Birched, bracken and broken

From open moorland sinuous tracks wind between silver birch, peppered with gritstone, rough blocks obscured by bracken lurking beneath tight corners dropping rapidly toward the valley floor. No more than a few minutes ride from the house, these are local runs that have become increasingly familiar over the last few summers offering a mix of fast and technical riding that is a delight in the late evening light after work.
Taking a favoured combination of trails across the steep wooded flank of the valley, I raced the rain blowing in from the north. Too fast. A boulder misjudged, the front wheel shearing to leave me rolling in the bracken, the sting of birch branches the only injury. The bike fared less well, the forks now being attended to by the professionals.
Still, a slow finish gave time to appreciate a beautiful, if momentary sunset, before the rain too began to fall.