Monday, 3 December 2012

Home Ground...

Cracking weekend of slip and slither, treacherous ground and the wrong bike on Saturday followed by day merging into sparkly, deep-frozen solo singlespeeding night on Sunday. All with that quiet greyness that normally seems to preface snow, but in this case was simply the prelude to an overnight deluge. Left most of the words on the hill.

Somewhere between wet and frozen.

The bluest of blues. 

Crocodiles. 
Somewhat the worse for wear.

Better.

Down - you can't see the sparkle, but it was there.

Post.

Nearly home.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Pure And Simple Every Time


Can't beat the glitter of frost reflected from bike lights, the Velcro traction of frozen Peak trails and the crunch of ice under knobbly tyres. The simplicity of just you and the bike and a hunter's moon beaming happily through grubby clouds. Living in a small pool of moving light. Hello winter.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Panoramic


Brilliant weekend of riding with slightly fried legs. Like fried eggs only longer. Snuck out over the Snake Pass on the cross bike on Saturday, which normally would be an unpleasant repetitive horror show of being buzzed by brain-dead, impatient drivers. Except that the A57 was closed to traffic bar the odd farmer or construction vehicle.

Just blissful cruising solitude in bright sunshine in the midst of beautiful scenery. One day all roads will be like this.

Then swung onto the Roman Road at the Potato Alley end of things and pottered percussively along the Roman Road, up onto Hope Brink then down via Aston into Hope.

Cross bikes are good things. Not as good on the road as a road bike, bu a lot better than a mountain bike. And not as good off road as a mountain bike, but a lot better than a road bike. Which is better than looking at it the other way round.

Then back road to Castleton, broken road, towards Dirtlow Rake, tracks to Sparrowpit, down through the Wash then back via Peep of Day, Hayfield and the farm with the angry dog who was in particularly fine, chain-rattling form. Who rattled his cage.

And somewhere above Hayfield, I got all panoramic before limping home with properly trashed legs.

Then Sunday a proper Jacob's / Roych loop with ├╝ber muddy finish over Rushup and down the back bridleway from Hollins Cross into Castleton.

A certain irony that the Roych was over-run with 4x4s, convoys of them, exercising their rights to cause disproportionate levels damage to a beautiful historical track. Including two going in the wrong direction despite the one-way agreement thing. Bet they had fun when they met the others.

It always amazes me when mountain bikers stick up for fat blokes in camo 'enjoying the outdoors' in their elevated tin wank-boxes belching fumes and noise and indifference to others as they go. Here's a thought, they may be there legally, but the law is arse in this case. These are ancient pack horse tracks that, by historical accident, happen to classified as 'roads'.

They were never designed to be suitable for use by motorised vehicles and whatever the legality of it, it makes no sense. And guess what, these are the same daft access laws that prevent mountain bikes from legally riding on perfectly suitable footpaths, you know, the ones the same pro-4x4ing mountain bikers oppose.

I have nothing against 4x4 drivers as individuals, but for me, the line gets drawn at the recreational use of the internal combustion engine, because of the impact it has on other people. And maybe that does sound bleeding heart, but in a world we've tried our damndest to exhaust of natural resources and concrete over, do we really need people driving all over the bits that are left relatively unscrewed?

Anyway, that's just my personal opinion. It looks like 4x4s are going be banned from the Roych shortly regardless of what I think and I can't honestly say I'll be sorry to see them go.

And to those who say mountain bikers will be next, one question - where's your evidence for that? It's a ridiculous, simplistic attitude founded on nothing but paranoia. There are no statements I've ever seen from the Ramblers Association or the BMC or any National Park Authority to that purpose and it they exist, I'd love to see them. Not solitary forum rants by the odd intolerant idiot, real policy statements.

Anyway... there's another option; tarmac the Roych and then see how they like them roads. Not so much I'm guessing.

But a brilliant day with great riding on a magic bike in good company. Blah...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Unexpected...

Equilibrium. If you had the choice would you be happy or be fast on a bike? Correct answer: both. Funny the things that therapy teaches you. Except of course, that wasn't the right answer, the right answer was 'happy'. 

And it's funny how even in the darkest things there is sometimes an odd beauty. But it would be nice to have some balance back.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Been away...

Found summer lurking on the other side of the Channel. A week of mostly smiling.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

N + 1

Stuff I don't get: celery, sprouts, N+1... I don't understand that thing where cyclists seem to have a perpetual appetite for owning ever more bikes, the thing where 'N is the number of bikes you own', so the ideal number of bikes is N+1.

