When staying inside is happening to everyone else

Outside of the house is a stream fed by a million rain drops and threatening to break the curbside banks. Trees are bending in the wind and much loved pets are passing by the window at head height. The forecast predicts the weather will worsen as the day progresses. How? Tornados? Hails of trout? Snow?

Whatever we’re in the eye of the storm and all my first line waterproofs are either being repaired or downgraded to occasionally. Most normal people would take the opportunity to find good reasons to stay inside. Even the slightly deranged would scream “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GO OUT THERE“.

Mountain bikers practice an evil grin, lube chains, dig out sufficient gear to provide water resistant tentage for a family of five and, head out to get muddy.

And even with the skewed perspective of the terminal hobbyist, you know it’s going to be slippery roots, multiple impact bruises, no flow, all grunt, silly bikes and trails below the water table. Even the mud is going to be muddy.

It’s just silly. Even with Cake and Medals for afters, it’s still a bloody stupid way to spend your time. My car will take on the appearance of Flanders and my body will turn blue and wrinkly.

But you go anyway. Drive through fronts of damp with even wetter ones behind. Turn the wipers onto max and pretend this is a clearing up shower. Cower under a leafless tree and wait for the latest shower to pass. It doesn’t of course and you’re out of excuses.

It’s ace of course. Within five minutes we’ve crashed on frictionless glass pretending to be wood. The puddles extend for miles on the fireroads and the singletrack is a muddy mess. We head out to quieter trails and find a grippy gem hidden in a little used part of the forest. It’s a mile of whooping, sinewy MTB heaven spitting us out laughing on yet another damp track.

Two hours is enough. Tired legs from pushing knobblies through sludge , tired brains from controlling slides with razor sharp reactions, tired smiles hidden by mud.

And then the promised tea and cake. And, with it, the reinforcement of the mandate that riding in any conditions is always better than not riding at all.

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