It seems like we’re having a proper summer this year. I’m struggling to remember the last time I rode my bike in bad weather in fact (proper bad weather that is – prolonged heavy rain, snow, hail, fireballs, etc – not a brief shower to dampen down the dust).
This coming weekend looks like it’s going to be more of the same too. In the past Mountain Mayhem, like the Glastonbury Festival, seems to have been cursed with wet weather. Mud so bad that wheels would stop turning, components would be removed forcefully from bikes by large wads of wet grass and the human spirit would be sapped away so quickly and so completely that people would stop at the side of the course, halfway through a 3 hour lap (that should have taken 50 minutes) and would start to cry. Or kick the crap out of their bike. Or both.
This year we’re having dust, sunshine, hardpacked trails, tyre choice that can realistically include semi-slicks and genuine, infectious happiness on the faces of racers, organisers and spectators. The only downside for me is the carpal tunnel syndrome in my wrists that I’m convinced I’m developing that can only be a result of riding a rigid bike for months on bumpy trails and race courses as dry as concrete. Here I go again, ’I really need to get around to sorting out my tubeless setup’. The ability to run 25 psi up front without getting a puncture sounds comfy. But would it be fast?
Anyway, I’m loving it. My pie-in-the-sky plans to force my entire family to move to another infinitely-less-shit climate are on hold. I’m thinking of the possibility of not having to replace an entire drivetrain on two bikes this year like I normally have to do and making them last, if I’m careful, another year. Or a bit of next year at least.
I’m loving the fact that whilst I’m racing for 24 hours I’m not feeling bad about the fact that I’ve once again dragged my wife and kids away from the warmth and shelter of the house to spend a weekend in another muddy field, at times having to hold onto all of our belongings to stop it all blowing away in a gale.
I know that when you read this, most of you will immediately think ‘Oh my god, he’s done it now!’, that I’m tempting fate and the heavens will open next week and won’t close, ever…so to counteract the inevitable effects on the weather of this blog post, I will be taking copious amounts of Goretex, spare gloves, the caravan (which we bought because the weather at UK races is ‘always wet’) and mud tyres to Mountain Mayhem.
As for the race, if I have anywhere near as much fun and excitement this weekend as I had at last weekend’s race, I’ll be very happy indeed. Whatever the outcome (although a good finish would be nice, obviously).