It’s funny, isn’t it? Three days of adrenalin pumping sport makes the real world seem really dull.
After spending a couple of weeks off the bike (due to illness) I got back on them in a big way over the weekend, pedalling up and down hills and generally riding like a complete loon.
Iâ€™m struggling with the not braking before launching myself into the air thing.
First there was the cross-country riding, pounding up Aggs Hill like it wasn’t there, with the Prodigy blasting in through my earphones. I was disappointed by Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned when it first came out, but several of the tracks have now got me ensnared, and you can’t beat their trademark pounding basslines can you?
Obviously the absolute murdering of the opening climb left me feeling broken for the rest of the ride, but it was ace nonetheless. I explored a few cheeky trails (most were completely bobbins), rode through a field of cows, got completely lost before popping out into Andoversford with one of those “Oh, I’m here!” moments, and found a weird trail that was a footpath one in one direction and a bridleway the other. I rebelled and followed the yellow arrows. Bimbling across Gloucestershire in the sunshine. Can’t beat it.
Then there was the downhilling (dude!). I nearly nailed one of the step-downs. It shouldn’t be a big thing but I’m struggling with the not-braking-before-launching-myself-into-the-air thing. Damn my sense of self-preservation. I also nearly ate the rock garden (literally). I lost the front wheel on the way in and found myself diving head-first over the handlebars. Fight or flight kicked in – everything slows down in those situations and you’re able to guide yourself into the nice soft undergrowth to one side of the trail. Sense of self preservation to the rescue, dammit! Alas I lost one of the preload adjusters from my forks in the impact. Then there was the catching shoulders on passing trees, dragging arms through brambles, pulling muscles and so on.
Despite the bruising it was ace fun. The trails are now officially scary fast. I keep replaying a couple of sections in my mind: Letting go of the brakes, flying down to the little drop, then whoop… There’s a second of silence, before the WHUMPH! Tyres reconnect with the trail, the shock takes the worst of the impact, then you’re concentrating hard on guiding the bike down through the trees – vvvvrrrruuuurrrrmmmm! You can really feel the tyres working overtime there. Brings a smile to my face every time.
The final section of the track is a monster. I had a few runs through there when everything just clicked. I was making almost subconscious corrections to my line as I dropped through the bombhole – steering without even thinking. Methinks the confidence is coming back in a big way.
Then today I came back to earth with a thump. I struggled to drag myself out of bed. I was sat at work finding that writing some HTML and some particularly complex CSS to go with it held none of its usual geek-challenge. Every website in the world seems dull, there’s nothing even remotely exciting on the telly and I’m feeling more than a little bit knackered.
Have. To. Get. Outside.
Have. To. Ride. Bike. Again.