Bit of 80s Queen there. Not a surprising choice from a man whose musical choice is pretty much bookended by a dusty collection of CDs purchasedÂ back when they were something other than obsolete media and the safe side of the Radio 2 playlist.
I did consider the lesser known ‘let me Entertain you‘ from the much maligned Jazz album but felt that might be setting the bar a bit high or the 1983 hit ‘It’s a hard life‘ but again descriptively that’s a tough sell.
The kind of magic we’re talking about here is the transmogrification of a weeks riding kit into that small black bag without extensive use of explosives or experimental physics. Magic potion requested – just add a Carol who will perform Â some arcane acts of prestidigitation to fashionÂ a small black hole sucking in what I’m thinking of as ‘a worry of bike clothing‘
Expect I’ll be leaving most of it in Spain tho when it’s just me, all that stuff, the patience of a special needs nat, and a bag significantly more undersized than the boat Police Chief Martin Brody wondered might be a little on the small size forÂ hunting that particular shark.
As in a break from tradition and in celebration of Haydn’s rather momentous birthday*, we’ve abandoned our normal transport strategy – based on a big van, loads of room, no weight limits, a ton of junk food and 14 hours to stareÂ out of the window as a good part of France slides by – for an oversized Coke can with an ego problem.
Flying brings its own challenges. Firstly most airlines baggage policies are thinly veiled threats for passengers carrying much more than a thimble of shower gel and half a mars bar. Bicycles are about as welcome as an uncaged angry lion or a wobble of already-shit faced dickheads onÂ a stag weekend**
No matter a bit of keyboard based persistence landed us six tickets to Malaga with a vague promise of the bikes arriving both in the same country and reasonably intact. From there two more hours will deposit us at our destination in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. For me, it’s my fifth tripÂ to the Andalusia region, and the other four have all been fantastic in rather different ways.
Firstly back in about 2004, a gaggle of us left a miserable UK February under skies full of sleet and roads entombed in ice. To arrive 450 miles due south to conditions just a bit worse. It was still a marvellous – if somewhat damp – experience with Marco from Ciclo Montana finding us places to ride when the weather suggested ‘bar, barÂ and more bar‘
So I was delighted to find Marco still running something similar all these years later. My riding buddies were laughing when I told them that story of snow in sunny Spain until reviewing the forecast for next week. Thankfully it’s improved from ‘robustly challenging’ to ‘pretty damn good except for the end of the week and we’ll ignore that for now’
Anyway committed now so whatever the ground conditions, I’ll be in the mountains riding bikes on new trails with old friends. Careful use of the word old there, but everyone seems to be fit and riding surprisingly well. Â We’ve even included a couple of blokes under 40 to prove while the younger generation might be a bit faster on a bike, theyÂ lack the wisdom and experience of the career drinker.
Except Cez. He monged himself about a month back attempting escape velocity over a jump which led to an incident with a tree, a separated shoulder and a trip to A&E. He’s been for one ride since and has declared himself ‘All Good‘, I have no suchÂ excuses having ridden bloody loads already this year – mostly on the plastic chubby – without properly falling off or injuring myself in some other ‘nearly a half century, can put my back out emptying the dishwasher‘ kind of way.
So 4:30am on Saturday we’ll load the van for the short trip to the Airport. From there it’ll be a different experience to our standard riding trips. I expect the bullshit, talking bollocks, inappropriate drunkenness, dawn to dusk piss taking and a whole lot of awesome riding shall remain a constant tho. And if not, just the drunkenness.
I guess when I stop getting excited by this stuff, I’ll be pretty much dead but still moving about 😉
*I shall reach a similar number – all things being equal – in August this year. I’m so far in the closet about it, Narnia couldn’t find me.
** easy to spot in the airport. One will be wearing a dress, a fewÂ will be throwing up in Weatherspoons, while the rest will be fighting each other/random innocents. It puts me in mind of most Friday nights in Ross.