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It had been raining for hours; Knicks were saturated and rubbing painfully,  gloves were sodden, my semi rainproof jackets was hanging limply off my body, dripping, dripping and dripping.  My eyes were full of mud and had turned into red and brown slits and the bike were making pained groaning noises every time you pedaled.

Eyes tight shut against the mud

We crested a big gravel climb and briefly looked forward to a nice long descent.  Then mud sprayed up and got me in the face. I couldn’t see, it was blinding.  I blinked, wiped, shook but I just couldn’t see. I changed riding positions subtly but it didn’t work.  I pushed the bike far to the left and i got off the saddle and leaned far to the right like a dog leaning out of a car window.  It was slightly better.  I shut my left eye and opened my right eye just a slit.  I could hardly see in the gloom so I gave up and slowed right down.  My buddy Steve was having no such problems.  He shot past me like it was a dry sunny day.  And he had a big red light on the back.  His light shone brightly in the gloom like a sign that I should follow.  I tore off after him my eyes fixed on the red light and little else.  We flew down a long straight toward what looked like it might be a tight corner.  Steve’s red light just went straight and then disappeared.  I madly fought the sliding, skidding bike and I tried to stop.  I got the bike under control, made the corner, and stopped about 20m past where Steve had disappeared.  I raced back up the hill.  I saw a short but deep skid on the track just before the edge.  I looked over and down below I saw Steve and bike ( safely ) lying on the bank. He was unhurt, apparently the angle of the bank was the same as the angle he was leaning the bike and because it was so wet he just slid down on his side in an almost upright position.

“So what happened” I asked

“With the mud in my eyes I couldn’t see a bloody thing but I was wet and tired and sick of going slow so I just let go of the brakes and figured it’d be alright.  By the time I saw the corner it was way too late.”  He told me.

“Hmmm”, I thought, “maybe you shouldn’t just follow the light”