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Monday, June 13, 2005

My golden nugget

On Friday night, at 9:30pm, I set off with Rory from Brighton to ride through the night to Winchester, 70 miles away along the South Downs Way. On arrival, we met up with two more friends, turned round, and rode back to Brighton.

I got off the bike after 19 hours and 145miles. A truly wonderful experience.

Sitting atop a hill overlooking Amberley at 3am, eating one of Rory's fantastically prepared lardy snacks, we tried to work out how unique the experience was.

58 million people in the country.

How many are awake at 3am? 3 million, maybe?

And how many are mountain biking. Well, really, it can't be more than a tiny handful. 10? 5? 63? It felt good.

Why do it? Rory had a great reason. These experiences are our Golden Nuggets that we can keep in our back pockets. Each nugget like this is unique. Noone else has one. They're little treasures to be beheld at any time. But only I can hold and appreciate the South Downs Way golden nugget. It'll always be in a cupboard in my psyche. I can go open that cupboard when I need to.

It is two weeks until Mountain Mayhem, and this golden nugget is going to be in my cycle jersey pocket for the duration of the ride. When my mind and body begins to falter, I'll be able to hold the nugget, and the nugget will raise a smile and get me through the difficult stages.

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