If a kind soul were to place me in a comfortable chair and administer a double measure of warming medicine, my response to the concerned question “What’s wrong?” would read something like
Most things. Not quite everything, but many grumpy intersects on a linear scale of increasing wrongness. Sometimes to understand why things are so rubbish right now, you must backtrack to the first point of “when stuff goes bad“.
The first trace of the element fuckup had clearly been hoovered up by the endo-Murph who then promptly exploded in the manner of his first day with us. Of course everything is bigger now, his stomach, his range and the volume of multi-coloured yawn to be founnd pebble dashed across most of the house.
This 5am wake up call provided me ample time to notice a gap where once a wheel stiffening spoke had once proudly stood. I had both a spare and the frankly unhinged tool to effect a repair, but the mechanical knowledge was lacking, and – even when faced down with cold, hard cash – the local bike shop was breathtakingly uninterested until about a week on Thursday.
Thankfully my far sighted policy of acquiring random bicycles harvested up a spare, and I was ready to drive myself all the way to Wales where some nice person would continue to do so for the rest of the day. So ready in fact, the bike was in the car, the full set of body and head protection was packed, and I’d gone all a bit OCD counting pedals and shoes.
A last check of emails showed the uplift service was anything but ready. In fact a state of cancellation had overcome it on the grounds it was too dangerous. HANG ON, I’ve been telling everyone how dangerous it is and – viz a viz -why I am so damn brave to go and ride it again. This held no truck with those driving vans on icy forest roads, and I was left with a chilly 8am dilemma.
One I hedged by using every 21st communication method to establish contact with Mike (my fellow downhiller for a day), all of which failed, and I was fresh out of pidgins. In the spirit of ‘fuck it, I’ve booked the day off, may as well go riding“, I carefully chucked the big boys collateral onto the floor to make way for xc stuff that was significantly more gay*
While all this was going on Mike was replying using the exact same talk-to-AL technologies I’d been bothering him with. Which would have worked extremely well had my dumbphone taken to doing what I’d paid it form rather than display a state of passiveness that convinced me it was actually working. Understandably Mike gave up, and I was left to a couple of solo laps of the Cwmcarn XC course.
Which was frozen solid, deserted, occasionally sleety, slightly more frequently cheekily icy on corner apex’s, and probably just what old snug-trousers(tm) needed. But not what I wanted, and even the magic of Titanium was beaten by the unforgiving ground. Although not as beaten up as the pilot who – after 20 miles of this – was suffering from cramp of everything including teeth.
So I didn’t get to go and pretend to be brave. I had to ride uphill and do so uite often. Many other small things were shittiest enough in frequency to to become big things. But on the upside I still got to ride my bike and didn’t have to go to work. Although time enough was left for me to service a set of working brakes that – after 3 hours – were ALMOST as good as when I’d started.
But there’s still a week of 2008 before Children’s holidays cull the riding season so if this sodding ice age would bugger off for 24 hours, I’ll be having it small on a mountain near me. You see while a lack of talent and a delusional complex may hold me back on the hill, bloody mindedness will damn well get me there.
* I’d like to point out the hedgehog is an equal opportunities annoyer. Sexual preference, colour, creed, religion or advanced animal husbandry techniques are all equal here. But I draw the line at trekkies, anyone using air quotes or ownership of folding bicycles. I mean all the hits are welcome, but a man must have some standards.