Twice a year a friend hosts a vintage trials competition up at his farm in the wilds of Lanark County.
The spring event is often a trial in another sense in that it’s held at the peak of black fly season (click for The Black Fly Song) which means participants will donate slightly less than a pint of blood to those carnivorous pests in addition to any they might spill crashing down a rock face or shredding a shin on a stump. In other words, everyone has a great time!
Fortunately, this year the weather was terrible for black flies – cold and windy – so they weren’t much of a factor at all and riders could keep both hands on the bars rather than riding the sections single-handed while simultaneously trying to pry tiny blood-filled gnats from under their eyelids or out of the waist band of their shorts (which led one wag to comment that it had been some time since he’d had anything quite that blood-engorged in his pants!).
But bugs aside, there was a decent collection of riders and a wide variety of bikes on display, as usual, but by far the nicest was this truly vintage Arial single – the only Brit bike in evidence.
But once the riders started on the first section, all bets were off as skill clearly trumped equipment. With a total of 10 sections comprising rocky hills, loose stone beds, felled trees, lots of slippery leaves, and water hazards there was something to challenge everyone.
Last one through.
All told it was a great day. Everyone had fun and no serious mishaps occurred to any riders or their bikes.
But it just wasn’t the same without the black flies.