That will be a face plant – Latin name body-pummeler rock slasher – found in great numbers where soil conditions include abrasive rock, rubbish riding and a higher than normal incidence of Al.
Passing naturalists exclaimed “By Jove is that a greater bruised Alex, nestling perfectly between a sharp outcrop and muddy stream bed? Not often you see them with their legs still wiggling. Get the camera out”
And all this crashing about in the hard edged undergrowth after the first day had gone so well. Great swathes of the Peak District being mowed by the wavy lines of rumbling tyres, huge cakes disappearing at the speed of indigestion, and endless climbs bridging the distance between the two.
Even better, it was not even one of my own bikes getting a custom attrition paint job from high speed rock strikes. I didn’t have anything to ride you see*, SX lost in storage, Hummer akin to taking a toothpick to a gunfight, Canzo too pink to be allowed into Yorkshire. So I borrowed one, and it was lovely.
Except for the fork which had the structural integrity and lateral stiffness of a wilting lettuce. And the brakes which worked long enough to get me out of the shop. And the chain which fell off a lot. But hey it was a hard working demo which someone else had to clean and mend, once I’d sort of wrecked it.
Sort of would have been absolutely had the 15 seconds not quite falling off ended as it should. It’s the only time I’ve ever clipped both sides of a gate – held open by my wide mouthed riding buddies – as the plunging buckero of man and bike was hurled down the hillside by angry gravity.
Still four times over the bars the next day was a price almost worth paying for tweaking the nose of terror. If the terrain was any more technical, it would come with a four inch manual and a nine year old boy to explain how to make it work. The Andys** whooped along it with all the trouble of men attempting a single flight of stairs. The same trails dispatched me into a dark, sweaty place where bikes don’t clear rocks, corners cannot be turned and steep bits must be walked.
At one point – the point being where my head was yet again wedged into a painful rock sandwich – my sense of humour was declared missing in action. Presumed dead. The final descent cheered me up with it’s lack of near death experiences and bumpy swoopiness.
What cheered me up even more was finding my cash had gone the same way as my sense of humour and I was forced to sponge off two card carrying Yorkshiremen. Honestly you should their faces on receipt of a receipt of a loan request for one pound – it was as if I’d asked for first go with the whippet.
Two last thoughts.
1) It’s summer right? At what point did gales and driving rain replace sunshine and wispy clouds?
2) I liked that new bike very much indeed. It may be the bike page is facing a radical overhaul.
* Not QUITE true. But close enough for it failing to be prosecuted for lack of evidence.
** Strange Northern Tribe. Can float over impossibly difficult trails while discussing the pro’s and con’s of whippet ownership.***
*** Pros: Any port in a storm. Not bad eating. Cons: Bit smelly, no fold back teeth.