My rally is usually like a cask-strength Macallan – savoured slowly and with a lot of water added. This year it was more like an Ardbeg Supervona – a smack in the throat with a blunt instrument. I mislaid anticipation and forward planning and have had to scrabble for LMs in the margins of everyday life. No week-long trip to Scotland – for the second year running – to ride under the pines, dodge the deer and get nibbled by the midgies. And I was thwarted in several attempts to get to Wales…
Have I become one of those people for whom riding can only happen when the demands of real life have been satisfied? For the rub there is that the demands of real life are infinite and hydra-headed, and if I allow it to take over there will be no time for frivolities like visiting Venta Silurum at dusk.
Still, better a rally of rags and patches than no rally at all. Admiring Panamaniac‘s photo albums at Conkers, I was amazed to find I’ve been doing this since 2003. Some people will see 6 years of landmark-bagging as little more than an astonishing waste of time and petrol, but (at the risk of sounding like REO Speedwagon) it’s taken me to places that on my own I’d never find. It’s made me a better rider – goat tracks and the Road of Baas would not have been attempted if there hadn’t been points at the end of them. I’ve peturbed and baffled the locals. I’ve been to John O’Groats. I’ve stood on a plinth. And I’ve eaten too many of JD’s bacon rolls.
This year was good, because there is no such thing as a bad ride. Next year will be better – because what’s the future for if not to look forward to?