Thursday, 20 September 2007
Home again and making a concerted effort to unpack and tidy up whilst listening to the dismal sound of all the hopes and dreams born of a few days of freedom quietly crunching themselves back down into the screwed-up paper bundles from whence they came...
SSWC - was awesome, as we knew it would be. Badaguish rocks hugely and hard work by TSPC (paddling like ducks underwater, sailing serenely by with nary a frown) meant a weekend of cat herding ran more smoothly than it had any right to. Rode well and came second. Others seem to be more pleased about that than me. Perhaps because the race was secondary to the riding, the trails, the chatting and supping, the quietly sitting, the coffee, the pancakes, the bikes and the friends.
Onwards - to an epic multi-day ride out and over the mountains. Poring over maps, worrying about cloud levels and weather, just get on with it. A handful of mostly positive surprises weathered about worn cleats and pain barriers, tenacity, sleeping out, big skies and wilderness. Much time thinking about next year. Excitement builds.
Fort William - the proper ('their?') World Cup. Noise, just so much noise, and a small town's worth of bike people all in one place making it. Just huge.
In the middle - breathtaking night skies, some tramping, some chilling, half a day basking in the sun, half a mountain's worth of secret local's trails sniffed out on a dribbling, disintegrating fairytale treasure map. A lot of green and a little welcome decadence to help the week go by.
And finally, Raasay.. Incredible island, all grey-hilled beauty and sweeping vistas. Incredible people, who worked so hard to bring a unique event to fruition. And incredible conditions - gale force winds gusting to force 9, rain so heavy that I didn't need to drink all race, instead sipping the water that was running down my face, and trails so absorbing and demanding that yet another however-many-hours-of-gerbil-racing did not once become wearing. Trophies of island yew for the mantlepiece meaning perhaps more than any other earnt this year.
The collateral damage?
One pair of shoes, two ribs, a bike.
A good holiday.