10 12 2012

Needs. Not *necessary* but would be good. Useful. Better.

I finally managed to get out for a short ride today. Other than my second track accreditation the other day (which was fantastic fun and led me to believe I have finally thrown off this bug I have been battling with) I haven’t ridden a mountain bike for….well, ages.


After being iced in over the last few days, a fragile but strengthening sun crept into the sky this morning and after completing a few tasks, it was time to see if the trails were still under boiler plate ice. Wherever the sun was able to hit the ground it was fine, but there was still a lot of ice. No matter, it was a joy to be out amongst the trees on a bike.

So what of the requirements? well, good friends have been riding over the last few days on spike tyres (schwalbe, for the record) and were singing the praises of the tungsten carbide studs. So I poked around on the internet and have a set of Nokian extreme 294’s on the way. I’m hopeful they will allow me to be out when otherwise I would be unable.

deep woods

In addition, I have made a fair bit of effort recently to look into the different types of modern man made performance fabrics. I have had great success with moving from a thick softshell vest to a much thinner driclime vest and I have also stopped relying solely on layers of merino. Merino is beautiful to wear, but it does have a habit of holding onto sweat and it is bulky to pack along. In years gone by I swore by Capilene (Patagonia’s base layer material) and have read recently of the fantastic new Regulator 1 ‘waffle’ fleece and the Capilene 4 expedition weight base layers, with complex mixes of varied weave and thickness to achieve maximum warmth, breathability and small size and weight. I’ve been layering the R1 with the aforementioned driclime and Capilene base layers and so far, I would say it is truly excellent. It is strange to come home from a ride, in very cold weather – albeit at less than full intensity – completely dry. Strange and nice. So, more Capilene is on the way.

I took my baby girl swimming today. She has grown an inch or two and was much more confident in the water. Along with her first solo like-a-bike zoom the other day, I can see her horizons marching off into the distance. Awesome!




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