What, I hear you ask gentle reader, has Simon been up to now? And the answer is - snowmobiling.
Yesterday morning I started the day well, visibility was again poor, and going down a very gentle slope at a sedate pace I hit a snowdrift. This was followed by a slow motion, arms spread ("I can fly!") before ending up face down in a snow drift. Brrrrr!!!
Then was the afternoon, sjh and I agreed to share a snowmobile - I'd drive the 14km out to the coffee and doughnuts, and she'd do the 14km back. I drove carefully and sedately, right behind the guide. We got to speeds of about 30km/h (at fastest) and with all the stopping and starting covered the 14km in about an hour. "Remember" they'd said, along with the other detailled instructions of "Here's how you go faster, here's how you brake", "Any bump you feel as the driver the passenger feels three times.".
So, time to swap. Then the guide comes in and says "Who want's to go faster?" "Sure" I say, and sjh gets on the front saying "I don't want to slow people down". We're right behind the guide you see. Very nice of her.
Then we go. We'd been told at base that in these conditions we shouldn't do more than 30 or 40 km/h. The guide starts uphill at about 50. sjh sets off. I start hurting as I'm bounced around on the back of this "petrol tank on skis". I carry on hurting. We pause. I look back. We're about 500m ahead of the closest person following. Repeat. We hit 50km/h on a straight, I really feel my arms are being wrenched out of my sockets as I bounce around and try my best to stay attached. Repeat for 14km...
I cannot express in words how tightly I hung on. I was scared and I'm man enough to admit it!
Most amusing is when we get back - two anecdotes from people following us:
"I was worried about how that poor girl was going to stay on the back of that - now I realise it's a poor chap".
"50? I was going 70 and wasn't catching you..."
My personal conclusions:
"We shared the driving - I used the lower half of the the speedo, and she used the upper half..."
Mind you, if I hurt this morning, I'm capable of a larger range of movement than she is...