Another hard and tough ride.

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
(sorry for the photo size Court, I'll change them later)

Wiggle Southern Rough Ride 2015
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This ride yesterday was only made possible because of a good friend not being able to make it.

As usual, I can't see the point of driving a distance to ride, only to opt for riding the shorter route.
By the time the first split point was arrived at which was ten miles in, conditions were already deteriorating rapidly, so opting for the 34 mile epic route perhaps wasn't the best of ideas.
Being out with second group of riders, the initial route hadn't been so bad, so I decided just to carry on. I paid for this later on, as the various routes merge, so leaving an absolutely horrendous mess. In some ways, I don't really agree with bridleways being so chewed up as they were by bikes today, and left in a condition so that walkers can't use them.

The event was sold out, but I suspect that many failed to turn up, as the parking was pretty easy. I parked next to a lad who instantly gave a nick name to the KTM Macina Lycan GPS+ He decided to call it "The Space Shuttle" a name that kind of suits it.
As usual I was the only e-mtb rider, so nothing new there, and as usual the bike attracted alot of attention, most of which was positive. The only negative comments were directed behind my back just in conversation between groups of mates. Odd what a group mentality brings out.
Later comments during the ride, all changed to positive, and in some cases, almost excitement and cheer..
I ended up riding on and off throughout the event with a lad who told me some very interesting and amusing info about chainsuck on both Haibikes and Lapierre e-mtbs, but I'll leave it there for now. :)
The lad above had fallen and twisted his groin, and I rode with him to make sure that he was okay, and to encourage him on a bit.

With the ride well underway and the ten mile point reached, the weather deteriorated very badly and quickly. The wind was strong enough to be blowing the icy cold rain horizontal, and it really stung the face. I think that everyone ended up giving up on wearing glasses and goggles, as you just couldn't see anything through them. The wind was strong enough that even on my bike, forward momentum was near on impossible.
It wasn't long before the water proof clothing had given up, and I was soaked through to the skin, and very cold. I had opted for fingerless gloves, and after a while I couldn't even feel my fingers. My Gore-tex Shimano mtb shoes and my Sealskinz socks were also soon swimming in water. It's not a nice feeling knowing that the water can't escape. I didn't hang around at the second food stop 27 miles in, as I just could stop shivering, and struggled to open anything to eat.

As mentioned the bike received very supportive comments at the later stages of the ride, due to the fact that I was the only person albeit struggling to ride up some of the hills, and struggle I did. The mud was so bad, that any hint of stopping and that was that, game over, as both wheels locked solid with mud. There was plenty of pushing of bikes on this ride. Climbing the seemingly hellish hills, burnt me out with each climb and I had to stop at the top of each to rest. That was when the positive comments about the bike would start. Frustratingly the torque of the bikes motor also caused issues when setting off. The bike was often too rammed with mud to pedal unassisted, but even eco mode would have it spinning. It's a tough balancing act.
Performance wise, I reckon that I did amazingly well to complete the 34 mile on one battery, and I must have ridden a lot of it unassisted. When using assisted mode, I used eco for the majority of the ride, and put it into tour for two climbs only. I never used sport or turbo, as I didn't want to expend the battery. I was also grateful for the amount of off riding that I have been doing over the last few months, and the fact that my level of fitness has built up. I wouldn't have made this ride, had this not been the case. I also don't happen to agree with taking spare batteries along for these events. Where is the challenge in that.

The negative for the ride, and it was very big negative, were the amount of crashes. People were falling like skittles, and I took five or six falls myself. One was very stupid, as I had already advised someone about a particular descent which last year saw me hitting about 35mph plus going down. Foolishly, I ignored my own advice and went for it. It wasn't until I got to the bottom that I realised that there was a seemingly narrow gateway and a corkscrew section of chalk afterwards. I was going far too fast, and had both wheels locked solid trying to stop. Somehow the bike ended up parallel to a stock fence at the bottom with me getting closer and closer to it. The inevitable happened, and the bars caught the fence, and sent me off the bike.

