Cracking ride

.. in more than one way. Firstly the audible retort as ice turns back to water under the weight of the bike, and secondly the rather unpleasant sensation of rib grinding on rib. 90{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of the ride was hard, fast and mercifully mud free. The remaining 10{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} was terror stalking the night.

Stalking my night certainly. Understandably cautious, my only ambition was to remain right side up and no more damaged by the end of the evening. One cracked rib is unfortunate, two could be considered careless. And painful.

There’s talk that frozen conditions turn the trails into summer. And on the surface that’s true, because that surface has the consistency of tarmac not custard. But summer it is not, there is absolutely no give to the ground, there’s no feeling of the tyres biting under the crust while you’re pinging off frozen geography. It’s more like riding on rock, which is all fine and lovely until someone loses an eye.

Because you are not being apprehended by Mr Mud and his Tyre Dragging Associates, speeds go up right up to the point where the trail goes from mostly grippy and frozen to ice and snow. Leaving absolutely no time to consider any coping strategy other than to close eyes and wonder if A&E is on speed-dial.

We had a few of those, which made a tense Al a little bit tenser. Post crash, it’s always going to be a battle for fun to displace nasty thoughts about further accidents. But I’d much rather be riding on mud free trails with an element of icy risk, than sludging through endless tyre-high slop.

No one else was. Hills to ourselves I assume because duvets had claimed the naysayers. But cold is only a state of mind; even at -3, cycling gear is so good now we both remained toasty but un-sweaty for the whole two hours. Only when we stopped, did the freezing wind creep in to chill bones. We didn’t stop much.

Enough was definitely enough for my ribs and associated sore bits. Fantastic to be back on the bike in proper winter conditions without being totally sideswiped by a fear of crashing again. First ride in four , I’ve actually stayed upright the whole way around. I did avoid one big jump in the grounds it was of a similar size to the one that had me off, but it’ll still be there next time.

As will I. Winter can stay wintry. I’ve done mud and mud’s done me. Seasonal transition from cold and frozen to warm and dry is coming.

Ever the optimist.

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