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Old 10-08-06, 01:39 PM   #1
stapfam
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Grid iron.Ride to remember

There is this ride in the New Forest that I do every few years, and it is called the Grid Iron. You have cattle grids around the New Forest to keep the cattle in. The ride gets its name because the route takes you over these grid irons as you meander in and out of the Forest. Couple of usual riding partners and one Of my Customers- "Tiger Tim". He gets his riding name because he has a few accessories to his riding gear- a pair of Tigers ears on his helmet, and a tigers tail on his saddle. This was going to be his first ride of any length and is a "Metric Century". Started fine with a bit of wind and sunny skies. The sun never left us all day but the wind stayed along with a slighly cool temp that meant I was in long sleeve top all day.
Started at 10 and the first thing I noted was that I had the front wheel in back to front so no computer. Whoops so "I'll catch you up" and I got it changed round. First of all let me say that tis ride is noted for its scenery- no BIG hills and just open heath land that always seems to be on a long uphill drag with a strengthening wind into your face. Today was no exception.

For some reason the route was reversed this year which cut out the two hills that I thought Tim would walk. In fact one of them I thought I would walk but the chance to stretch my legs never occured. It makes for a better ride to be honest- but It is still a hard ride for a Novice. I would love to be able to show you the scenery- but photo opportunuties were not there. I thought that I would be able to shoot off ahead, and take a few shots of the groups- but that only occured up to the first stop at 35Kms. After that- The other two got their own ride in and Tim and I took a leisurely ride to enjoy the scenery. But Descriptions- The wooded areas are fantastic. Big dense Oak woods but this has caused a problem this year. To get rid of the Acorns- Extra pigs have been enroled to clear them up and they roam free along with the usual wild Ponies and Cattle and a new comer that I have never seen before- Donkeys. Did not see many of the extra pigs and not much of the natural wildlife- Except for Buzzards. These are big- but the two hammerheads did not see them. Tim and I at our more leisurely pace saw quite a few, and some of them from very close range. Route to the 2nd stop at 70kms. was on some of the open Heathland and Tim found it tough. He is not used to head wind of that strength, and although I tried to lead- I still managed to drop him on too many occasions to say he had an easy ride. Now the route to the finish was unbelievable. The tourist trade has got hold of anything of interest but we passed by lots of converted cottages for the rich and some of these are a bit extravagant. Nice to look at but to give you idea of the status of the "Locals" now- We only saw two Franchised Car sales garages- one was for Bentley- and the other for Maserati. Every house had a beemer or two in the Yard or a Mercedes, but the Bentleys were in evidence too. The route took us to BUcklers hard- Big tourist area and is on the river that runs down to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. This is where the ships were Built from the 15th century but due to a high admission fee to get in we did not bother to see it.

Back to the finish and Tim did the ride in 5 hours 45 minutes. I obviously did my Turning the legs over in the same time- but the two hammerheads that we started with finsihed 20 minutes ahead of us. Not enough time difference for what Tim and I agreed was an enjoyable ride.

Still a few pictures, but Not as many as I had hoped. The Old boy on the cart was fantastic. had a friendly word for all and I chatted to him and this cart is one of his families modes of transport and was bought by his family at the turn of the Century- Obviously around 1900, but he had just had it renovated by his workers on the estate- Not your common local then. The picture is in front of one of the style of cottages taht are on the forest. The old Ruin is the remains of an old barn- or what is left of it- The New building with it is the renovation work that will carry on in the next few years.

So We might get a new reader shortly in Tim but he admits to not being 50 yet. He enjoyed the ride- but I can tell you that by the end he was suffereing. What wasn't though was his enjoyment- Now if we can get a new set of legs and a saddle that fits better and possibly a new bike for him- Then it might be a fulll century next year, for when he joins us.
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Old 10-08-06, 01:57 PM   #2
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Enrolling pigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
Big dense Oak woods but this has caused a problem this year. To get rid of the Acorns- Extra pigs have been enroled to clear them up and they roam free along with the usual wild Ponies and Cattle and a new comer that I have never seen before- Donkeys.
What is the problem with 'too many' acorns? I've never heard of that.

In central Texas > 100 years ago the settlers brought their swine with them & turned them into the oaks growing along the streams & rivers. The swine foraged on the acorns and browse all through the summer & fall then were fat for capture & slaughter. Nowadays 'feral hogs' are a terror to local gardeners and wreak destruction on agricultural operations. They have to be trapped and killed by the dozens because they've proliferated through most of the state.