The next fall was more serious, as I was tramping along again, and had the bike literally blow away from under me. I ended up a good 3 metres away from the bike, and heard a massive crack from the bike as it hit the ground whilst I was still going through the air. Odd how time slows down when bad things happen.
I've said all along that e-mtb's should not be fitted with Nyon, and today proved it. The crash has cracked the screen. The cracking noise had been the bars twisting around, and whilst the bike rides okay, I am going to have to check that the frame and everything else is okay. The crash also smashed my lights and bent a few bits.
I took the fall pretty heavily and the peak of my helmet was ripped off, and my helmet shell might be damaged. I jarred my neck and back badly, and ended up face down in the mud. I'm grateful to the riders who struggled back along the muddy track to pick me up and for checking that I was okay. Thanks whoever you were.
I learnt later that four other riders had been involved in a big pile up, in almost the same spot as me, and I saw at least six more randomly fall off in the same stretch. Many were pushing their bikes, and the wind was so strong, that the bikes were being blown out of their muddy hands. It really was pretty dangerous.

The final fall happened when a female rider had decided to stop halfway down another very steep section. Again both wheels were locked solid, and I ploughed into her bike, locking both together, and sending me over the side of the handlebars. Thankfully all was okay with both of us, and the bikes.

During the ride I heard many saying that they won't be taking part in it next year, and I feel sorry for the many who were taking part for the first time. Currently I don't know how I feel about it. Next year could be amazing weather, and yes it was the worst ride that I have taken part in, but I would still prefer to out riding at events such as this, and in these conditions, than I would being stuck at home. It makes you feel alive, and it baffles me that more e-mtb riders don't also take part. In part, I'm hoping that somewhere along the line, that threads such as this, might inspire others. If nothing else, it's getting the KTM brand name out there.

The bike was brilliant, and as expected, performed with out fault. If conditions are this adverse at the next event, I shall be binning the mudguards in favour of riding with none. Seat post mounted ones aside, mudguards just cause hassle.

I also repaid a debt which was good. Last year at an event, someone was kind enough to drive myself and the Haibike that had suffered mechanical failure, back to the event start.
After driving for about four miles in a homeward direction after the event, I spotted a girl pushing an mtb, who was way away from where the route was. She looked really soaked and fed up. I turned the van around and took her and her bike back to the start. The chain had wrapped itself around the front mech and was jammed solid. My hands were just too cold to be able fix it for her. When we dropped the bike out of the van upon getting back, there was suddenly a big hiss from the front tyre. She pulled a large thorn from it and we discussed how even if I'd fixed the chain, the tyre would have been next. She offered to buy my a beer after the next event, but I simply asked her to re pay the favour onto someone else in need one day.

Afraid that there aren't many photos, as the conditions were just too wet and horrid.

The 34 mile route.



Not so good photos of the ride.







And a random rider. This is pretty much how everyone looked.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Back at home in the cold light of day.









And washed. Now just need to strip it to clean it and to check it over.





This is short clip from Youtube that someone has filmed of the shorter standard route. This must have been later in the morning to my start, as there aren't so many people at the start. It was packed solid when I left.

 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Great shots, Eddie. Impressed that you took time take these pictures :)
The first few will draw attention of ebike enthusiasts and adventurous men, while the last two pics of your clean bike will get you laid for sure :D
This summer should be exciting!!
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
Ravi, this is a photo that really blew me away. Taken by the mother of her six year old lad riding the short route.

Oddly I found it quite an emotional photo. In a good way. :)
 

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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Kids who get to do these things instead of playing candy crush on iPad will grow up to be really healthy adults with excellent health, bone density and mental sharpness.
Being in nature and embracing its elements is something we direly need in our society. Thanks for sharing that inspiring photo.
 

EddieJ

Well-Known Member
I think that is why it struck such a chord with me. :)

I saw it and thought just how good that it would be if kids throughout the World were able to do things such as this, and enjoy life for what it should be. I think that you have to cherish photos such as this for what they represent, and I just wish that all children were able to share similar moments. All credit to his mother for making this happen.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Truly amazing Eddie, I'm just feeling a little ashamed of myself now. And the kiddie, brought a HUGE smile to me... those pants... :D

Edit... Sorry not "pants". Forgot where I was for a minute. He wouldn't be wearing his Y fronts on the trail... Trousers!