This time last week.

Pyrenees Adventuring - 2011

I was still in the Pyrenees. Specifically above 2000m underneath the Les Angles bike/ski park. More specifically still, in a bar watching hail and slashing rain install drinking instead of riding in our afternoon’s itinerary.

A few uplifts would have been nice, if only for the novelty value of not riding/pushing/carrying the bike over endless peaks. But with a front brake that had all the form but none of the function of a working one, an arse which showed the scars of some recent prison activity and a level of motivation sufficient only to order more wine, it didn’t feel like a disaster.

What a trip though. Not so much mountain biking, more “Adventuring By Bicycle”. Finally conquering Canigou on the third attempt is up there with the best days on a bike ever. Or with a bike anyway as I shall explain later.

It was a hell of an experience; we were badly lost in worse weather, we had a few scary mechanicals, less crossed words and a gin fuelled bender that ended in me being really quite ill. Last year felt a little life changing, this year even more so. Pretentious as that may sound.

Maybe perspective changing is more accurate. Pushing yourself mentally and physically for five solid days, ensuing the easy options, being in places with a bike that no one else is, sharing experiences and limiting your horizons to big skies, pedalling, pushing and being occasionally brave. It’s a long, slow rush if that makes any sense. It does to me.

And the ST4 survived. Although it was immediately ambulanced into Nic’s Repair Emporium on arrival back in Ol’ Blighty. So far the list of replacement parts reads like a bearing catalogue. New movable spherics all round, new DU bush*, three chain rings, one rear tyre, cassette, chain, headset bearings and possibly rear wheel bearings.

That’s a whole load of expense. As is adventuring at 1 Euro to the quid. But it is beyond money well spent. If anyone asks me for a definition of value, I shall merely point them to my flickr stream.

More soon. Preparing myself for the horror of another Birthday comes Tuesday. Lucky to be alive frankly. A week ago, I felt very lucky indeed.

* This is half of what holds the shock to the frame. Nothing ruder. I was rather pleased the other half had survived. Until Nic reminded me we changed that one two months ago.

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