Cold War

Cold enough for ya?

The Cold War. Fifty years where the leaders of our wee planet did their best not to have any real fights with anyone else, unless of course anyone else was a small nation that could be played with like a board game.

Quite an expensive board game, the US alone spent $15119.3 billion*, which is a lot of shiny carbon bling or a lot of hungry kids that could be fed. If it helps you to get your head round that number then how about it’s a bigger number than spending $2370 every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year since Jesus was born (and, in case you’d forgotten, he’s got another birthday coming up. See, it’s topical this, I don’t just throw it together on a whim). $2370 a second, every second, from 4BC until the 5th December 2017, and you still wouldn’t manage to keep up with US military spending during 44 years.

Toby droppin' bikes not bombs. Summer target hit.

Still, in amongst the bombs too big to be dropped and weans being fed radioactive porridge there was some fun stuff too…

Dig out your old transistor radio.

Ok, find a grown up and ask them what a transistor radio is.

Taking to the air-waves. (try the veal, I'm here all week etc.)

Tune the radio to 4625kHz and what do you hear?

The two alternating tones is pretty much all anyone’s heard on the channel since it was first noticed in 1982, except just occasionally, once in a whiles, you get a random Russian word. Nobody who’s telling knows what’s going on here, but as the station is transmitted from sites near St Petersburg and Moscow, most educated guesses say it’s a cold war relic giving Soviet spies instructions over the airwaves.

You’d think with the budgets involved they could stretch to smartphones and WhatsApp.

Have I mentioned it was cold out?

Clawing it back to bikes, it is winter. “Winter is coming” doesn’t cut it right now.

Winter is here and doesn’t look like it’s planning on going anywhere in a hurry. Alas what is not here yet is a particularly deep snowpack so, whilst it’s fun enough scratching about the hills getting some early season turns in on the skis, you’re having to go affy canny to avoid destroying skis or knees.

Shortly after this image was captured, Toby perfectly t-boned a tree and put a good hole in his leg. Proving that avoiding injury by not skiing mibbies isn't a foolproof plan.

Which is why the more committed/daft are still out on their bikes. Put enough clothes on and don’t stop too much and the -10 air temperatures don’t seem to bad, the extra drag from riding through the snow even helps up the exertion levels and keeps you warmer.


So the ski season's started, doesn't mean the bike season's finished.

Nordic ski trails and ploughed roads make the uphills relatively easy and trails in the trees, preferably not too rooty and with helpful berms for the bends, make for good descending. I’m not saying I want to ride snow covered trails every. damn. day. of the year, but for a change for a wee bit of fun, it’s pretty good.

Toby mistakes his Reign for a RM250. Braaaap.

As ever at the start or end of the bike season, it’s Servoz we head to. The road up from the village is cleared and I’m sure it gets easier every time, then no matter which of the many trails you take to head back down, as long as it’s not the 4×4 track you’ll be treated to fun singletrack through the trees and, in the case of the trail Toby and I hit, a wheen of built features to play about on.

Well, if your wheels are in the air you can’t slide.

My wheels are not in the air, and I'm sliding. I may look like I know where I'm going, but the following 5 frames will attest that I don't.

Anyways, hopefully it’ll either snow more soon so skiing proper can get underway, or the weather copies last year patterns, goes full mass snow destruction and we can get some dusty bike laps in. Win win. Unlike the old cold war which more of a no-score draw kinda game.

Who knew an afternoon playing bikes in the woods would lead to a blog post about military excess...

*Ish, kinda, maybe. Numbers here aren’t exactly the domain of a second rate MTB blogger, but that figure is for the years 1946-1990, inflation corrected to 2010 levels, in US billions, which is a thousand million, or 1,000,000,000.** And I’m assuming Jesus was born in 4BC on 25th December, which is another kettle of assumptive fish. And possibly loaves too. Questionable sources here and here.

**The Greenlandic native language (despite operating on a base of 20) only goes up to the number 12, after which they just used “many”. I think we can safely use similar language at this point for the dolla spent. ‘Mr Obama, how much did you spend on drones?’ ‘Many.’