04/09/10: And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that meddling Charley Horse!

I’m pleased that I’m getting to bike a bit more regularly again – my fitness levels are working their way back to their previous best.  I was actually on course to beat my previous best lap time of just under an hour, and was partway through the Tackaroo section at the 40 minute mark.  I passed a chap fiddling with his bike, slowed and asked him if he was OK, he said he was fine it was just that his chain had come off.  So I carried on, and approached another rider – he asked if I’d seen the previous chap, so I stopped and explained he was a little further back having chain issues.  The rider said he’d pop back to help him, and I set off again.  At least, that was the plan, but I was struck by a quite frankly horrific case of cramp in my left calf – the sort of cramp where you momentarily wish you could cut off your leg.  I think I startled the poor chap by falling as if I’d been sniped from the grassy knoll, wailing like a cat and then thrashing on the ground like a fish out of water.  I managed to utter the word ‘Cramp’, at which point the rider became my hero and straightened out my leg.  I have to admit, it was one of my more surreal riding experiences – lying on the side of Follow the Dog with a complete stranger holding my leg straight in the air.  It was probably quite surreal for the passing riders too.

After a false start –

“I think it’s OK now”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, thanks….OH MY GOD THE HUMANITY!” *leg goes back in the air*

– the cramp eventually subsided and I managed to carry on, leaving the unnamed rider to return to his unfortunate chain-falling-off friend.  If he ever reads this – thanks, and it really wasn’t your fault!  I get cramp in my left calf every now and again (no idea why…), and I would have had to have stopped for the Werewolf Drop any way – probably better that it happened where it did rather than there!

Calf was still feeling a bit iffy (still doesn’t feel quite right now!), so I took the remainder of the trail to Birches Valley a bit easy and ended up with a lap time of 1 hour 5 minutes.  Better than the last couple of rides, and close to my best, so I’m quite pleased!  I’ve also seemed to have gotten over my Steg fear, so hopefully long may that continue.  If I can get my fitness back up I’ll start tackling the Monkey again (taking it easy on the fireroad, obviously). And after a year of so of threatening to do it, I’ve finally booked myself in on a proper skills course with Chase Skills.  Let’s hope that 6 hours of training will finally sort my Evil Root gremlins.  And cornering and steering gremlins.  And steep stuff gremlins…

Ride: Cannock Chase

Trail: Follow the Dog, followed by first 3 sections of Follow the Dog again.

Highlights:  Going at speed, not dying at the top of the fireroad, much better lap time.  Chatting to various people at Swinnertons and in the cafe.

Bad bits:  CRRRAAAAAAAMP!  Not even calling cramp ‘Charley Horse’ can make it endearing

Post ride food snaffled: 1/2 Choc-chip shortbread, Quavers and a cup of tea

Good dogs seen: A most excellent minature schnauzer – they’re definitely one of my favourite breeds, and I’m thoroughly jealous of people who own them. They’d probably be rubbish trail dogs though, but quite good at looking disapproving when you chicken out of tackling an obstacle.  There was also some sort of weird Jack Russel chihuahua cross – size and colouring of a large Jack Russel, but the facial proportions and ears of a chihuahua

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