So why are the acorns a problem again? Why would the authorities risk having too many pigs in this natural area once the extra acorns are consumed?
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Old 10-08-06, 02:21 PM   #3
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Acorns have flourished this year and is a good food for pigs. If they get the pigs in to eat them before the germintaion in the spring- it will save a lot of clearing work for the Foresters. Not so much in the forests- but in the drainage ditches and the Clear areas alongside the roads. Obviously- they will be up for Culling when their job is done, But I wish they had done that to the ponies today. We only saw 3 pigs on the road- but those ponies were around every corner- at the bottom of most downhills, and generraly getting in the way of traffic. Had a couple of near misses myself- and heard of one cyclist taking evasive action and damaging a wheel.
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Old 10-08-06, 03:01 PM   #4
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Was this a combo on-road/off-road event or was it all on pavement?
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Old 10-08-06, 03:14 PM   #5
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Was this a combo on-road/off-road event or was it all on pavement?
All on road- except for the debris-and acorns- all over the road- from the storms that hit the area last week. Incidentally- a lot of these roads had moss growing in the middle of the road. So not well travelled routes involved.
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Old 10-08-06, 07:04 PM   #6
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Sounds like a great ride and you had a great day.

The acorns on the ride today were not too bad for me, but I had to take a little action last night when riding over a walnut.
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Old 10-09-06, 03:17 AM   #7
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congrats on good ride

Stapfam:

I neglected to congratulate you on your good ride & especially getting Tim through the course. That you both rode at a rate to enjoy the ride & not be ambushed by ponies lurking at intersections is also admirable.

So did you want to get out on your road bike immediately? What was your attitude about having to ride the asphalt again - long for more regular off-road again?

Tom
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Old 10-09-06, 01:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centexwoody
Stapfam:

I neglected to congratulate you on your good ride & especially getting Tim through the course. That you both rode at a rate to enjoy the ride & not be ambushed by ponies lurking at intersections is also admirable.

So did you want to get out on your road bike immediately? What was your attitude about having to ride the asphalt again - long for more regular off-road again?

Tom

Be honest and although I do not enjoy road riding- I do enjoy the rides like this. One of the Organisors asked most at the end if they enjoyed the ride and most answered as I did- "I always enjoy this ride". It is not one of those rides that is going to leave you shattered- no massive great big hills. It is not one of those rides where you see the same scenery all the time. It is not one of those rides where you are playing with idiot car drivers all the Time. It is just one of those good rides. Scenery changing all the time- Weather playing its part in the ride- And the other riders are Fantastic. I had travelled 120 miles to do this ride- and at one of the stops- I met 4 riders from our town. We just keep doing this ride because it is so good. I have done it 6 times now and several from the other group have done it from the year it started. One of them- had a heart attack about 4 years ago and only took up riding then. First time on this ride and he was like Tim- First major ride- but he is in better shape than Tim this morning

Phoned Tim this morning and he is at work- Didn't sleep well last night as the adrenalyn of the ride was still going. Legs were ok- Tips of his fingers are a bit numb and he can sit on a saddle- He tried that before he came into work. Only thing is the body- back aches- shoulders hurt and the brain takes some focusing. He sounded as though he was tired but he asked me if there were any more rides planned for this year.

Incidentally- I did it on the road bike because I had loaned my 26" slicks to one of the other riders, but given a choice-This is a road bike ride. I reckon I could get back to my best time of 4hrs 10 minutes if I pushed myself but that is not what the ride is about. This is a ride to enjoy the atmosphere and you can't do that if you hammer it. The only drawback from my point of view was that I had to look after Tim so much- not that that was a problem but he did take a bit of nursing so not enough camera shots.

Now back to the riding of MTB and Road bike. It is horses for courses. I like Offroading and that is best done on a mountain bike. I also like these organised road rides and they are not really comfortable on a mountian bike. You may have low enough gears for the hills but they are not efficient enough on the road.
Too hevy- Too much weight in the wrong place and too much drag. This is the first time doing this ride on a suitable bike- and I even got down into the drops yesterday. A road bike works- has the more suitable gearing and less drag.

As to getting out on the MTB? Not too worried- as I want to get out on the TANDEM. Stuart has been tied up with work this year so not much riding on it. (Which is why I got the road bike) Only thing is that- I do not want to see any of the boring 6 ft high hedges that are on our local rides on the road. 100k without looking at the scenery- as I did on sunday, would be boring- So it looks like the MTB is all ready to roll for next week- The Tandem has been ready all summer.
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Old 10-09-06, 01:58 PM   #9
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Appears to be a great ride. Nice roads with no traffic, decent wether. Sounds like a keeper to me.
Congrats stapfam!
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Old 10-09-06, 02:54 PM   #10
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What a grat looking ride! Thanks for sharing. My wife and I hope to visit you part of the world someday, and when we do i hope to bring abike along.
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