La Villa Strangiato

A bike ride on familiar ground sounded like a good idea. It’s been a hard week and flying down some singletrackappealed. Bobinson arranged and I would try and make the the rendezvous as best I could, having a wee bit of work to do. I’m still an engineer, it just looks like a fanny about with outdoor gear all the time.

A hoose full of folk with the cold ensure the third or fourth sleepless night on a trot, and when I was on the road I felt just a little off colour. But the sun was shining and it was nice to meet some new folks at the Arrochar carpark, Phil’s pals Stewart and Heather. Aye, and the dug!
Phil kindly set the pressure in my tyres as I changed my shoes and that all helped to get us on the trail asap. The Glen Loin loop is always a joy, but the climb is long, and when I got to the hairpin bend where we turn back towards Loch Sloy, I knew I was in trouble. I was totally washed out, shaky legs and cold sweat already. A brief rest helped and we carried on, the banter helped too, but when I stopped for a pee on the long climb I was in real danger of falling face first into the undergrowth. I was somewhat unsteady and ended up bent over, swaying, trying to stay upright and still trying to pee in a  professional manner. Unsocial splashing avoided and verticality maintained, I sat down on the track for a minute and let the waves inside me slow to a ripple.
Feeling a little better, I saddled up and caught the team up on the little flat stretch that breaks the endless upwards. My legs were gone though, and at the top I hung over the handlebars, wheezing, sweat dripping from my face onto my front tyre.

“The last time we did this, we got into the saddle and didn’t leave it again until we got here?”
“It’s not like you” said Phil.,
I hope it’s the cold and sleep and stuff and not the early onset of decrepitude. I was fine on the last Kilpatrick ride, the climb was fine, so I won’t let this worry me. Much.

A proper wee break at the top of the trail did me some good, and the downhill fun that followed was a grin restorer. I was a little tentative at times, the last ride was the one where I spun off the bike and I felt the physical effects of that one for a wee while, I think the return leg today was maybe all about restoring some confidence on the rougher ground. I did okay, I sat at the back most of the time and had just one wee off into the bracken at 0mph.
The track is so bloody rough though, such hard work. Today more than ever. I slipped behind when the little ascents appeared near the end, but I got there in much better spirits that I’d expected. Tired, but not feeling ill. I’m taking that as a victory.

We sat at the wummin-in-the-windae cafe next to the garage with lunch and banter. If the guys were annoyed at the dragging the anchor from S.S. PTC* about all day they were too kind to mention.
The hills were beautiful today, light and dark splashed across them by nature’s biggest brushes. A lot of folk out there too, always good to see. I know I’ve said it before, but this loop is brilliant, on foot or wheels it just sparkles as it evolves over the miles. It’s not always about summits.

Goodbyes were said, in fact Heather’s away to Abu Dhabi, after losing pals to Germany and the USA this year, one to Italy next year, and now someone who I’ve just met is leaving the country my abandonment issues aren’t getting any better as paranoia is creeping in.

So, off went back to work. By the time I got back into the factory, it was awash with glowing autumn colours. It was as a distracting as hell.
I was up-high and outside, changing a valve, and it was just magic. It all fitted fine, it tested okay and I was done.
I drove home to the girls, dinner and the sun slipping over the horizon. It’s coming back to its winter slot right in front of the window.

A funny day, and a good one. I hope the pain was indeed just weakness leaving my body. I’m going to bed now just in case.

31 thoughts on “La Villa Strangiato

  1. Nice title pete… was listening to it the other day

    Just getting over the cold, it’s been the worst one I’ve had in ten years and there’s a lot of it about round here. Kids going back to school I guess and spreading their germs. Just headin’ to the climbing wall, so we’ll see how the legs hold up – they feel like lead at the minute.

    Kelvin

  2. I do sometimes wonder if anyone ever get the post titles taken from songs :o)

    Aye, Holly brings all sorts home from playgroup, or is it nursery, I can never remember which one it is.

    Enjoy the wall, ages since I’ve been to my local. I’ll be back on 4’s next time for sure.

  3. Miss two weeks and I’m back on 4s! I’m pretty rubbish to be honest, can just about do a 5+ on the wall and V1 in the boulder room.

    Aye, when my two were little ‘uns, someone in the house always had a runny nose. Part of family life I guess but at least it builds up their resistance for when they make you a grandad! ;-)

    Title request please – ‘Sheathed within a Walkman’

  4. Ach, the lower numbers are much more fun anyway.

    me a grandad? Jeez, I’ll be really old by then… I hope?!

