I woke to the sound of hymns on the radio. This always indicates “too early” on a Sunday morning. I had no desire to get out of bed and go cycling. Eventually I hauled my body out and out. There was one last hope, if it was raining I could legitimately go back to bed. It wasn’t


I arrived in good time and did all the necessary things to register for the ride. I grabbed a cup of tea and noticed that Mark was also doing the ride. Mark and I ride at about the same pace so I’d have some company as I wend my way through the country lanes


The first section of the ride was blessed with a tail wind, or maybe it was my superior fitness brought about by my winter training. This meant it was very fast and very easy. Even the hill wasn’t as painful as I remember.


The first control was at a vicar’s house. We all congregated in the garden to be fed bacon rolls. It was a very odd Lycra clad vicar’s tea party.


The payback for the tailwind was the headwind. Mark and I were joined by one other and we worked as a group dragging each other through the wind. After the luxury of being pushed through the first section this came as I bit of a shock but we managed to work well and keep a decent pace, right up to the point where the third guy offered his apologies and dropped off. Apparently, the pace was a little too high for him. Mark and I pushed on and in Marks words, “monstered” the rest of the section.


The next halt was a café that served an interesting variety of poorly presented food. On a previous visit, I’d dubbed the sausage rolls “the most disappointing rolls in the world”. I wasn’t expecting much but being hungry I would accept nearly anything. All I can say is that the food was edible and fuelled me for the next section.


The route changed direction and the effect of the wind became less. We started slow as the food and rest took a while to shake off but slowly we got back into the rhythm to make good time to the penultimate control. Here we joined up with another group for the last short section to the end. Mark and I were the youngsters of the group. The rest were in their late 60’s and early 70’s


Their age had not diminished their ability or hunger, the pace slowly build until the last five or six kilometres became an out and out race. I didn’t let the 67-year-old beat me, he didn’t need any help, he did it all by himself. It was a good friendly and moreover fun sprint to the finish with neither of us giving any quarter.


I got home tired and smelly. I had no intention of cooking. There was only one sensible course of action: takeaway. Sweet and sour pork balls and special fried rice washed down with a few cans of beer. I felt the ride justified this.


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