First up was Monday and a little TLC for the Jamis. I finally got around to fitting the new chain I'd bought for it a while back, and gave the cable disc brakes a tweak, followed by a thorough clean. Time spent doing these jobs is always time well spent, especially when things go well.
Tuesday came and after an anxiety filled trip into town, I got home and headed straight out again aboard the Jamis for a quick potter around the village, and my usual loop by way of a road test to make sure the chain was chooching as it should and I hadn't put it on inside out or anything daft.
Sunny St Erme. This field is earmarked for about 80 new houses... oh joy.
Outside the dead centre of the village...
It felt weird at first getting back on the gert big wagon wheeled Jamis, after Fatso and the Voodoo, it was like riding a five bar gate, and the cable brakes are definitely not in the one finger league, but it only takes a few yards to remember all this and I do enjoy riding this bike as much as the others to be honest. I only ride it on the road though, as the other two are both much better suited to low speed nidgery nadgery and mud plugging and so on. What the Jamis does is pace. It doesn't accelerate quite as readily but once you get it moving it feels very long legged and makes a delightful mechanical whirring noise.
Bozzing along Tregassow Lane.
Wednesday wasn't so clever to start with, but by the evening I was getting the urge to go exploring - I needed a bit of an adventure! I really wanted, no needed, to get out and go somewhere preferably new, or at least seldom visited, and just poke about and take lots of photos.
Thankfully, I was still feeling the urge the following morning, so once it was light I boarded the Jamis and set off into the mist, heading initially for the ruined church at Merther.
The weather out was superb! It was chilly at first in all the mist, but the sun kept trying to break through and it was clear that once it did, a nice day would result. But I wasn't in any rush for the sun to burn off the fuzziness, as it made for some good photos and stunning views all around.
The lane from Trevella Stream up to Four Turnings junction.
There was one drawback to this mist though, it didn't half make the brakes howl! Coming down the hill into Tresillian I met a car coming up and so applied a goodly amount of brake, only to be rewarded with a noise like someone strangling a couple of Wolves. But that wasn't all, as the mist was coating every forward facing surface on both bike and old giffer, and that included my glasses which had droplets of water form near the bridge in the middle and so not only was the bike howling like a loon at the moon but I was trying to peer out from the lower part of the glasses as I braked to a stop, head cocked back as if I had a pony tail caught in the back wheel or something. What the driver coming the other way must've thought I don't know.
Those puddles are from water running off the field on the right. The farmer has been spreading something on this field recently, and boy did that water pong - it was humming!
Where the sun failed to penetrate the mist properly, everything became almost monochrome.
Anyway, after hopping across the A390 at Tresillian I set about the long climb up towards Tregerrick. It's not steep by any means, just a bit of a long drag with not a lot to see in front as you climb - sky mostly, and the hedges lining the road. No, it's all going on behind, which is a good excuse to stop and have a good stare at the view I reckon as you can't see much looking over your shoulder.
The Tregothnan Estate Gatehouse at Tresillian is all Grade 2 listed, including those bollards.
Riding in the mist everything forward facing got covered in tiny water droplets, looking a bit like frost. This included my moustache/beard too, which made me look like I had shaving cream on my face...
I first visited the ruined church at Merther last Summer, and had decided then to return in Winter when the trees would hopefully be bare and a better view of the church might be available.
Sadly that wasn't the case, and the Western end of the church and its tower is still nigh on impossible to photograph satisfactorily thanks to all the trees being so close to it.
Merther Church was abandoned in the mid twentieth century, but the grounds have recently started to be maintained once again.
A few years ago the whole plot was thick with brambles apparently (so my research on the net tells me anyway) but recently the churchyard has been cleared and appears to be regularly mown and strimmed. The building itself though is in a pretty rough state, and signs warn not to go inside. Truth is, there isn't a lot to see inside anyway, once again it's all overgrown in there to the point it's not worth even trying to get a photo.
The church was dedicated to St Coan who was a martyr apparently, but apart from that, I can't find anything much on the bloke. Information on the church itself is hardly generous either, but I do know it fell into disuse mid way through the 20th Century, and the font and bells now reside in the church at Tresillian.
The church is at the end of a dead end road, with only a farm and two houses for company, so to say it is quiet and peaceful there is to understate matters rather, and I spent almost an hour mooching about, reading gravestones and snapping away, and generally feeling very relaxed indeed.
It's that yellow time of year again already, when the fields round hereabouts are full of Daffodils. The sun has just started winning the struggle against the mist...
A rather splendid looking tree at Eglosmerther, opposite Merther church.
Looking on various maps suggests a road or path continuing on from Merther church but it goes through the farm yard, and there were signs up saying 'private - no public access' and 'bugger off' and so on, so it was back the way I'd come again, just as the sun started to win the fight with the mist. Like someone slowly opening a curtain, the sun broke through and warmed me up considerably to the point where I needed to stop and lose the jumper I had on beneath my jacket, and swap gloves too.
It takes me ages to ride anywhere, 'cos I'm always looking for possible photos, and that includes stopping frequently to look at what is behind me. On this occasion I was rewarded with the above view just as the mist was lifting. Within minutes, it had completely gone.
From Merther I headed down another dead end road that leads down to the armpit of the Tresillian and Truro River's confluence. The lane was steep but with (very) fleeting river views on both sides as it descends to distract the vista hungry cyclist who strays down it. At the bottom though, lies disappointment. A couple of houses and more signs saying 'sod off' and 'be off with you' and so on, or words to that effect. So there was nothing else to do but to turn around and slog back up the hill to the top again.
Halfway down the hill to erm... not much actually.
