Between the months just passed when the sun sets when I’m already in bed and the months to come when it sets in the middle of the afternoon when I’m at work and I only get to see it at weekends like a divorced parent there are nights like tonight when we’re in the same place at the same time. It only happens for a couple of weeks before we go our separate ways again so got to take a moment to take it all in just in case it doesn’t come around again for a while
So here we are once more; it’s the weekend of the last night of the proms, the fat lady has sung and summer is over. What’s more, the Tour of Britain finished on Hartside Fell on Thursday and I missed it because I am not available to watch bike races on Thursdays. It seemed like a good idea therefore to ride back up there today, to feel a bit less left out of the great sweep of cycling history than I felt Friday morning, to revisit somewhere I haven’t been to for ages, to take advantage of one of the diminishing number of opportunities to ride the North Pennines fells without the pressure of short days and not very cycling conducive weather on the tops around there to come, and to make amends for all the cake during the week.
Following a bad winter, not a great spring and missing half of the summer completely I’ve been desperately trying to get back in shape lately because if I don’t hit the cold dark days to come with some miles in my legs and enthusiasm in my heart my riding risks going downhill over winter so much that I don’t do enough to enjoy next summer and end up the year after that like one of those folks in documentaries who’ve become so enormous they need to widen the front door to even leave the house and it takes five burly nurses and a winch just to get them into their baggy shorts and on to their mountain bike. This sense of urgency means I’ve been in real danger of committing the ancient common law crime of takingitmuchtooseriously
however coming down my side of Buttertubs Pass this weekend the late summer sun was warm, the wind in my hair was cool and the fella who was coming up the other way on the steepest bit when I passed him was smiling, well, he might have been grimacing at having run out of gears with a way to go before the top, or at the noise my brakes were making, but I like to think he was smiling, and that was a all a very welcome reminder that this is supposed to be fun, apparently.
The end of every summer is always a time of mixed feelings and having had to spend what seemed like an indecent amount of this one away from bikes the short days just around the corner feel as if they were left behind the last time even more recently than normal but the heather is in flower, it’s a long weekend, the holiday roads will soon be quiet again, and it’s so good to be back on the bike whilst there’s still at least some fine weather and daylight after work rides left in the year the cool breeze over the moor just smells all the more sweet.