Thursday, 5 November 2009

Aftermath... And grippy ice.

It's a grim time of year to be my washing machine. Or my kitchen floor. Or my bath for that matter. Everything is covered in a grating, crunching, indestructible layer of Peak grit that's migrated in with bikes, boots, clothes and body.

There's no escape. Follow the grit trail down the stairs into the kitchen. Across the bathroom. And in a stunning demonstration of its Houdini-like properties, down the back of the leather Ikea Poang chair in the corner of the kitchen.

Damage limitation means undressing in the shower after rinsing grit off leggings and shorts first, then tippy-toed rushing down stairs to the washing machine for minimal floor splatter. And outside the pile of grit from hosed-down bikes is growing into a small, scaled-down replica of the Cairngorms and vegetation is starting to sprout there again.

It's all strangely, comfortingly familiar and will be for the next six months or so. Six months of changing brake pads and chains and chain rings. Of throwing-star jockey wheels. And ride soundtracks that ring like sandpaper being run over every part of your bike, because of course, that's pretty much what's happening.

But the pay-off is trails that are rideable all year round. No gloopy, clinging mud here, just a gritty slurry that rinses off in seconds. And grim, smiley, gritted-teeth rides with mates that are all the more satisfying for being conducted in the abrasive face of Peak winter.

And somewhere in the middle of it all will be the sparkly, special days when temperatures fall below zero and the trails freeze into sandpaper ribbons of frozen velcro. And even the ice with its core of powdered quarzite clings desperately to tyre knobs in a way that makes you imagine each tiny ruggosity being torn individually away.

And why does just thinking about that make me grin like a muppet. New washing machine please.

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