The racing season is over and the ‘good bikes ‘ have been washed and hung up for the winter . The quest for an adrenaline rush and some fitness still remains so where else would we look than the adrenaline junkies paradise of off road riding , or mountain biking as we like to call it .
Yesterday was my first day out with the group off road this year and if this was any indication it is going to out number the road group this winter . Seventeen bikes left Kilsheelan at 9.30ish and this looks set to reach at least 25 for next Sunday if everyone turns up .
As we headed up the back road towards Clonmel before turning into the wood at Tickincor I was already begining to feel the effects of twelve weeks inactivity and a bad dose of lazyitis . Very soon after entering the wood we turned left onto some serious singletrack , all following Paul Barry who did an excellent job as scout for the day . Even though it was pretty steep almost all of the first section was rideable . That was little consolation to my lungs which were about to explode .
We continued on almost all singletrack until we crossed the tarmac road and used a fire road to reach the top of Boola wood . This section was where I was reminded of why I decided to leave the Polar Heart rate monitor at home . It would surely have exploded at this point as I was pushing myself to the limit to stay with the group .
We crested the top and were soon back onto the singletrack , all following Paul and Hugh as they led the way . Each section lasted for 15 to 20 mins and we would all regroup at the end every time . During one of these regroupments Dick O’Gorman decided to give us all a fine display of his acrobatic skills as he tumbled down a steep decent . This too was where Ray Power got his first puncture of the day . The first of only two throughout the entire spin .
This spin was also the first real test of my new mountain bike , a 2008 Giant Anthem 1 . I was very impressed with the bike . For a dual suspension bike it is pretty light at just 28 lbs . Being able to lock out both the front and rear shocks really made a difference when climbing . But when they were engaged for descending they worked flawlessly . The 2008 Shimano xt groupset worked really well and the xtr shadow rear mech stood up well to the test of a branch becoming entangled in it . The xt disc brakes also worked really well and seem to be a slight improvement on the previous model . The Michelin tyres were only suitable for dry weather though and I will change these for next week as they became clogged up pretty easily and turned themselves into slicks . Something like a pair of Specialized Chunder pros should sort this out . The gap between the rear wheel and the frame is also reasonably tight . This is an advantage when climbing or accelerating as the shorter wheelbase works well but it did become clogged with debris at one stage but again perhaps the tyres may sort this out . For €2799 it needed to be something special and overall I would give it 8 out of 10 , but the true indication is that I would not change it for any other bike .
Just over 3 hours after I had left home I stumbled in the door feeling completly drained and offering to feed the baby after I had my shower . This is a good way to get some serious couch time when kids are running around the house and other jobs need to be done . My method consists of liberal use of the bottle while she is in my arms whilst I have my feet up on the couch . Then when she falls asleep I say that I’m afraid of waking her thus gaining at least another hour of couch time . Then when she begins to wake up 30 mins of rocking and soothing should gain another 30 mins . This method should only be used occasionally as if it is over used it may become detected and this may lead to an end to serious couch time for eighteen years or so .
Today I am a little stiff and sore but am really looking forward to next week already .