Rule #5 I hear you say

Before anyone starts, I know, I KNOW. I am a softy Midlander with soft hands and a weak commitment to my sport but sometimes, just sometimes, you need to stay at home. Or do you? I refer you to the rules, in my experience, usually reserved for roadie banter

This weekend was a classic example of when every bone in my body didn’t want to go riding. The reasons were as follows:

  1. Kids kept me up the night before vomiting and generally trying to ruin me
  2. I’d had a busy week at work
  3. I have chronic condition so shouldn’t ‘overdo’ it
  4. It was 2 degrees C outside
  5. None of my mates were riding
  6. Brake pads were pretty worn
  7. Went into the garage and noticed I had a flat, gaaah
  8. I’d just cleaned the car (included extensive vacuuming in the cold)
  9. I’d only had a small lunch so was bound to get hungry which would ruin my ride
  10. I had no fuel in the car

You get my point.

The “aaarrr F*8k it, come on” moment

I have no idea what made me decide to go riding on Sunday when I had 10 reasons to not go. I guess experience is the only compass I had to tell me whether this was good idea or not and if you have ridden for as many years as I have, you’ll know that I can count on one hand the times I have regretted going out on my bike. Actually, I’m not sure even when I have ended up in hospital with stitches in my face I have ever regretted it.

Throwing your leg over the bike

I have to say it was VERY cold when I got to Cannock Chase, but I decided to park at Castle Ring for a change and work my way over to the Monkey Trail and Stile Cop downhill area. Getting out of the car, the sun was shining and because I’d broken my routine of hitting the same trails, my mood lifted.

Within seconds of setting off, I was being splattered with mud, sliding all over the place and loving life.

I purposefully got myself lost for a while and then randomly stumbled across the Monkey Trail. As luck would have it, I dropped in on my favourite part. The sun kept me just about warm enough to avoid having a jacket on and with no pressure to ‘perform’ I instantly got the bike flowing down the trail.

I even headed over to Stile Cop riding straight up the centre of the valley, much to the confusion of the downhillers, to find some of the new dh runs. Legs felt good, descent felt good, life was good.

Frozen Mud

D’you know what, even when I was deep in the forest out of the sun and I started to get really cold, there was an upside. The sun hadn’t got to large areas of ground that day at all and so all the boggy, claggy, crappy mud I was trudging through last week was frozen solid. It was like riding on hard-packed dusty trails in the summer without the dust. Winner!


In summary I think your expectations have a lot to do with it. Sometimes a massive list of negative points is what actually makes it so good to ride. My expectations of a successful ride was nearly zero, my mood was tired/grumpy and so really it could have been horizontal rain and I think I still would have come back happier.

So maybe that is it. My brain is tricking me because it knows, if I ignore all the negative things I am telling myself, it has learnt that with almost a 100% success rate, I am going to come back from the ride a happier man than when I went out.

Maybe I have a split personality!

Oh well some else to ride with I guess.

Sunshine trees Cannock Chase