What’s left?

It’s a direction in which I cannot really turn.

Not sure if you’ve noticed but it’s pretty dark out there. Most of the time now it seems and the clocks have yet to as retarded as BST-1 actually is. Autumn is here, and with it final garden maintenance shackled to the ˜mower than will not die‘ stubbornly ripping up the lawn in a non collection style. What remained was about a ton of wet grass and nowhere to put it, offering up the joyless prospect of a long hard afternoon with a spikey rake.

Sod that, moss is the new lawn, I’m went riding instead. And since the Autumn Chilterns are twinned with a easterly valley centred around Passchendaele, the local trails are sliding around below a layer of bike eating mud. Thankfully these conditions don’t tend to extend beyond spring, or early summer at worst.

So a exciting trip to Bedfordshire with planned; now there’s a phrase you’re not likely to hear very often is it? Oooh Flitwick, Can we go? I really can’t wait, can we go now, please, pllleeaaasse�”. Only an inspired piece of urban planning involving a large uncontrolled explosion could improve the place. But in this flat land of dull, lies the cheery little hillock of Chicksands, a riding spot where woodwork rules the woods, air is the new ground and ambulances are on standby.

Last time out, a very large bike allied with a very small amount of bravery launched me over the log-drop. Since then, a small accident I may have mentioned, did rather more long term damage to my head than my knee. Cornering has been a problem exacerbated when the trail leans left, I tend to lean straight on instead, ploughing headlong into a waiting tree on the grounds it’ll probably be less painful. However many times I tell myself tree bad, corner good“, the message just isn’t getting home.

The only corners at Chicksands are generally bermed allowing even Mr. Timid here to corner by essentially riding into them. So all that time and effort headbutting trees has not been entirely wasted.

Tim and Brad on the dual slalomEarly flight leaves for FlitwicjJeans are the new shorts.

The old favourites were riding as well as ever even if I wasn’t, and we managed to carelessly embaress ourselves on the new 4X (four-cross) course. That’s four bike racing over BIG jumps, huge berms and obstacles I don’t even know the name of. It’s almost mandatory for at least one of the quartet to be summarily unhorsed with the freed bike frolicking down the course in an expensive component smashing tumble. Children of around ten blasted past riding with balls far larger than their tender years could possibly house but we didn’t care. Well not much anyway.

Concentrating or farting? Hard to knowTim does hokey cokeyThat berm is for railing

I was trying to avoid the whole plank bites man” experience of the North Shore so took pictures instead. Yet, Inspired and working on the duff assumption that somehow smashing my knee up would improve technique, I tried again. I don’t think I’ll be trying anymore.

H'mm where to now?Over this, round that and relaxTim disappears into the woods

Still throwing myself off stuff with, if not wild then, slightly vexed, abandon still delivers temporary highs as dopamine and adrenalin combine to amp up natural class-a narcotics. It’s a heady combination of still being alive and being glad still to be alive as fear and elation trade places.

Alex on the bumplop. Friends await disasterBrad bumplop - photoshop casualtyTim, Bumplop.

The road of seeking thrills may sometimes be littered with obstacles and danger, but this is entirely offset by the sheer dullness of the flat featureless tarmac of ordinary life. From a high peak, panoramas compressing wonder and fear can fill your head whereas at ground level, it’s all essentially Bedfordshire.

More photoshop nonsenseBrad drops offAdam post bouncing on his head

Cue more hate mail from the good citizens of England’s dullest county. I’ve started to look forward to it now – Auto-Reply fuck off.

My friend’s ability to leap like a salmon angling for a shag was somewhat at odds with the turkey flapping lameness of my jumping. He took me under his wing (oh I’m sorry, I’ll give myself a good talking too later) and gently explained that technique has the bigger part to play when compared to the buttock clenching, eyes screwed shut approach I’d been pioneering for the last year.

Missing both air and styleTry, try, try then redefine success criteriaOh hang on, he's only gone and done it

A proper photographer turned up and peacocks as we now were (although I was still more your blinged out turkey to be fair), we strutted our stuff and performed largely childish stunts until the light dimmed in line with our own energy levels.

Beer and Photoshop. Winning combinationMaybe notSmall bike, big fun.

Driving home as night claimed day, I wondered if this is what it feels like to be diagnosed bipolar. Natural highs followed by inevitable lows as the word of work and responsibility rushes back in. I rather wish I’d found out twenty years earlier.

But there was beer and talking bollocks to finish. And that’s about all that is needed to displace life’s flatlands until next time.

3 thoughts on “What’s left?

  1. brad

    how drunk were you when you wrote this??? the spelling makes me look a borderline literate..
    good day , good write up.

  2. nickc

    Chilterns aren’t that wet yet, and if you come out on a night ride (remember those hugely expensive lights you bought?) I may show you the cheeky steps… Pangbourne stylee but without the climb out.

  3. Alex

    That could be fun* but
    a. my expensive lights are out on loan
    b. I don’t really feel any urge to ride after commuting and arriving home at 7pm.
    c. I have the wrong tyres

    Other excuses are available.

    * I feel I may be exaggerating here.

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