Hail and rain against the window, phlegmy lungs, but an afternoon of Chiltern Hills on the road was required so it was out the door before there was time to reconsider. I had a vague loop in mind, the idea to get in as many hills as possible in a few hours. Pot-hole dodging, roads covered in snow-melt filth and that hail reducing the views to tracing-paper layers of grey-green. Cut Chemist, Aphex and Four Tet helped out on the ups. Legs suitably calmed. Grubby fun.
Gorrick round one. Postponed as snow stopped play in January. Gorricks are always great; grass-roots feel, excellent courses which tend towards being short, technical (for a race course) through free-draining forestry. Lots of singletrack, short and steep ups, jumpy bits. Like I say, fun. Races are quick with laps taking approx 25 mins and 2, 3, 4 or 5 laps required depending on where you fit in between Fun and Expert.
First race since cross at Hillingdon in early December, so wanting just to get round (yeah, right). Light snow on the start line and that perfect semi-frozen grippy dirt that you get just a few times each Winter. An OK start and some steep climbs lead to a few places being taken before ominous slipping from the freehub - I've now tooled up to do a full-service, but recent fettling was clearly not enough to flush out winter slush, so free-wheeling forward (and the scrotum/stem flirting it entails) was increasingly a feature. Still, legs felt satisfyingly wrecked by the end and a strong desire to come back for as many of the series as will fit in the diary. 16th from 57 was OK, but improvement definitely required. Let's go.
Photo: Joolze Dymond