Meh! Meh, I say!
I rode like absolute crap yesterday. Put a turd in a jersey, pop it on a bike, and there you would have a visual representation of my performance!
It had all started out so well – the sun was shining, the trail was slightly drier, and I was in a good mood. This lasted for about 2 minutes into section two. I was actually zipping through at a decent pace when I didn’t quite manage to get through two trees as I’d planned. I clipped the handlebars on a tree to the right, and off I came. I brushed myself down, got back on the Professor, and, slightly bemused, set back off again.
I managed to regain my flow pretty well, but lost it again on the last switchback. As I went into the turn I heard the squeal of brakes of someone on my tail and panicked. Result – I fell off. Again. Picked myself up, got back on the bike.
I got to the end of section two, and could I ride the exit? Could I hell. Well, I probably could have done, but I kept hitting the brakes on the first step and putting my feet down. I’d already began to worry about those particular rocks due to the dark mutterings on t’internet about rear mech destruction – given that I’m fairly lacking in skills, I’d be a likely victim. This already slightly negative mindset was amplified by the fact I’d fallen off more on one section than I normally do on a normal lap. Hell, I usually manage to do the entire thing without incident.
I was determined to do it, but after fifteen or so attempts, I had to concede defeat. I rode the entry into six fine, slightly fumbled the turn from the rocks onto the bridge, and carried on. Rode the rest of six fine, followed the diversion, and had a grumble as I passed the end of section 7 – the orange netting that closed it off was in a bush, presumably ripped down. I put it back in place using McGuyver like-skills, and hoped that it was actually ripped down by nefarious means, and that I hadn’t accidentally closed in some innocent trailbuilders.
On section 8 I’d lost my mojo – whereas on my last ride I felt that I’d ridden steadily but in control, this time I felt I was riding slowly and likely to fall off at any given moment. Walked half of the jumps on eight, walked the exit ramp, and by this point was severely tempted to write off the day as a bad ‘un, and just pootle around the greens.
But I persevered, and went on to nine. I fell off again, this time with an audience of five people, as I turned into the trail. Again, I heard the familar sound of someone approaching fast behind me, and I looked around to see how close they were. The answer was ‘very close’, and I also found out that looking over your shoulder whilst taking a very tight corner leads to weighting distaster. Bike slid out to the right again, and I was on the floor, swearing loudly. After apologising to the family for the language and letting the bloke know that I was OK, I got back on the bike and carried on.
I actually did the next couple of sections OK, managing to catch up with and overtake someone that had overtaken me on a previous section. I was still in a foul mood, however, so Evil Root Number Two was obviously a no-go. I rode section 13 a lot slower than I’d normally do, which gave me time to ponder how well it had dried out.
Mr Toast caught up with me on section 14 – he was on his second lap. This section was notable for its awesome wildlife. After stopping to safely move a rather large, green, hairy caterpillar off the trail and into the foliage, we got to the top…and there were lizards!
I believe the cheeky chappies were male common lizards. The second lizard had a stumpy tail – common lizards can detatch their tails when grabbed by a predator, leaving the predator confused whilst the now tailess lizard can make good his escape. The tail grows back eventually.
Suddenly the day was all worthwhile!
Did 15 without incident, still pretty slowly though, and decided to leave 16. I was feeling pretty miserable, so I decided that it’d be far more productive to sulk in the café over a cookie. Meh!
So, a pretty bad day for me. I hate days like these, as I end up panicking that I’ll be stuck like that, that suddenly I’ll get worse instead of better. Mr Toast tried to console me – apparently everytime you fall off, it makes you a better rider, therefore after yesterday’s ride I should now be awesome…
Ride: Cannock Chase
Trail: Follow the Dog (excluding section 7, which is closed for maintenance, and 16)
Bad bits: Being fairly rubbish for the entire ride
Post ride food snaffled: Tea, ham sandwich and a cookie.
Good dogs seen: A Jack Russell, two border terriers and a boxer dog.