Alternative title: TREE ROOTS vs. ROOT CANAL
When I signed up for the mountain biking activity I was promised a gentle pootle around a pretty, green forest. Unfortunately, I was sadly mislead. Our little group set out from the cycle shop (once Mr Strange had arrived and Stu had insisted on buying it’s entire contents) on the nice, flat, tarmac covered road, looking daft in helmets and wobbling around. Well I was anyway. This pleasant experience lasted for the first 2 minutes of our journey. Then began the ascent to hell. Whoever said hell is located in the fiery depths was wrong. It’s embodied in a vertical, muddy, stony, tree root covered hill somewhere in the north of England. We finally got to the top of the bank, only to be presented with further uphill struggles. The group split at this point with the, er, fitter members somehow disappearing up at quite a speed. The majority of us struggled on slowly. Bringing up the rear at quite a distance behind, I considered Blair Witch-style abandoment in the middle of a strange forest being a preferable alternative. Unfortunately Stu circled around me bellowing all manner of ‘encouragements’.
Against all the odds and several litres of P-Max later we managed to reach the summit. I think the general concensus was that for £25 a trip to the dentist with the imminent threat of root canal treatment would have been more enjoyable. However, the descent almost (well sort of) wiped the memory of our uphill nightmare. Travelling at dangerous high speeds down stony tracks was exhilirating, even if small, furry mammals were massacred in the process. Edd and I paused in our descent to admire the tiny girl, seemingly making the opposite ascent totally alone, on a pink bike with stabilisers. She was definitely making better progress than we ever had.
There were many highs and lows to our travails: breakneck speeds through the rain was a real high; Max returning covered in blood something of a low but the real highlight was Barney, in a premonition of things to come, joyriding on Chloe’s shop mobility mobile, failing miserably to complete a successful 3 point turn.
By Sam Hudson