It seems quite wrong on so many levels. Surely, bikes are about riding, not about owning? If your bike limits your riding in some way, viz, you have no road bike and therefore cannot ride on the road, then fair enough, but the endless acquisition of new bikes that basically duplicate the function of what you have already - why?

I ride to escape from the awful, competitive, materialistic, 'more, more, more' society we've built. To be in the moment, not in the future or the past, but there in the now feeling tyres rumbling over rubble or skimming silently across freshly-laid tarmac or splashing wetly through summer rain.

And I don't notice what bikes other people ride. 'He was the guy on the purple Cotic tells me nothing'. Try, 'He was the fella with the massive grin whose eyes lit up like catherine wheels at the bottom of Jacob's on the other hand tells me everything I need to know.

How have the basic precepts of capitalism leached into cycling so thoroughly? Of course it's obvious: we have an industry and a media which is founded on selling new stuff - 29ers for the win, you need a whole new bike along with those wheels - and a mind-set which believes a good business is one that creates steady growth in profits every year rather than one that produces outstanding products and has happy, fulfilled employees.

And we have a world stuffed with people looking forwards instead of at where they are, who need the illusion of motion to feel 'not static'. And in that cycling doesn't seem so much like golf as like obsessive DIY: 'If only I had a new sofa, nicer wallpaper, a Bosch washing machine, a new Cotic Soul, my life would be better...'

There's no end to it. Well actually there is. Here's the alternative N+1, where N is the number of bikes you already have and N+1 is the number of bikes that'll push your partner over the brink and create another 'forum regular with a new log-in so no-one knows who I am' post along the lines of 'my partner has left me for a DIY enthusiast' STW thread.

Of course the joy of the alternative N+1 is that it seamlessly morphs into the original. You no longer have a partner, so suddenly the optimum number of bikes is whatever you want it to be. Which brings us neatly back to the start. Stuff I don't get: celery, sprouts, etc...

:-/

Sunday, 12 August 2012

STW Photo Pootle...

Snuck out with a motley collection of STW Seb Rogers wannabes in the Peak. Sharpened me elbows. Donned shades. Tried hard to look pro. Failed miserably. Anyway... here are a few slices of the chaos behind the scenes...

I have never seen so many flash-guns in my life. Apparently I accidentally rode into one as well on the Shooting Cabin. I mean, ooops, you just don't expect to find a slave flash sat on the line. Or maybe just off it... ahem.
Yes, that man is lying in the middle of the track with bikes on either side of his ears. Most pro mtb photographers have specially narrow ears for this reason, I've heard.
Wow, it was like a Leicester Square premiere up there... snappers all over the place with flash-guns flashing frantically.
And finally, Sheldon shows what fat bikes actually are good for. Get well soon mate.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Happy Mud Days...

Funny. I think I've physiologically adapted to mud riding to the point where dry 24-hour races just confuse my body. First lap at SITS in the hot and dry felt awful in an 'on the verge of viral doom' sort of way. Cue lots of debate over how few laps were needed and when to do them...



And then it rained for around 30 seconds, hard. The course turned into a familiar quagmire. And suddenly everything felt okay. On with the 1.8 Nobby Nics, a small dose of MTFU, a bit of gentle team efficiency and onwards into muddy familiarity washed in cool drizzle and a dusting - mudding - of Schadenfreude.

Awesome people watching. In no particular order: people who jet wash their bikes into perfect cleanliness between laps, when they must know that in five minutes they'll be back to muddy behemothness; people who fly into a massive strop at the first sign of mud because it was oh so unexpected; people who stand on the exit of lethally slippery corners pulling clumps of mud out of the bike seemingly oblivious to their own vulnerability; serious people who check out your numberplate just in case you're in the same class as them; and people, yep, just people.

Had an unexpectedly great time with nice people, 50% of them unexpected people at that. Big thanks to Rick and Steevo who stepped in at the last-ish moment and just got on with riding and being good company and tapping out the laps in somewhat trying conditions. No dummy-spitting, no complaining, even when Steve lost his rear mech in the small hours of the morning and Rick's meticulously prepped and cleaned bike got mud on it.

