Let them eat cake…

Post ride cake

which – whatever your non wiki’d history teachers may have told you – MarieAntoinettenever actually said. So 250 years or so later, the mantle of cake eating has been vigorously grasped, forked and shovelled by none other than “no not another slice, I really couldn’t, body is a temple you know, oh go on then, just a small one… er not that small” porky Hedgey here.

But first I had to earn it.

Today’s ride went something like, apathy, rain, cold, wind, giggle, cake, grind, giggle, cake. The longer version started with me motoring into the hills through a curtain of rain hanging from an endarkened sky. Further reasons not to leave the safety of the car were a swirling wind and biting cold that speaks far too loudly of the Winter to come.

I was only half joking on offering an alterative indoor beer serving location for the ride to Martin, but he is made of stouter stuff and off we trudged up one of the many steep, grinding climbs that define the difference between the valley floor and the peaks.

Martin and Al” rides lack the discipline, pace, distance and general seriousness of the mid-week night rides. These worthy tenets are replaced with exploring, silliness, careless line choice and – often – thumps of rider into fauna. Today we had all of those in a smidge over ten miles, with even that short distance split by tea and cake at St Anne’s Well.

Cake wasn’t foremost in our minds what with survival filling all the available space on a descent from North Hill that was even more sideways as usual. Two key factors; one a sizeable cross wind cheekily punting us into a rocky void, and two my choice of tyres which are the “go to” excuse of any proper mountain biker.

Yeah would have ridden that, but these tyres (point vaguely at rubber which looks suspiciously like everyoneelses) are rubbish. Wrong trousers as well. Bad egg for breakfast. Honestly lucky to be here at all“. Secretly I’ve always viewed perceived tyre performance as marketing fluff, but in the case of Ignitors, Maxxis really aren’t kidding in labelling them not suitable for mud. Unless you’ve a penchant to lob yourself off the trail into the nothingness of a semi-vertical drop.

I wasn’t. So installed Mr. nesh&frightened and his brakey/slithery descending technique. Which left the rest of me time to worry if those bloody tyres were about to explode having been wrenched on with the force of a million newtons. At least it had stopped raining, which would make it easier for the emergency services to collect me from wherever the fall line ended.

Fun though, oh so much giggly fun that ended near the cafe. Which was open. And Martin had cake funds. Never one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, we stuffed some chocolate cake in their instead. Suitably replete, the horror of a climb all the way to the Beacon was mildlyassuagedby a speed of ascent on a par with an oak tree. And quite an old oak tree at that.

Switchbacking to the Beacon, a rather wonderful vista opened up with blue sky backlit by a fast approach twilight. Views across the Northern hills down to a twinkling Malvern below wereuninterrupted by many humans who had long scuttled back to roofed safety. From the top we rolled fast, chasing the fading light with the kind ofunreconstructedjoy you envy your kids for.

Just a great flow down a brilliant decent chasing a fast mate knowing that 20 minutes away awaited a steaming cup of Tea perfectly accompanied by a slice of that rather fab cake mostly made by Jess. That’s a good a way to finish a weekend as I can think of.

Except possibly two slices.

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