When a gust of wind lifts your bike and moves it sideways and you are still on it… it’s just a little bit terrifying, by the third or fourth time you are getting used to it and eventually you just push through and your heart stops missing a beat every time it happens. So much for a gentle flat Sunday ride along the coast!
Actually it was a wonderful ride with bright blue sky, white caps and scudding waves being put to excellent use by the kite surfers who move at terrifying speeds across the waves, but the wind.. OMG it was strong and strangely, it was a headwind on the 9 miles out and a head wind on the 9 miles back accompanied by the side swiping gusts. Actually it’s probably good that it was in our faces as a tail wind of that speed could have had us over the rainbow and up the yellow brick road before you could click a ruby slipper.
Arriving at the start point after a slight altercation with the newly donated bike carrier – how was I to know which way up it went? Ok it was upside down and bike hanging dangerously across number plate and lights… but I had spotted something was not quite right and following a heart stopping drive to biking buddy and technical expert’s abode with a well rehearsed speech to any early Sunday police patrol it was a matter of moments to turn it right way up and prevent a major disaster. Another bike carrier adjustment in the rain at the petrol station for second party in the convoy and cars and bikes arrived intact to be greeted with a grey and stormy view.
Undaunted we set off into the teeth of a gale and lo and behold the skies cleared, the sun shone, stray dogs and pedestrians including some claiming deafness lay in wait to provide us with swerving practice, the stragglers from a half marathon were no problem as they were too shattered to leap into our path. Our little peloton .. or rather triton whizzed along in the sunshine, the only casualty being an earring lost to the sea wall and I reflected that I do not really appreciate the beauty of the coastline less than an hour’s drive from home. Cycling has made me realise that there is so much more to be seen than through a car windscreen and there is a world to explore on my doorstep. Reaching the turning point an hour later we were flushed with success which is how I prefer to explain my pink and purple face rather than over exertion. A short pause by a well known local landmark – the Blackpool Tower – not the rather phallic totem pole we appear to have surrounded and full of bravado we set off back with minds full of thoughts of coffee and cake.
Well that’ll teach us to be so cocky – meeting the head wind and side gusts was like hitting a brick wall and all the way back it was as if we were cycling uphill through treacle. The head wind was just exhausting, the side gusts scary and the sand whipping into our faces provided a facial peel worthy of any spa. The jolly banter ceased for a while as we pushed through the worst section which was roughly mid way, there was brief discussion regarding risk assessment and mutterings of no options as we gritted our teeth put our heads down and forged on.
Not much later we were sitting in a magnificent sea front emporium advertising a Psychic Fish and Chip Night – orders placed on the spirit plain and delivered by passing spirits one assumes. We resisted the fish and chips but indulged in coffee – full fat milk only no skinny cappuccinos here, a pot of tea accompanied by toasted tea cakes – dustbin lid size and a currant filled scone and butter. Skin and hair totally denuded of moisture were the only bits of us in need of emergency treatment and all in all there was a collective sense of major achievement.
On reflection it was a marvellous way to spend a Sunday in good company training for Cycletta but what it really demonstrated was not whether we are fit enough to complete the course but that there are times in life when you are confronting powerful forces trying to knock you off track and there is only one way to get through – put your head down and JFDI.