Today I was an extra in the horror flick of that name. For two hours, my role was to squeal “Is this the bit where I die? No, must be here then? Oh, ARRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH”
Crash. Fade to black.
Thankfully as it was only made up* I didn’t actually die, but it wasn’t through a lack of opportunity. The frozen trails of last weekend were still rock hard but now encased under a thick layer of ice.
I knew this, and have ridden enough to understand the frictionless consequences of the freeze/thaw cycle, but still I had to ride. A crap week at work leaked into the weekend and was met head on by a Saturday hangover, which made me want to chop my head off.
So half the weekend gone and my only contribution to Thespian services was a world-weary re-incarnation of Mr Grumpy that the family didn’t deserve.
Portents of what lay ahead were all around. Firstly de-icing the car was a twenty minute job which made me late enough, before further time was wasted while kettle-tech(tm) gained me access to the trailer locks.
Locks that had re-frozen by the time I arrived at Jezz’s gate some 20 minutes later. No matter as so was his gate. Going to be one of those rides is it?
It was. Pretty much the same as last week in conditions similar, and yet entirely more menacing. Ice was everywhere, on the roads, packed down on high traffic trails and hidden under guilty leaves.
Descending speeds came down, but it was that or ploughing into gates/rocks/people. Brakes were more scary, the front one especially. Trying to stay relaxed while all things pucker shaped are puckering up was more than a little mentally challenging.
But really this is a matter for rejoicing. Two consecutive bluebird rides. The mud and sludge and grim of winter belayed by a protracted cold snap. The terror of hissing tyres on ice tempered by the relief of remaining upright and the same shape.
The freezing eyes of a blinking shimmy from the ridgeline bringing forth the inner warmth of this landscape being your playground. The realisation that the seasons have truly changed, and the joy that the next one is spring.
You’d not get me out on the road bike tho. That’d be lethal!
* In the same way as economic forecasts, household budgets, cost of bicycles and the answer to “how much did you have to drink last night” are merely glittery cast-offs from some boring place called “Truth“.