After a long grotty winter, there’s a sure fired thing that all mountain bikers long for- the promise of getting their own back on winter by shredding their favourite riding spots in the dry.
In the few long weeks it takes for the spring warmth to kick in and the tress to suck up all the moisture in the ground, an interesting thing happens. The perma-cuts and gashes on your shins show up, the calluses on your palms grow tough enough to exfoliate with, odd tan lines emerge and your helmet hair likens you to a yeti.
You suddenly look and feel like you’ve been riding and living outdoors for a long time- rather than that pale skinned, unmotivated desk worker that winter can turn you in to.
Your body has a steady ache- a combination of that last crash and your muscles never really recovering between rides, but it feels ace.
And the trails feel the best they’ve ever done.
Gone are the sloppy wheel traps, and gone are the treacherous off camber roots- replaced with dry and predictable stuff you can rumble over flat out. Traction isn’t an option but loose dirt on hard packed trails feels like riding on marbles. It keeps you on your toes.
Flat out drifts have clouds of dust filling the air and you’ll need glasses to keep the flies and trail debris out your eyes.
Climbs become long and sweaty, but are rewarded with the rapid cooling down when you start heading down again- and you’ve never been so thirsty. In the winter you probably drink half the water you’re supposed to, but on summer rides you’re sweating faster than you can take on fluid. But still it feels amazing.
You’re achieving something- you’re getting fitter all the time, you’re getting faster all the time and whilst over grown bushes tear at your legs on the way past and the dust being thrown up sticks to your leathery skin, you’ll feel like a warrior who’s returned from battle as you sup on an ice cold, pint in the beer garden afterwards.
They always say revenge is a dish best served cold- for mountain bikers that dish is a pint glass. And how damned good it tastes…