Saturday, 17 April 2010


Everything's gone dry. Trails that ten days ago were a mess of gritty mud have dried into rippled, rutted, fast-packed Peak ceramic. Shorts are a given and not an if. And you can almost ride and then put the bike away without washing it.

Almost but not quite because the perma-mud along the track below Derwent Edge is still fighting a valiant rearguard action against sun and drying winds. Which in a funny way just makes the rest of it even better.

A lovely ride of halves in the sun today. Started alone on familar trails unvisited for a while, tip-toeing along delicate lines, remembering how the Pace feels on hard, dry, grippy ground, consciously relaxing and letting the bike have its head down a rubble-filled toboggan run. Then gawping foolishly at the views across to Kinder before heading up again, tyres drumming on rock, legs hurting in a good way.

Then, by chance, meeting friends high above Hope and tagging along for a chattery, mellow, hour or two. Round to Ladybower for tea and cake then up the slabby climb, along and down my favourite climb. Compromised. Skimming through rock gardens and digging old lines from deep inside the reptilian, mountain biking bit of my brain.

Before saying goodbyes and winching back, slowly onto the high ground again. Enjoying the peace and the views and the sunshine. No hurry. No racing. Just a gentle roll back to the car. A happy day.

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