Today we went to Llandegla. Before I avail you with tales of my awesomeness, spare a moment for Mr Toast.
Remember last week’s tale, of Mr Toast’s rear wheel woes? How he had to sit around aimlessly as he couldn’t ride his Zaskar? Remember his comment, “XT hubs are rubbish, Ive got 2 bikes worth of evidence on the subject!”
Well, he’s not feeling anymore charitable towards XT hubs today. We arrived at Llandegla today, got our bikes off the rack – and his rear wheel had completely seized. Bear in mind that today he was riding the Meta, not the Zaskar, and that it’s a completely different XT rear hub, and that it was fine going around the Chase yesterday. Not only that, but it’s died in a different way to the rear hub of the Zaskar.
So I, rather uncharitably, left Mr Toast at the Llandegla cafe whilst I sallied forth around the red route. Poor Mr Toast. 🙁
I’d forgotten quite how much climbing there was, particularly at the start. I can tell my fitness has come on leaps and bounds though, as I only stopped once on the initial climb to the start of the red. This was to take the obligatory “Professor on Location” shot, and to do up my shoe laces. They’d come undone, and were threatening to kill me. True story.
I did Llandegla pretty speedily, certainly miles faster than last year. The huge downhill berms put a massive grin on my face, although there were times when I thought they flew by all too quickly compared to the amount of uphill slog. It’s bizarre, because I still find it a lot easier than FtD – it just seems to be easier to pick up speed. I think the fact that it’s a longer trail helped a lot as well – although the car park was utterly rammed, it was very rare I saw anyone else riding, so there was no leaping into the bracken every three minutes to let faster people by.
The trail was fairly damp and muddy in places, but never really churned up. I was chuffed with how comfortably I could float over the rocky sections that really slowed me down last time. I did the first bit of northshore (the smooth timber one), but walked over the second nobbly one. It had somehow achieved the rare feat of being worse than I remembered it being! I think I can honestly say I would have attempted it if I could have had my saddle a bit lower, although I can honestly say that I have no idea how successful I would have been…
The final steep hill of the trail which caused me to freeze up last year I rode without a second thought. Woot!
Pulled into the visitor centre area, where Mr Toast was sitting glumly. Not even cherry cake and a cup of tea could ease his rear hub woes.
The two and a half hour journey home was frequently punctuated with expletive-laden diatribes against XT hubs…and quite frankly, who can blame him? Two different sets spontaneously self-destructing over the space of two weeks.
Ride: Coed Llandegla
Trail: Llandegla – full red
Highlights: Bermy bermy descents
Bad bits: Mr Toast’s rear hub. Groups of riders blocking the entire trail midway through a section to have a chat.
Post ride food snaffled: Cherry cake and a cup of tea.
Good dogs seen: Bit short on the dog front today, there was a chocolate coloured labrador and a spaniel. That’s about it really…