Night ride blues

Last Thursday I missed you all

I ordered an aperitif whilst sitting in the hollow restaurant of a standard euro hotel in Avignon. The contrast with the warm coloured ancient city wall outside the window was stark.
(I should be in the car park turning on my lights)
I ordered terrine as a starter followed by a forest chicken supposedly.
(First climb so I hope the pace makes for an easy warm up)
The Kir is nice so it makes for compensation but the pate looks uninviting.
(Warmed up now but the pace has made my glasses fog so I wipe the lenses and shed the gilet.)
The crunchy bread is tasty but the pate is bland and the pickled onion skins look stomach challenging.
(First trail, first obstacles, obviously a clean run in perfect balance with no slips or dabs and showing effortless grace.)
Leave the starter and try a glass of Chablis. Warm? No, just tepid. Tepid white wine in France just marvellous.
(Second trail is slippery and I need to time the lifting of my front wheel much better so I force myself to be braver, carry more momentum and it gets easier. My Trailrakers slip again. I need to try Bontragers soon.)
My forest chicken hops in front and happily it tastes like chicken. I have several phone calls breaking the loneliness of eating alone.
(At the top of Stanmer now warm and ready for a longer run down. I make skip a bigger obstacle if it looks particularly slippery or if a log is moved by the rider in front, but onwards and downwards.)
I select the ‘today special’ chocolate tart cautiously and order a coffee.
(Part way down now and I need to pedal briskly to link to a new trail which is really an old trail. My legs feel great at this point and have benefited from a day off the bike due to the lashing rain the day before.)
The tart is dry and unappetising but the coffee has been made carefully with love in an automatic machine.
(We need a quick breather to gather everyone back together for the next trail. All together? Allons-y!
I leave the tart and finish the coffee.
(Some extra bits now that is twisty but soft. This trail is tight and will be difficult to ride fast and clean when it is dry and hard in the summer. There is an obvious obstacle at the side of the trail that we should incorporate into the route. Make a mental note to do this on Saturday.)
I have not slept well since arriving in Euro land on Tuesday and I feel lethargic and have no appetite for food or even the demon drink. Without food I will, of course, have gained weight everywhere except my legs which will have atrophied as if I have been marooned on a desert island for months.
(Last trail, a whoop from behind, a slip immediately in front followed by a great recovery, someone makes it over an obstacle confidently for the first time with a small shout of delight. So a slightly muddy group of riders emerge from the dark and roll back into the car park with a few tired faces cracked by a smile.)
I amble up the empty corridor to my empty box but at least I enjoyed MY ride.

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2 thoughts on “Night ride blues

  1. Great angle on missing a ride, very clever.

    Being a web developer I don’t often get the chance to travel for work so the prospect of a free meal in a hotel in France has an appeal (even if this sounds a bit rubbish). But I reckon it’d get pretty ho-hum too if I knew my mates were out on their bikes while I was stuck there.

    Mind you, that didn’t stop me bailing out of Sunday’s ride but at least it was my choice!!

    Hope you’re back out htere soon.

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