Friday, November 23, 2007

AQR End of Season Social Weekend...a very chilled out weekend!

I love returning to the UK at the end of each guiding season in Luchon, there is no exaggeration in that statement….honestly. Ian and I left Luchon two weeks ago, and although I miss my mountain home already, it has been great catching up with the AQR Crew and participating in a couple of night riding ventures here in Nottingham. It’s also that time of year when I dust the cobwebs off my loovely turbo trainer, turn up the volume so the neighbours can hear Kylie to the extreme, and spin for hours on end. To make my turbo sessions even more exciting I have been venturing out to the back shed at 4am and watching the sky turn black to a day light shade of grey….ahhhh cycling bliss. I don’t know why the turbo trainer has a reputation for being dull to the extreme. I find it quite therapeutic, especially when I can bop away to Kylie singing “I should be so lucky…” . Ok so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

Winter should not be an excuse to whinge. I have decided to look on the bright side of winter here in the UK. For an Australian it’s such a novelty to feel the cold, and experience endless days of rain. I have been compiling a long list of things to love about winter –
(1) Night Riding – especially on my new Cotic Simple…who needs gears?
(2) Soup and hot crusty bread…just not made by moi.
(3) Riding in the snow…building snowmen.
(4) Xmas…presents.
(5) 6hr turbo sessions….6hrs of Kylie Minogue.
(6) Mud…I’m sure there must be something to love about mud?
(7) More mud…bring it on I say!
(8) I can’t think of anything else?

I’m certain there is a lot more to love about winter. However I won’t be here to experience it I’m afraid. Ian is dragging me off to Australia again. As much as I would love to stay and try and finish my long list of positive winter experiences. I tell you what. What if I compile a list of what to hate about summer in Australia –
(1) Horrible sandy beaches and crystal clear water
(2) Dry and grippy trails.
(3) Guaranteed warmth and a sun tan.
(4) Fresh fruit from the local market…especially the Lady finger bananas and Custard apples….perhaps I should stop there.

The point is that winter in the UK can be fun. I may love my turbo, but I will never become a closet mountain biker who only makes an appearance when the sun is shining. This Aussie braved the coldest day on Potter record last weekend. What I mean by Potter record is that it was the coldest day that the Potter’s (Ian and moi) have ever ridden our bikes. I’m certain my Aussie blood had turned into a cold slushy mixture by the end of the day. It was freezing, but one of the most enjoyable rides I have ever been on. In fact it was simply a great weekend all round.

The annual AQR End of Season Social weekend (16-18 November) saw bikers from across the UK gather at the Woodbine B&B in Hope, Derbyshire for an AQR adventure lead by Paul and Ian. Two days of riding in the Peaks and a huge meal on the Saturday night to celebrate another great year. There were plenty of laughs, plenty of comedy spills, Rich at his flipping finest (you will have to meet Rich to know what I mean) and plenty of snow drifts on the Sunday to keep everybody amused and in good spirits.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who came along for the weekend, especially the AQR Crew who have supported the company from day 1. It was also lovely to meet new faces and catch up with old friends who have been coming out to Luchon for the past 4 years.
Sunday was certainly an adventure. I haven’t seen much snow in my lifetime, but this was truly a memorable ride for an Aussie, and hopefully for everybody else who didn’t let the cold stop them from riding their bikes. Returning to the Woodbine café and warming up beside the fire at the end of the ride was simply divine and made one appreciate the finer points of winter…WOOD BURNING FIRES, another good point about winter in the UK.

Special thanks to Judith Lane from the Woodbine café and B&B for your kind hospitality, and we look forward to seeing you and another crew of eager mountain bikers again in 2008.

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