That was the weekend that was

Black Mountains August 2008 (19 of 37) by you.

How can it be 6pm on Sunday evening? Someone stole my weekend and unless that same someone gives it back, there shall be unspecified but violently executed trouble. About ten minutes ago, we were enjoying an outdoor dead cow grill-off freshened up by a couple of cold ones, and now there is only a nights’ sleep away from the corporate grind.

I’ll accept that a whole day was lost to some old school mountain biking. With all the new trail centres and dedicated riding, it’s easy to forget that inking in a huge circle round a couple of mountains and just getting on with it, was the default approach to a big day out.

The black mountains offer gradient, views, exposure and wilderness in equal parts. If bad things happen, you’re along way from help and nowhere near a phone signal. As I’d picked up the navigating tab, my nervousness as leaving us benighted on a proper Welsh mountain probably contributed to us getting lost on the way to the start point.

Black Mountains August 2008 (11 of 37) Black Mountains August 2008 (13 of 37)
Which set the scene for us (well me really) failing a number of navigational challenges including “This is a muddy sheep track and you promised us a big rocky downhill” and “How the hell do we get out of this humongous, wood before extreme hunger sets in and you’re dinner

Black Mountains August 2008 (14 of 37) Black Mountains August 2008 (32 of 37)

And even when we finally stumbled back on track, huge 1000 foot carries separated us from the other side of the mountain. And endless climbs – framed by ground to sky glacial valleys – mocked our weedy legs and rasping lungs. But when gravity began pushing rather than pulling, we happily plunged down 10 kilometre descents, and bashed rocks until our legs, arms and central cortex could take no more.
Black Mountains August 2008 (20 of 37) Black Mountains August 2008 (29 of 37)
Which was about the point that the final 4 miles of climbing unwound from the very top of a big forest. Luckily I headed off the “Al in a Pot” mutiny by spotting a short cut which saved a) a 300 foot climb to the summit and b) my bacon.

The big day ended in a big feast where three men did something quite obscene to a huge dish of lasagna. Followed by similar acts of hedonism on some damn fine reds. All of which made cooking up a cholesterol death breakfast the first imperative of a groggy Sunday morning. Summarily dispatched, my body appeared incapable of independent movement – a state that completely failed to pass muster when confronted by a shit load of moving and grouting that apparently cannot wait.

So cleaned bikes, unloaded a ton of stone – which appears to have the same price per ounce as gold* – moved stuff around in a circular fashion, and made strenuous attempts to prevent children from trampolining into the river. When I say strenuous, what I actually mean is shouting “if you bounce over the fence, don’t expect me or your mum to come and get you. Swim down to Hereford and hand yourself over to a policeman

And now it’s 6PM and the weekend has just been whipped away from under my foraging snout. Two questions – can this be in any way fair, and who do I blame?

* more on this later, when the insanity of buying a 200 year old cider pressing stone in leiu of food for a year dims to a dull ache.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.