My brother would no doubt stare at me from under his big-brother eyebrows and say “that’s a bad idea. It really is.”  He’d be right, he is right, he always is – riding in the darkness into a blizzard is fool hardy at best, but nonetheless needs must and last night my shoulders hunched into the night and the icy sleet to get home.

The roads had already cleared from Sunday’s snow and ice, the ride in was almost pleasant with the Downs covered in white and dazzling. A flutter of snow started at about half three, by 6pm it had turned into a scoring blizzard, quickly settling as a slush-puppy consistency on the road.

It wasn’t long before the chill had frozen my flesh and the driving sleet scratched at my cheek bones.  I was enjoying it in a strange, almost cathartic way.  The effort felt good and despite the slush being splattered up my right leg by passing cars the going was relatively free of incident (save for the odd lorry passing uncomfortably close and that devilish thud into the unseen pot hole).

Half-way point. On the short climb out of Laughton a small sports car, face down into the ditch, hazards on with a 4×4 stopped to help…the driver, agitated by the inconvenience, told me he’d lost the back end and rolled into the ditch – the driver of the 4×4 eyeing me as if to say “you’re a bit nuts aren’t you”.  I plodded on, absorbed by thoughts of my own vulnerability and that this incident had happened seconds before I arrived on the scene…what if thoughts…no, really stop it, head down and get going.

My cassette had frozen, clogged with ice and snow; as the derailleur tried to shift the chain, there was a clonk, clonk, clonk at each pedal stroke as the gear failed to engage.

By Golden Cross the icy sleet included icy rain, still settling on the road as slush, but a thinner consistency. The ice that had collected behind my forks above the tyre was starting to wash away.  That last 3 mile stretch, the traffic reduced as the evening had worn on, my kit saturated and heavy, tough going but rolling.  Maintain the cadence.  8 minutes on a good day.

It was a relief to be home, stood dripping on the door mat, trying to extract my frozen limbs from wet kit.  Leaving a steaming heap on the floor “is the water on?”…and a dash to the bathroom to defrost in the bath.

I’d left parts of myself abroad on the road, though I was still in one piece amost.

*From the Greek Meraki: Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

Further Works

DAT – Reverse Piece II Reversed