    I often wear a halo of distortion. On the iPod right now that album :o)

  5. You’re right about this years ‘back to school bug’ Kelvin – my whole family has been wiped out for a week. Anyway, cracking report as ever, days out without pressure are always a pleasure. I’m also glad I’m not the only one here that doesn’t immediately think of rugby when someone mentions harlequins.
    Now to see if I can shake my cold ready for the Old County Tops this weekend…

  6. Too much, too soon, too far to go? Not possible!
    I have to confess to this still being my favourite album after all these years…

    Here’s to a successful weekend all round.

  7. I couldn’t find a general gear questions place now (is there one?), so I’ve dug out your latest biking piece to ask this…

    I’m toying with getting back into the BIG bike lights market – I was last there 4 years ago and ended up with a brilliant Lupine Edison HID and a 2x5W Hope Vision LED which is now my helmet light. I almost went the Exposure route but heard a few poor things about their quality at the time…

    Anyway, outdoors lighting is now like the arms race, so today’s stuff will outperform even last years (like most technology it seems you just have to buy and accept the instant obsolescence), and I’m getting drawn to Exposure again. I believe the quality is sorted and I know you use and rate them. And since most of my night riding is now the country road commute, I like the appeal of the integrated design for click-and-go convenience. I would’ve happily just considered the MaXx-D (this year’s Mk3 is 1200 lumens!) only then I looked at the full range and discovered the existence of the Six Pack (1800 lumens!!) plus numerous ‘lesser’ models… and now I’m a bit bewildered.

    So I just wondered if you were still up to speed with the range and had any view about what hits the sweet spot for performance (off-road included) and to an extent price. Also size, that’s one piece of info that’s lacking on the website, and I worry that the Six Pack might be like strapping a ‘party-six’ can to your bars… :(

    Any views? Cheers

  8. The Maxx D has been faultless Matt, I would quite happily upgrade to a newer version if I trashed it.
    You’re right about the arms-race thing, I can’t keep up now, but there’s been some noises about getting bike gear on test so, I might end up getting a wee mental database on that stuff.
    The Six Pack is a good bit heavier than the Maxx D, but it will burn out rabbits eyes on the trail. Then again the old Maxx D had been bright enough for me to push the speed in the dark as I can see so well with it, so it probably comes down to the rider as much as the light what’s the best?

    One of the current mountain bike mags has a huge light test apparently, I was in Footprints yesterday talking about just this thing and that came up.

    One wee point just came to mind, the bigger the light, the more chance of breaking it in a fall.

    I will need to do a regular banter page again won’t I?

  9. Thanks. I’ve had another look and concluded the Six Pack is just too big – 490g clipped to the bars vs 320g for the MaXx D or even 276g for the Toro which almost equates to your older model. Plus I’m not sure 1800 lumens is a good thing, unless you’re seriously racing around competitively – probably too bright for the road, and part of the fun of night off-road is that it’s different from daylight, it kinda misses the point if you turn night back into day with your own searchlight! I always found my Lupine and Hope setup sufficient to blast around the forest tracks.

    Likewise they do a 900 lumens helmet lamp (Diablo) but I reckon I’d just blind drivers with that as I try to make eye contact.

    I think I’m convincing myself the MaXx D is probably the one after all… a decent price too, especially compared to the Lupine options on Wiggle. Then I’ll just have to see if I can resist a Joystick for the lid :)

    Aye, that archived Kit thread was a handy thing – did you never start another one then, apparently not?

  10. My Maxx D blinds car drivers as well, I’ve got mine set to shine quite far forward, so I have to be careful with that.
    The Joystick is a good addition, best of both worlds really, bit pool of light and a mobile spot.

    Never did get another gear thread strated, I know the old one got a bit unwieldy, so I looked at other options and couldn’t get anything bettrer without getting a forum-style plug-in and I just couldn’t be arsed clearing the tumbleweed out of that once a week.
    However, there’s new piece of gear going live every day (I really will try) for at least 31 days, so there will be a makeshift place for random gear comments for a wee while at least!

  11. Cheers guys, they look interesting. But given what I’ve already got I think it’s the convenience of the integrated design of the Exposures that appeals more.

    Best get on and order a Maxx D tonight while I’ve got an extra tenner off at Wiggle :)

  12. Result on the Maxx-D. Toys out of pram Sunday night when I tried to order – out of stock AND it wouldn’t accept my voucher, so I emailed a wee gripe to Wiggle and ordered elsewhere…
    Elsewhere didn’t deliver, but Wiggle produced another voucher for me and today the Maxx-D’s in stock and with 20% off :))
    Wiggle order now dispatching this evening, other order cancelled.

    Of course with 20% off it was difficult to resist a Joystick too…

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