It was good fun. And interesting. Somehow, thanks to a combination of soloing and my old Dave Smith training programme - thanks Dave - 24-hour team races feel oddly luxurious; 1. Go as fast as you can. 2. Stop. 3. Eat, change clothes, eat more, chat, banter, drink coffee with mates, eat more, doze. 4. Hang around in changeover chatting with Ros, for some reason Ros always appeared to be there at the same time as me. 5. Go as fast as you can. 6. Repeat until noon on Sunday.

Easily pleased you see. And you can even sleep during the night.

But I think that's enough 24-hour racing. Next year something new, something different, something shiny and bright and fierce and mellow.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Hmmm...

I've not been doing well at blogging. Mostly because 24/12 ushered in a period of ferocious busyness. Or at least that's how it felt to me. Too many things in too quick a succession with the added joy of cumulative sleep deprivation.

And now I want to feel rested and well and cheerful and ride my bike, the Ragley one, on wooded, sun-dappled trails. And I don't and I'm not. But there you go. That's not enough sleep for you.

As for 24/12 - in last coin in the pay phone mode: horrible conditions, river almost burst banks, soloing, eleventh-ish at 1am. Started throwing up. Probably ate something. Gutted. Emptied. Probably something on my bottle in the middle of a mud fest. But there were good things too and positivity and humour and a very, very fast journey home on the Sunday afternoon.

And that's it really. Sort of. Except that it isn't...

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tapering.

Mayhem's done and dusted in mud. Bontrager 24/12 is looming at the weekend. Solo. And I'm tapering. I bloody hate tapering, but given that Mayhem fried my legs by dint of mud and singlespeed and an odd, grinning happiness that I don't know where it came from, but I'm glad that it did. Given all that, it's probably just as well.

And oddly, for once, I don't feel frantic and jumpy and hair-trigger, sparky-eyed desperate. For once I just feel sort of mellow and calm. Which is a first really.

I even dragged the race bike out of whatever dark recess it hides in between races and did unto it that which is not unlike maintenance. Changed the front wheel bearings that died at 24/12 last year. Checked the brake pads: check. Changed the tyres to something more suitable than the stupidly iffy front, grey Michelin and balding rear Racing Ralph. Stuck an inverted lay-back Thomson post on it so it looks even uglier than before - Maverick you know, beauty in function and function in ugliness - checked all the linkage bearings for slop. And put it away again.

I still hate tapering though. I'd rather be riding. Always.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Truman Show Moment in the Midst of Mayhem

Mountain Mayhem that is. A properly ridiculous quagmire of a course. Four men, a teenage boy and a one-year-old baby. Mud, lots and lots of mud. And a rigid, ti, singlespeed 69er with mud tyres.

Somewhere in the middle of it, I wandered off left and I came to the end of Mayhem. Beyond the mud and the vans and the tents and the drawn-faced mud-splattered riders with their battered bikes and bodies. Beyond all that was a ten-foot deer fence with a matching gate complete with ladder stile.

On the other side of the gate was a green, improbably dry-looking field full of happy-looking sheep basking in rays of golden sunshine. And for a moment I wanted to just climb over the stile and keep walking without looking back.

A proper Truman Show moment.

But instead of embracing freedom, I looked out over sanity for five minutes or so, then climbed back down, wandered back to base and knocked out another lap.

It's not a bad thing to be reminded that riding bikes, racing bikes, isn't real. Is a luxury. A game. That you do have a choice.

But at the end of it all I was proud of us. Of me. No-one folded or complained or griped or panicked. We just kept riding and grinning and rolling through the whole ridiculous, surreal thing - 8th in vets, 13th in Sport Men, which wasn't too shabby. But actually the numbers don't matter, the people do.

Monday, 18 June 2012

A Small Ball Of Grrrr....

I love my Ragley Ti, it's mad in a totally uncivilised way. It wants to go - up, down, round, straight off things, straight over stuff, it wants to go fast.


Normally that's fine. Normally that's the best thing in the world. But after four weeks of kicking myself senseless in a structured way, on a long, steady, chatty,  autumnal - June is the new autumn you know - Peak District semi-epic, it simply isn't.

Try to ride it steady and restrained and mellow and it sulks and grumps like a hung-over dad woken on a Sunday morning by bright-eyed kiddies who want to go play in the park before breakfast.

It grumbles.

It hates meandering along the sort of rocky trails it normally skims over in a blaze of shiny aggression. It blunders up short climbs it'd normally dismiss with a blur of pedals and a high-pitched whir of sun-lit, ecstatic, take-off ebullience.

