Filthy gorgeous

Warning:   the blog that follows was written earlier while under the influence of the best drug known to man.

Just back from the most filthy gorgeous ride around the Forest of Dean all bathed in pure dazzling winter sunshine;  really looking its Sunday best.

Probably the top ride I’ve had in four months and easily the most appreciated in a year. Surrounded by clear skies and with a couple of hours free, I really couldn’t resist the lure of the forest, particularly as I had a brand new pair of Panaracer Xc tyres on the Orange P7 to christen in finest Forest gloop.

On my tod but no matter. There is a particular delight in being alone (so long as I don’t wipe out in an area with no phone signal, obviously). My heart was lifting on the drive down to Cinderford (and not many people say that) with Joni Mitchell on the player and the anticipation of choosing my own route through sun-filled glades over frost, ice and mud.

It was still freezing cold.  I could have done with the ear-warming snood under my helmet but circulation soon put an end to stinging earlobes. For long long stretches, it was just me and my bike on the forest trails. No music today. No need.  Preferable to soak up the silence, broken only by the murmur of tyres on trail or the crackle of broken ice.  Cycling over a bed of pine needles there really is just silence apart the odd burst of birdsong or mew of a buzzard.

So much to see. Burnished ferns glowing, the sparkle of frost and wet long grass – the fabulously bright rusty pink of a stand of leafless young trees all set off against the dark dark green of the conifers.

The familiarity of some areas is kind of cosy.  Sallovallets, where I stood on the sidelines and cheered no2 son in his first mountainbiking race,  Boys Grave where I once came to grief in the deepest muddy rut with the boy too close behind me,  groaning crossly”Oh mum!!” as he too had no alternative but to  keel over sideways. Re-visiting my favourite downhill in Russell’s Enclosure I found it deserted and just as good as before.

I finished up back at the car with flushed, mud-spattered face, damp wild hair and glowing from head to toe.  Days like these are rare.  Top quality endorphins.  Who needs mood-enhancing drugs when the best natural high is free?







About janh1

Part-time hedonist.
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13 Responses to Filthy gorgeous

  1. IsobelandCat says:

    It made me feel good just to read about it, and I love the top two pix.
    Where do you keep your camera while you’re riding?
    I had a tamer day in the blue sunshine, walking around London pretending to be a tourist.

    • janh1 says:

      Hey, glad you like it. Little Panasonic snappy stuffed in right pocket of cycling jacket, phone in left pocket. Travelling light.

      London sounds good too though Isobel. Planning a Boris Bike Day early in Feb if I can winkle Capt Sensible out. Thought we’d do the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition plus something good at Tate Britain.

  2. nisciocco says:

    Sounds like pure sunday afternoon heaven! Have you bought that helmet-strap camera tripod off of photojojo yet? I bet you have!

    • janh1 says:

      Greetings, Nat! 🙂 No money left this month but have bookmarked that ace site. Would have been ideal for today. By the way, any ideas for cheapy underwater housings for Canon 350D gratefully received!!

  3. Darrel Kirby says:

    I almost feel inspired to drag my bike out of the garage again… Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution.

  4. janh1 says:

    That’s cheating! But if you cycled to Speculation you could reward yourself later by drinking the real ale named after it. Result. I doubt your brother would need too much persuading to accompany you. Better than dragging all those puddings up a climbing wall 🙂

  5. IsobelandCat says:

    Cheating by whose standards?
    Yes London was lovely in the sunshine. Pretty busy too.
    I’ll post some pix I took at some point. Maybe now…
    I took some others in the BM today of clothing for you too.

  6. janh1 says:

    Hi Isobel. Well you know, come on, there has to be *some* cycling involved.

    I didn’t even know they do clothes at the BM! Sounds interesting. 🙂 I need summery pale purple/pink and cream or something. No idea really…!!

  7. IsobelandCat says:

    Could you hire something? Are you doing the whole dress jacket and hat thing? plus a change of outfit for the evening?
    You could try this place, handmade clothes at reasonable prices L’atelier de couture, and she’ll even tell you about how Clint Eastwood filmed just outside her workshop!

  8. janh1 says:

    Yup dress/jacket not sure about hat although I am compleat sucker for trying on hats with big brims. I will probably try on twenty, find two that I like and then decide not to wear one at all.

    That couturier looks good. I will bear her in mind, thanks for the helpIsobel. 🙂

  9. Isobel says:

    Oh good! She’s not at all intimidating and her prices are really good. There’s a Boris bikestane fairly near too.

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