The start of The Alarm tour marked the start of 2 months of being on the road... swabbing people for the bone marrow donor list. It also hopefully marks the point where I drag myself out of a slight malaise and lethargy that I have found myself since leaving the open space of the Tour Divide trails.
And what better way to start dragging myself out than swooshing round the trails of Sherwood forest.
In order to make the timings work ... I had to get up at 04:30... pack the car with bike and swabbing kit and be on the road by 6am. It is testament to my love of cycling that I managed to leave by half six and wend my way northwards.
The forest... when I arrived ... was pretty quiet... save from a couple of dog walkers and a MAMIL.
For those of you who think Im talking about a small furry creature.... a MAMIL is an acronym for a Middle Aged Man In Lycra. I didnt coin this phrase but this particular MAMIL was somewhat downcast ... standing by a bike with a flat back tyre.
His wife came to pick him up.
I set out for a warm up on the green/blue trail... easy / moderate ... it actually is pretty hard work... with a lot of climbing a little reward... at least from a trail point of view. The reward was in the golden leaves and ferns amidst the greenery and the fresh warm enough air. In fact I was soon sweating and my legs (LLFF Score = 5) were being reasonable. I revelled in being out again and these trails asserted themselves to try and help me regain the fun factor in this country.
Then onto the red trail... each section with a name, invoking WW1 in their descriptions. Sniper Alley, Dog Soldiers, Western Front and Marchin' not Fightin' ... which I will come back to shortly.
A quick check in to a hotel and securing my bike there and then off to the first gig of The Alarm tour with the release of the new album, Viral Black... a much anticipated second half to Blood Red, which I think is one of the best Albums MP (Mike Peters) has ever written. Viral Black had something to live up to!
We signed up plenty of people to potentially Save A Life and the gig was full of life and energy and inspiration.
Fast forward to today... on little sleep I arrived once again at the forest with a few hours to whizz round the red trail again. I had time to contemplate and as I passed 'Marchin' not Fightin' something struck me....
The parallels between the section name and a theme running through the gig were jumping out at me. Names taken from a War 100 years ago and songs from Mike Peters today suddenly collided... Cenataph... Hellfire... Peace Now ...
Mike Peters has never seemed so relevant... so incisive.. at least to me.
And as I pushed myself round the tracks... I thought about MP and Jules... Mike, jumping around the stage like a man posessed ... the energy leaping off the stage and infusing everyone... but no one more than me possibly. He is still being treated for Cancer... and it is so easy to forget watching him.. Jules... facing Cancer with more determination than almost anyone I have seen...
Add the words Mike sings....taking hold
And in the forest I find I have no excuses for being weak or lazy or slow.
The sunlight rays streaked through the trees... making the leaves burn golden as if fire had taken hold. Lightening my soul as it it found Peace today. With no bears... the squirrels did their best to scare the shit out of me by hurling themselves near my wheels as I thundered past... through the mud and over rocks and roots... at times barely holding onto the bike. ...
The gig... the ride... the music... combine
Letting light back into my life.