Here's a new trend. I fully expect to be kyboshed by the close of play on Monday, and given a hectic week follows, and then another weekend away, there will be little inclination or energy for blogging.
And anyway, although I have no way of knowing what is going to happen, I do know it will be:
1. Very hard, especially as I have fewer miles in the legs than any year since 2009.
2. Beautiful scenery
3. Subject to major injury, mechanical, extreme tiredness or other similar event, I can do this. I've done it twice before, and know what to do.
4. Great fun, and great company. Sure there will be idiots overtaking me dangerously, and other such behaviour, but Jennifer and I are going to have a jolly good time, aided and abetted by sundry friends and colleagues.
If you want something a bit more descriptive you can read it here. Or my account of the first time I did it in 2010.
So is it a challenge? Well in some senses yes, because it's hard riding that distance over three days, and there is a fair bit of climbing. But you know what the real challenge is? That would be to enjoy it. Of course, each to his own, if you want to go off all wheels blazing impressing yourself and your friends, chapeau to you. I've been there, I understand.
But I've moved on. If I want a physical challenge, and I do sometimes, and I think the Devil's Pitchfork qualifies. I found a lot of the riding on last Sunday's Somerset 100 a bit dull. The good bits, as described in Jennifer's post, were the camaraderie, the togetherness, and laughs. Oh, and Mulcheney Abbey. But the flatlands out to Curry Rivel at 20 mph, very dull.
Here are a few pictures:
Commuting to work by bike gets dull, so by nature becomes a challenge. Of course it's not difficult in a technical sense, but I have learned that it requires a certain mental fortitude, particularly in the Winter. If you don't believe me, try it. In sub zero temperatures and the total pitch dark of December. Sometimes I do get to see balloons however, and then it's all worthwhile.
And as long as I live I will never forget Stuart exclaiming "We are riding the Aubisque", on a misty September morning three years ago. The history, the scenery and the friendship. In his last days my Dad talked a lot about all the relationships he had, and how much they meant to him. Believe me, when your day comes, not much else will matter to you. It's not something that comes naturally to me, but I'm doing my best to work at it. Just like Jules. (swearing warning).
So advance warning for you. A long ACG ride is scheduled for either 29 or 30 June, depending on Mrs MR's comittments, the brownie point balance at the time and what everyone else wants to do. Come and join us, I have a fancy to go to Lyme Regis for the day, paddle in the sea, eat ice cream, and shoot the (hopefully very small) breeze. We will not be cycling like EPO-crazed amateurs.
There's a challenge for you.