herself up from the ground.
We were all shocked and very concerned. She was moaning and groaning, but moving and not to badly injured. A cut on her arm and some major bruising. We made a makeshift bandage with my arm/knee warmer and stopped the bleeding.
She did 'The Ditch' a fourth time and redeemed herself!
My nerves were hanging on a threat as we will say in Afrikaans as we continued, it could've been so different, but I am very greatful that she was fine. We moved across to Christmas Pudding & Carpet land for some single track action.
The sun, the leaves and weather was just amazing. Here Lara is styling!
Halfway down I heard something behind me and stopped. Sara came off her bike so we went to see if she was ok. Her bike landed on her and her leg got bruised, but she was ok. The right hand  gear casing from her bike broke off and was hanging lose. We tried to position it back on with a plaster, but it didn't quite hold. Two guys came passed us and I asked if they had ductape with them, they didn't, but the one offered his last cable tie to us. We managed after lots of faffing to tie it back on and just left her gears in a gear that she could stay in for the rest of the day... Middle ring front and middle back.
Bronwen, Lara, Marie, Sara & Pokkeltjie
After all of this drama we had a well-deserved tea break at Peaslake Village Store where Trudy offered us lots of TLC. We had a non-eventful but FAST return to Dorking station. A record 45 minute sprint via the flat route to Dorking Station and made the next train back with 5 minutes to spare.
I send our in-house nurse a text to ask if she was home as Pokkeltjie needed some medical attention. Nurse Saartjie was pleased to know that I was not the patient this time and she was ready with savlon, cotton wool and an extra dosage of TLC. I only had Mr Myprodol left in my TLC-cabinet and provided Pokkeltjie with some at church that evening. :)
Thank you Ladies, I had a ball despite all the mishaps along the way, it is all part of the adventure.
Check out our route:
Add-ons for my first-aid/essential-must-have kit in the future
1. Ductape
2. Cable ties
3. Pain killers
4. Plasters
In one of my previous blogs, "My Favourite Things" I mentioned Squirtlube I am now proud to announce that Squirtlube is sponsoring Tango Cycling. I will be handing out sample sizes when I see you next time. No more dirty hands when dealing with your chain, less time needed to wash your bike as you will never have to degrease your chain again is just some of the benefits when you use Squirtlube! #morefunforless
Future Rides:
20 October - Intermediate: Men & Women
2 - 3 November - Skills Weekend: Men & Women (note no ladies ride in November)
30 November - Beginners: Ladies
1 December 2013 - Intermediate: Ladies
Drop me a line if you would like to join us.

Try this link if the video doesn't work.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Mushroom Files

Saturday was probably one of the most fun days I've had on the bike in a long time.

In order to get to the trails quicker we took the flat route out towards the 22. We met Jill at Abinger and went passed the farm down to the Volunteer. We bumped into Lizzie, Iain & Dan at the top of the hill at the farm. Had a nice chat with them, told the girls just how hardcore they are. :)

Carrie-Ann, Saartjie, Letitia, Karen, Pokkeltjie & Jill

The girls were all super strong, I was taking some shots from not enough sleep and was just so lazy to do anything that involved effort. I spotted my 2nd snake in England, the shock was enough to get me to pedal faster.

The leaves are starting to change colour and the area was scattered with all kinds of different mushrooms! A beautiful and interesting fairy tale spectacle, they are absolutely fascinating.
Karen styling on Bron's bike
The adrenaline junkies amongst us did Yoghurt Pots twice and all of the others were appointed to take some videos while others did a 2nd or 3rd run.

We were waiting on Saartjie to finish her 2nd YP-loop before I heard this typical girly squeal... Followed by TTTTTCCCCCC! I ran back up the trail to hold Saartjie's hand and Liezl came along to hold my hand. :)
We got to Saartjie and there she sat facing the trail backwards with her bike also facing the wrong way... She was pretty much winded and just in shock. Pokkeltjie & I didn't give her much sympathy as I was more worried that a speedster was going to crash into us if we stayed on the track. So she just had to get on with it. :) She got back on her bike and did YP a third time with NO crashes.

