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Flaming June

Peak District

I have a confession……I don’t like the Peak District! I know, sacrilege for a cyclist to say. It’s very pretty don’t get me wrong but oh my it hurts my legs, burns my lungs and breaks my heart. It is unfortunately the way to London ….really there must be another way!

My first attempt at making it to the feed stop at Carsington Water did not go well. It involved getting off and walking on a hill, falling off on a hill into nettles and my chimp rampaging around my head. The first 50 miles of the route has over 4,500ft of elevation and it feels (or at least in my 1st attempt) like it is all up hill! It’s tough and there is 170 miles after it to complete (gulp)

After 70 miles I called the General Manager (Mr R) to come rescue me, ate a Mars bar and fell asleep. Poor Chris my ride buddy for the day, this was not what he signed up for. (Only positive being his post on Instagram about the day and a fab photo was his most liked ever) Not a good start.

But then not all starts are good…..

So to fill in the blanks for those who didn’t know here is the start of the Bike Boss and Bob

He walked into a pub in a stripy t-shirt won an arm wrestle, I offered him a job. No HR policies were broken and proper process was followed (honest) *Boom interviewed him very thoroughly

He came with great references and all went well until the “team building day” for our newly formed team. In this instance I was the boss ….bring back those days. We asked him and his team to build a paper tower. The other teams managed 6″ foot creations of splendid paper engineering. The Bike Boss’ tower was a pile of crumpled paper on the floor whilst he wore his best “not bothered” face. The consultant who I was working with me whispered in my ear “he’s shit Sue what are you going to do!” I whispered back “find something he cares about and watch him go” If the Bike Boss isn’t interested he isn’t doing it …end of! His average is better than most peoples good and he can cruise on auto pilot and get through. He epitomises if it’s worth doing (in his opinion) then it’s worth doing properly. If not, it’s not getting done. He can not be coached, cajoled, worn down or even threatened. I have tried all of them. Tea is the best thing to give him to gain any level of cooperation.

If he cares and he wants to do it then it’s getting done brilliantly. So after 2 years of contemplation and training me up he has agreed to do M2L. Like the paper tower we may be crumpled on the floor at the end but for 16 hours we have to be awesome!

Let’s be clear the Bike Boss is not a man of a lot of words and unlike with some quite people when the words come out they are not always profound. Example, silence for about an hour…..then “do you think that horse looks happy in that field?

When I asked him if he remembers meeting me his answer was “nope”

He is also the king of the emoji (lazy you see) pretty much every day I get the same 🙄🍋🍰❤️ in summary he thinks I am a weirdo fruit cake, who is passionate about what I do. Day 1 to now. Constant. If I had £1 for every time he has rolled his eyes at me I would be rich! He gets on my last nerve and does my head in. However, he has signed up for M2L so we are doing it properly…..course reconnaissance and all. This involves many upsetting activities such as putting his bike in the car and driving up north (new activities cause anxiety)

So for the 2nd attempt at the Peak District section…….It is not encouraging when you see a sign that says London 189 miles and realise that the 220 is the long way round!

This time I have helpful mantras supplied by friends and club mates and I have the Bike Boss.

“That’s a hill and I am getting over it” (wise words from Spen)

“Fuck off chimp” (class from the record breaking Ollie)

“Just Tap it out” (Bike Boss)

“En Beurre……pedal smooth” (thank you Ruth)!

With the Bike Boss on the front and a 111 miles route with 8,000ft of up ahead we rolled out. No messing about head on, fresh legs and a bag full of shot blocks (not alcoholic)

So this time there were the nasty hills I remembered but there was also a lot of down hill and some bits that were almost flat. Who knew! We get there and the take a moment to think what another 170 miles might feel like, and eat cake (standard) before heading home via some gorgeous Derbyshire Dales and a few more hills, the obligatory dead end and a few wrong turns. Chatsworth house resplendent in the sunshine makes a stunning site and a distraction from what seems like never ending hills. Tap tap tap tap.

He taps it out up ahead I puff and blow and wobble along a bit behind. He can’t actually go any slower than he does and I can’t go any faster but we keep going. We see village fetes, appalling singers and the best of British community spirit. We find an amazing H van cafe on the top of a hill where the Bike Boss’ Bakewell Tart cravings can be met.

What’s weird is that the tiredness that makes you legs feel like concrete weights starts to pass after about 85 miles so by the time we can smell the tea pot we are time trialling it home heads down wheel centimetres apart, no words, no emojis no need for team building. We are a team.

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