That is what Spring has done although it is as swallows to summer, with warm, breezy days sandwiched between icy blasts and freezing rain. But warming rays have thawed out this less than hardy perennial and hacking over drying trails has replaced hibernation. Hacking coughs have also been a early season feature but I’m not one to make a big thing of it.

This is Steve Watlington Wakins recently harvested from retirement and showing old school style perfectly matching his retro bike and really rather advanced years.

Not quite as old and annoyingly fitter is Nigel who casts off winter sensibility for a bit of buggering about in Swinley Forest.

For me, it’s a case of scratching the crust off old memories of how to ride and what happens afterwards. Having crashed almost as many times as I’ve ridden this year, my downhill style has been likened to nervous lemming that has been damningly blighted with self awareness. You’re not getting me close to that cliff, no way, it looks bloody DANGEROUS.

Uphill, thankfully, nothing much has changed except I’m a little slower, a little more rubbish and a little readier with excuses pertaining to lost fitness, gained weight and some random mumbling around tyre pressures.

After the ride though, it’s the same glorious dichotomy of pain and pleasure. But I think of it as fitness pain and it is simply dulled with a quick beer or a strong brew. And either is very welcome as long as there is cake to follow. With the pain comes proper tiredness – not the kind of boring bone ache from , say, gardening – but smarting pain with an aggressive personality.

So try and run up the stairs and in it steps between your hind brain and leg muscles calling everyone out for an industrial dispute. I find it best to have a little rest until the Synapse Union and Dendrite Management have come to an accommodation. Yesterday, this took quite a few minutes and children rushed past many times, as I lay supine but marooned half way to the landing.

And the ˜Give me something to eat RIGHT NOW or I’m starting on this child’ hunger pangs are back as well. The kind of stomach wrenching non maskable interrupt that has you running “ okay limping quickly “ to the fridge and considering devouring an acre of raw broccoli.

It’s all good.

The dirty dozen of twelve riders seeking sunshine and singletrack are heading off to South Wales over the long Easter weekend. If I can shed about a stone, regain at least partial fitness and not succumb to any further undiagnosable illnesses, all will be well.

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