York Cycle Rally: stage 1 (151km)
Kimbolton-Tuxford 151km……en route to York
Rolling northwards against a brisk north westerly breeze, I had just negotiated a steep hill near Rutland Water when I chanced upon a cycling friend, going in the opposite direction. We stopped……I asked him his destination…..he then reminded me that the Thursday group were meeting for tea and cakes at a house just 3 miles back along my route.
Oh dear……were free tea and cakes a sufficient incentive to backtrack and then have to climb that hill again…….well, unfortunately, the answer was ‘yes’! Down I went, filled up on an exquisite selection of home-made baking, and then toiled back up the hill again. My job was cut out for me. It was already a 95 mile route to Tuxford, and I had now taken out a good 90 minutes from my schedule………and I had a Warmshowers host expecting me in Tuxford. I didn’t want to disappoint. But I had this strengthening head wind to contend with…….it was head down for the next 100 km.
The countryside alleviated the pain a little. Farmers must be despairing at the burgeoning poppy harvest this year, but they are there to delight the rest of us.
My host, Paul, waited patiently for my arrival. In his 9-5 existence he is a wind turbine maintenance engineer, but outside that, he has discovered the joys of the freedom of adventure cycling. Where most of us would have nervously tested the water of long-distance stuff in our own country, Paul headed off to Santiago in Chile, and spent a few months trekking down to the southern regions of the continent. And it wasn’t just a bicycle ride……..he had prefaced it by spending several months being privately tutored in the basics of Spanish. He had taken on the venture as a complete project. Inspiring! And a great host to a fellow cyclist……(if you are reading this, Paul, thank you once again).