The hills are alive with the sound of… bicycles?

I’ve been back from the Alps for three days now. Boy oh boy, did the post-holiday depression kick in today. It’s fine all the time I’m distracted by telling people all about the holiday, or even reminiscing with my fellow holiday-makers, but as soon as I have to think about anything else, I just bog down and want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep.

I went to a great big family party on Saturday. It was great fun, but very hard work – I’d landed in the UK at about 11pm, got home at about 2am, got out of bed at around 8am, travelled across the country, arrived at the party at around midday and then spent roughly the next 11 hours catching up with various branches of the family (along with various family friends). Thankfully, they’ve given up on the good old Hey, I haven’t seen you since you were this tall! line of conversation and instead wanted to hear all about my adventures, or tell me all about theirs.

This is all well and good, but unless they’ve experienced a similarly extreme sport (I hate that phrase), it’s very hard to give them an idea of just what it’s like.

The Coke Habit

You see, a decent downhill bike can cost as much as a substantial narcotic habit to build up and maintain. Of course you don’t need to spend that much, but the pimp value always helps. Get it right though, and it can deliver an incredible rush. There’s bits of trail that I think back to now and they send tingles right up my spine.

It’s very hard to describe it. I tend to liken it to a roller-coaster, but one where you’re in charge of just how fast it goes and just how hard it pushes through the corners. It’s up to you to push it that bit faster, brake that bit later, and deliver the all important adrenalin kick.

Flying into a right-hander, completely off the brakes, letting the bike go airborne over the fly-off, twisting it beneath you before landing in the left-hander that follows, letting the wheels drift slightly across the track before setting up for the next corner. I’m sat here with a massive grin on my face just thinking about it.

Or there’s the times when you follow a quick rider – someone whose ability you respect and aspire to – into a trail, and they don’t get away from you, all the way down. Then there’s the very rare moments when they move over to let a faster rider through, and that faster rider is you.

Times like that, where it all comes together perfectly, are what it’s all about. When you get “the flow”, there is really very little else that can match up.

Bikes rock, 100% of fact.