The Enduro Lite ride to Ranmore. April fools' day ride.

Enduro Lite.

We all ride Enduro now, us mountain bikers. We're all gnar plus, 160mm style. As it was today with myself and PP; timed mates downhill sections; rear wheel drifts around the corners; on the ragged edge.

Actually it wasn't like that at all. It was in our heads, but not in reality. In actuality we did nothing more than have a fun ride to Ranmore, a quick pop into Cycleworks, getting hot and sweaty in the process - especially PP when Cycleworks told him his bike needs near £400 worth of essential maintenance work.

It was fun, and that's all it's about surely?

Glass half full, or glass half empty?

It's fun riding with PP. He's one of those people who has a glass permanently half full in life. We've all been out with the "can we start at the top of the hill?" rider. "I don't like hills or going fast" mentality, where they start with the negatives before the first turn of the crank. They give up before they've got out of bed that morning.

PP isn't like that. He accepts that to get something out of mountain biking, you have to put something in. Sure he moans and bitches about climbs like the rest of us, but it's always game on with him. He grunts his way to the top, but he's a bit like an automaton; never gives up and pushes you all the way to the top with a big grin. He frankly scares me a bit. But that's OK. People have to have respect for others.

Compartmented rides.

I'd not connected the dots, but an article by the late Steve Worland in this month's Singletrack magazine made me realize what some people, myself included, are like. For a lot of us mountain biking is something to do for two hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning. We meet our buddies, do a few loops of a local trail, then spend the week in team meetings recalling to virgin secretaries or impressible salesmen how rad we were at the weekend.

It's not true is it? You weren't rad, or Enduro tough. You went for a bimble in the woods, Enduro Lite. The real rad are those setting off in the morning with no plan but to ride off into the distance and see where life takes them. They may do the odd little jump, or "rail a berm" but mainly they are just riding at a steady, but oddly fast pace for mile after mile. For the sake of labelling this niche, let's call these people off-road audax riders.

You never see them. They don't head to Peaslake for some straws. They've pointed their bikes at Eastbourne but stop at Hastings. Monday's team meeting they say nothing. They don't boast, they just contemplate the next long ride. That's all they think of. They're the real hardcore. I take my hat off to them.

Sahara hot.

Woke up this morning to find my car covered in Sahara desert dust. Means hot weather is here. Could still rain, but the chances of a repeat of last weeks' snow are slim. T-shirt and shorts it is then. Sometimes March is the best month.

Another day, another ride.

I seem to be riding a lot these days. My weeks are generally filled with three things; riding a bike, taking the children to school and social activities, or work - in that order. I've never been a fan of work; it messes with life too much. Bike riding or doing stuff with my children, wife or friends? Job done for me; what else is there?

Today PP is off. It's a Tuesday. People don't ride out on a Tuesday do they? Well it seems we do.

PP is always questioning everything and anything, in a good way. I'm not the MTB Messiah. I don't know the answers to life, the Universe and everything. It's never quite 42. The questions do focus on my own lack of ability though, and I like the challenge. It forces me to wonder why I've never really moved my own game on, why I've always just ridden cross country.

I've booked into a skills course as a result.

Why accept your life in station? Why do the youngsters have all the fun?

Well for one I like going places and not hurting myself. That's one reason. Yet why not have a bit of fun on the way? Why not do the odd berm and pretend it's a Downhill World Cup final? In my head I'm Fabien Barrel, yet on the ground I'm an overweight fifty year old riding bolt upright everywhere. It's my head, so why not?

Recent moans | excuses that are not acceptable.

Get it straight; I like riding with people. I can be a loner, but equally so I'm happy in company [or so my C.V says]. I swing both ways that way. Yet the crap I've had to put up with of late on group rides:
  • I don't like riding up hills.
  • Can't do technical riding.
  • I'm not very fast, so can we ride on the road?
  • Sorry, I don't ride out of the saddle.
  • Can't do that.
  • Why are my legs aching? That's not right is it?
  • My bike's dirty.
  • I had to walk down that hill as it was very steep.
  • My saddle hurts.
  • How many more hills?
  • Why's my tyre flat? How do you fix it?
  • What's that thing on the back? [Pointing to a rear shock canister.]

What is acceptable then?
  • Trying and failing.
  • Moaning but then doing it anyway.
  • Taking the piss.
  • Being a bit crap.
  • Enthusiasm is always welcome, as is being a grump really.