So, after a week of ecstasy at the theatre, with six shows and a dress rehearsal, late nights, a lot of hard work and not much sleep, and an after party on Saturday night that leads to crawling into bed after 2am, what would be your first choice activity on the Sunday morning?
Not, I would imagine, getting on a bicycle at 8am, and cycling 83 miles to Chipping Camden and back. But due to the wonderful snow we had in early March, the Mad March Hare ride was rescheduled to today, and I didn’t want to cancel my participation. Firstly, because I’ve done it for the last two years, and building up a pattern like that is something that appeals to me. And secondly, because I’m desperately short of time in the saddle this year due to six weeks of almost continuous rain.
The first decision was whether to use my new bike (with nearly brand-new wheels, which I’m keen not to subject to wet, muddy roads), or my old bike (now showing its age, and with various components gumming up due to a lot of wet weather riding of late without having time to clean it up properly). So old bike it was, which was the right decision for the first and last 10 miles, but not for the 60-odd miles in between, where the roads were dry, and I suffered trying to keep up with those around me. At one stage, I was actually hoping it would rain just to justify the decision. It didn’t, despite me singing ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ to try and jinx it.
However, my exhaustion aside, the ride was fantastic – exactly what I needed after an emotionally draining week. Four and a half hours of being ‘alone’ is a perfect recharge (but yes, I did speak to one other cyclist en route, in case you’re wondering, but no, I didn’t get his name). The route was glorious, with a couple of nasty hills in the middle to look forward to, and some tasty choc chip brownies at the feed stop. It felt a bit weird not having miserable weather to battle with (didn’t even need any waterproof clothing! – how disappointing), but I’m not really complaining.
Oh, and instead of a medal, they gave out chain wear indicators. I’ve been meaning to buy one for years, but have never got around to it. Bingo, problem sorted. Thanks, Dan – excellent idea. Just do something different for next year, please!
Update: I meant to link in to Relive, which shows a nice little video of the ride: