‘I’ll be all right,’ I reminded myself, ‘as long as I don’t brake or steer.’ Having chickened out of cycling to the shop on Wednesday, when the road was still glittering with ice long after noon, I took the chance today, figuring that most of the ice would have gone. And indeed most of it had, but the stuff that remained on the un-gritted roads was old and black and rutted with wheels after repeated periods of thawing and freezing. Which is how I found myself at the top of a hill with a long straight icy run in front of me, and nowhere to go but down – faster and faster and faster.
I didn’t brake – although it’s hard not to when every nerve in your body is urging you to slow down. And I didn’t steer – sticking with the rut I was in and concentrating hard to keep my wheels straight. And I was fine, in the end, although an ill-timed car could have been my downfall. But it did remind me – if I needed reminding – why ski-ing is not my sport. Whatever the opposite of an adrenaline junkie is, that would be me.
In fact I think the word I’m looking for is ‘wimp.’