Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Return of the Ridley

Yes folks, this is even better than a Thomas Hardy novel. I finally got my beloved Ridley back after its altercation with the tarmac in the ill-fated Tour of Wessex. It turned out that the wiggle in the headset was caused by a bit of damage to the bottom bearing seat in the head tube, and a plastic o-ring that was there before but doesn't have to be there now.

Unfortunately I did have to replace the saddle, and I'm still getting used to the new one. It's not easy to tweak the position when your seat tube is part of the frame, but it's doable.

I rode it in Wednesday's 10 mile TT and was slightly disappointed with my result. 23'54, which is my slowest to date. Still third, but placings aren't so important in these TTs. The saddle was too low and way too far back, and I was probably a bit tired from the ridiculous number of miles I did at the weekend.

I backed up on Thursday and went up to Castle Combe for a 51km handicap race. The bike felt better but not perfect - more tweaking is necessary. The race was odd: nothing like a Heffron Park Tuesday nighter, even though us (E/1/2) had to catch the cat. 3 and cat. 4 bunches. Despite treating it as a scratch race from the gun, we picked everyone up with about four laps to go and it was a huge bunch sprint.

I'd already been in a decent breakaway with Ben and another guy (we got caught just as we caught the two bunches ahead). Ben had a go at the start of the last lap and I attacked straight away when he was caught with about 1.5km left. I knew it was doomed to failure, but I couldn't be bothered with a bunch sprint today. They got me about 500m out but that was OK. My legs felt pretty reasonable and it wasn't that hard a race, despite an average of 44.4km/h.

The good thing was that one of our Chippenham guys, Simon Snowden, got up and won the sprint. And he's a third cat! He beat the British masters national champion and all.

It was almost dark when we finished. Luckily I had lights for the 20km home, but it's still quite eerie (and also peaceful) riding along roads without street lights. I kept seeing pubs that looked very inviting...

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