There is a time for quiet contemplation, trading sanguinary* for calm reflection and playing the long game. Apparently. So I’ve been told. Comes with age and wisdom allegedly. Still time then even for humans of such antiquity as me. But not today. Let me take a deep virtual breath and scream:
“I AM BORED OF WINTER NOW. SICK OF MUD, DARK AND COLD. I WANT DUST AND SUNSHINE. I’VE BLOODY WELL EARNED IT”
Last night I’d have happily settled for just a bit of light. My recent expensive purchase delivered fantastic illumination for ten road pounding minutes, before switching off, shutting down and engaging in a permanent state of electronic sulk. This happens to me far too often during working hours, so my initial diagnosis was the now cooling appliance could only be running a form of Windows software.
Sustained hopeful prodding and poking about** for five more minutes achieved only frustration amidst continued benightment. As is the way of such disasters, my helmet light was uncharged and the repaired Hope Vision was resting some fifteen miles away. Luckily a spare was harvested from Jezz’s toolbox, leaving us with the repeat joy of a soggy road climb we’d only recently dispatched.
Good thing about the road tho was its’ wetness merely irritated rather than injured – a flipped condition come a switch to dirt. Tyres properly aslither, bloke on top wobbling about and bracing for bark impact, and any braking was just crashing by another name.
So we were late, partially lighted, muddy and – in the case of my riding buddy – extremely knackered from the bastard work week from hell. Obviously being a good mate, I took full advantage by suggesting ridiculous epics deep into the hills none of which I had any intention of actually riding. This is entirely opposite to what normally happens, except we end up actually doing them.
My Yang to his Ying was feeling pretty damn good probably as we weren’t going far nor ‘lung-out-of-the-arse‘ fast. This was an entirely unexpected state of affairs as, less than two days before, I’d not so much fallen off the alcohol-free week wagon as set fire to it – before toasting it with multiple double brandies,.
And it was still a proper laugh fighting tank slappers, transferring mud from trail to face via sliding tyre, then sloshing about in dank puddles. But really, we’ve suffered enough and it is starting to take a toll.
My ST4 has a set of rumbly hub bearings that’ll not survive another month. Already the winter has eaten through a shock bushing, broken that shock, destroyed four pairs of brake pads and turned my not-long-since shiny bike into something rather less showroom.
It’s not done that much for me either. Sure I’ve managed to get/stay reasonably fit. I’ve maintained motivation through the hardest month, and plans are afoot to cash in on the coming Spring. But it doesn’t feel we’re there yet.
Dark commutes stretch out a further six weeks, gawd only knows where I’ll dare venture back into the Forest, even the road bike almost seems like a good idea. I’m not sure I can hang on for much longer!
One thing I do know tho, is if we’d turned back, given up, called it a day as sense/tiredness/mechanical catastrophe strongly suggested we should, it’d have been a quick win but a long disappointment. Riding is always better than not riding. It’s also a shit load better when the outside environment plays nice.
Got to Keep The Faith for a few more weeks.
* My “word of the week“. Beats f*ck I suppose.
** Pretty much describes most boys sexual awakening.