And so it came to pass Dear Readers, as the early morning clouds drifted serenely over the mighty rolling fells of Latrigg, Blencathra (how much???) and Cat Bells, parting slowly to let the morning sunshine peak through and to reveal the azure blue sky. The sounds of chains against gears and the clipping of shoes against pedals joined with the gentle murmurings of lycra clad people of all ages congregating on the lush green pastures of Fitz Park.
Yes my cycling chums, the day had finally dawned – the Rivers Ride was finally upon us!
The scene was one of organised chaos as team members searched for colleagues in matching lycra, the whirlwind that was Nicola Howells and the other volunteers guiding and coaxing the willing riders to the start line.
The mood was one of high excitement tinged with trepidation at the challenges that lay ahead. Anticipation was high in the Pscyclos camp despite the harbinger of doom and failed weatherman of the team, James Rudd. So convinced was he that thunder and lightening was imminent that he equipped himself with the most efficient earthing tool – his bike!
As our start time approached, the Pscyclos, resplendent in our team colours, joined the tail of the snaking queue. Soon we were in the starting corral with a firm but friendly marshal issuing much needed guidance about which pastel shade of arrow to follow.
And then we were off, along the gently rolling byways alongside Bassenthwaite lake. Soon we were careering through the throbbing metropolis of Cockermouth, cheered on by the cowbell wielding locals (Pscyclo Su’s Mum and Dad). The gently rolling lanes up to Lorton belied the challenge that lay ahead. Nobody told me there was another route up Whinlatter!! This one tested our lung capacity to the maximum and then to place a photographer at the top who wanted you to smile!!! All I could manage was a weary wheeze.
With the climb conquered and the sun on our backs we began the decent, the feeling of the wind through your hair (those of us who have any) was exhilarating especially as we thought the worst was over, but then the winding incline at the foot of Catbells loomed large, but the views across Derwent Water were magnificent, if a little blurred through the cascading beads of perspiration. And so we reached the home stretch from the southern tip of Derwent Water, the legs coursing with renewed energy at the thought of the nearing finish line. It was time for the elite Pscyclos to surge forward. The baby Pscyclo’s youthful vigour thrust him forward and was matched by Andy Watson in a race to break the three hour target. Pscyclo Su and Yours Truly crossing the line just seconds apart. We were soon followed in by Rust Bucket Rudd and the budding musician Pscyclo. A splendid team effort and luck would have it, Jennings had kindly erected their tent next to the NSG tent so it was only a short walk to assist them in emptying the barrel of their finest ale.
And so to the many thanks that made our first experience of the Rivers Ride such a blast:
– My fellow Psyclos – Su, John, Andy, Chris, James, well done, a great team effort, but we were never going to cross the line together were we!!!
– The NSGeese – at least you have now got a target for next year!!!
– The organisers and the multitude of volunteers – we literally couldn’t have done it with out you.
– Finally to you dear readers, for sticking with the ramblings of a middle aged born again Pscyclist. I think we have bonded, our ten month relationship has, I feel, grown into something special, something to treasure and to hold onto either that, or you are just glad its all over and I will finally shut up!!
So I toast you all and wish you well in your training for next year – SEE YOU ALL THEN!!