Winter Wonderland

After my ride today I’ve just polished off a roast pork dinner and I’m just about to tuck into some rhubarb crumble.  Perfection.

I started out from Hastings with the weather overcast, about 5 degrees, by the time I got to Bedgebury, there was a huge, pitch black cloud hovering in the sky and the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees.  While I was getting the bike out of the car it started snowing and it didnt stop the whole ride round.  That’s a proper winter ride.  Might have been way too damp to settle but still, I rode in the snow which is a first for me for years. I need to find a new word today. When I’ve come home from rides before I’ve been dirty, filthy, muddy, rancid, minging, but today was another level.  Caked in mud.  I can still taste it I was that muddy, the shoes I was wearing are probably about 3lbs heavier than they were when clean.

Mud and things
Fat old man’s eye view

A large portion of the singletrack trails at Bedgebury were closed off with signs warning people not to ride them because the recent bad weather had caused a lot of trail damage.  Mildly frustrating, but taking a long term view, this is a good thing.  The more these trails are protected over winter, the better condition they will be in come March/April when they dryer weather comes and the faster they will be.  Still a good majority of the trails were open and I managed 3 personal best times.  I beat my time on my favourite section by 3 seconds which was very pleasing and also knocked a big big chunk off my fastest time for a couple of the climbs.

The majority of the ride however was slogging along fire road to avoid the large sections of closed off singletrack. With a lot of the riding being more about fitness than skill, my mind got to wandering, I am embarassed to report that I actually managed to identify at least 2 different  types of tyre tread in the mud I was staring at.  That is desperately sad.  Thinking to yourself “Oh, someone’s riding on Maxxis High Rollers today” while you’re out on a ride is just not rock n roll.

Mud and stuff
Nature’s way of measuring how much travel you’re using

Still, today wasn’t about caning it over twisty-turny singletrack, it was about getting outdoors during January, putting some miles into my legs and taking in some fresh, winter air. Last time I did a full loop of Bedgebury from the A21 layby and back to the car, it was over 16km, today it was just under 13 and a half km due to all the trail closures.  Still, as I said, if it reseves the condition of the trails for days when everything’s rolling faster then all well and good.  That’s the first ride of the year ticked off anyway, and I’ve got a possible ride at Cannock planned for February, a trip to Snowdonia planned for April and possibly another Spanish MTB experience in May.

2013’s going to be a good year for 2 wheels, I can feel it in my bones…


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