Monday, March 19, 2007

What to catch up on first

Our second Open5 Series Navigator race did not go to plan. The Trep was sick - and had been for two weeks. The doctor promised the Trep that the cough would only last one more week so the Trep reluctantly took the decision to spend the race taking a leisurely, un-stressful walk around the Yorkshire countryside whilst one half of Team Pamplemouse completed the event as solo male.

I walked for 4 hours along the ridge of Sutton Bank (photos) which is near Thirsk, about 30 miles North of Rippon on the A1. Sutton Bank is the name of a 1 in 4 road which climbs up a steep craggy embankment. The cycling "milk race" has climbed it many times in its history as one of the classic climbs to do in the country. Cars towing caravans are banned from using it and there are statistic signs warning that the road has been blocked 137 times so far this year by truck drivers that just don't realise what they're letting themselves in for. There is a hairpin bend one half of the way up which our brand-new shiny rental van handled without pain and the lady in the Rover in front exclaimed, "I was hoping you would push me up there" when we got to the top. I was tempted, I surely was.

It was with reluctance that I saw TSK off on his way. Part of me was jealous that he was racing alone. Part of me knew he would do better without me and didn't like that. Part of me knew that if I rode in my own category, I'd do better than us as a team and didn't like that because I like to ride with him. Part of me was looking forwards to a day of walking and wished he'd leave so I could get on with it. But that was mainly because I wished he was with me. Walking alone is lonely. Walking with dogs, fine. Walking with a loved one, fine. Walking alone - there's no-one to share the joys with.

However, the day was bright and I could manage to walk. I filled with glee as I realised I could manage to go further, further. Then I descended to a village in search of food and to time my arrival back at the van to greet TSK (with the keys) and get a rest before setting off on the long drive back. The deal is always that he reads the map and I drive - particularly when he's been racing and I haven't.

Back at the car park I was treated to the tail end of a classic mini-car rallye up Sutton Bank and laughed as people were treated to a bit of old fashioned speed as other cars were held up behind the little revving, struggling, smoking classic cars.

The final result of the race, TSK got 390 points without me and arrived back 6 minutes late. He was 20th. Quite high up the field compared to our usual score. So, as I embark on the second of my 70 mile ride to work weeks, I'm looking forward to the next Open5 series and praying to stop coughing long enough to go for a run... just one before the next race would be nice.

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