Still a monster

Well the bike is. Due almost entirely through avoiding any kind of preventative maintenance. This may run counter intuitively to a previous entry where the PYGA refused to self-heal even when I threatened it with my biggest persuader. But the Mega hasn’t been through a horrible winter, it’s registered barely a quarter of the miles of my other bikes* and is essentially fabricated from previously unknown heavy metals. Forged from rugged alloys – mostly found supporting high-rise buildings and heraldedas a new chemical element I’ve come to think of as ‘chunk‘.

Briefly, after a stack of spare pivots, axles and bearing arrived in the shed of dreams, I considered pulling the monster apart in the spirit of enquiry. However, since this was likely to introduce many issues not currently found on the bike, and massively increase my beer debt to Matt when he had to fix it, instead I’ve opted to change onegear cable. A cable that through some proprietory, non standard routing gouged a furrow where metal used to be:


In my defence the cable routing on the Mega is bloody stupid. Clearly exactly one hour before production started,realisation dawned that the entire bike only had about two cable guides. The solution – although bodge feels a better word – was to drill a few threaded holes randomly in the frame and ask the buyer to bolt the cables in any way they saw fit. I nearly had a fit on realising I had indeed sawed an open cast wound on the swingarm. Matt thinks it’s fine, the importer thinks it’s fine, I probably think it’s fine after being forced to admit that ‘No, I wasn’t intending to land any 20 foot drops to flat‘.

If it does fail, all I can hope is that my remaining body parts shallbe easily transported to a mountain top bar. There’s a certain irony that the gear cable is only lightly roughed up whereas the frame has shown all the abrasion resistance of a moist cheese. So servicing – no. Riding – not much of that either. We’re deep into ‘thou shalt not mong’ territory which perfectly coincides with a major improvement in the weather, and a massive reduction in the mud we’ve been slogging through for the last six weeks. I’m not prepared to take this as a sign that God hates me unless he unleashes a similar weather pattern to last year when we do arrive in France.

Sleet in June? Two years in a row? That’s not a butterfly’s wing flapping in the Amazon. That’s targeted deity smiting that is. When I first checked the long term tea leaf reading for Les Gets, wall to wall sunshine was mooted. The closer we get, the more cloud and rain symbols appear to be elbowing out the shiny yellow ones. I’ve responded magnificently by deleting all those sites from my browser and thinking happy thoughts instead. And slightly more pragmatically, began my packing regime by throwing in a waterproof. And then two more.

So the bike really is ready. A swift Father’s day jaunt on Sunday proved just this, and cemented the fact it’s really rather brilliant even with less than half a decent rider on board.

I always look best on my blurred side

The first 10 minutes after switching from the 29er feel very strange indeed. After which the whole ‘sorted-ness’ of ‘Heritage Wheels’ start to make perfect sense. The Pyga would have been fine in the Alps, and in no way any kind of high water mark for what was ridable. But in the 10{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of cases where the Mega is better – steep, super rocky, tight and nadgery – it really is significantly better. It’s bloody useless at yomping great distances, or being any kind of fun unless it’s cranked to the max but, where it works it works brilliantly.

The rider transcends fantastic bicycles and dilutes their brilliance with brakes and bollox bravado. All of which doesn’t stop me being quite excited and only mildly injured. The stupid crash of three weeks ago has left me with a hurty shoulder than is hurty to the power of ow after riding for a few hours. So my long suffering physio gets to work some more on her long term project hopefully eeking out enough movement to allow the poorly limb to fully participate in seven days thrashing down mountains.

At least it’s not my drinking arm. Otherwise my packing list would have started with ‘one thousand straws’. Anyhow, exactly a week from today I’ll be combating Matt’s massively upgraded stereo housed in his new van with a selection of rock classics and some noise cancelling earphones. Fifteen or so hours after that, we’ll be immersed deep into my favourite geography in the entire world – high up in massive, snow capped mountains. After which, anything is a bonus.

And this year, we are finishing the Passport Du Soleil. Even if it means hiring a Jet Ski πŸ˜‰

* not the road bike of course. That’s registered exactly zero miles in the last 12 months. And even with the bar set so low, it’s hard to see how that will be improved upon this year.

4 thoughts on “Ready?

  1. Hope it goes ok this year Al, I’m sure it won’t be that cold… especially compared to that woman who rode to the North Pole using a fat bike.

    Still, it could be worse, you could be stuck in work and looking out at wall to wall sunshine

    Have a good trip fella, I’m looking forward to excuses and rain fogged pictures upon your return πŸ˜‰

  2. Alex

    If the weather is good, I’ll be rubbish. If the weather is rubbish, I’ll still be rubbish πŸ™‚ It can’t be as bad as last year *sobs*

  3. SI

    Well it will be hard to beat the misery of last year = French Alps – minus 2 degrees end of June?, blinded by fog/sleet/cloud and eyes full of mud, soaked through all layers, brakeless or padless after the first 1000m descent, losing a team member due to stage 1 hypothermia, destroyed chainring and that was in the first 90 minutes – note: (I have taken all this on board, I now have little Waterproof booties for my Etnies).

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