I think this was my fifth ‘puffer, though my third riding not for myself, but as escort for my son.
Last year Alpkit loaned me one of their Sonder Vir Fortis bikes to ride. I can’t say it was the most suitable bike considering how muddy it was that year.
It was however a whole lot of fun to ride. So once again this year I opted to ride the Vir Fortis.
The bike was set up with tubes and Schwalbe Jumbo Jims. Having had a pinch puncture earlier in the week in a rock garden in the Peak District, I put about 20 psi in the tyres.
Also worthy of mention is that there is a big long climb on fireroad, so I didn’t want a draggy tyre pressure.
Of course this is a lot of air in a fat tyre, so I took “some” back out. The first 3 laps went by without drama, however on the 4th I punctured, and I punctured in the muddiest area possible.
Thankfully we were 10 minutes walk back from our pits, so I walked back with a view of washing everything in a stream, rather than get covered head to toe in mud swapping out the tube.
Once the tube was replaced we were good then until well after dark.
As the evening progressed the course became icier and icier. The fat tyres were no more grippy than anyone elses on the black ice, so a good line choice was important.
I nearly came a cropper a few times trying to maintain our earlier pace, but instead opted for the cautious let’s get to the finish in one piece approach instead.
We finished with 16 laps under our belts, which is just over 100 miles. Tom was 33rd out of 90 male soloists.
The Vir Fortis at the finish cleaned up reasonably quickly, as all I had to do was chip the icy mud off the bike.
Would I take the Vir Fortis again? Yes, it’s lightweight, it’s chuckable, and I managed to keep up with my Son on the descents.