Long Wind

Now as a man, I’m pretty much there in terms of the operation and maintenance of a personal wind turbine* But 40 years of semi professional parping in no way prepared me for the rampant gale playfully attempting to blow us off an afternoon of high ridges.

Of which the Long Mynd has legion. From the top of every one you can see Wales and even these mere foothills of proper mountains have real altitude. My pre-ride ritual of a sneaky piss up against a bored sheep registered 20 knot sustained with gusts of twice that**. Thankfully I was relieving myself downwind – it’s just a shame I chucked the car keys that way as well.
Long Mynd June 2008 (16 of 30) Long Mynd June 2008 (26 of 30)

The headwind made an already trying climb seemingly like trying to ascend a knobbly wall while God turned the hairdryer past a Spinal-Tap 11. We wasted what little breath we had left attempting to verbally communicate, but the wind whipped away our words in a contemptuous shriek.

Uphill and into wind was marginally less fun that – say – angle grinding your bollocks while drunk and blindfolded. Downhill was super, singletrack-y, exposed and endless. The problem was you were not really in control of the steering*** as frisky gusts would plunge you and your front wheel into the nearest valley floor.

Long Mynd June 2008 (29 of 30) Long Mynd June 2008 (13 of 30)

Which was some 300+ feet below you. Luckily a combination of a death grip and extreme mincing saved the day for me. That kind of exposure doesn’t seem to worry my friend Jason, as proved by him peering into the abyss from the edge of a mahoosive cliff in an absolute raging hoolie. And he has the smallest feet of any male human over the age of about 7. Bonkers.

Long Mynd June 2008 (10 of 30) Long Mynd June 2008 (2 of 30)

Much fun tho hardly ruined at all by my navigational blunders compounded by an inability to reconcile a map, a GPS and a bloody massive great stone saying “YOU ARE HERE”. We got there eventually, although the track log mimics the stagger home of a serious ten pinter. In a foreign country. While trying to work out what the hell you’re meant to do with that anglegrinder.

Long Mynd June 2008 (5 of 30) Long Mynd June 2008 (4 of 30)

Still my happy-clappy karma lasted for as long as it took for some walking acne to drag his crappy pedal across my new wheel, as he boarded the train. His risible apology incensed me – as I made a sneaky exit – to the point of sneaky retaliation.
Hope he has a pump. That’s all I’m saying 🙂

* Operation: Lift cheek and fire up the peristalsis booster.
Maintenance: Sprouts and organic beer. But never at the same time. You risk the very real possibility of blowing your own trousers off.

** The Pissfaut scale is more than a mountaineering urban myth. I have witnessed with my own eyes a ‘piss-off’ where serious hillmen declare “Well Bob’s a heavy pisser and that’s gone aerial, so we’re talking 25-30 knots and that’s not allowing for gusts

*** All together now “Nothing new there then eh?

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