Back is a funny place to be. I haven't been at home, feet up on the sofa on a Sunday night, cup of tea in hand, for many many months. I am home.
Months of PhD research up north, weekends travelling the country visiting The Boy, family, riding bikes, carting kayaks and shifting kit up, down, this way, that way... then home last week, pack, Builth Wells, Trans Wales, mud, sunshine, coffee, cider, home. Bosh.
The washing is in, the post opened, 3 mince pies defrosted for tea because I had no food in and missed Sunday supermarket times. Now time to think.
This year's Trans Wales was Very Different. It was smaller, more intimate, less wet, less hard. It was, in fact, fairly tame. We were eased in with heaps of road and fire road and only at the back end of the week got hit by the Mid Wales bog-stick full on. But this time it was wiggly singletrack, giggling and spluttering across the moors, rideable and fun. I walked maybe 15 minutes of the whole week. Last year? 15 hours.
Last year it was home, dump kit, crawl into bed, sob, shiver, sleep. This year it was open a map, decide on a nice hill to walk up, navigate around said hill, return to Builth for lunch, drive home, wash kit, relax.
It was my fourth Trans Event. I have done 3 Trans Wales' and the Trans Rockies. That makes me unadventurous, so I probably won't do another one. But should you?
Do you love riding your bike and love the idea of munching big miles? Do you like the idea of being fed for a week and sitting around in a marquee surrounded by Welsh mountains chatting to fun folk? Do you like sleeping under canvass and waking up early to the smell of dew and the roar of a generator which you know has produced your morning coffee and porridge. If this is you and you want the challenge of riding for 7 days then go with it.
[Don't go if you want 7 days of singletrack, 7 days of uninterupted sunshine, a comfortable bed, a navigational challenge and a journey from one side of the country to another].
I return with another smile on my face from another great week, better organised and better supported than ever before (sponsored this time by Gore Bike Wear who were utterly fantastic). Riding-wise it wasn't my finest moment, with a summer of missed mad-fast Tuesday Night Rides denting my speed, but it was possibly the finest moment of team mate Mikey T, who overcame a year of injury to storm ahead and carry us onto the podium. The boy is Rapid.
I might not be back but if you haven't experienced Trans Wales, you should. It's a home grown endurance event which has attracted massive attention world wide. Go support it.