It sulks.

It still looks after you. Even when you're slow and tired, that slack head angle makes steep downs a breeze. And every so often it hints at smooth, blurry, speed.

But mostly it just sulks.

Said sorry to it. Washed the grit off its shiny titanium tubes. Gave it a virtual hug and put it back in the bike cave where it undoubtedly spent the night grumbling to the other bikes: 'He wasn't trying, the useless git. Just sat there waiting for me to do the work. I need a new rider, a proper one...'

Until next time, when normal service will be resumed. Sorry Rags...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Where do I send the invoice?

Let's see: around 16 sessions @ £xx per session, starting in the bleak mid-winter and finishing in the bleak mid-summer. Letters, maps, mindfulness and something not unlike sunshine. Tears. And rediscovered music. A hard, glittery ball of crystalline anger that doesn't seem to be there any more. It rolled, unnoticed one day, under a virtual fridge.

Who do I invoice?

You?

Six months ago I would have, really I would. But not now. The magical mystery tour of dark, broken confusion and shifting truths, things that were or were not or might have been in singular or duplicate and all of your different personalities seem like something from another life.

In truth I'm even a little grateful now. I dodged a huge bullet and, I hope, actually learned something for once. I hope I'm a better person as a result.

I never thought I'd say thank you, but thank you. And yes, I know you'll never read this.

Celebrated by buying new race shoes. Appropriately muted ones.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Fuel.


A soft, steady and roasting solo 50-miles plus in the Peak yesterday - sort of Stoopid Loop - interrupted only by the wanderings of suicidal grice (yes, the plural of grouse is definitely 'grice' or should be), an ice cream stop courtesy of coincidental friends and a very dead right-hand pedal. Big thanks to 18 Bikes for selling me new ones.

A day of proper, luminous happiness under a burning sky made bearable by the wind. Had this playing on repeat in my head and later on my shuffle along the Longdendale Trail...


Funny stuff. Somewhere in the last six months, I've lost the cold, hard, glittering ball of sadness and anger that I've used as fuel for too long. Trying to ride in the moment, feeling the drumming of tyres on parched trails made rutted by dinosaur bike tracks and the sound of the wind brushing past. Which all sounds like a load of rubbish, but there you go.

Someone once told me that I rode a bike as if I hated it. I'm not sure about that. I think it was more that I rode like someone who didn't like himself very much mixed in with the intrinsic brutality you sometimes need to ride stuff in the Peak. And some people are very good at picking at your insecurities and throwing them back in your face. And no, I'm not Nijinsky on a bike, but so what.

But anyway, it was a cracking day of warm, trashed legs and a sort of calm, slightly poignant happiness.

Blue.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Rewind.


Wrote this about a year ago for BikeMagic and re-reading it this morning kind of ramped up my enthusiasm for this year's Mayhem. And I kind of like it because it's how 24-hour racing is for me.

One Man's Mayhem

There are always clouds over Mountain Mayhem, literally. This year they were big, broody, black and grey ones who seemed to treat the place like Waterloo station – they breezed through, looked around, thought about stopping for a quick leak, then hopped on another train and were out of there.

Perhaps fortunately, given the event’s reputation as the mountain biking equivalent of the Somme, none of them chose to hang around. They were also the reason that, as a last minute call up for a mixed team decimated by apathy, the only bike I chucked in the car on Friday night, was a singlespeed…


So what was it like? Well, for a start, let’s kick one thing into touch, Mayhem’s not really about the riding. If it were I’d be bettter off staying home in the Peak and hammering rocky tec, na, it’s about, well, if not ‘the love’ then at least the people and the atmosphere and the event and yes, even the brooding threat of a deluge.

Some snapshots of ‘why’ – rolling up on Friday evening to find a bunch of mates I haven’t seen for far too long, a cold beer, a barbecue, new faces, old faces, faces somewhere in between.

The first changeover, hanging over the barrier trying to remember our first rider’s name and bike and jersey colour, then ‘Me! Me! Me! Pick me!’ Wristband on and the first roll out of the arena. The familiarity of legs easing into life, pedals turning, a little apprehension, a big grin.

