The junction of Green Lane with the main road is a tricky one whichever direction you approach it, but particularly when coming in the direction towards home. Twice I stick my right arm out and move to the primary position in anticipation, and twice cars come past me into the blind corner regardless. By the time I’m at the junction I’ve firmly claimed the road and have both hands on the hoods for maximum control. Yet still, as I make the turn, a third car drives past on the inside blaring its horn. With a somewhat indelicate Italianate gesture I let the driver know exactly what I think of them.
As the anger slowly dissipates however I spot on my computer screen than I have managed to be three seconds up on my fastest time down the lane without really trying. The intention had been to just ride home steadily but this seems too good an opportunity to pass up. By the time the bleep sounds for the end of the sector I have pulled out another couple of seconds to knock a round five off my previous best. This feeling of satisfaction is something of a salve.
All along the lane there are white scars along the crown of the tarmac. Either someone has been driving their Formula One car along here with titanium skid plates sparking, or the farmers have been towing heavy loads of hay bales from field to barn. If I were a betting man I would wager on the latter.
We’ve had a short parents’ evening after school today so it’s not until a quarter after six or so that I hit the road for home. The weather has been glorious all day and over in the west the sun slips gently towards the horizon. Shadows are long and the fields are draped in autumnal hues. Even riding hard I still have just enough breath to be taken away.
It’s only when I reach the end of Green Lane that I remember that whilst I have strapped a small light to my seatpost, I have not yet switched it on. The sun has just about peeked over the tree tops and is casting enough morning brightness for the question of lights to be at least debatable, but in the interest of safety I figure it’s just about worth carrying the extra weight.
Three young club riders pass by, heading for the coast. Heads down, pressing on, the lad on the back just starting to lose the wheel. They remind me of the illustrious, illusionary Troon Velo club of my own youth: a club that existed only in the fevered imaginations of the members but no less (and indeed perhaps more) important for that.
Out for an afternoon habble, strong friendships no barrier to the desire to make your soul mates suffer. Such things are timeless.
I don't care about much, but one of the things I care about is you< which is why those words are a thinly disguised link to this entire mix.
Crawl Space - Seconds (from split LP with Joya. Bandcamp) Sometimes Accidentally - The Goon Sax (digital single. Bandcamp) Something Much Quicker Than Anyone But Jennifer Could Ever Imagine - Hooton Tennis Club (from 'Highest Point in Cliff Town' LP) Vade Necum Gunslinger (Live) - The Blue Aeroplanes (from 'Access All Areas' LP) Rainbow - Win (from 'Freaky Trigger' LP) One Step Too Far - Knife Pleats (from 'Hat Bark Beach' LP. Bandcamp) Cracks - Binaries (from 'Double Star' 3" CD. Bandcamp) Softest - Worthless (from 7" single. Bandcamp) The Mirror Pool - The Oscillation (from 'Beyond the Mirror' LP. Bandcamp) No Memory - The Drink (from 'Capital' LP. Soundcloud) Harvest Time - The Clientele (from 'Alone and Unreal: The best of The Clientele' LP on Pointy Records) Better - EGO (digital single. Bandcamp) the brother behind the red curtain - Stars In Coma (from 'The Ghosts Were Prolific In Our Minds' EP. Bandcamp) This Repeated Sodomy - The Radio Dept. (digital single. Soundcloud) Sister - TeenCanteen (digital single. Bandcamp) Cut With the Cake Knife - Rose Mcdowall (from 'Cut With The Cake KNife' reissue LP on Night School Records. YouTube) Violence - Eternal Death (from 'Eternal Death' LP YouTube) Let Your Hair Fall Down - The Bye Bye Blackbirds (digital single. Bandcamp) Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party - Courtney Barnett (YouTube) High - Royal Headache (from 'High' LP. Bandcamp) Get High - Tender Age (from 7" single. Bandcamp) Cemetery Kiss - Funeral Advantage (from 'Body is Dead' LP. Bandcamp)
Riding up from Winsford towards the Exford to Wheddon Cross road I’m brought up short behind a flock of sheep moving fields. Bringing up the rear is a quad bike with an ever-excited sheepdog perched behind the young farmer. The dog squeals and yips, desperate to get onto the real work of the day. Eventually it is time for action and in the blink of an eye (so quick in fact that I miss the move entirely) the dog has sped to the front of the flock and is deftly directing it into an open gateway. With a nod and a wave to the farmers I pick up my pace again, the interlude so pleasant that I don’t even care that it has caused my average speed to plummet dramatically. Numbers are not everything, after all.
Fortunately this morning’s rain is but a distant memory and the ride home is full of sunshine. Reaching home, I upload my data and discover I have just surpassed my total yearly mileage from last year. 2014 was a low point in so many ways of course, but nevertheless this fact give me a pleasant sense of achievement.
I’m glad my new bike is in the bike shop. This means I am on my old Madone, which is as well because this morning’s weather forecast turns out to be not entirely accurate. Admittedly it is dry leaving the house and it is only by the approaches to Bickleigh that some faint mizzle starts. On the ride to Ashley however it has strengthened to heavy rain. By Tiverton it is a deluge. Salinger was certainly right on the money when he suggested that it seems to rain heaviest in the centre of town.
There is a head/side wind as I roll down Green Lane but nevertheless I make a bit of an effort and am happy for most of its length to be within a whisker of my new best time. As the landscape opens up however the wind whips up and my legs ease back. Sitting up, I grab my bidon for a drink only to see it promptly and inexplicably tumble from my grip. Laughing at my clumsiness I can’t help but think about how my average speed will tumble from having to stop and turn around to retrieve it. But it is a Rapha bidon, after all.