Monday, 7 March 2016

Adventure, more like Mis-Adventure or has it?

As today was the last of my annual leave from last year I decided last night rather than just sit around on my day off I would venture out on my bike. I then got the idea 'I know I will check out the weather forecast', looking more to see if it was going to be a fairly bright sunrise, rather than how cold it was going to be. 'Ooh it looks like a bright morning'. I was reliably informed from the website that sunrise was 6:40, so I set my alarm for 5:30 so as to allow enough time to get sorted and ride to where ever I wanted to get some shots.

I had a horrendous nights sleep last night, mainly because I had a very upset tummy. So when 5:30 am arrived I wasn't entirely sure I felt like dragging myself out of bed. I then thought to myself  'if  I am going to puke, it may as well be outside, at least that way I am also getting some exercise'.

I had been toying with the idea of taking my Wizmount out, figuring I could get a much better camera angle now that I can see what my GoPro is actually looking at through my mobile phone. So I gathered up everything I needed from my bedroom, GoPro, Digital camera, mobile phone, rear bike light which had been on charge, oh and my reading glasses. One of the things that is really frustrating me is whenever I go out with my GoPro I cannot for the life of me see the tiny little screen. This means it is an absolute nightmare trying to connect the GoPro to my mobile. At one point I took to memorising the correct sequence of button presses in order to get the bloody thing paired.

When I got down stairs I grabbed a bottle of pop from the fridge, retrieved my Wizmount backpack from the cupboard and just for good measure popped my crystal ball into the back pack. Crystal ball you may ask, no I don't go trying to look to the future. I use it as a means of capturing different and interesting shots from time to time. I then unplugged my front light battery and was just about ready to go after affixing my lights to my Fat Bike.

My plan was to ride along towards Craghead and go up Wagtail Lane, past the turbines and then wait a little while for the sunrise to pop up on the farmers trail that leads into Chapman's Well. I have shot a small video here before and got a farily good result with the sun flare, however thought a longer video and using the Wizmount would make for an interesting bit of scenery and any potential viewers wouldn't get bored.

Anyhoo as I set off getting coming down my back street I thought to myself  'By it's canny cad like'. I had put my Biggles goggles back on as they really reduce the wind getting in my eyes and tears forming and I am also very pleased I popped my Arctic ONE buff on, because as soon as I got out onto Durham Road, Jeez the wind chill was Baltic. I pulled my buff up over my mouth and ears as I am prone to earache, which can then lead to toothache.

Even though I was not feeling quite on form I was looking forward to my ride out. I had awoken with a positive mindset and for some reason began thinking about mindfulness. So as I rode I took in the various sounds, things like my tyres as they rolled along, sometimes going through patches of frost and little puddles of ice. The crunching and breaking sound and the steady droll of the Surly Nate's as the knobbles make contact. Then there was the sound of all the different birds, each one welcoming in the morning. Cars were few and far between, just the way I like it. I was also aware of the street lights and how as they entered the lens of my goggles they flared and looked so pretty in the early morning light.

As I roe up the bank towards Wagtail Lane I noticed my shadow, it would catch up to me and then pass me time and again as I approached and then past each street light, it was as if I was in a mini up hill race, yet never to win as my shadow constantly came from behind me and then  passed, before fading out of view.

Me and my Shadow
Once on the top road it was slick with black ice and early morning frost. As I rode on and eventually came to the first turbine it stood still like some huge sentinel. On approaching the second turbine, it's propeller like sails were rotating at a nice steady pace. I love the sound of the turbines a kind of 'woff, woff woff ' as each blade goes around. On sunny days the blades cast a hypnotic shadow across the road which adds to the sound.

Now at the top of Wilkers bank, well a bit along from it. This is where I stopped and began preparing for the sunrise. I checked my mobile phone 6:23 am, so a little while to go. 'Dear me I' thought it's a lot colder than I was expecting. Of course messing around with camera's in this weather is not good at all as you have to take your gloves off. This is when I began to feel my hands getting cold. I took just a few snaps with my digital camera and then started preparing where to set up my GoPro, deciding I would pop it on a gate post and ride into shot so that the sun rose at my back.

