In that I managed to go riding before the onset of delirium, tedium and bedlam, as I naughtily consider my relatives. When the foggy stopping distances flipped from imperial to metric, we made haste in a northerly direction to the Freeride Mecca that is Chicksands. A pagentastic Saturday worship delivered a little mud, tacky but limitless grip and but a few other apostles. Our tempting apple was a warm car when compared to a cold outside, partially frozen beneath a steel gray sky.
But there’s only so long one can stare vacantly at a muddy field enlivened only by the pinging of a fast cooling engine before boredom takes hold. Closely followed by instant frostbite as cold metal stings warm flesh. Eventually after the ten commandments of faffing (of which more at some later day) had been completed, a worthy band of five went searching for the last ladder before Christmas.
Soon our Judas had been outed after declaring himself broken. In an attempt to protect a recently healed fracture on his wrist he performed an experimental dismount on the wooden Shore. His wrist survived but the deceleration trauma on his chest and face somewhat compromised the benefits. The rest of us complained of a litany of ailments raging from fear to hangover passing through cold, apathy and asthma. I was replete with the full set and things weren’t really going to plan until a quick suspension service at fettle central improves the bike if not the rider.
We got up to the usual stuff but, facing a hard stop at dark some three hours later, with a little more alacrity and less freeride chatting. On crossing the hill from drops to racing, the dual course leeched the energy from our limbs while boosting our nervous systems with all manner of blood pumping happy pills. Suitably wired, we then mosied over to the 4X where aggression and stupidity never quite made up for lack of talent and speed. But there’s progression there – everyone I ride with is riding better, going bigger, getting higher and pulling some decent tricks.
Except old earth bound misfit here, but I’m not longer scared of what’s in front of me just lacking in style and altitude. It’ll come even if I’m seen sniffing round the NASA anti-grav experimental research centre.
So even facing the prospect of four non riding days, two manic children, one hassled wife and a plethora of annoying relatives, I’m ready. Or as ready as I’ll ever be and come next Thursday, we’ll be decamping to Welsh wales to chase out the turkey and connect back to the real world. Although I can’t say the prospect of winching up a 38lb freeride bike from sea level to a few thousand feet is something to actually look forward to. But once gravity gets a grip, and you’re on a crusade in search of the perfect ride with a nod to the Gods of bravery and skill, then that’s about as close to heaven as the average apathetic agnostic can get.
And you may never get there of course. But you’re sure as hell going to enjoy the journey.
PS. Oh and is that a new looking bike you may ask? Well, it may just be. For a second, I did consider buying something more sensible or even not buying anything at all. Realistically neither of those had a festive snowball’s chance in hell of surviving in the fiscal utopia that is Alsworld(tm).