I am grumpy. It's fashionable to like heat and dust and sunshine, but I don't. I like dry and cold and crisp. I like ice. And frozen Peak ground that grips and rips like coarse Velcro. Given sunshine I mostly want to stop and bask in it. Look at distant hills. Yawn and doze and sleep. I don't want to ride in it with sweat running into my eyes and soaking my clothes.
|The wrong bike, skulking. As well it might. Nothing to do with the rider's shortcomings...|
God knows why. Why I think the Ragley might not be up to it, it's ripped down everything else round here with a sort of bright-eyed, disdainful, insouciance.
And I ride the trail incredibly badly. Part of it I don't ride at all, I ride round it, and the rest I sort of thump and graunch and haltingly fall down. It's really quite nasty. And meanwhile Emmy makes it look easy and graceful and smooth and streaks off into the distance grinning like a cat that's massacred a whole park's worth of pigeons.
The rest of the ride is similarly rubbish on my part. I feel guilty for being grumpy and cussed. I choose a really astonishingly bad route back out of Glossop and even a new to me, entertaining, twisty, grassy descent doesn't change things.
So on Saturday I break myself in the sun on the road bike. Savouring the oddness of furnace-like heat, bright sunshine and wafting gently down back lanes strewn with autumnal leaves. In temperatures of 25˚C or so. You can't help thinking that however pleasant it is, the world is somehow broken. This is October?
Sunday. Redemption day. Early day. Head out with Dave Next Door and ride a succession of bad things on a weekend linked with the odd legitimate trail. This time I'm on the 'right bike', the Ragley. Fast, borderline psychotic, and lover of steep things.
|And the right one. A tight bundle of aggressive, slack-steering confidence.|
Feeling relaxed on the bike and just, well, together. And halfway down I start to grin like an idiot, because it's a brilliant trail. And the sun is shining. And the Ragley's ability to slow down time on the steeps and the trickies means I never feel remotely out of control.
It is the right bike. And just for ten minutes or so, I feel like the right rider.