Curmudgeonly as my last post may have been, some slack must be cut for the on-the-ground*conditions under which it was written. Under skies full of endless rain and on a ground floating on once apparently exhausted aquifers. Best to get out for a ride then to cheer myself up.
Five of those this holiday; three on the only appropriate bike for the conditions. A clever hybrid of road and dirt rolling fast enough to hold sway over boredom until the rocky bits begin. Proper brakes and anorexic MTB tyres makes it a fine mud plugger, if the mince-pie encumbered wheezy engine can make enough power for momentum to overcome sludgery.
These thin tyres part the mud rather than spread it. Irresponsible trail use right now will create metre wide motorways from sinewy singletrack come the dry season. Even the Malverns’ with their legendary colander like qualities are backed up with surface water on top, and unseen-until-this-year mud underneath.
Three options are presented to the cabin-fevered cycle obsessive; ride flooded roads, potholed and washed away, play at trail centres with their armoured runs and car park warriors, or find pleasure in slithering about on a confused bicycle that’s not quite sure what it is.
Fun is what it is. More fun than sitting inside. Less fun than – say – dusty trails under sunny skies. But keeps one in touch with the inner-11 year old as old trails are splashily navigated, and new ones found through never ending exploring. In the case of the photo, a river stopped play where before was just a easy to ride through puddle. Once the bike disappeared beyond the hub, I decided while fun a fording might be, trenchfoot would not.
So that’s 2012 then. From not much going on workwise to a period of total insanity recently followed by something pleasantly in between. Bikes have been ridden 2600 kilometres over 64000 metres of lumpy hills in a tad over 200 hours. Stats wise that’s about right, but entirely fails to capture all the really good stuff, much of which was unsullied by GPS technology being mostly carried out in the pub afterwards.
Three new bikes, three leaving the premises, a new one for Jess, exactly one road ride that left me so traumatised I sold the bloody thing. No major crashes due mainly to on-trail mortality fear, the best month of the year unridden with mouse-lung and no obvious prospect of stopping because one is ‘getting a bit old for this sort of thing‘.
2013 – like the start of every year – has so much potential. Riding with some old pals at Afan a few days ago reminded us all of fantastic trips to foreign shores before we all became distracted with stuff that looked important. We’re going to put that right next year, older for sure but certainly not wiser. So many trails I want to ride, so many skills I still want to learn, so desperate to pack it all in before I really must think about packing it in.
Plenty of time to think about that in 2014. Or 2015. Or…
* soggy. moist. flooded. Insert adjective of wet despair here.