Summer seems to be having a last fling in the Peak. Yesterday might have been September on paper or digital calendar for that matter - can you still get paper? - but it had glammed itself up with extra glittery eye-liner for a non-negotiable, one-day only, Return of Summer special promotion.
Really I should have rested up. Stretched. Gone for a gentle stroll and fed ducks. But it was like being a kid when your mates come round, bang on your front door and drag you off down the park to play footie, or whatever the gurlz equivalent is. So the Pace was eased out of the bike cave, dusted down, lubed and seat-posted with one of those adjustable thingees and it was off up sunny, grindy, Chunal tarmac for a gentle roll around the local trails.
I don't know about you, but it's hard not to smile when you're bathed in late-summer sunshine and the trails are dry and loose and fast and familiar. Off the road and onto the Shooting Cabin the wrong way for a steady, slidey, climb on tenuous looseness. Beaming at grumpy walkers and picking lines with familiar, relaxed care.
And at the top, after failing miserably to clean the steps out of the ford yet again, I snuck around the corner. Parked the Pace in the heather and lay in the sun, helmet and pack off, gazing over at a sun-washed Kinder plateau across the reservoir's beaming blue. Funny mix of joy and sadness, brittle, temporary beauty. Filed away under summer memories and winter pending.
Then a lazy drop down past 20 Trees - there are n-n-n-n-n-nineteen of them now, I think - into Hayfield and a roll around to Kinder Res and up through the grassy field to Kinderlow End. And yes, I do carry chain-ring bolts. Yes, I have two of them. No, you don't need to pay me for them. Except in karma maybe. Though chocolate would have been nice...
And to cut a mellow, sun-breaky ride home short, mellowed back down behind the campsite in Hayfield, then crawled semi-broken back over Lantern Pike back home for post-ride bacon and egg tiger bread sarnies. Tired, happy, end-of-summerish. Just pedalling. The ducks can wait.