We also did Barry Knows Best and treated ourselves with tea and treats at Peaslake Village Store. We also bumped into Roald, Pooh Bear, Iain, Lizzie & Dan again. 

On the flat route back, Liezl decided it was time to challenge my one and only QOM on my favourite Tunnel of Love downhill section. She trashed it with 9 seconds AND she had to slow down for people! We found 3 clusters of oyster mushrooms in the middle of the track. It was massive at first I thought it was a tree stump, but it was this squeesy slippery mess!

We left Jill at her car in Abinger and started heading homeward bound. At Dog Poo Dodge, Liezl and I decided to dice each other and oh dear it was at that point where everything fell apart behind us. As soon as we went round the corner, Carrie went flying into the bushes and winded herself. Karen broke her chain, no I mean, Karen broke Bron's bike chain on the short steep climb whilst I was waiting for them oblivious of what had happened where the road joins the bigger road again. I then realised that maybe they got lost or had trouble and started riding back. Saartjie filled me in on all that went wrong when I got back to them.

I asked Karen where the chain was, she looked down to where it would've been and said there... There was nothing! She quickly ran back and found it. Carrie was fine. I swapped bikes with Karen and sent Saartjie to get Liezl to come and push me up the hills. Hahaha

I freewheeled as much as possible and held onto Liezl's camelbak where and when I was losing speed. I learnt this *manoeuvre from Zane when Cecilia had chain problems on the exact same track earlier in the year.

Whilst we stopped at the very conveniently located Head for the Hills to get the chain fixed Liezl escorted Carrie & Letitia to the station and met us back at Head for the Hills. This allowed us more time to pop into this awesome cook shop that I always longingly look at when we sprint back to the station. It is an incredible shop, it has everything any cook can dream off and it was so nice just to 'look' at the stuff. My bank balance & camelbak limited me to buy anything apart from a small gift for a friend's birthday. :)

Give me the pinky & I'll grab
the whole hand... :)
Once on the train back to London the guard announced that there was a fatality at Wimbledon and we would be delayed. We were deliberating if we should get off & ride or if we should sit it out. We started chatting to the guard and he told us, "You have F((*&&^% bikes you have no problem!" To which I asked him, "Don't you think we rode far enough for one day? You are so cheeky." He then turned around and said, "It's not cheeky, it's common sense." I absolutely loved it, he put me right in my place.

We continued giving him stick as he made poor announcements etc. I suddenly thought it might be my only chance ever to be in the drivers cabin of a train and asked him if I could check it out. He agreed unexpectedly, so Liezl & I got right in there, under strict instruction NOT TO TOUCH anything. That was incredibly hard as it is soooo tempting, but also hard not touching anything when you have to get out of the driver's chair. We made it all the way to Raynes Park and secretly didn't want to get off the train as we were enjoying the banter with him way to much. Apparently Saartjie panicked and asked if he knew that we were double trouble and that he just left us on our own in the drivers cabin to which he replied he noticed. I love the Irish, fun & straight talking.

I mentioned Squirtlube in my previous blog about "My Favourite Things" and am now proud to announce that Squirtlube is sponsoring Tango Cycling. I will be handing out sample sizes when I see you next time.

This weekend was the first time that we tried out the smaller groups of riders and it worked so well. Thank you Pokkeltjie for riding back & forth like a yo-yo, first to push & pull me and then to lead the way to the station. Thank you girls for joining, it has been one of my most memorable days of cycling in Surrey for me. #morefunforless 

Quote of the day: "It's not cheeky, it's common sense." Irish train guard on South West Trains.

Our route:

Future Rides:
20 October - Intermediate: Men & Women
2 - 3 November - Skills Weekend: Men & Women (note no ladies ride in November)
30 November - Beginners: Ladies
1 December 2013 - Intermediate: Ladies
Drop me a line if you would like to join us.

*This manoeuvre is risky and is not recommended unless necessary. I have come off the very hard way from messing about with it before, but I have also concurred a 25km climb with the assistance this manoeuvre offers in times of need. :)