Just as an aside, why is the abbreviation of mountain bike MTB? Tain is not a word and nor is moun. I checked in the dictionary. After all, we call it a CD, not a CPD. Which is odd, because pact is a proper word and com is a proper prefix (I checked the dictionary again).

Anyway, I’ve gone and bought myself an MB, haven’t I? You can never have too many bikes and I spotted one going going quite cheaply at Elite Racing Cycles and to make it even cheaper, I was given a special deal. I couldn’t say no. This means I can enter the 12-hour dusk til dawn MB race after all.

Chong also has an MB but he hasn’t used it much so we thought we had better get a bit of MB experience under our belt ahead of this 12-hour race at the end of November. Here’s a picture of our bikes:

Mine's the cheaper-looking white one.

Always one to be different, Chong’s only carbon bike is his MB.

Last Friday was a public holiday thanks to the Queen being in town, so it seemed only right to avoid town like the plague and head for the hills. We performed very nicely on the ride out to the base of the Perth Alps and even tried a little off-roading by riding on the gravel next to the road. This filled us with such confidence that it came as a little shock when we finally did have to leave the road and get on to a trail. We were, in a word, pathetic. The slightest uneven surface or steepish descent brought out remarkable fear in us. I mean, we were ready for surfaces not coated in asphalt but this path had chasms the size of Geikie Gorge. We stumbled on to an old quarry before finding a path that should take us where we wanted to go but not before we had to go up a stretch of trail that held a good, steady 20 per cent gradient.

At the top we found what we were looking for—an MB track known as the goat farm. We hopped on to this and it all started quite well but, to our horror, we soon found it had perilously steep descents and all sorts of rocks everywhere. We picked our way pretty hopelessly through the rocky patches but got up to almost as fast as walking pace on some of the flatter sections. Here’s Chong nervously prodding his bike along the track:

Chong sweeps the path for stray pebbles before giving the all-clear to proceed.

We did somehow manage to go fast enough for my handlebar camera to fall off (clearly I lack the strength to tighten it properly) and to lose one of the mounting screws. Our ride up till that point looked like this:

We tried a bit harder on the second lap and managed to figure out that you can actually run over things on an MB. I’m looking forward to getting back to the goat farm for more practice.

After all these goat farm exertions, I had a lie-down under a tree and got bitten by this ant:

Look at his big, nasty pincers.

I’d’ve taken revenge and crushed him but you have to admit he is quite scary-looking, isn’t he. I magnanimously let him live.

Karl gave me and Chong a hiding and I’m pretty sure he was going as slowly as he could for our benefit.

But the day was not yet over for Chong and me. We had to ride to Karl’s place from where we drove out to Jarrahdale, the scene of the 12-hour race. Having just gained a little confidence riding over rocks, I had it shattered again by the pea gravel that covered this trail and had me floating and sliding around every corner.Karl gave me and Chong a hiding and I’m pretty sure he was going as slowly as he could for our benefit.

Chong and Karl boil a kettle waiting for me to catch up.

Inevitably I fell, as you would expect, in the most absurd possible way. I was going so slowly I couldn’t get over a log on the path and tumbled to the left. This broke the ice and enabled me to fall off a good two or three more times before we finally got back to the car.

It's a manly wound.

Then, two days later, Chong and I entered the two-up time trial (on proper road bikes this time) and Chong rubbed in his superiority by taking all his turns at least 2kph faster than mine. Lucky there weren’t any hills on the course. He still managed to drop me within sight of the finish line so that’s it – I’m fitting aero bars to my bike now.


6 Comment on “MTB Friday

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