take me to Mustang

it’s one of those saturdays that feels like a sunday here in crankland, and if that wasn’t melancholic enough, it’s raining to boot. it’s delicate enough though, the pitter-patter variety that draws gasoline rainbows in puddles and has the kids giggling as they run about in front of the coffee shop. an old cranker just rode past on his town special with a front basket loaded full of veg and an umbrella in one hand, expertly weaving through the cars at the traffic lights. maybe i should try that later on my r5…

riding in the rain is one thing that, living in england when i was younger, i simply had to endure or i’d never have gotten in more than three hours a week. since moving to asia though getting out in the rain has become something of a joy, especially in the humid summer months when the skies open up and torrents fall, leaving the mountain roads looking more like open streams. the jungle thrums and hums in the damp, its almost erotic flora bulging with suggestion and the sickly-sweet stench that whacks your nostrils like a good strong whiff of sex. riding becomes dream-like, cocooned as you are in the pulsing rain with the oft-rumbling heavens heaving above.

the other cool thing is that you know that 99% of your peers are tucked up at home playing Wii, or Wee or whatever the damn thing is. and then, come a race day when it’s actually raining to a man they’ll all be complaining and grumbling whilst you, the Rain Rider, will be chomping at the bit, eager to bite into those corners with your sublime bike handling skills. or something like that…

having written all that, i am going to be wimping out today i fear, despite having a new bike in for testing that is equipped with disc brakes (full review to come later in the week). in the twenty minutes it’s taken me to tap this out the rain’s gotten heavier and laziness is getting the better of this old crankpunker. which is criminal, really, as i have just three weeks to get myself into some sort of shape before i go to race up and around a crater in Java for three days before heading to Vietnam for a UCI stage race. i usually keep a steady form all year but after injuring my back a month ago, i’ve had no more than 3 hours on the bike – this next three weeks is not going to be fun – but it will give me a chance to document how to train your arse off in a short space of time, and to record the results in an actual race, so watch for the updates on that.

all of which brings us to this rather wonderful film about a mountain bike ride in Nepal in the sunshine. filmed in the Mustang region, we follow local rider Mandil Pradhan on a stunningly beautiful ride. enjoy.

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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