What just happened?

By George

I’ve been in a slight daze since arriving home, I can’t explain what just happened… yes, we cycled 700km across a mountain range, climbing one and a half times the height of Everest in five and half days, but that doesn’t tell you very much. Yes, we ate several times our own body weight in food including caffeinated drinks, changed wet clothes more often than Cara Delevingne at a fashion show, shivered, swore, got sore and often silently wept as the mountainside refused to accommodate us and ease the gradient. Yes, our muscles felt torn apart as the job of carrying our weight and water and bike and kit fell to those poor quadriceps of ours, but there was so much more to it than that. Some things are hard to put into words, a bit like a soldier back from a tour of duty, anecdotes don’t really tell the whole story, though we have plenty of them; James S being caught in the middle of a level crossing when the barriers went down, Richard getting up close and personal with a zebra crossing, Barney resembling a block of ice on top of Tourmalet, Franca’s rear mech shearing off and several other potentially catastrophic mechanical failures, our bedside table turning into a firework, Calder and Geoff losing the use of one leg, Rupert discovering half his gears on the last day etc. But there was so much that wasn’t said, that was intangible, but became the defining part of our experience. Continue reading “What just happened?”

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Rain, Rain go away!

By George

‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’
(from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’)

This has never been more relevant than on a long ride. As one hedge morphs into another, villages flash by and various qualities of tarmac disappear under your wheel, you can become aware of a small game of tussle beginning between your adult self and your inner child. It is quite interesting to see how often the child, this internal brat, has to be ticked off so the Adult can enjoy the view. It’s this appreciation of surroundings and the simple fact of being outside in the elements that gives cycling much of its appeal; the bleached, warm colours of August fields, an unusual lodge house or particularly beautiful arrangement of topiary, may become your part of your personally curated exhibition, not to mention the plethora of bird life encountered swooping ahead of your wheels. Continue reading “Rain, Rain go away!”

From Mindfulness to Mind-the-Pothole

By George

It sounds disingenuous now, but I wasn’t that sure about the cycling. I preferred to run.

It was more about the shared cause, the challenge and the promise of legendary ribbons of mountain road, daubed with the names of greats, and about scenery which would leave you slack-jawed with its drama. Continue reading “From Mindfulness to Mind-the-Pothole”

Tomboy to Tourmalet – part 2

By George

Also see Tomboy to Tourmalet – part 1

Skip forward to marriage and three children, you then have “recreational” cycling dominated by a certain desperation to find family activities we can all just, well, do. There’s a great deal of cajolement that needs to happen cycling with kids, or the use of one of those trailer attachments to drag unwilling or incapable children behtrail gaiterind a quietly blaspheming parent; but sometimes it’s easier to take the strain rather than the whinging. Continue reading “Tomboy to Tourmalet – part 2”

Wet & Windy Winter Training

By George

The deprivations of winter haven’t been a deterrent for our C2C cyclists in the gentle climes of the South downs, I mean its not Finland is it? In Oulu, the self-proclaimed capital of winter cycling, it gets so cold the snow freezes and you can’t even build snowmen. They have three hours of daylight and temperatures stay well below -25ºC, but the majority of the residents cycle regularly all through the eight and a half month winter… hell, what do we have to complain about? Continue reading “Wet & Windy Winter Training”

Tomboy to Tourmalet – part 1

By George

Apart from when I was a tomboy of 15 years old, the sort you you don’t tend to see these days; gawky and androgynous, I have never really bothered much with cycling. But back in the day, I was really quite enthused by my “racing bike” which had a perilously high, straight top bar. It proved I was no skirt wearing girly girl but threatened me with severe groin injury at every road junction because my father insisted on having the saddle at the “correct” height, which meant my feet could barely touch the ground on tip toes. Continue reading “Tomboy to Tourmalet – part 1”