Just as it is beginning to get light
I think I set off too early, but to be honest I didn't care as by now I was freezing cold. I had that sensation in my hands of not being able to feel anything, as if my fingers were like little logs, all cumbersome and they wouldn't do as they were told. My right thumb was in excruciating pain due to the wind chill. I then thought 'Sod it I am just going to do a video in one take' and see what footage I ended up with. Thinking I couldn't possibly keep stoping and starting and taking my gloves off each time. So I removed my Wizmount back pack an set up the small boom. When I went to pop the GoPro on the end of the mount I dropped the small nut 5 times. I just couldn't feel it between my thumb and fingers. Did I swear, you bet you life I did. Then just as i got the nut in place the stupid bolt slipped through the plastic end and came out of the back. 'Grrrrrrrrrrrr', or should that be 'Brrrrrrrrr' as by now I was thinking 'bad idea, bad idea,bad idea'. Finally I got the nut and bolt together, but only after using another bolt I had on another mount I had brought.

All I had to do now was put on my specs and get the GoPro paired with my mobile, Jeez how little is the bloody writing on the back of the display. No I don't want to add a pairing id number, omg it's a conspiracy, the weather my equipment they all have it in for me. Finally paired I position the boom to where i think it should be and pop my backpack on. I then place my phone on a gatepost and prop myself up against the post and stand ouyt of the saddle to see what the GoPro sees through my phone. I don't believe it,cock on and just how I want it first time. Ok all I have to do now is ride a little further back and then I hit the record button on my mobile before storing it back in my pocket and we are off. I take about 5 pedal strokes and I hear a 'Beep, beep,beep'. Now anyone who has a GoPro knows a series of beeps is not what you want. I stop and check my phone. 'Awwww crap' it's says my GoPro is out of battery life. Oh and guess what because I changed backpacks my spare batteries are in my Camelbak. It's at this point I swear a little bit more, oh and then just to top off the morning the sun pops up in an amazing sunrise as I turn to go home. 

My sole aim now is to get home as quickly as possible as I can no longer feel my hands. Obviously I still know they are there as they appear to be frozen to my handlebars I can see them. They do not work however. Maybe going down the Sandy Lonnen as a short cut was not the best idea. It is a pretty steep decent and I cannot feel my brakes, if I see anyone I will just shout 'get out the way no brakes' I guess. In all seriousness that was one scary decent, especially as the trail is not exactly level and has huge gouges where excess water has carried away the trail. I think I must be suffering from hypothermia, as I am giggling to myself coming down the trail , yet I am in so much pain. My hands are stinging, my finger ends pulsing in time to my blood flow. My thumbs are the worst, especially my right one. A sensation which is hard to describe, sort of like cold burning.

At the bottom of the Sandy Lonnen and passing Reiver Boats, I need to stop for the road. I need to drop my seat post. I need to change gear. None of that happened. More a quick look left and right and straight over the road I cannot feel my hands.

Almost home just got to get through the housing estate and then I arrive. My next task is trying to open our shed. Ern has one of those stupid keypad locks on the outer door. I have frozen sausages for fingers. It takes me ages and each press, well I think I am pressing, yes I must be because I think it hurts. Bike in and a bit fumble with the lock.

I am then greeted by wor Baxter, Oooooh he is lovely and warm, 'come here boy',  he cuddles into me as I sit on the downstairs loo and I keep my hands on him. After a good few minutes I can begin to feel some life coming back. This is when Baxter tells me 'dad I want to go out'. So it is off with the Bartlett Tendon and on with my everyday limb. A quick change of jacket, my wolly pom pom hat on and I pop my Seal Skin gloves on, then we are out the door and off for walkies down the local woods. We don't go too far around one and a half miles or so. I grab a few shots of Baxter and then it's home for his big lad biscuit.

What a good lad
Looks like Baxter is frozen
Awww Baxter
We are not amused
A loveable rogue
So today's adventure has been more of a miss-adventure. Or has it? I mean I got out, yeah not far and I did not get to take my pictures or shoot my video. I was thinking about just how lucky I actually am on the way home and whilst out with Baxter. I can choose to stay in or go out. I can jump in my car or head out on my bike, many people don't have that freedom. Sometimes it's good to just stop and be in the moment, all the things you can do today that for some reason or another you may not be able to do tomorrow. So rather than feeling all miffed and fed up I guess I just feel grateful. And without thinking too fr ahead there is always tomorrow.

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