Maybe it's not fashionable, but I like autumn. It's honest, you know which way things are going - winter - and you don't kid yourself that you're about to cop a bucket-full of Sierra Nevada sunshine and if you do, well, that's just a bonus.
Which was yesterday all over. Dry, bright and breezy, so popped over to Ladybower and rode Cut Gate out and back in a riot of smooth, fast, grippy singletrack with added bonus rock and rubbleries and that proper big moorland feel that takes your breath and reality away.
Somewhere in the middle of it, I got my technical riding mojo back. The Pace's new shock has, erm, pertened up the rear end nicely, the Pushed Pikes just do, and the new single-ply Minion DHF up front did sterling duty of gripping and pointing as directed. But the bottom line was nothing to do with kit and everything to do with soaring spirits, a grin as wide as the Derwent Valley and the thumping, pattering, rush of gunning a bike hard down an epic, rock-strewn trail.
The conditions are lovely right now. Just enough recent dampness to stick the dusty bits back together and make for proper hero-grip under-wheel traction, but not enough to slow things to a sludgy crawl. There's plenty of rubble on the Mickleden Edge singletrack singing broken crockery style under the wheels. Stay loose and let the bike dance across the looseness, surf the corners and STAY OFF THE BRAKES!
Just catching the looks of walkers as you whisk past, curious spectators to a world they don't quite get and proper satisfying, 'you're mad, you are' expressions.
All the sweeter for being transient and doomed. In a few weeks it'll have reverted to sludge, brooding, belligerent clouds and wind that tries to bend you double and spit you off the trail. Just a distant memory.
And of course, that has a discrete charm all of its own. But that's another story altogether. Watch this space.