Welsh Rarebit

That’ll be what’s euphemistically known as my “thin bit” then. Summer arrived in Wales and with it my perennial battle of my pasty white skin versus the power of the sun. And since I accelerate from zero to angry lobster in about 30 seconds in direct sunlight, it’s a battle I’m sure to lose. None of this is helped by the fading sun cover once afforded by a full head of hair. Still I can always reconcile the rapidly receding hairline against the almost proven fact that a bald pate is a solar panel for a sex machine.

Aside from raw patches of sunburn breaking out on exposed limbs, this was the best riding weekend for bloody ages. Dry fast trails and long cold beers interspersed with drivelled bollocks being talked and the odd disaster befalling the wrecking crew.

We managed exactly no miles out of the car park Saturday before Dave fixed Brad’s brakes through the dark mechanical art of pissing the hydraulic fluid out of the calliper. No matter, this gave us time to “carbo load” on Bacon sarnies and strong coffee. Oops, yes fell off the coffee wagon this weekend although “set fire to it in glee” is probably a more accurate simile.

And again. Tes that's dustBrad - Whytes HairpinBrad and Brian - 9 foot river crossing

The riding was 100{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of fantastic. Flashing from open hillside to tree lined singletrack in all the time it takes to say “aaarrrghhh its all gone very dark behind these super cool but bloody dark shades” The day was spent swooping through endless trail curves, launching off rocky steps and hyperventilating to pump oxygen to weakening limbs. Right up until the time when things started to go a bit wrong.

I was surfing on a wave of overconfidence having – cleaned – a section of hitherto unconquerable trail going by the jolly name of “the graveyard” Full of sharpened stumps and tricky rocks with no obvious exit route, it’s claimed many a victim – including me – through a combination of timid line choice and a lack of commitment. Having “thucked” – a MTB term to describe launching the bike over obstacles by thrusting you body forward so your nose ends up near the front wheel – over the final rock, it became clear that I was in love with my bike.

This is not some lazy simile, I have started to engage in a creepily unhealthy relationship with a flange of aluminium tubes. We’re getting old together – this once pristine and frankly bloody expensive frame now shows the scars of our attempts to scale unscalable peaks and, more routinely, battering it to death on the bike trailer. And much as this bike has acted as a talent compensator with it’s big springs and forgiving nature, it does have a rather perturbing design issue. The bike sits low to the ground so corners like a go kart on amphetamines, but this does raise the real prospect of a pedal strike when negotiating rocky terrain.

As my confidence was at it’s highest, the pedal was at it’s lowest and the resultant impact trauma focussed spitefully on my shoulder and a tree. Self preservation saw me retract my head like that of a tortoise into it’s shell as I was ejected upwards and sideways into the late spring air. This air was full of trees and naturally I shoulder charged one at a stinging velocity. Luckily the pain and bleeding resulting in being barked by a young but sprightly Pine was offset by the throbbing of a testicle that failed to clear the launch pad, sojourning briefly but painfully against the saddle.

My riding friends showed all the sympathy of a band of jackals chuntering over a dying zebra, and the lack of any limbs actually hanging off by a single tendon elicited just a single Neurofen and some robust advice to stop whinging.

Ten minutes later chasing Dave through some sun buffed trail, his rear mech decided to mate with the wheel on the backside of a drop in the track. The subsequent carnage rendered the bike unrideable but we weren’t too far from the centre, and a loaner ensured nothing more than an extended lunch break before we were off riding again.

Most post big ride evenings’ go beer, shower, beer, beer, huge recently dead animal served with chips and beer, rubbish game of pool, one for the road, deep snory sleep. This one went to form although as we get older the beer consumption seems to be dropping and we rather worrying enjoyed an edition of “QI” on the TV. Standards are starting to slip.

Wind FarmBrad crossing over to the WallBrad - July Trail

Next day just as good. Less mechanicals. More tired limbs. Increased verbal offerings of the bollox variety. More sun. Less burn. Wearily pack the bikes up and head home lamenting the injustice that is two day weekends.

Brad, Joyrider, July TrailBrain = July TrailGhosts in the machine

My bike’s a bit more battered. I’m a bit more scarred and my liver has completed another session in the “George Best Fitness Masterclass“. My legs, closely followed by secondary picketing from every other body part, are having little truck with riding the commute this morning, but all this is the smallest of price to pay when placed against a 48 hour adrenaline rush.

I wonder when I can retire and do this every day of the week.

5 thoughts on “Welsh Rarebit

  1. NickF

    Whereas my riding consisted of a short bimble through the woods and a waste of a glorious Sunday morning minding the kids.

    Still, Morzine in LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. Hopefully it’ll be a load better than my last week-long session, when it rained for precisely every day, without fail.

  2. Alex

    It was probably one of the best weekend’s riding I’ve done in the UK. Hopefully the first of many this summer. I left the kids with my wife all weekend for which I will – of course – be paying big time in the coming days 😉

  3. Alex

    Better not put you and brad on the same trail. Every time he rode his bike off a drop, the earth’s mantle began to crumble 😛

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