Having depressed myself through the simple act of reading the consultation document/done deal sapped out by the FC for the ensuing forest sell off*, I felt some cheering up was in order. And with the fruity grape being back on the weekend agenda, the simple solution would see me muzzily nose down in a fine Merlot. Occasionally rising above sofa level to extract chocolates from the Kids’ secret store.
However, the serial killer attempts on a liver that’s already suffered quite enough over past weekends has put me right off that idea. Weekends are precious enough without a bastard hangover chaser. So instead I harvested a couple of my favourite photos from a roadtrip back in 2008.
Looking backwards tends to focus the minds eye on a hinterland missing much of the grimness experienced in the then. Rain, lots of that. One of the guys seriously, and understandably, out of sorts, a couple of others missing, and the feeling that this was the end of something.
And yet how can any trip including these great moments be anything but a happy memory. First we see a hamming of up by a lying of down for road sign lampooning. At the end of a long climb where Dave and I invented the idea of vertical geography sliding off to “Hills Conventions” under cover of night and vying for the “biggest bastard” award – “Well say what you like about Scarfell, he might be a bit craggy and sold out to the tourists, but check out those shoulders, he’s a freaking monster”**
Second up was changing a tube high up above the Lakes wondering if there could be any better time for a sit down and look around. I remember the complete sense of peace we felt up there. There is a certain singularity to road trips- you faff, you bullshit, you drink too much beer but when you ride there are no boundaries, no being home for six, no work shit polluting your mind, nothing to deflect a focus form the sheer joy of being free in the mountains.
Finally is my good friend Andy – a fusion of great antiquity and shortness of form that clearly marked him out as the “Proto Gnome” – launching over a meaty rock step on his £100 hardtail. He then cast around for a loaner full-suss from us normal sized riders to try again only, this time, with a bit more aggression. Much shuffling of feet and desperate excuses grumped him up until I carefully pointed out that “I would lend you the Pace, but really I need it to work afterwards”
I write this and in my head is “we can be heroes if just for one day“. Three images, one ride, many more to come, so many more have passed. I guess the point is that we should celebrate – not lament – the good times, and only look forward to the next much anticipated event.
The slightly more pretentious angle is that going out and doing stuff creates memories that will sustain you in dark times. Because the worst regret of all must be not doing it in the first place.
* An entreaty so brazenly craven to Government policy, it smacked of Turkeys’ voting for Christmas.
** You probably had to be there.