First of all, if you haven't already, and if you would like to, without any pressure from me, please feel free to sponsor me. I am going to do Ride London in August for Macmillan Cancer Care. The organisers are hyping it up as the cycling equivalent of the London Marathon, which I hope it isn't. If it is, it will mean dodging people riding bikes dressed up as elephants (riders not bikes, though you never know, the British public can be so hilarious)
I'm not going to pretend that the ride is difficult, except for the fact that I'll be doing it on virtually no sleep as it is on the day after I get back from holiday in Crete. But the cause has become even more special to me now, and gives me a nice focus for the next couple of months. Some good displacement activity.
However, it is very important that I raise lots of money. I'm not going to preach at you, not yet anyway, but I really appreciate every single penny that you can spare. Thank you to everyone who has already been super generous already, it will make dodging the pantomime horses so much more rewarding.
Earlier today I went out with the ACG to Fyne Court, a National Trust property deep in the Quantocks, just round the corner fromJoe Strummer's old gaffe in Broomfield. I seem to remember making a Clash reference last time we headed that way, but this time there were only 6 of us to start with. You can't have too many Clash references. Fact.
I was supposed to be doing a sportive in the New Forest but I really felt like some friendly company today. I had already decided to join the ACG ride when the sportive was called off because of flooding. The re-arranged date looks pretty good for me, so it was an ill wind and all that. Actually, it was a great big arse of a southerly gale for most of the day, which was tough on the outbound leg of Martyn's route.
Gary and Mike stayed with us till Woolavington before peeling off for other commitments. BPs and in-laws for Mike, a North East derby for the Mackem. I see Paulo di Canio is working his magic already. Don't worry Mackems, plenty of time for a falling out, there usually is with Paulo, probably about three quarters of the way through next season, off in a strop. MMW.
The rest of us, Martyn the machine, Trevor, Adrian and myself, puffer cyclist, headed down through the hood of Bridgy, and up the hill out of Enmore to Fyne Court cafe itself. There was much talk of getting old, being ill and most importantly, how were we going to stay out of the wind on the way back.
It is an inspired choice for a coffee stop, it's off the beaten track, has bike racks, is very clean (important to a certain Mayor), and has great coffee and cake. It's also about 30 miles from Axbridge, so makes for a great 100km loop.
They were also looking to generate a "feedback culture", always laudable, but for one day only it was kind of the wrong thing to ask me. I'm not going to tell you either, when I've worked it out for myself, I'll let you know. This just about sums it up though.
We finally found the tailwind as we coasted down to the levels and headed north. I could not only hear my own thoughts but also the voices of the rest of the group, and I hopped on the back of Martyn's or Trevor's wheel for most of it. Trevor peeled off at Weare, braving the wilds of Burtle, before the three of us climbed Mudgley and blasted back to Axbridge. 66 miles done.
I finally found a giant frog in my garden, very much alive and not squashed by the local drivers, obviously it knows when it is on to a good thing! Sorry for the lack of scale, it's about three feet in diameter at the shoulders.
To finish, some beautiful words for anyone who is, has been or will be in love.