January came and it went and having spent most of January working in Belfast it was ride less with the exception of actually riding my bike in circles around the inside of my workshop my first bike ride didn't come until last Sunday night.
A quick recy of the shed revealed the sorry state of my old trusty Kona Cinder which had been unjustly thrown in the back of the shed after choosing to break a chain on the last ride. So it was the cross bike or nothing.
Winter kit on
Hipflask full and packed.
Onto the slow tarmac climb from the house up to the trail head that will whisk me down a lovely ribbon of single track past black spout falls and onto the high street of the Pit. I love the trails around the pit year round but at this time of year they take on a different look and feel, especially on a CX bike. The icy trails mixed with rubbish brakes and skinny tires can be a real leveler of ones abilities whilst at the the same time providing ear to ear smiles.
With the sun fading fast the lights come on and I have the trails to myself. The speed you can generate on a cross bike on frozen rock hard trails is amazing and if you get it wrong as I did hitting a pot hole in the trail which had me on the ground floundering about checking my collar bone was OK you can really do yourself some damage. Fortunately everything was OK even the bike was unscathed which was very surprising. I took a minute to compose my self. I took a swig from the hipper and I was on my way again.
Not long from here the trails end and it's on the tarmac climb to get under the A9 from here it is all up. With my lunges burning from 2 months without riding I reach the top and walk the final set of stairs. Even though my lungs and legs are aching I really feel privileged to have such trails and country side at more door step and I suck up the pain and press on for the final climb up Craigower. Thankfully the fire road climb which can be a downright sloppy drag was like hard pack and I am pleasantly surprised at how easy and quickly I find myself at the top. No time for stops I blast down the last descent and onto the golf course.
What a feeling riding bikes can give you, when your feeling rubbish or over worked, stressed or sad, the power of the push bike has a healing power which is really unexplainable. All I know is that it works.
Since Sunday I have ridden every second day and can feel my fitness coming back slowly and am really looking forward to a great 2010 of riding bike.
Get it out and get it dirty people, looking forawrd to seeing and meeting you all soon.