The first steep climb. On 32:17. And the relief of finding it’s not so bad after all. Bits of track familiar from previous years but stuck together in the wrong order. Slithering amusingly through slippy-surfaced singletrack after a brief shower on the second lap of a double with the front tyre writing cheques its nobbles couldn’t cash. Ooops…

Waiting. Eating. Chatting. Night-lapping, a small pool of self-contained, creaking ti in a bubble of bright, white light. And bantering. ‘Yes, the cat’s a magic cat, it steers the bike, I just pedal…’ Bikes that pass in the night, fellow singlespeeders – ‘what ratio are you on?’ – Wayne on his rigid P7 who turns out to be a friend of a friend of a friend. Small world.

Crashing. A blur of walker avoidance and a bad line and whoops, whoomph, over the bars and head-first into a handy tree. Blowing, at the top of the big climb on lap two of my second double and wobbling home with legs vaguely attached to brain by a length of limp string. Floaty.

Sleep. Wake. Dawn.

Morning laps with tired riders in slow motion interspersed with kingfisher flashes of the proper fast boys and girls rattling through. Chatting to spaced-out soloists and feeling a proper fraud when people think that singlespeeding is hard, because really it’s not. Not compared to riding for 24 hours. Or teetering down a steep, slippy descent on a unicycle. Or riding your first Mayhem, with no idea of what’s coming.

Funny things – high fives from kids along the side of the track, being offered chocolate buttons on the Kenda Climb where I can’t take my hands off the bars, bloody singlespeeds, the ‘Jump of Doom’, the sound of geared riders fumbling for ratios at the bottom of climbs, smugness. The guy who sort of caused my crash later buying me hot chocolate and cake after a weird serendipidous meeting. Nine Inch Nails on repeat in my head.

The final lap of a triple stint, that could have been a quad, but I hopped the barrier on the far side of the arena and I chose a bacon and sausage roll, I chose laziness, I chose to chat and wait while the clock counted down.

And finally I got to shake Pat Adam’s hand, with a daft grin on my face. Tired, warm legs, tired bike. A post-finish chat with soloist Rob Dean, who’d gone out held together with tape and come apart when someone banged into him.

The steady roll back to the tent and tired, post-race chatting. Slowly folding everything back into the car as the place empties and tents and cars are hoovered away and the place reverts to a big, green, lush field again.

Until next year.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Word Drought..

I was going to start by saying that you might have noticed that I've been rather quiet recently. But that's kind of presumptuous - specifically, it assumes that someone actually reads this stuff. But anyway, there are good reasons for that.

For one, I'm lazy. For two, I'm lazy. And for three, I seem to have run out of words.

I have a sort of theory that words are a bit like milk in cows. There are only so many of them per week or day or decade in any one person. Some folk have loads of them, tanker loads, others have less. Or fewer. Or whatever the right words are.

You could go on with the analogy and talk about grass and udders and milking machines I guess, but I'll leave that to you.

But mostly anyway, that's all an excuse or two. Really I don't have that much to say. It's not that I haven't been doing anything, I have. But I don't really have much to say about the things I might want to share and the things that I have stuff to say about, I don't really want to.

My friends will no doubt recall that I've been a bit of a nightmare for the past couple of years. They'll also have a fairly good idea why, which I'm sorry about. There's only so much brokenness and despair and incomprehension that you can expect people to put up with. I've lost, temporarily I hope, a couple of my best and closest mates.

So I decided to fix myself. Properly. And that's what I've been doing. With help. Sorting out the behavioural patterns that have been hardwired into me. Discovering ways of changing them, because I believe that people can and do change with time and life and effort. And you know what, it's brilliant and some of the things that help are deceptively simple.

As simple as focusing on the feel of your tyres running over rough tarmac or the sensation of wind on your face as you ride or even just your breathing.

And a lot of it's not that simple. You watch yourself in certain situations where before you'd have just reacted and start to understand what the pulls that make you act in a certain way are. And you can do that, but that doesn't stop those patterns being strong.

Even at a really basic level - this isn't really about riding bikes, not in the big sense - but out yesterday for a very hilly steady road ride, some tall fella in pretty team lycra with shaved legs breezed past me because I let him. A year or so back I'd have gone fierce and sparky-eyed, latched onto his wheel, then ripped past at the earliest chance in an utterly juvenile, pointlessly competitive way.

But I didn't. I didn't need to. I was on a steady ride at my own pace. So instead I just sat 50 yards back as he twiddled off, then realised in reality he wasn't very fast at all. After the initial, 'look at me with my buff shaven legs' spurt of speed, he was kind of rubbish. And even with four hours of hills in my legs, the frantic twiddling on a medium sort hill of told me everything I needed to know.

