Sunday, 30 September 2012

Blurring the lines

On the wrong... side of the tracks. 200m after riding through the local Hell's Angels compound...

I went for a 'road' ride today. The inverted commas denoting that while I set out with retrained, tarmacadam-ed intentions the ride ended up being anything but. Sporting fancy new merino threads but armed in the snack arsenal with nothing more than a standard Snickers (not even the slightly longer twin pack) I had a faint plan for something based on the Ulriken Rundt. Fairly predictably, although that's easy to say with hindsight, the ride ended up blurring the lines between a short road ride and a full-on off road epic.

My predicament occurred due to my cavalier attitude to flipping between my thorough map research and shoot-from-the-hip GPS navigation. I had a fairly good idea where I was at all times but my sense of wonder was definitely in charge of the steering. I double-backed twice, criss-crossed one road three times and rode the wrong and right side of the railway tracks more times than I can remember. I also slewed the Fargo into it's best skid to date, locking up the rear tyre while deciding at the last minute to take a side road instead on continuing on the bike path. Best. Feeling. Ever.

I rode pretty much every surface imaginable in this part of the world. I carved curvaceous tarmac hairpins, effortlessly rolled pitted country roads with a tail wind, crushed gravel of at least three colours and calibres. I slid across the wet cobblestones of the old town, lethal man-hole covers and slicked wooden railway track crossings. Mud, rock, streams, puddles, grass, sheep shit, horse shit and just plain shitty. 

Lines of interaction blurred as the ride wore on. Riding this close to civilisation is never a solitary affair. I scared sheep, herded a hedgehog, got mobbed by a heron and smiled at the cutest dog. I nodded at elitist roadies who warmed to my drop bars at a distance then balked at the fat tires underneath. I acknowledged mud splattered dudes on downhill rigs, helmets slung on their handlebars but who were as surly as they thought they were gnarly. I chatted to a toothless old guy over a farm gate. Neither one of us understanding much of what the other was saying but both appreciating the amazing auburn and gold corridor of the 250 year old Christiana post road.

A less blurry line was the one I crossed whole-heartedly when my adventuring caught up with me about the same time as the residual calories in my strictly rationed Snickers ran out. The rolling country roads gave way to short but annoyingly repetitive hills and my legs turned into empty stumps that wouldn't do what my brain told them. I learned a hard lesson on those wet, cold hungry 23km back to the city. Don't eat your thoughtfully purchased bag of Haribo as dessert the night before, don't forget to take some emergency cash and drink more. Drink you retard because you never drink enough when you're dicking around like this. No wonder all those lines got blurry.

1 comment:

David Hanlon said...

Nice bike. Fat tyres included.