After watching the Belgians and Italians lose the Mens' Elite World Championships to Norsk Powerhouse Thor Hushovd I had an appointment with some members of BigM at the Zoete Waters car park. We were to ride in the forest of Meerdael.
When I arrived around 10am it was heartwarming to see some familiar faces again : Gail, Tom, David and José. I also met up with a couple of new ones. After the greetings were over, we set off for a 2 hour/ 30K ride into the forest. David - who has lived quite some time in Nethen - was our guide for today. He knows the forest very well and has conceived a solid ride that first took us up the ridge and away from the Zoete Waters, into Blanden and then into Mollendaalbos. The Litespeeds' Race Face Turbine LP crank arm had me a bit worried since it has developed quite some play during the last two rides , counting this one. The bearings aren't that old. As far as I remember they were put in during last winter and the bike has stayed in the shed during the entire summer. The Turbine uses a square tapered axis and it is very hard to find bearings for it. So this close to winter that is leaving me with quite a challenge. Or rather, I count on Filip Sport to sort this out. It wasn't easy last time and I imagine it will take some searching this time as well. But first I want to know what happened, it almost looks as if the bearings have shrunk.
Anyway, on with the ride. Despite the rain of the last couple of days the trails were not too wet. The sun was shining today and the warmth was a blessing . The climbs and trails followed each other in rapid succession as we proceeded towards the Mollendeel. From here David pointed his wheels towards the southern edge of the forest. We were greeted by a warm wind that dried out the trails and the small amounts of mud on our bikes and clothes. When we reached the Naamsesteenweg we paused for a little break. The pace had been good and at times I felt I still didn't have the legs I had before Lyme struck. But I also had to be careful with the pressure on the pedals. I didn't want to ruin the bearings in my crank. But as it turned out the play did not increase, it remained steady during the ride.
Reaching the western side of Meerdael Forest, the terrain becomes more accidented which meant the climbs were longer, steeper and with my worn rear tyre I had to use my power sparingly. Some of the downhills are a blast too. I was lucky when I escaped an OTB on a very steep one that ended in a step over roots. The Litespeed has V-brakes so my braking power is not as high as on my disc-equipped bikes. This meant that I couldn't brake after flying over the rooty downstep and I took another drop into a moderately muddy puddle at high speed, with the front wheel hitting first. I moved my weight backwards at the last moment, expecting the mud to be deep . I used all the travel in my front fork, but I managed to keep things rolling, partly due that the mud wasn't as deep as I thought it would be . Phew, narrow escape. David saw it all first hand and he said I looked pretty cool.
A long climb along a narrow trail follows. The trail is riddled with deep naroow gullies and on one side of it there is a barbed wire fence . So you have to be careful. I managed to ride it completely, a small victory on myself and the terrain. I just managed to keep my pedals from touching the sides of the narrow gullies, doing a sur-place a couple of times to reposition the pedals before moving on. Others were not so lucky but we all managed to ride most of the climb.
From there David took us to the Kluis area but not before another big descent and climb along a trail with ferns on both sides. It is one of the places were I might have picked up the tick that gave me Lyme. I told them to check their naked arms and legs after we passed through it . Me, you won't catch with short sleeves or pants in the forest anymore. I have learned my lesson. I usually wear long sleeved pants anyway because of my allergy for horseflies. I urge you, my reader, to do the same if you venture into the deep forest. Or use an effective tick repellent. Lyme's disease is for life.
Back to the Kouterbos and after 30K we were very happy with our ride. Thanks to David for a great adventure through the beautiful forest. The day was gloriously warm, the sun shone and the temperatures were above 20 degrees. An amazing day in october.
Ride Stats : 40K and 495/560 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h38mins
03-10-2010, 00:00 geschreven door Big Bad Wolf