Sometimes a day is not enough.

It is surprising how much pain and suffering can be fitted into a single rotation of the planet. Okay, it’s not proper pain and suffering, merely angst and irritation on speed further accelerated by the power of faffing.

Friday 6pm
My trusty drinking buddy and mechanical genius arrives. He takes a long, hard look at my nervously presented first built bike offspring. In the spirit of honesty, I offer him a double digited list of known problems well beyond my mechanical ken. A good example is the front mech’s reticence to shift the chain onto the big ring, an action that only rarely happens with me at the controls.

Simple to explain, complex to fix and soon spanners are twirling and large parts of my once proud build are being deconstructed. Talk of chainlines and ˜Q’ factors sail above my head which, is by this time, nose down in the beer trough.

Next on the agenda is a brake spongy enough to loofer with. This provides a perfect opportunity to imbibe toxic hydraulic fluid through the process of osmosis. Three times we followed the German maintenance instructions, three times the brake stubbornly refused to offer anything more than a token grab of the disc. Still we did end up with a turret attachment and a device for invading Belgium so every cloud and all that.

Thankfully we were saved from fixing the same problem with the other brake when Frank diagnosed the problem as it being totally fucked. The brake worked in a unitary manner, in that the pads would happily grip the disc but weren’t so keen in actually releasing it.

Friday 9pm
Rain starts

Saturday 9am
Rain stops

Saturday 9:15am
Rain starts again after brief pause to collect another million gallons of water.

Saturday 10am
Unload the bikes at Swinley Forest “ a location that remains largely mud free even in winter because of a unique combination of sandy subsoil and thirsty pine trees. Not so today, a sloppy mud fest cunning designed to grind away anything that moves and bleach the will to live through miles of pedal heavy trails.

After sometime not much longer than an hour, the manky shoulder cried enough leaving me to blaze a solo, moist trail back to the car park. This was helped not at all by a basic lack of navigational skills and the loss of a contact lens. The bike pitched in as well with the cranks secondary picketing the front brake and becoming “ in modern HR parlance “ rotationally challenged. The much faffed with rear brake went the other day and has brought a whole new meaning to the word Bleeding.

Saturday 3pm
Random’s party begins with a window rattling shriek as eight excited six year olds rip through the house like a happy tornado. The subsequent two hours was a blur of kids trying quite hard not to throw up an acre of trifle. Any of them refusing to accept that my alternate version of Simon Says wasn’t the best bit will not be invited again.

Saturday 5:10pm
Silence falls on the house. I take this opportunity to check the football scores to see that Sheffield United have been narrowly defeated 4-0 away to Liverpool. This provides perfect context for the Ireland v England Rugby international where a single half is enough to brutally differentiate the great from the not very good.

Sunday 3am
Maybe riding wasn’t such a great idea. As an precursor to three all day adventures in Morocco next week, it’s not looking terribly promising. Only an illegal concoction of pain killers finally dulled the throbbing pain long enough for me to sleep. Unfortunately by this time it was morning.

Still on the upside, the hated folder has left the building “ not, as I had hoped, in jagged sections characterised by axe marks but rather in my brother’s car. He attempted to evangelise the efficacy of the this hinged nonsense, but a single terrifying outing confirmed my suspicion it is not a bike at all. Merely a clever way of unfolding a set of tiny wheels that replicate the sensation of riding a tall freezer on some skateboard wheels.

Today I am visiting relatives. I fully expect this to be at least as much fun as yesterday.

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