Pack it in.

Waterproof Jacket. Waterproof Socks. Waterproof Shorts*. Waterproof Socks. Winter Boots. Vast Tent (waterproof). Flippers. Goggles. Canoe. Beer. More Beer. Will To Live.

Maybe a bike.

Maybe not.

Fairly standard packing list for any event caught in the crossfire of English weather, riding bicycles for indeterminable hours and me. Plan for snow and hope for the best is a tactic that served me well especially during the biblical horror of 2009. If evolution could be morphed with always-on modernity, a new homo-wetian cluster would have emerged from the flooded bog of the West Mendips. Equipped with gills.

Raining outside now. Sky as black as a man with his head in a mucky bucket. Something I’d normally be considering channelling my Ostrich coping strategies. And yet a peek of the fickle forecasting interweb returns only patchy rain, a brisk wind and a little chill. Receiving extreme sunburn is unlikely, but then again so is drowning. I’ve chosen not to believe a bloody word of it. Considering a wetsuit.

Packing has not gone well so far if I’m honest. Last night? Ideal, write a list, locate items, wonder if “amusing elephant” has been added to list by not so amusing child. Fail to locate key items that have clearly been hidden. Will To Live on top of that particular list. Open tailgate, and – with a berserker cry – launch multiple wheelbarrows of useless stuff into the back. Adjust fit with handy sledgehammer, job done.

Went riding instead. Dusted off the Cove with crazy notion of deploying it as a spare bike at the CLiC-24. A second rider would be better. And a third come to that. It repaid my negligence and abandonment with a reminder that disc brakes only work when BOTH pads and disks are available to the caliper. Rear ones on the backing, front ones in there somewhere but insufficiently motivated to prevent lever banging against the bar, while arresting no motion of the front wheel.

Good brakes make you go faster apparently. I sort of get that. But let me expand the theory – no brakes AT ALL make you go very fast indeed. The last descent from the Worcester Beacon shall live long between me and my therapist. I’m sure it’s all fixable although chucking the thing on the trailer and assuming it’ll somehow self heal is unlikely to be a successful approach.

Right, it seems I’m nearly out of time and all out of excuses. I’ll take a camera to record the misery which – obviously – I’ll share with you sometime next week. I wonder if it’s too late to book a B&B 😉

* Kinky. I’m not sure an explanation of “yes they may be plastic but who wants a heavy gritting up the arsecrack?” helps much.

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