The 26th of December is the traditional day for me to bugger off riding somewhere for two or three nights away. This spookily coincides with an influx of relatives with whom my civil relationship is based almost entirely on abstinence. Which highlights both a lack of social skills and tolerance for which excuses are legion, even if reasons are not. I am just not good at being inside toeing the line when I could be outside nailing some singletrack.
It’s one of my many faults. I like to think it’s counterbalanced by honesty and forthrightness. Others may not agree. I’m generally over that fairly quickly
Carol cleverly sideswiped the issue this year by declaring the Leigh household a closed shop, and repelling boarders to anyone even vaguely related until 2012. An excommunication which instantly cancelled all of my travel plans, making for a more happy tribe not tiptoeing around a grumpy father.
Amazingly I appear to be getting even more riding in, all without the standard seasonal accompaniment of guilt. Today Jess and I mud-tested her new shoes and pedals, which started the ride in pristine condition only to finish it looking appropriately mucky and scuffed. Much like the pair of us – exactly how it should be.
Jess has some decent skills, a nice bike, a determined attitude, more than a whiff of inappropriate bravery allied to the stamina of a dead sloth. She is only eleven and the bike has only eight gears, of which even the easiest can become a bit grind-y on the steeper climbs. Which – apparently – on the Blue FoD trail “there are millions“.
I appear to have fathered a shuttle kid – this conversational extract makes the point “Dad is this the last climb” / “Yes” / “You told me it’s wrong to lie” / “Okay, no“. On the dowhills she’s a little flier tho, gradually getting to grips with berms again after meeting one earlier in the year head first having ejected from the bike. When she stands on those new pedals and looks through apexes, it’s astonishing and terrifying in equal amount the speed is carried through the corners.
When she’s tired and sat down getting buffeted and battered, she’s more a chip off the old block here. Although I’m not sure where the competitiveness and demand for where she stands against others here age comes from. Yet to learn the art of pretending not to care while fostering excuses on ones own inferior performance. The problem is her assertion that I’m pretty handy on a bike which suggests some way to travel before reaching any kind of reality.
The far more important thing – and this is one thing we absolutely do agree on – is riding mountain bikes with your Dad/Kid is just the best way to pass the time. Especially when your dad sorts out all your gear,loads and unloads the bikes, washing them when they are dirty and fixes them when they are broken.
It is a very, very small price to pay.