A cautionary tale of uneventfulness.

So Whitney Houston is dead, drowned in her own bath. Looking at the newspapers there was a very unsurprised take on things, as if they've been waiting years for it to happen. And unlike Michael Jackson or poor old Amy, the story pretty much disappeared from the papers within a day. Indeed the BBC website moved things on within 24 hours. She really did piss her life away didn't she?

Moving on to cycle related matters - two ride reports, both terribly uneventful. I wouldn't say boring, but average doesn't make for good reading does it?

Sunday AD was time constrained and had opted for an 8am start. Yeah right; I'm not going out at that time unless I'm in the mountains thank you very much. So I declined with the passing comment that I was going to try the Caterham run. Well who turned up at 9am? AD was running late..... but still had to be back for 10:00 so that put a cap on his ride. To be honest the day was quite frankly shite; it had warmed up overnight and was promising rain. So I wasn't mad keen myself. Indeed as we left a light snow turned to a freezing rain that turned into drizzle. AD was moaning about his fingers being cold, but I'll have no truck with that thanks.

The route to Caterham is easy, just follow route 21 past the lakes, the school then climb Gravelly Hill. But today the rain over ice covered trails made for slow, hard progress. Move off the ice for grip and we were in 4cm deep slushy snow. A bit like riding in soft sand. Move off this and we were back onto the ice. Now ice riding is an odd thing to do. For the first 50 minutes or so you're wary of the lack of grip so ride accordingly. But then I think the cold gets to your head and you drift off to other, happier places. My thoughts were about shopping, warm places or friggin craft faires. Idle thoughts but the drift away from thinking about ice riding meant that after about an hour neither of us were paying the trails much notice, and our speed crept up. I even got some air off tree roots coming down the Pilgrim's trail. Indeed we rode down that without dabbing in a slippy, slidey fashion with big smiles on our faces. Sure we weren't in the big rings, but neither did we creep down on the brakes. We just rode it. After that we hacked along at normal summer speeds.

Ice riding is funny like that.

My second ride was also undramatic in the extreme. My boy is sick, my daughter had seized the opportunity to claim a sleep over with a friend and wifie had come home early from work. So on Tuesday night I was out again, and again the trails were really crap. Nine degrees celsius when I left into the dark, yet the trails were still 4cm deep in slush for the main part. On the sheltered sides this slush was over an ice base. Any off camber trails were a pain as gravity took me down the slope no matter how I rode. Quite often I was broadside to the trail, pedalling really slowly to find grip. I made it up all of the climbs without stalling or dabbing, but the way I had to twist my body around to find traction meant I tore open an old motorcycle injury on my right knee. It hurts but not amazingly so, which meant I could carry on but standing out of the saddle was an interesting experience as my knee kept threatening to collapse. I suspect the cold at trail level helped numb things down. In the end it was so muddy, so slippery and just such a crap time to be out on a bike that I gave up after an hour or so. There was nobody else out at all.

And that night I rode just using my Nuke Proof Reactor light. It seemed light enough to not bother with a helmet mounted torch. Wrong. As speeds built up downhill I realised how crap the Reactor is. The light reaches all of 10m down the trail, and beyond that there is nothing. Go above 20km/h and you're looking way beyond 10m for trail hazards. Quite frankly the light was next to useless, so I'm looking to invest in a new light at some point. So a warning to you; if you see a pre- 2009 / 2010 used light for sale on eBay, don't bother. Go for one of the new Chinese models instead. That or expect not to get much from a ride. The Reactor is OK for slow work, like going uphill, but needs a secondary light source for everything else.