Sunday, 21 February 2010

Thermostat borked.

My internal thermostat is screwed. I no longer know whether it's cold. Or warm. Or scorchio. It all feels the bloody same. The other day I was solo night-riding above Hayfield thinking just how mild and pleasant and spring like it all was, when I realised that the glittery rain-drops reflecting my helmet light were, in fact, snow flakes. Oh yes, it really was just like spring. In Antarctica. Or maybe Siberia...

And this morning, when I woke up to find two inches or so of the white stuff loafing around outside in a 'What, me? Didn't you know I was coming' display of nonchalant insolence, I just kind of shrugged internally, swapped slicks for knobblies and Mog for Pace and hit the trails instead of the roads.

Of course, six weeks ago, I'd have been consumed with childish glee - 'Look, snow!!!! Wow!!!' - and indeed my mate, Dave, was horribly enthusiastic in a way that suggested he has the memory of a goldfish (fortunately he doesn't have internet access, or at least he has no idea that this blog exists, hopefully) - but now, I don't care. Snow is just a crap annoyance that looks vaguely scenic and made me crash when my front wheel disappeared into a powder-filled slot, bastard stuff.

It all made me think of Mick Fowler, the infamously 'normal' extreme mountaineer who combines ridiculously hard climbing trips with a 9 to 5 spent working as a tax man. I was fortunate enough to meet Mick once, at the launch of the TNF store in Manchester I think, and asked him why he didn't just become a full-time climber. Because, he said, slotting climbing trips in around his normal existence made climbing extraordinary, different, vivid, escapist. He didn't want to be a professional climber because he reckoned it would spoil it for him.

That's the danger of making your passion, your job. Or - desperately tries to square circle - living in a world where snow is no longer the exception, but the rule. Suddenly the extraordinary is merely ordinary. And that's rubbish. When your escape is your norm, where do you escape to?

So it would be nice if it stopped snowing now.


  1. I remember sitting on an MLT course and watching a Cloud Inversion happen around the view I was taking in. Somewhere near the back of Cnicht.

    Anyway, there was everyone else heads down in their maps and looking at contours and they were missing this lovely scene develop in front of us. And I put my map down and sat and watched it. The instructor came over and asked me what I was doing...and i said...taking in all this...and was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn't get back to the job in hand I'd fail the MLT...

    And I didn't care, cos I knew that going to the mountains was all about the view - not a job of work. And I didn't want it to change that way either...

  2. He probably once thought that as well...

  3. nah, keep on snowing. just means you gotta chose your weapon more carefully. there's plenty of time for dry trails :)'s not always greener or whiter or whatever ;)

  4. Beg to disagree - snow's a bit like chocolate, great occasionally, but you wouldn't want the stuff as a staple diet. Besides, I reserve the right to be unreasonable, difficult and stroppy - trust me, I'll be the first to complain when it turns back into gritty sludge. Really though, I just fancied a long, steady, rolling, sociable, chatty road ride with a cafe stop on Sunday :-)