May’s training update is a bit different, if you are after the usual updates on snacks and sports drink flavours and funny incidents then you are our of luck this month. Instead May has featured illness, loss and pain. This month the bike Boss lost his Dad.
As a reminder me and the Bike Boss are riding from Manchester to London in just under 100 days time so we are at a stage where we are increasing the mileage and doing more “up” as well as thinking about the mental preparation needed for what will be the longest ride we have ever done. I have absolute faith that the Bike Boss will get me to London and I know that there will be difficult points along that route during those 16+ hours, however nothing will compare to this month in terms of hurt for him.
After a short illness Rod passed away surrounded by his family and knowing he was loved. My sense of hurt is from seeing a friend sad, not the unimaginable sense of loss from “Dad” passing. I have noticed he has no need for the “my” no consideration that there may be others with that title, just a singular focus and a connection so strong, as if no others exist. I have been astounded at his ability to fondly remember the good times and reflect on the funny rather than dwell on the sad.
I wasn’t lucky enough to know Rod so I can’t share the “remember when, or that time we did…” So instead you can only do the practical stuff, turn off computers (probably without saving the work) rearrange diaries, hold a hand as the colour of grief descends on them, fill him full of food and pedal. Cycling this month has been a bit different, it’s been an escape, a time for reflection. The topics have been different, childhood memories, hopes and fears for the future, funeral flowers, and the saddest of topics what would you do with one more day. We pedalled to the beach after the modern day announcement of loss on FaceBook so that there was at least 5 hours 30 mins for the messages of love and support to come in before they had to be read.
We did the long ride that was talked about in the previous blog so there was lots of distraction. At one point the route took us into a layby where apparently last time I had stopped and refused to go on! There were less holiday makers and less ice creams this time but we did get chips and sit and think about all the things that frightened us as kids. Bike boss = lanes in Devon and the New Forest (weirdo) Me = everything! The things I thought were hills last time were tiny lumps…… it turns out I may have been a tad over dramatic two years ago (so annoying that he is always right)
Loss makes you feel more mortal, the grass seems greener the sun a little warmer on your back, the choices you make and the challenges you take on each day just a little bit more meaningful . The big training rides for me this month have involved the 168km and 8,000ft of climbing Tour De Manc. (not a proper cyclist still as I get a bit confused with imperial and metric) and the 160km Cycle for Amy with the Road Captain Uncle Malcolm and the Bike Boss.
The Tour De Manc was a bit brutal. Bike Boss forgot it was his mums birthday when I entered him….so off I set solo. He said I should probably just do the 100km course and not try do the full distance. This is his stealth motivation technique! I love proving him wrong so off I set to do the full distance. At half way my lovely colleague Nat was waiting with her two kids at their school that was being used as a feed station. Izzy showed me where the toilet was whilst looking at me in complete bewilderment. Her face said it all “what are you doing! My aim was to get off the bike after half the M2L distance and more than half the elevation feeling fine……pretty much nailed it! Turns out after 6500 feet my legs improve!
Cycle for Amy is the best cycling event I have done, a great cause, a great route and on this occasion great company. My snail like progress up the hills and the heat meant by 85 miles I was contemplating a tactical chunder on the bike to try relieve stomach cramp. On making it round I climbed off my bike and curled up on the grass and fell asleep (passed out) the Road Captain and Bike Boss ate their cake and had a little chat before coming to stand over me extolling the virtues of a sleeping Bob and the lovely quietness of it! Charmers the pair of them.
June will see us practice on the course to see just how much better I have to get in the next 12 weeks.
God only knows how we are getting to London “but long as there are stars above you. You never need to doubt it”