24hrs of Exposure Trip (Fri) – 6th April


Smitty switches from tubeless back to tubed in the dark in Newcastleton Forest


After a reasonable trip to Smitty’s we headed up the M1, A1, A66, M6, A7 crossing the border and getting to the event in Newcastleton early afternoon. Rob had already arrived having travelled from Blackburn, and had managed to work out how to put up the GT event shelter. Me and Smitty had places in a cabin with the Angus bike Chain crowd, so once we worked out the the Cabin was trackside and there were plug sockets we could run some shelter lighting from we moved camp GT next to the cabin.

The cars were unpacked and the rain started to fall…. the plan of doing a practice lap suddenly lost it’s appeal, getting kit wet before the race seemed like a stupid idea. So bikes were fettled and Rob’s tent was moved inside the event shelter. At about 7 the rain began to ease, and we could resist temptation no longer. Riding kit was donned, bikes readied and we were off.

Immediately I started having seatpost issues…. I’d taken the Carbon Ritchey one off the Fisher, thinking it may give a bit more compared to the Superstar one I’d originally fitted. Nice idea, but the different seatpost angles meant the saddle kept popping back to the position it would have been on the Fisher. On the Carver this meant the nose was high and a nightmare to ride with. I kept tightening it more and more, going way over the 16Nm recommended. Eventually it held…

Smitty was also having a nightmare, both tyres leaking sealant, several stops to try and reinflate them failed, it just seemed to be oozing out of the bead. He’d changed them to tubeless on Thursday and hadn’t had a chance to test them. Eventually  he admitted defeat. He’d got one 26″ tube and I had one for the Carver, so in the rapidly dimming light, and light rain we put a tube in both tyres, helped by a gathering swarm of midges.

The moral of these two incidents….. don’t mess about with a bike you’re happy with just before an event.

Gathering up all the kit we’d used, we went to pick up the bikes… I noticed a froth coming from the front rim. Ah, puncture? The tyre didn’t seem to be going down. Best press on, and see what happens, the singletrack sections were stunning in the dark, even when the thick mist in the trees was hit by our headtorches causing a kind of whiteout effect.

We soon crossed the grassy section at Priest Hill, the Carver felt draggy and Rob and Smitty pressed on gapping me. I hit the final descent fully expecting to catch them, but at speed the bike felt vague as hell. I’d ridden this section in 2011 and loved it, and at Kielder 100 I flew down it, overtaking 20+ riders, but on the Carver… oh, dear, didn’t the bike like descents like that?  😦  This could cause serious strains in the relationship, as I love them.

We got back to the Cabin and were about to wash the bikes when Smitty noticed my front tyre was flat… Ah, that’ll be it then! A quick bike wash, showers, and a chill in the cabin. Soon it was 23:30, and time for bed. Race day tomorrow!!!

Ride – #57     Bike – Carver 96’er

Miles – 12.1     Total 2012 miles – 1284.1


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