… not typical fare for a Saturday afternoon and indeed last Saturday afternoon my cycling companion was sunning herself in Spain and I was dining in a magnificent restaurant in Umbria with a view to die for.
Picking a route close to the distance that we did with relative ease last year, hopes were high as we pedalled along discussing our holiday experiences – for me lots of spirit lifting sun
Our gossip probably led to the lapse in concentration which almost pitched my companion into the canal… shifting balance to avoid crashing her head (helmeted ) into a low bridge arch, she caught her shoulder throwing bike and rider to within an inch of the murky waters of the Leeds Liverpool!
Recovering from this misadventure we pedalled on until it began to dawn that our memory was playing tricks and this was a lot further than we thought. Coupled with a miscalculation on the amount of liquid and nutrition required, inevitably we began to flag, pedalling became slower and teeth were gritted. The last 20 minutes to our destination was torture – biting head wind, no canal path just deep rutted mud tracks more suited to providing shelter for a passing anaconda than our tyres but with no option we squelched on…. pedalling through the quagmire.
As we finally limped and hobbled into the coffee lounge it was clear an alternative plan was required for the return journey… calls for rescue were considered, but over coffee, a lukewarm crumpet (sent back for re heating ) and a massively stodgy scone, Plan B emerged. Agreeing to take it easy, stop and ‘share the banana’ we remounted and a bit of road work later we made it back to the hard canal path having avoided the East Lancashire paddy fields.
We were, however, marked women as having got our second wind we were then thrown off balance by a large rat darting across our path – though I have to say it moved rather more quickly than the elderly lady who launched herself across the road as I came screaming down the hill on the road section of our ride.
Stopping at the pre arranged point for a final drink and rather pathetically to ‘ share the last banana’ – clearly we were thinking of ourselves as the recreation of Captain Oates (I know… we needed to get a grip, but we were tired) the final stage was completed in glorious sunshine, which had brought out yet another rat soaking up the last rays of sunshine.
Having survived Mud, Rats and near collapse we reminded ourselves why we are doing this – raising funds for our local charity
We know that in these difficult times every penny counts and the grants we make, however small, really do make a difference, and we will get round the course – so thank you to all those who have already generously sponsored Team JBT and for those who would like to you can do so at http://www.justgiving.com/JULIE-WAREING