The Tresillian River is in shot here, but the Truro River joins it just out of sight in a fold in the countryside on the left.
I went down the hill on the left. This was taken at the top after coming all the way back up again. I knew it was a dead end from consulting the maps, and there is a sign there too of course, but I had hoped there'd be at least something to see at the bottom, but it wasn't to be.
Dropping down the hill just at the start of Lamorran Wood, and what a superb day it was turning out to be.
Once back on the bigger road again, I sallied forth heading along new roads to me, bound for Ruan Lanihorne. All around this area is land belonging to the Tregothnan Estate, and it is also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with creek views and unspoiled woodland in every direction. Riding in the sunshine was nothing but a delightful pleasure, but all was about to come unglued...
Down the bottom of the hill and where the road bisects Lamorran Wood with a small meadow on the right for added photo appeal. It was while shooting these shots that the bike dropped its chain.
Where the lane bisects Lamorran Wood I was doing a bit of photography, doing a ride past with the camera on the tripod, and then a couple of on board Go Pro shots, to get some movement into my photos. It was while doing the second Gopro shot that the Jamis dropped its chain off the small front chainring, leaving me coasting along, but not especially perturbed, after all, I've had a dropped chain before, it's no big deal is it. Is it? Well yes, it flipping was! Quite how a chain can casually drop off, yet wedge itself so tightly twixt chainring and Bottom Bracket I don't know, but it was resisting all attempts to fish it out with my trusty Leatherman pliers. Nothing for it but to turn the bike upside down and try and fnnnnngggg.... bas....tad....fish the fugnnnnnnn.... chain out woo you.....fnnnngggg....bast... that flipping way... Finally, after much industrial language and bloodied fingers, out came the chain. Being about 12 miles from home at this point, I had started to become just a little concerned at the state of events as I imagined what it would be like to do the walk of shame and push the errant bike home. It would be rather painful I knew that, so when the chain relinquished its grip and broke free so I could replace it on the chainring, the relief just washed over me and I broke out in a big smile - the ride was saved! Erm....
What I then did, in all my relief, was to grab big handfuls of bike and lift to flip it back onto its wheels. Big mistake. I ricked my dodgy back a right one. It felt like someone just lobbed 50,000 volts up my spine, down my legs and around my ribs. It wrung the breath right out of me and I dropped the bike sharpish as the air once again was turned as blue as the sky by some rather advanced level swearing. It bloody hurt I can tell you. I now had a fully functioning bike again, but could hardly move to get on it! Hmmmm.... this ride wasn't going quite so well now...
Gadzooks this day has taken a turn for the worse... Not only was I leaking claret all over the place, but I'd just given my back an almighty tweak. I took this just as I was slowly getting back on the bike again. The other hand was leaking just a bit too. Darned sharp these chainrings...
All I could do was was painfully lower myself down and sit propped up against a fence post and let everything relax, while swallowing the two remaining Ibuprofen I had on me. Slowly the tightness and pains all over my back ebbed away and I gingerly got back up. I tweaked it again and pain shot up my spine, but it subsided again after a few moments. Slowly, painfully and carefully, I managed to get all my guff together and get back on the bike, amid many tweaks and bouts of shooting pain. The aim was obviously just to get home, but going back the way I'd come wasn't the best option, or so I thought, going forwards and staying on the route I'd planned would be the best way to go. As it happened maybe going back might've been shorter, but there we go.
Setting off again with the aid of gravity, but this proved to be too fast for comfort, literally.
I did stop however to capture this burned out car near Ruan Lanihorne. One of the benefits of wearing an ugly bum bag is having the camera easily to hand.
I set off coasting down the hill wincing and grimacing at every slight bump, despite having the soft front suspension unlocked to ease the ride. It was too much, I had to slow down, and ended up in the very bottom gear pedaling extremely slowly, as every stroke of the pedals meant pain around my lower back. Going so slowly at least made bumps in the road easier to avoid or anticipate. The first uphill gave me a fresh problem of course, and I soon ground to a halt. But having painfully managed to get off, I found I could push the bike. It still hurt, but I was also still moving homewards, albeit very slowly. As I slowly plodded on, back on the bike on the flat and downhills, pushing on the ups, the pain was lessening and the tweaks getting fewer. Eventually, after 12 of the slowest miles I have ever done in my life, I made it home and was able to set about sorting myself out with tablets and rest.
Crappy map of the route. Merther Church is at the end of the dead end road numbered 6, the other dead end is number 10 and my back went ping roughly by the 'o' of Lamorran. 25 miles was the total and the weather was splendid, so despite the problems with bike and spine, I still enjoyed the ride immensely.
The full size map can be found at http://gb.mapometer.com/running/route_4483965.html
Why it says I was running I don't know - chance would be a fine thing!
Now, a couple of days later, my back is a heck of a lot better, in fact, it feels better than it has been in ages. The recovery has been quicker than usual, which is odd, but I'm not complaining!
The main thing is though, it hasn't dented my confidence, and if anything, it has actually given it a boost. I have always had concerns with regard to my back and what I'd do if I really ricked it while out. I've tweaked it many a time, and headed for home immediately, but never as badly as this, and certainly not out in the middle of nowhere with a bike in tow! But I made it home. It hurt like hell at the time but at least I made it, and what's more, with my Mojo still feeling refreshed, it hasn't spoiled the ride for me. I enjoyed every moment until the chain fell off, and as I think back to it now, I think of the positives rather than the negatives, which is unusual for me to say the least! Maybe all the pills I take are starting to work at last!
Whatever, it was a great day to be out and about, and I'm glad I went. I plan to head back to those roads and that area again soon too, as it is clearly all right up my street!