my job is so ******** ****, ********, ******** ****, **********. ******** ****. ****. ****. my job is so ****. ******** ****. transpose. mountain bike, cycle to work, cycle home, 4 days out of 5, 45 miles this week. get up at 4:45am, weary, tired, before i even started. 4.2 miles to work. tuesday, 16 minutes, yesterday 22 minutes, wind difference. today 20 minutes, and for the first time in ages, i did not have the energy to pedal hard enough to break out a sweat. cold. wet weather gear. mtb gear. waterproof shorts, cycling leg warmers/tights. waterproof jacket, jersey, gloves, helmet, any other day i would have been sweltering, even though 4 degrees outside. dark. monday, i dubbed 'Exploratory'. it's the winter here, but not yet properly cold, no ice or frost in this seaside town yet, perhaps a little further inland and rural yes, but not quite here yet. its a mix of built-up area, town, run-down seaside towns, and farmland, and i've been trying to make the most of it on my cycling commutes home, on the mtb. there's some paths along farmland, to connect to mud splattered tarmac cyclepaths running between fields. the off-road sections are muddy of course, lots of puddles, the soil has a fairly clay constituent to it round here, (in this county generally i think,) it's slippery and doesn't drain well. the new drive train i fitted - bottom-bracket (upgrade from internal octalink to external bearings) + cranks + chain rings + chain + rear cassette - is taking a hammering but the bike gets a quick wash when i get home with a portable pressure washer i recently purchased for such situations. after monday's ride home (which, as at the start of the week, I had loads of energy and enthusiasm for), i had been waiting all week to re-trace the route to. i did a partial retrace of today, but due to strong head winds along the last (rather mundane) cliff-top section I avoided some of the detours taken to increase the distance over ten miles, plus not enough speed to take on some of the drops-offs utilizing some of the cliff-top coastal architecture ;-) but going back further in the ride on Monday, there was a suburban section I missed today. a short climb up and then along the main road to drop back down through the outskirts of a pretty rough looking estate. not sure what it is about rough-looking estates, perhaps it could be stretched to say they have a certain un-pretentious charm about them, a grittiness... i'm not sure if it's because it was one of those estates which seems to mark a boundary between town and rural. why do they plonk these places here? are the inhabitants of the roughest estates most in need of rural countenance, more so than other townies? is the countryside expected to pacify? at the bottom of the council estate is a climb back up along a muddy but firm track leading to a suburban park which has a smattering of 'single-track' (with some stretch of the imagination of course) and from there it's too the cliffs. usually along the cliffs i take the tarmac paths but as monday, i took the paths through the grassland. there's nothing of much interest as far as mountain biking goes, but with those strong head winds today, it was quite slow going and wearying. there's nothing much of interest at all in this area as far as mountain biking goes, but i have to make the most of what is here. i wouldn't for example attempt to organise a ride around here... but on the otherhand, everywhere is so muddy. 20 miles to the west is a very popular area for mountain bikers but it's renowned for getting bogged down with large swathes of water covering the trails. just isn't appealing to me much right now. my car didn't pass its MOT a few months ago, but it didn't help that i didn't actually put into an MOT test. so i've not been driving my car since. it's saved me money getting to work, but the cost is lack of energy despite a not great distance covered. mind you most days i push myself to get to work as fast as possible, usually because i would otherwise be late - and i have to get changed when i get there too. so i don't get to drive to organized mountain bike rides much the past few months. only if i can borrow my partners car if she doesn't need it.