There are not many people for whom I would get out of a warm bed on a wild and windy Sunday morning with a Hurricane (or its tail) on the way. However when I got the call this morning from one of my cycling sisters I did not hesitate, despite having ridden with her the day before on a trip with a pace that had left me sore and aching I agreed we should get out there and keep up our Cycletta practice. I admit that I was slow to haul my body from the pit and was not exactly my usual sunny self, but fuelled with Oatibix I set off into the teeth of a gale to our rendevous on…you’ve guessed it… the canal.
So what made me not simply turn over and ignore the phone or answer and plead exhaustion and the call of the lesser spotted pile of ironing… well the need to make sure we can complete the course…. but also our sense of loyalty to each of us who have agreed to undertake this challenge. It would not have mattered which member of Daft and Determined made the call I would have answered and responded as would any of my fellow mad women. We are not functioning as a traditional team, we are not rigid in our training schedules, we do not have timetables and stop watches, we do not all ride together, we have acquired a range of cycling buddies and companions who whilst not taking part in the event will be there and are just as much part of the team as those of us who will be pedalling round Cheshire – some of us for longer than others… We could not operate in a formal way as we are all busy, work ridiculous hours, have full social lives, responsibilites to children, parents , cats and puppies so we just squeeze in what we can where we can and with whoever we can.
But despite all of that we are a team, held together by the desire to achieve what we set out to do and to do it as a unit. We are indeed a sisterhood, and sisters are certainly doing it for themselves as we have learnt to firstly ride a bike again, fit and load bike carriers to cars, attach the bungee elastic stretchy whatsits so they hold the bikes firmly rather than resembling a piece of macrame, drive the cars with bikes attached, take front wheels on and off (the bikes not the cars) and sort the brake wire thingy when you do so.
One thing we have needed little instruction in is devouring carbohydrates with the now traditional cry of ‘well we’ve earned it’ and as we have sweated – and it is sweat, none of the genteel perspiration stuff going on here – pedalling up hill and down dale and along the canal paths, not to mention heaving bikes onto car carriers there has been one thing that has driven every single one of us on. Yes the reward at the end – or as yesterday a mid ride pit stop of coffee and scones. The toasted tea cake has become a firm favourite, however, yesterday our rather refined coffee shop claimed not to have any – I think they were so horrified by our dishevelled state – windswept and scary rather than windswept and interesting, that they thought denial would mean we would leave. But we were undeterred and settled for scones and very crumbly and yummy they were as well, providing perfect fuel for the return trip. Fuel we required to be able to put on a turn of speed as not only were the storm clouds gathering we knew we that passing a canalside hostelry at pace would be necessary to avoid the catcalls we recieved on the way out.
We cannot forsee exactly how our Cycletta event will go, what the weather will be like, what time we will achieve, though someone is clearly trying to tell us something. As with our encounter with the invitation to the Psychic Fish and Chip night, as we were trying to make ourselves vaguely respectable we noticed yet another invitation to a meal where presumably your choice of menu is pre ordered via the astral plane.
As I said we are not a team that meet regularly, have team talks and work to a framework but we have become a sisterhood with a common purpose and I don’t think we need to consult a psychic to tell us that we will cross the line together, sweating and demanding scones with a chorus of ‘we’ve earned it!