This weekend saw a return to Proper Mountain Biking. Driving up the M1 on Friday night was just the begining of the nostalgia trip - hurriedly packed bikes and kit rattling away in the boot, alternating coffee and Red Bull at every other service station to keep myself awake, Pete Tong cranked up to LOUD as the endless headlights flashed by for mile after mile... There was a time when I used to think nothing at all of hopping in the car on Friday night and driving hundreds of miles just to ride for two days somewhere different, only to drive all the way home again on Sunday night ready to start the week primed with tired smiles, a severe calorie deficit and a few new scabs to the knees. The tally this weekend? A hankering for suspension&gears (and indeed rocks) which could prove to be expensive; plenty of smiles and laughter to see me through the winter; and one smashed helmet - leading to a realisation that riding full-tilt round potato fields is a great way to get faster at the expense of proper, didn't-see-that-one-coming trail skills. I've done a lot of petrol miles to and from endless races and events this year, but precious few in search of 'just riding'. Next year, this will change. More driving to ride. More driving to friends. More... driving to fun.