Unlike last Easter break when we went sledging, this years sunny spell meant a quick trip to the coast (not at all a recce of a long bike ride route) where we engaged in traditional activities of bothering crabs and shivering while eating ice cream. The apprentice soon got the hang of Bank Holiday weather and discarded all protective clothing so he could turn as blue as his wellies while the MkII rug rat tried to eat the beach a handful at a time. After a quick game of beach cricket which entailed yours truly slogging the ball as far down the beach as the prevailing wind would allow and toddler running after it shouting "That's a good shot Daddy" ad infinitum we returned to Rock HQ where racing steed was prepped for mega ride Easter Day.
Racing steed has been used for commutes since last mega ride in County Durham and has felt a bit slow, which I put down to me accumulating lard from birthday excess. However thanks to having purchased a bargain set of tyres with a pretty white band each side, while I was changing boring black but perfectly good tyres for fancy types which weigh .25 of a gramme less than the old ones thus offsetting the 3 kilos of extra lard the pilot carries after binging on Northern ales and cookies, the cause of slowness was discovered. As rear wheel cover was snapped into place and the valve located to inflate it one of the spokes just fell off. There being only 20 of a bladed aerodynamic type, the loss of one is, especially given the weight of rider, going to have an impact. Fear not thought I as I retrieved from floor, tis but a simple task of re poking spoke back in hole and attaching to wheel and tightening spoke with spoke tightener on my Swiss Army knife (its the funny looking bit next to the get the stone out of horsey hoof bit which is another you will never ever use) Anyway on trying to fix it the full horror of what had happened to wheel became abundantly clear as a large chunk of everso expensive alloy fell off the rear hub. This bit is intrinsic to keeping spoke attached to wheel. The loss of this chunk meant spoke 19 was also in peril of joining spoke 20 and spoke 18 was as bent as Tory MP's expenses claim. I gave the wheel a half hearted spin contemplating Sundays ride with a less than full compliment of spokes and gave up all hope when it spun with a bigger buckle than found on a Cavaliers boot. Unless the back wheel fairey arrives between now and Easter then my speed machine will not be joining in the fun. Its done over 3000 miles since last April so has been hammered but I wasn't expecting such metal fatigue especially in such good wheels, even with a heavier than average rider.
A ride of a different sort tried to cheer me up, Apollo the wonder foal who, when he arrived here 4 years ago, could not see over the stable door, is now a muscle bound softie who is always on the lookout for extra calories. Hes clearing up after the Ryelands here, not that they have left much.
By the way, good guesses re Irene but no one has got it right yet, she's not from Dexy's Midnight Runners or Blackhawk Down, think of legwarmers and guess again.