Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CYCLING: Friston Forest

Roots jutted up like reptilian back bones, those of underground creatures which had heard the commotion and surfaced to try and upend a few cyclists for supper.
Catch one on a camber and you were done for.
Put your foot down and they would have it off at the ankle.

But we zipped passed with luck our friend and skill our scrawny servant. And down we sped.

Then there were stumps, where rats of unusual size had gnawed down trees and masked what was left in mud and leaves to make it impossible to see and deathly to collide with.
And our front wheels wobbled through with dexterity while back wheels popped as each caught their points under our weight. But they did not puncture.

We saw some reptiles who had come up on the flat - how silly.
So we rode hard at them and used their bodies to launch ourselves high. Lift the front, jump as the back hits and fly. I'm a boy again. I'm a boy.

Mid air and helpless we realised the forest's trick - our landing also mined with more roots and stumps - shaped like sinister faces it seemed - although it was over in a flash as we peddled on once more victorious.

Then splash, then yuck, then swooping turns so fast and true perhaps nothing could stop you. Then scrape and Weww, as a peddle caught a passing tree. Then steady there fella, you don't bounce like you used to. Then bravado again as single track widened and the mud drained and the camber was left behind with the hungry creatures and there is only you and the wind and the woosh of it all.

A clearing. A skid and survivors' smiles all around.
Scratches and stings bring not pain, but memory and pride, and a feeling I can only think is to be alive.

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