A statement that well describes both an elongated plunge into a handy bush, and the dreadful way I dispatched a vast quantity of decent red, the evening before. The two may have been related. A weekend of much alcohol occasionally interrupted by riding was both fantastic and slightly frustrating.
Before I suffered serial navigational confusion, a tree accosted my riding person and threw me into the squidgy dirt. This was merely an end game which was nicely set up by fat floaty tyres, a trail of tractionless mud, a head still more drunk than hungover and the unpleasant sensation that you’re no longer in charge of the steering.
I’m fine thanks for asking, but still a bit confused.
You see back in the Chilterns, I knew most of the good stuff. Where to ride when it was gloopy – so that’s nine months of the year then – the best descents, the cheeky trails and when it was safe to ride them. Here, I’m still a bit of a trail remembering novice and, with my legendary navigational skills, getting lost happens always as often as getting it right.
None of this is helped by generally riding with people who know where they are going. And mainly in the dark. Attempting to translate light strobed memories into confident trail finding was about as successful as failing to open that ‘last’ bottle of wine. Although the Malverns – with the help of young whippersnapper Tim – was not so much of a problem as the Forest of Dean the following day.
Although “not so much of a problem” may not be an entirely accurate description of “er, hang on fellas, left here. No right, no straight on, ah that’s a quarry is it, right definitely left” and “bloody hell, it all looks a bit different in the light“. A hangover sharp enough to shave with wasn’t the best sidekick for a day when I was nominally in charge.
The Forest of Dean held no such fears. I didn’t even pretend to know my way around there. After a night of incessant rain, the mud was almost as constant as the rubbishness of my route finding. After the Malvern ride, the bikes were merely wiped down to remove splatters of dirt. Once we’d slopped back to the Cafe in the Forest, a full on hose down and relube was required. And that was just the riders.
It’s made me more determined to get out and get exploring even when the weather edges to the increasingly ploppy. Once you’re up to your armpits in winter vegetation, and properly lost half way down a steep hill, getting wet and cold are mere bagatelles to the main problems at hand.
On the upside, I was super confident in the twisties of the wine cupboard, and showed great bravery when presented with a line of difficult beers. Tomorrow I’m going to ride to work and if I don’t arrive, I can probably be found looking lost and confused on the road to Hereford.