Friday, 19 April 2013

Showing Off

I showed off last night. I went for an impromptu MTB spin and explored a bit of wasteland I'd seen from the train window on my commute into the office. I had been working from home following a dentist appointment in the morning, and needed to get outside after being hunched over my laptop, caught between working and looking out of the kitchen window all day.

I did it how I used to when I first started cycling. I changed my jeans for baggy shorts, put my helmet, shoes and gloves on and just rode. No tools, pump or drink. No special clothes. My only breach of simplicity was that I grabbed my Garmin.

I found a huge field that I never knew existed less than a mile from my house. The paths weren't especially technical or interesting to ride on, but the sense of discovery was great. Another piece added to the jigsaw map of my local area in my head.

Getting access to the bit of wasteland I'd seen was not strightforward, and involved riding over and through some old dried brambles, putting a tear in the shirt I had on - one that was too good for riding in. And when I got in there the ground wasn't conducive to riding. What I'd thought was a path from the train was little more than an animal track, and the grassy ground had lots of small bumps that gave resistance to every pedal stroke.

But there was a tussock with a hollow on one side of it. Only a foot or so high, but big enough to boost me skyward with a good run-up. I positioned myself, heard a train approaching, and launched myself along the imaginary trail, pumping the wheels through and up as I hit the 'jump'.

It wasn't a big or spectacular amount of airtime, but it was executed fast, and the sky was dusky with the setting sun. It was exactly the scene I'd pictured from the train window on several occasions. I don't know if anyone on the train saw me, but it felt good - like I was saying "Look at me, I'm usually in there with all of you, but not this evening. Tonight I escaped".

It's good to exercise the inner 11-year-old sometimes. Even if you are 37.

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