I don’t find writing difficult. I accept you may find reading it a bit of a mission, but that’s far less interesting to Mr Self Absorbed here. Who suffers – literally – seconds of angst tocreate pithy titles summarising a thousand words of half baked ideas shotgunned by occasional punctuation.
That ^^ one is great – cram in a literary reference to man who, until his death in 1882, was knocking out Victorian bestsellers in a canon of work snappily entitled “Chronicles of Barsetshire,”*. And I can pretendTrollop translates, inthe Al-Babel-Fish universe, to ‘Amusing Idiot’. A quick google suggests a rather more established definition is that of a ‘A woman regarded as slovenly or unkempt’. I honestly thought it meant idiot. Which probably makes me one.
150 words in then, and it’s all going splendidly. Anyway this is merely asemantic sleight of hand displacing the simple truth that I got a bit cocky**, before fate handed down anappropriate punishment ofa bit of ground rush and quite a lot of pain.
Stupid really. That’s me in case you were searching for context. After three days of lobbing ourselves down steep Welsh hillsides and one actual mountain, I returned to my local trailslastingapproximately 500 yards before genuflecting at the shrine of Mr. Mong.
Confidence is a fragile thing. Bolstered by thosedays of dodging bullets on trails full of vertigous gradients and gravity travelling scree slopes, the combination of a great new bike and a not so great aged rider felt as ifthey should up their game a bit.
Hence crashing so early. Second attempt at an up and over rock obstacle, opened up a barely discernibletrail perpendicular to thenormal fireroad. Off camber and full of roots, this would be impossiblein anything but the dry and dusty conditions we rode throughtoday – and it finishedsimplywith a drop back to themain track.
Simple, except my peripheral vision identified a large mount of dog-poo right on the exit, so triggeringan instinct to make rubbish decisions. Grabbing a handful of front brake, which on this bike isessentially a personal wall ,is not the most consideredof responses whencantered over on a steep slope full of drifting dust andbugger all grip.
Inevitably fault follows form, and I’ve excited stage front shieldingmy internal organs through thesacrifice ofan unpadded elbow. It hurt a bit whichI mayhave mentioned it to Martin, who whippedout hiscamera to capture a repeateffort failing to result in a spectacular rider/bike/trail splattering. At least one of us felt this was the right result.
My normal response to having some sort of accident is to make it every type of excuse to why nothing vaguely difficult is rideable. Not today tho, the conditions were so perfect, that bike is so damn good and even the wobbly neurotic on top came together in a ride that had much throwing oneself off stuff, while laughing at Martin’s inability to capture anything other than the odd blurred wheel.
We moved on to a descent unique in being equally terrifying in winter and summer. During the season of dark and slop, the steepness and roots inevitably lead to abandoning the impossible task of a tight switchback in favour of a headlong plunge into a handy bush. In Spring, it’s pretty much the same except the speeds are higher and the bush has been upgraded to a tree.
Being understandably cautious of the front brake, switching to the rear merely locked that retarded wheel in an instant, and an instant later it was sashaying through all sorts of dance moves I came to think of a ‘The Tango‘, ‘The Jive‘ and ‘The Accident‘. I stuck a foot out, and leant hard enough on that for the rearto break away completely, leaving me both surprised and somehow facing in the right direction. At which point I left both stoppers well alone sonearly t-boning an unsuspecting car on the trail/road intersection. Failed to crash, but it wasn’t through lack of trying.
I don’t crash much nowadays. Because I’m getting a bit older and whole lot more careful. Less brave if you will. But rides like this remind why I should carry on pushing it a little bit. It’s not progression, it’s regression. It’s being eleven years old with your mates in the woods when you should be doing something rather more institutional. It’s knowing – for this day at least – you are not the same asthose valley full of people observed from these high places.
My elbow is sore. I expect a whole lot more will join intomorrow to remind me bouncing is a young mans game. But I shall ignore it through the power of delusional and nurafen, instead getting back on the bike and riding a whole lot more before the weather breaks.
Chronicles of Herefordshire isn’t likely to be much of a bestseller, but then old Tony T wasn’t much of a mountain biker 😉
* I’m not entirely ignorant. It’s Trollope of course. God I should know having suffered the pain of having his great works explained to me by a man masquerading as a teacher, while committing corporate manslaughter on one of the 19th century great novelists.
** not with the Trollop tho, Just so we’re absolutely clear.