So I put in a bit of an effort. Closed the gap. Then ripped past at the bottom of the next climb in an utterly juvenile, pointlessly competitive way. But at least I knew what I was doing. And I chose to do it, not because I had to. Or needed to. But because I wanted to.

And he may have been at the end of a really long ride. Or having an off day. Or just been a bit rubbish. But if you're going to shave your legs, at least have the grace to be quick with it.

Small steps.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Out Of Time.

I dunno, you take a week off and the weather goes stark raving bananas. One minute it's summer, the next it's doing a passable imitation of the next Ice Age. And then today, an alpine spring arrives. Snow on the hills, melt water on the (Longdendale) trail and bright, warm, spring-like sunshine poured over everything like some sort of meteorological custard.

I'm at the tail-end of some tenacious death virus, so this was a proper, gentle, relaxed potter. Took the Double Cross and meandered down the trail talking to lambs - yay for spring lambs - and walkers and an inquisitive lurcher.

I even stopped to remove the bloody great rocks that brain-dead walkers used to pad out a couple of muddy sections of what ought to be and is again, smooth, fast, rooty singletrack. And I failed, once again, to clean a set of rock steps on the cross bike. Not so much the steps, more the run-out at the bottom.

Anyway. It was lovely. And sunny. And aimless. And the lurcher talked a lot of sense, for a dog.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Didn't Chase Anybody.

Lovely road ride on Sunday. Lots of hills. Lots of sunshine. Lots of peace and just the odd miserable looking cyclist - yes you, roadies and you, mountain bikers, both equally grumpy looking - and in all the hills and bumps I climbed, I didn't chase anybody.

Yay for me. No carrots. No sticks. No need. It's kind of a small victory in a slightly bigger war.

In other news: the GiT is on the verge of being reborn. After three years of not really caring how or what I drove, the poxy, whispering, OE-type back-box pretty much fell off the Mk2 and, well, if you have a stainless Jetex just sat there, you really might as well use it. So on it went.

Hurrah for a familar, grumbly, deep-toned idle and that little hint of a hissing rasp at 2,000rpm or so and suddenly it sounds like a car. And all it really needs now is a branch manifold, the VT engine mount(s) and the TSR motor, with a big-valve head, cam, chip and all. You can take your poxy turbo diesel estates and shove 'em.

Hello spring. Missed ya.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Monday, 6 February 2012

Haven't taken this pic for a while...

Something like winter. At last... Forget the wanky sheep cartoons with the mawkish summer bird. This is what it's all about. More please.





Thursday, 12 January 2012

Surfacing.

If there's a good thing about being ill  - and in my case, it's probably being forced to take the rest time I've needed for six months or so - it's the moment when quietly and often imperceptibly, the big dial on the Wellometer (TM) swings over from 'Fecked and Incapable of training', through 'Feeling slightly better, maybe..' into the bit marked 'Vaguely normal again'.

I'm not saying it's worth it just for that, but sometimes you appreciate stuff a whole lot more for not having had it.

Which is a round about way of saying that I feel almost human again and it's bloody ace.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Memory Cards

I found a loose memory card from the first part of 2009. The one that was in a test camera I successfully killed, I think. Good name. Places and things I can recall and a mindset that I can't. It still just feels sad, even from a distance. Nice snowy scenery though. Bring back the snow, I miss it.


One good thing though, goes to eleven. One fast kitty with bright and shiny optimism disguised as a cassette.

Monday, 2 January 2012

That was odd...

Just back from a mildly brutal Double Cross ride over to Holmfirth and back over a ridiculously windy Holme Moss - headwinds, mild dehydration, cross tyres and the tail-end of a nasty hacking cough aren't a good combination.

Anyway, around 18 months ago, doing the same ride on the crossed-up Road Rat, I stopped for a chat with a lass on a mountain bike about road bikes and cross bikes. She'd just moved over to Holmfirth from somewhere, I think, Leeds way. We sort of chatted and headed off in different directions.

Fast forward to today and, part way down a steepish, back-lane descent, stood by the side of the road, is a blonde lass with a brand new Dawes roadie/tourer thing. And it turns out to be the same woman. On her new road bike. Which was nice, but also slightly spooky.

And to make things weirder, she'd thought about buying a Surly Crosscheck from Rich and Shona and Keep Pedalling where my Double Cross came from.

Very odd. I guess I'll see her again in a couple of years time...