Mittwoch, 16. November 2011

Soulriding with a wrecking crew attitude;-)

The rare occasion occured that I had nothing at all to do on Sunday. Worse than that, I even had no visits to do;-). Phoning had to do, but that´s another story:-). So what to do? Sleeping late. Okay. Done. Then I realised the weather was beautiful to boot. Going foraging? Toodling around on my bike? Yap, the latter, but I also wanted some people around, so I called Mockerocker-Stöffi to hitch the ride with them. Alas they started at 11 am, and it was twelve already, so we set a rendezvous point at the lake. Problem was, just 45 minutes left for a ride that CAN be done in 1 and a half hour, if you put the hammer down. Did it in 45 minutes. Period:-).Was completely off my composure after that, but the scenic vistas completely made up for that. I simply love the lake, it´s always so peaceful there. It has something to do with me growing up there, for sure, but it´s also very calm and beautiful there. Of course they took their time, and I stressed out for nuthin´, but no harm done, it felt really good to do some hammering again, I have been some kind of a slouch lately;-). It´s just like it is with many things: You do not know you´ve missed it until you do it again. It simply felt good to get good and fluffy by hammering along once again. Funny, it makes me feel alive, and actually gives back more energy than I invested... weird;-). Since me drunken bum said on a party I´d ride a race next year, I have to do some more training for next season... none too serious, but some gettin´good and grimy...
The weather and the vista did not hurt either, and I waited with pleasure there, watching cormorants and ducks and runners and other rare animals;-).
This is one of my most crucial bushcraft tools. Funny, but it is. It gets me places normally off limits for a hike. I can say that it is no problem to cover distances of roundabout 100-200 km (off road) with it if you take it slow and you have enough time. For ´crafting it could do with a rack (no basket on the bars, that would impair safety too much), but that would compromise my other riding too much, and for the terrain I normally ride (even if it´s "just" a foraging ride) doing a bunnyhop (that´s a jump you´re doing with no ramp over obstacles like roots, ruts or logs in the way by pulling and pushing on the bars in a ceratin manner)  is crucial for survival. You can´t do that properly with a rack and panniers mounted. I learned that this type of bike is very common in the UK. Over here it´s pretty much a novelty still, and I built it up myself with a (ever so slightly used Norco bigfoot frame I got cheap from Rocker´s bikeshop in Bochum. It was the first of a kind in my team, and I was mocked at a lot when I first build one up in 2001. 9 years later the picture´s a slightly different one, and the people that once mocked at me now ride one themselves and mock at me for having so little suspension travel and selling it as their idea;-). So it goes;-).

It´s basically a long - travel hardtail frame. It has some 150 mm of front suspension (used Marzocchi ATA Air I got DEAD cheap from Achim in Schwelm) and none on the rear. I kept it small to aid in agility with the long fork. With the MAVIC Crossride wheelsets I went for some fairly light wheels with meaty rubber mounted. Components are quite standard Deore, Deore XT and ancient LX I found on my cellar floor;-). It does everything I throw at it: Foraging, hammering, stunt riding, singletrail riding, getting out with the kids, commuting, going to the grocery store and fuzzing around. I recently broke my Shimano three-piece cranks clean in half, and the wheels have a tiny bit of slop to them after 2 years of hardcore riding. Advice: Don´t mess up uphill staircase jumps, that´s  not good for you and your bike;-).

This is Jan, Stöffi´s brother, and Uwe, her Da´ approaching. I now know Uwe for 20 years of hard riding, and he´s still going strong. He ´s kinda weird, himself, but aren´t we all?*ggg* Now I ride with him and his kids again, and he´s stolen my apprentice, Kai, for he is a master locksmith, too, and works for Kai´s employer, too. Must I say that Kai has profited a lot from his tutoring? Those are the funny ways of life.

Anyway, Stöffi had a new bike, a BIG freeride bike for da licce lady*g*, and was whining around a bit of being so badly trained. She has won her share of races, though, and certainly knows how to put the hammer down. She (and her brother were on 17 kg Rotwild RED freeriders and rode up hills most freeriders would faint at the sight alone. So much for being in bad shape... And did they have fun? BOY did they! 
We set out to ride one of my favourite "GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIWANTTOKILLMYSELF"-singletrails, the Hohenstein stairs. Enjoyed making some photos and basking in the sun and taking in the scenery. No stress, just good - natured talk with nice people, and then some souly riding. Uwe, Jan and Stöffi rode some and obviously had some fun, and decided to keep some other stairs for later, and no worries, they will keep;-). All safe and sound and nice. One word to the wise: Never push it too far. I respect those more who can call it a day and come back later, even in front of  a crowd wild with progression. Progression is a good thing, but does not do you any good when it ends in the medics.
On top of the Hohenstein there´s this beautiful platform offering a breathtaking view of the valley below.
Stöffi´s new bike. Could do with some tuning the shock and fork still, but a monster freeride bike, and none too shabby it is, too;-).
The view down into that murky valley, and the valley in itself is one of my favourites, too.

Preparing for battle. For the trail it was crucial to lower the saddle to keep it out of harm´s way;-). That way even girls can have bigger balls*g*, just kidding, some girls whack the shit out of me when riding downhill. Anyway, it´s one of the best tips I ever got to lower the saddle when the terrain gets nasty.
We started nice and carefully, and noone fell. Halfway down the ride began to go downhill in another way; Jan got a pinch slab, and we helped out him fixing it. After doing so, just 50 m farther into the ride, my right shifter jammed. So I took a piece of wood, carved it to fit and jammed it into my rear derailleur to keep it fixed on one gear only, and we completed the ride down the stairs. Then it was some road riding, for after all that flat fixing and carving sessions it was getting late. I had to shift by jamming the piece of wood further into my rear mech or pulling it out. Interesting;-). We went uphill on some nasty climb, and Jan, that crazy bastard;-), chose to chase a motor scooter up that incline on a bike only slightly lighter than the scooter. Did not succed by a hair´s breadth. When I catched up with him, he grinned and said: "Damn it, I need a BIGGER chainring".

Erm?*g* Pardon me?*g* Most people on 17 kg- bikes whine about uphills being existent in the first, and if they even ride them, they always whine about their granny gear being not small enough....ANIMAL!!!!


Then it was downhill on the road towards Haspe city limit. There was another prey;-) erm scootie;-) slowly driving along with the sound of a lawnmower, and Uwe and I first wanted to stay in the winddraft, but that was boring, so we instead made some fun of the poor girl sitting atop the machine (we kept it friendly, though:-)) racing her down to Haspe. She lost;-). Stöffi and Jan took it a bit slower, and we met at Haspe city limits. There we wanted to ride off into different directions. We said goodbye, and as we rode off, Stöffi´s chain broke. Did I say broke? It almost exploded.

I fixed the chain, and we had some chatting still, and still no stress in sight. Then we finally said goodbye, and I really have to thank this crazy family for a weird and souly outing I will remember for years. Folks, it´s reallly, really great to have you around! Have to do that again sometime soon....

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