It was cold. The alarm went off at 8am, and I rolled over and thought about how warm the bed was. Outside the temperature was minus 4 degrees. I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed and threw some porridge oats into a pan, added some milk and put the hob on at a low heat. I then started making a mental list, as I went into the study to one of the bike clothing drawers. Scrambling around I found a pair of tights, a thermal base layer and a winter jacket.
Kitting up takes ages in this sort of weather. That wasn’t the worst of it though. The worst thing was that I needed to put the bike on the back of the car to go and meet with Abi and Sarah riding for Charge.
Now I use a Saris Bones bike rack. The reason I mention the type is because it is awesome. It really is that good. It anything, the weakness of it is the same thing that makes it great. It is based around an aluminium tube, about 10cm in diameter. The legs and arms slot on to this. It has notches to allow different positions depending on your car. The thing with it though is that this tube construction makes it massively secure – doing away with hinges and pivots – but also makes it a little time consuming to fold up. On a cold day like this Sunday, it is also very cold. So cold in fact, that my hand initially stuck to it. It zapped all of my warmth right away. Assembling it was not fun.
After about 20mins the bike was on the back of the car, and I was happy with how secure it was. Back into the house for a cup of tea to return feeling to my hands! I stuck the TV on for 10 minutes with the still warm hot water bottle under my feet. Then I make a coffee to go.
I was heading to Sarah’s house. Sarah and Abi are friends who I know through Trevor Allen, who is sponsored by us. Both of them are good riders, with Sarah being a lot newer to the sport than Abi is. Abi has was bottle fed mountain bikes as a kid, and consquently her whole life – she is kind of crazy about it – driving up from Bristol for this ride – Bristol, where she had only been for one night having been in London the day before.
I don’t ride enough. This last weekend was glorious though. The road ride on the Saturday and this, on the Sunday.
We winced at each other in the cold, joking about whether we really wanted to do this. There was no way that we weren’t going to though. By this time we had all committed so much effort to it. Off we headed into Crowthorn Woods.
It was perfect for riding. The ground was frozen solid. The sun had peeked through the clowds and the light was perfect. Crowthorn is swooshy singletrack – and plenty of it. I am slowly beginning to know my way around and with Sarah’s parents living just around the corner the ironic thing was that we let Abi lead. That is the fun of this place, you can go in circles and not have the disappointment of feeling that you aren’t getting anywhere. Everything is so interwoven and intertwined. It was a couple of hours of bliss, and I long for the next time. Long for it.
So why don’t I ride today in the snow….? There is no snow where I am.