We’re at Betws-y-coed, riding the Marin trail on a damp Monday afternoon. It’s the final leg of Alex’s stag weekend, which has involved the fantastic Penmachno trails, gorge walking, a crazy tree-top adventure, a parachute simulator and the odd pint of local ale, amongst other things.
We roll off the fire-road and into the final descent. Simon first, then Brett, me, Anton, Alex and Matt. Si sets off in his usual style: like an ICBM aimed at the far end of the trail. The rest of us roll in behind him, pedalling like maniacs to try and keep up.
We’re moving down the singletrack at ludicrous speed. It’s big, wet, rocky stuff. Properly rocky. North Wales rocky. It gets to the point where I have to back off a bit because
my forks aren’t working very well .
We arrive at a particularly evil off-camber corner with a really rough run-in. Si has a big moment on the way through and stops a bit further up. Brett gets it wrong on the way in and has to really wrestle the bike around. I get all slidey going through the corner but manage to hold it together. Anton goes one better, losing the front wheel on the wet rocks and going down hard.
He bounces straight back up looking more or less unscathed, but for some reason he’s saying “That’s not good. That’s really not good.”
I look him up and down and can’t see what’s wrong. Then I look at his bike, which seems to be in one piece. I’m about to congratulate him on a spectacular crash when he lifts up the leg of his shorts to reveal the gash in his knee.
I can see his kneecap.
That’s really quite unpleasant.
Several stitches later, he’s off the bike for a few weeks while it heals up.
Earlier that day, when we were getting changed into our biking kit, he put his shoes on before realising he hadn’t put on his knee pads. “Ah bugger it” he said, and didn’t bother.