Since buying my new On One frame I have planned to make my old 1999 Marin Nail Trail out for one last Valkarian ride, and then take it out behind the barn and quietly shoot it. Like most ‘last things’ this turned out to be more difficult than planned and as disappointing as these things always turn out to be (like the last doughnut before going on your diet, or the last shag with your girlfriend before she becomes your wife).
I finally managed my last ride last Thursday evening. I knew things were going to be tough, as from a fitness point of view I hadn’t done ANY exercise in the last 3 months (apart from walking to and from work) and I hadn’t been on a bike for the same amount of time (apart from a couple of 3 mile round trips to take my youngest daughter to ballet classes). I also have a very feeble light set up on my bike, with an old battery which doesn’t hold a charge long enough. This would come into its own as a problem in the latter part of the ride.
I could go into long drawn out details of how much I struggled, or how annoyed I was at the route that Matt planned, but there is no point. I knew it was going to be a hard ride. While I have been at home being a new dad again, the rest of the mob have been out making the most of the dry trails, single speeding it to distances of over 30 miles. When I had got my breath back, and blood made it back to my brain, I also realised that it was only right that I get on with it and not bemoan the route we took, as this was everyone’s ride, not just mine. If I wanted a gentler break in ride, I should have gone on my own.
The ride was not helped by me falling off my bike twice. First time in a comedic fashion at the bottom of the Land Rover descent, where I completely failed to notice the depth of the tractor tyre track on the path and then tried to stop the bike in mid air, leading to me falling to the ground in slow motion. The second time was more of a pain (literally) when I slipped sideways and hit the ground, bashing my right knee and hip, re-learning the maxim that dry chalk is very hard.
The light was a bigger problem however. Less than half way round our route the low battery warning light came on, and by three quarters of the way round I would have faired better carrying a glow worm in a jar on the handlebars rather than my light. I finished the ride by cycling alongside Dave, whose gargantuan MR16 HID set up provided enough power to guide in aircraft or warn ships away from dangerous rocks.
I still managed a ‘respectable’ 16.4 miles, which given my lack of form and fitness, seemed a lot longer. More importantly I also came to a number of conclusions.
- I need to get out more on a bike, so will try and get out another evening in the week and put in some miles to help build up my fitness
- When my son Edward is properly settled in a routine to get back out on Sunday mornings, whatever sort of night I have had, and whatever the weather
- Get better lights, which should be easy given the ‘expertise’ of the battery and lighting constructions that Matt and Dave have put together
- Don’t fall off, it hurts
So, my last ride on my Nail Trail was a let down, and rather than going out in a blaze of glory, it is going out in a blaze of bruises and good intentions for the future.