John McEnroe was the angriest young man in the world back then. Watching my own kids arguing – through the medium of chucking stuff at each other – makes me wonder if they’ve secretly been watching Wimbledon DVD’s from the 1980s. But, of course, this isn’t about them, it’s all about me and my never ending faith in bullshit over ability.
It all started when Andy “Tracklogs” Shelley* cluster bombed my Inbox with exploding text shrapnel. When the debris settled, words such as “Marin Rough Ride“, “Next Weekend“, “Not far from you” and “Fancy it?” were left as collateral damage. I immediately emailed fellow survivors of our 2004 lucky to be alive escape to remind me of the horror and suffering that a 72k/7000feet of climbing course can inflict on a non alien.
However, I failed to add the rider that their replies should be couched in terms of “ARE YOU ON CRACK? STRIKE DOWN THE HEATHEN SHELLEY OR AT LEAST MARK HIM AS SPAM“. They have both cautiously considered attending themselves. What madness is this? Don’t you remember? Here’s an extract from 2004:
“I’m hoping the worst is over. It’s not. The next climb refracts riders as light through a prism and it’s clear I’m in serious trouble. There’s just two of us at the back now and I’m coveting Nigel’s full suss because every rut is a Hobson’s choice of an energy-sapping out of the saddle move or a seatpost up the arse. We’re 42km in on a grassy climb and I’m starting to hate it but it’s about to get much worse. Twenty minutes later, I’m all on my own, one broken chain, two punctures, three sense of humour failures. I finally free the chain from behind the cassette by dint of jamming my bloodied hand in there for the twentieth time. Streams of riders come past before I finally get back on the bike, then my hamstring cramps up **”
There’s so much more of the same here and the picture propping up this post was my pre-40 self looking totally knackered. I am probably no fitter, certainly quite alot older, definitely less motivated and generally more rained on. The upside is that my extensive bike collection includes a perfect foil for such madness. I speak of the legend that is Roger the Pink*** Hedgehog. But I’d hate it. I sit here and think it’s doable, but secretly I’ll admit it’s going to hurt. Alot and for a long time.
And yet, and yet… It’s only 30 miles away, there’s a blouse-out option at 48k, I cannot do worse than the trauma 7hr20 minutes back in 2004. It’s a great course.
I am not serious, but I’m sort of tempted.
* A man so fit he refuses to accept that any MTB ride can be less than eight hours long. In the Peak District. In Winter. He may not be of this planet.
** It’s true you see. I have actually curbed my rambling style since then. No honestly, read the rest if you don’t believe me/have half a weekend to spare.
*** Lively Purple. Just didn’t scan as well.