“I remember when this was all snow”

CwmCarn Jan 2011

When was that?” / “Last Wednesday“. I had that line prepped and ready to go for this mornings’ return trip to Cwmcarn. Them the driving sleet bouncing off the windscreen turned to snow pretty much as we arrived.

It carried on until we left some four hours later having availed ourselves of two fine trail laps. First time round, significant rammage as New Year Resolutions met middle aged guts and heavy puffing drowned out the sizzle of the snow.

Not us tho – four fine athletes in the prime of their life rocking round in seventy minutes. Well not quite, in fact not at all. Well I was not, rasping away on Ashtma’s cusp while my HRM categorised me as a soon-to-expire Hummingbird.

CwmCarn Jan 2011 CwmCarn Jan 2011

The cheery banter of long-riding pals was happily at the fore. Firstly Al the Motivational Speaker “With all that suspension, surely you should be going faster” and then Al the Yorkshire Whinger “Can we just slow down long enough for me to find a nice piece of forest to die in?“. Then Jezz fell off and that cheered us up even more 🙂

CwmCarn Jan 2011 CwmCarn Jan 2011

The reward for my legendary wit and repartee was to be sent down first to ascertain levels of grip. With my face if necessary. Backing off 5{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} brought some long forgotten smoothness, carving perfect berms while giggling like a gassed-up loon. A fast, last descent into the now eye watering snow had us running for the warmth of the cars and a spot of random lunch. Because obviously the cafe wouldn’t be open to feed hoards of hungry mountain bikers.

Dry and comfortable as it was, a second lap wasn’t going to happen from the passenger seat so we struggled back into waterproofs, engaged easier gears and set off again. I expected it to be horrible but with Martin and I setting an “old duffers” pace, it never really ratcheted up beyond mildly unpleasant. And this time mostly deserted.

Cheeky rest stops masqueraded as point’n’click camera opportunities. Most of which seemed to be Rob on repeat trying to clean a snowbound section with a slippy crux*. Descending for the second time, we backed off a little more with the snow increasing while grip was heading the opposite way.

CwmCarn Jan 2011 CwmCarn Jan 2011

Still fun, fun fun clattering over rocks on fast bikes that somehow climb, lean and plunge without being too heavy, too remote or too fragile. But my mind was getting a little frazzled with the speed, so when the magic began to fade I was left a bit panicky and target fixated on nasty stumps.

CwmCarn Jan 2011 CwmCarn Jan 2011
Last descent. “Get Down Alive” mode engaged. Disengaged when Jezz looked like he might get away. “Seat down, elbows out, be brave see what happens” is always exciting, especially when the non snowy ribbon of trail is less than a foot wide – either side of which is going to have you creating interesting new topographical features probably with broken limbs.

Of all the jumps in this section, only one was going to get the treatment. Lowest risk being on a straight section of trail, and not too much air time to think of what might go wrong. Apparently an entire FOOT of air was recorded beneath my wheels, which only happens nowadays if the bike is tumbling in a sky-ground-sky-ground-hospital manoeuvre.

So happy with that. Not happy about going back to work tomorrow. Still after today,at least I can have a lie in. No way I’ll be commuting by bike.

* Does that sound rude? Excellent.

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