Are we ready for the South Down’s Way? Maybe. Am I ready? No. No, but I would never be. There is always something else that I could do. Bike, kit and body are on a diet. The tyres have been changed to Maxxis Crossmark Exceptions which has saved (on paper) 235g, pedals and shoes have been changed saving 100g, spare tube has been swapped to Foss saving 25g, and I have lost 1000g by cutting out crisps, biscuits and beer over the last couple of weeks.
Next I am planning to change frames from the Kinesis FF29 to the Whyte 29C this will save another 700g and will have some Whyte carbon shock absorption. There is a lot of climbing so any weight saving will help. However, I am nervous about this as I know that the FF29 is dialled. It is ironic that it was marketed as a trail bike but one of its greatest assets is its ability to climb. The longer chainstay and higher front would suggest otherwise but on the trail it may well be that these two things are what make it a climbing demon. The relatively modest weight increase over a carbon is more than offset by its low price. Is it too much of a risk to change only days before my epic ride?
As a group we rode together for the first time. It was a lot of fun. The aim had been to keep an eye on our target of 10mph average but that never happened as we had so many stops. The social side became a major part as we had time to chat. We took along a professional boxer who had never ridden before. We had to wait after each climb. Can you imagine how tough it was for him to ride 70k at speed in this heat with 4 guys fit and ready to ride the whole route? Chapeau Lee! The plan was to take it easy but with all the rests we ended up doing the opposite, from Ditchling on I chased Jon up every
climb. It got progressively faster and faster until we were racing against each other to max much as we do on the roadie Tuesday Thrash. So much for an easy ride but at least it proved that we both had more in the tank than we originally thought.
Here is the ride. The weather looks set to stay for next weekend so I’ll have to plan around drinking up to 10 litres on the way. I drank over 3 on Sunday. We will be riding 2 Niner Air 9 RDOs, 1 Whyte 29c and either a Kinesis FF29 or another Whyte 29C.
Bring it on!