Mike arrived at the car park with tales of Zebedee escaping from the confines of his gear lever casings delaying his departure from home, and leaving bike choice numbers 1 & 2 at home – was this a sign? After Rob’s remarkable display of gallantry hurtling after a group of WMTBers – one of whom had left her Audi door open with keys on the passenger seat, we were underway! The 6 of us (Mike, Ronnie, Pete F, Rob, Jim & me) were enjoying the dry trails and hint of sunshine, burning off the last of the early morning chill. Jackets on / jackets off / jackets on / jackets off….decisions, decisions!
Before long, the small section over a hump and into a steep drop needing controlled braking was upon us with Mike heading off first. Seconds later, he was down – but not in a good way! He was off the bike, on the dirt and in a lot of pain. Exact details are sketchy but it looked like he’d gone over the bars but not without them stabbing his ribs on the way – OUCH! He did really well to get back on and keep riding but after another hour or so the pain was getting too much. Kudos to you Mike for carrying on as far as you did.
He returned to the excellent Peaslake Stores for coffee and bike-spotting but not before witnessing Jim’s achievements at grinding his way up a tricky hill that is a lot harder than it looks. I think Jim’s dab point was equal to Ollie’s the last time he was here – which is a great benchmark for others to aim for.
The rest of the group carried on and we took in the three bomb-holes, the narrow jump through the Y-shaped tree, the trail-jump that’s higher on the right than the left and STILL had me gravitating to the right, off the trail and heading for the stump – no impaling for me this time though – phew! The single jump followed by the vague double followed and I tackled the single but bottled the double – at first. Filled with false confidence I went for it and jumped the single and then the double! – My first attempt and I’d cleared it! Right then – cameras at the ready for the second go – as nothing could possibly go wrong – could it? Rob went first and landed off-balance from the single and broke a gear shifter as he skilfully protected himself by making the bike hit the dirt sideways before he did. No human damage though so that’s a good thing. My turn, and after clearing the single and double, I could see that my stump-magnet was switched on and my less than perfect landing had me heading off-trail into either a tree or a stump or both. I fluked aiming left of the tree but not far enough – catching my right shoulder on the trunk – pirouetting me around the tree and to the floor, thankfully no worse off than when I started. Time to move on – “I’ll ‘ave you next time” I jeered – but not today!
Then it was seemingly relentless twisty, off-camber, rooty, fast single-track pretty much all the way back to Mike at the stores. With tired minds and bodies we had a few minor scuffles in these parts, not helped by Rob’s new 3-speed Sturmey Archer conversion and Pete’s newly developed lack of braking efficiency. Including Ronnie’s comedy classic of falling sideways whilst trying to unclip, all of us EXCEPT trail-god-of-the-day- Jim had some kind of incident – but that’s all part of the game really – especially when there’s no real harm done.
Talking of which, after a few hours in A&E on Saturday night, Mike was released back into the wild again, after being tranquilised sufficiently to sleep – a bit anyway. No broken ribs this time but some fairly major bruising. Be sure to join us on our next trip where we hope the body-count will be a bit better!