I’ve had an excellent day.
A couple of weeks ago, JB asked me if I wanted to ride the Devon Dirt with her. I’d tentatively agreed to this a while ago, so readily agreed. Then she said she’d booked us in, and we were doing it on her and MrJB’s FAT bikes. Whoop! I’ve been secretly hanging for a proper go on the FAT for ages. She’d also agreed with the organiser (who she knows from Days Gone By) that we only had to ride the first half, to the lunch stop. 17 miles on the FATs – how hard could that be?
I was duly collected at 8am (well, 7:45am – we don’t do late), and we were off to Ashburton, the start was set for 9:30. At 8:45 we were parked, the bikes were unloaded and we had our helmets, camel-baks and arm warmers on. We were ready.
So we had a coffee, and then got ready again. 😉
We aimed for the back of the start pack, knowing we were slow, mainly due to our engines, but partly because the FATs take some effort on the tarmac uphills.
Once we were off there were a couple of miles of quiet Devon roads, and then a pile up. Well, not a proper pile up. But lots of ‘normal’ MTB-ers stalled at the start of the first trail, which had an exposed rock slope to go up. We let the way clear a bit, pointed the FATs upwards, found a nice low gear and we were off. How easy was this? I couldn’t believe it, the FAT just rolled up the difficult stuff, the only thing I had to do was pedal, the bike took care of everything else, amazing. I was baulked about 20 meters from the top of this first climb by someone tipping off sideways, clipped in. Were it not for that I’d have made the top, something I am pretty sure I couldn’t have done on my hardtail.
This was the theme for the day, this bike surprised me time after time, it just rolls. It rolls over rocks, mud, puddles, steps… you name it. Where the track was rutted and the wheel caught the edge of the rut, which at best would have been a foot down on the hardtail, the FAT just rolled up it, no bother. Awesome.
The payoff for all this awesomeness is getting them uphill on roads, a small pice to pay (and I think, were I fit, it may not have been such a struggle)
The ride itself was everything I love. Green lanes and bridleways, linked by short road sections. Were I not completely bolloxed come the end, I’d have happily gone around again. Stravia says (and she never lies) we climbed just over 2,000ft in 17 miles, over a well signed and brilliant route.
And I wouldn’t have wanted to ride it with anyone else .