Monday, 31st November
Utley – Cottingley – Eldwick – East Morton – Silsden – Steeton – Utley. 20.47 Miles.
I didn’t feel exactly well when I left my mum and dad’s house this afternoon. The rain was falling at an angle that only northern rain can, due to an irritating wind that threatened to blow me off my bike every time I turned and brought it side-on. However, I was determined to crack the 1,000 mile-marker that had been looming ever closer on the Aerodeck, and also to see my grandma for the first time since her hip-replacement operation. Just like Floyd Landis, she’d had constant pain for some time and concealed it well. Unlike Floyd, however, without the aid of exogenous synthetic testosterone, she was unable to win a Tour de France.
I arrived at my grandma’s house with little incident, other than dodging the big bad wolf, and having to nip the wrong way down a very short one-way street that was previously two-way. I’m fairly certain that there was a police officer there, directing me to do so (honest, Your Worship), and to avoid doing so meant either a short ride on the pavement or a lengthy detour, neither of which I fancied.
It could be argued that you can never spend too much time with your grandma, unless she has big ears, huge yellow eyes and saliva drooling from her prominent fangs. If that’s your grandma, the red coat is best left at home. Fortunately, my grandma displays none of these dubious qualities, but I had spent too long drinking tea, and trying to work out from the barely perceptible limp which hip had been replaced. I was now not only wet, but cold too.
After the usual attempts to refuse my grandma trying to give me her pension money, all of which fell on deaf ears, I left. I say deaf, but it’s just a selective deafness that dogs and old people seem to develop. I still had the 1,000-mile mark to pass, and the straight route back to mum and dad’s wouldn’t be enough. I headed for the hills I’d ridden years ago, past my old school, and for Bingley Moor. My troubles were about to begin.
The next seven miles were to be mainly uphill, in driving rain and wind. Just the sort of weather/terrain combination you might expect from a November ride in Yorkshire. I’d felt less than tip-top when I left mum and dad’s, and a lengthy delay in wet gear at my grandma’s house had done no favours. With every pedal-stroke, a non-specific winter lurgy took further hold, and I passed the 1,000-mile mark almost without noticing. I certainly felt too rough for any kind of celebration, and limped home, coughing and spluttering, a shadow of my former self.
Todays bike: Pinarello Paris with full 9-speed Ultegra and Mavic Open Pros