The 74km cycle ride
CATCH-UP Part 2 – Saturday 19th September 2020
Jack had a start time of 08:05 for his race, which was great as it left the rest of the day free, but it meant we had to get up before 7, have a tea and banana, then leave. We had no intention of getting there 45 minutes before the start, as the organisers wanted. We knew the way to the village where the race was starting, but it took longer to cycle than expected and we were a bit worried. But we followed the map app to the site, along a small wooded earth path, which meant we both got into the site, avoiding the official entrance which only admitted people wearing a race number. I looked like a participant anyway, as I was wearing a running skirt for the cycle ride. So I didn’t have to wait outside for an hour or more on my own as expected, and I was able to see Jack start and finish his race, which was a big square 5km route, and take a little video when he finished. There were a few other spectators but only about eleven, leaving plenty of room for distancing.
We had to hurry back for breakfast though, which was in a spacious dining room, and we then set off on our bikes again about 11:00 on Jack’s carefully planned route, which was intended to take in all the attractive nearby villages. The first part was fairly mundane countryside, but later parts of the rote took in large hillsides and very remote areas with beautiful scenery, where you couldn’t see a building if you swivelled round 90 degrees. We stopped at a pub in Broad Chalke, with a long back garden, and a big diversion to take the bikes round to the bike, along a side-street and back up through a car park. I wanted pasta as I had a race next day, and among their three vegan options was a pasta, the tastiest meal we had in our two close-together holidays.
After being uncertain of the route out, we successfully made it through pretty Dinton and on to the beautiful stepped cottages of Tisbury, then back to the thatched cottages of Ansty. This is where we were unsure of Jack’s written instructions - he’d written ‘Ludlow’, which doesn’t exist except for the well-known one in Shropshire. At a junction, a woman told us there was a place called Ludwell, but it was 5km along the busy ‘A’ road. So I found a route by app to Sixpenny Handley, further along Jack’s plan.
I was admiring the long high ridge ahead of us, until I realised we’d have to get all the way up and over it, by bike. We were rewarded with great views, but had to go along a long farm track, then left along an even longer one, which we didn’t want to risk our tyres by cycling along. It changed to a hard path, but still went on for ages until turning right and finally downhill as it started to get dark. We went back via the race village but because it was pitch black by then, we didn’t recognise the route – and nearly turned left instead of right for the last leg along the ‘A’ road.
We were quite triumphant when we got back at 20:25, and incredibly we’d done 74km on our little folding bikes, but we’d missed the food at the pub. Jack had found an Indian 3km away which did take-aways but due to the terrible internet connections in this remote area, it took us half an hour to navigate their web site, which when we finally manged to order came up with “does not deliver to that address”. I was worried as I needed food; I wasn’t going to have breakfast until after my 10km run next day.
Eventually we managed to get through on the phone and they said it would take 45 minutes. After waiting an hour, Jack went and waited by the road to make sure he intercepted it, and it was another half hour before the food arrived – just before I went down to see what was happening (I’d watched a bit of the EFL). So we ate a big Indian meal very late before my run, I didn’t get an early night, we’d cycled 74km and I had to get up at 06:45 to do the race.
CURRENT – 24th September 2020
Felt well enough to log into work, though still felt a bit rough. It was the virtual staff conference today, which meant I just listened to stuff while doing music stuff on the other laptop. As I only had an hour lunch break, we returned to the little upstairs café in our street.
I actually did a small tidy up today, the front room having gradually accumulated small piles of stuff not put away, ever since lockdown. I needed to look up log-in details so I could transfer funds from the Tour Fund account to my current account to pay for our holiday, and in the process I got rid of a lot of old documentation, and also sorted out my maps while looking to see if we’d got an Ordnance Survey one of Sussex.
Before the lockdown, in a pub quiz we’d won a two-night stay in a cabin at a farm in that county, which we’d planned for just after Easter. It didn’t happen because of the virus, we hadn’t heard anything after places began to re-open, and thinking they might need help, I’d tried to book it anyway, paying this time, but it seems I booked a different (non-refundable) place. The correct place contacted me last night, saying she hadn’t forgotten us, and I realised my error and suggested a weekend in October. But Jack thought we might as well just combine the two trips together.
Now Jack is looking up some ideas for places to go while we’re there, while we listen to Fontaines DC and the best songs from last month – I haven’t loaded any new releases onto Deezer for two or three weeks. I want to go to bed early and fully recover from my illness.