All this wet weather has been keeping me off the bike recently. Work, family and training for a marathon have also had a part to play but if I’m honest the mere thought of venturing out into the cold, wet and muddy abyss has been the real reason. I just haven’t been able to summon the enthusiasm. My last ride involved rain of biblical proportions and more comedy dismounts than you’ll see at the circus. That was 2 or 3 weeks ago. For a regular rider like me 2 or 3 weeks off the bike feels like a lifetime. I was worried I might have lost my mojo and terrified I’d dump riding altogether in favour of World of Warcraft or some other geeky indoor weirdness, where the only chance of my heart rate increasing was if the curry delivery was late. I had to get out on my bike!
So on Thursday with the weather forecast looking good, (crikey no rain for a whole 24 hours!), I ventured out like some beast awakening from its hibernation. A quick check of the bike and it looked ok. I even remembered how to switch on my lights and turn the pedals. This was a promising start. Riding over to Stanmer I encountered the first muddy trails of the evening and my heart sank a little. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I resolved to stay positive.
Arriving at the car park and my spirits raised as I spotted all the regular faces and before I knew it the banter had started and my decision to ride seemed totally validated, and we hadn’t even hit the trails yet.
The ride itself was pretty hard in places but great fun. Some of the trails were in awful condition but it didn’t matter. I was enjoying myself and so it seemed was everyone else. Except for Ronnie who lost a pedal then spent an hour looking for it! He did find it though but it involves a conspiracy theory which is too complicated to explain here.
We rode some of my favourite trails which had taken on new dimensions thanks to the mud and wet roots. Slipping and sliding is great fun when your head’s in the right place. Don’t worry about coming off that’s all part of the buzz. Rather than finding it a chore, simply turning the pedals and “getting through it”, I relished these added elements. I even managed a few jumps in places, which feels weird on skinny mud tyres but I didn’t care!
We finished the ride on a high. The last two trails of the evening were relatively dry and were done at a good speed before we dropped into Sussex University campus for some BMX Bandits style action. I played Eddie Fiola and Steve was my Nicole Kidman (with a beard!) as with lights blazing we flew past befuddled students on our way back to the car park.
I finished the ride exhilarated and pleased to have made the effort to ride. My bike was filthy. I had mud in my teeth. But I was smiling because I’d got my mojo back. Winter rocks!