Those wheels have been turning. It’s been a long wait, but at last the sun has been shining, and the wind has taken itself off to pester others. Even The Genealogist has taken to the roads of late, venturing a little further round some of my routes.
But my routes are nothing, not even my long one for when there is breath in the lungs, energy in the legs, and the days still and calm. Nothing that it is in comparison to the 500 or so who took on the challenge of the Round Strathaven 50 at the weekend. And what a day that was.
The tables at the feeding stations groaned with home-baked goodies from across the area. Junctions were manned, signs were out, numbers issued and registrations complete. A huge amount of work by a small group of people had allowed the serious cyclists to mass at the start, on-board computers primed to record speeds and climbs and those miles. Dr Lisa Cameron, our newly elected MP, had some kind and encouraging words, and the tape was broken.
It was one of those days that don’t come along often. Overhead buzzards squealed; in the fields horses whinnied and nuzzled. Even the traffic kept away. And the verges had been cut. From the airfield a bi-plane took to the skies, looping the loop, taking the delights of the day in his own way.
As well as the serious side of the bike run, we had a little run too, for the family outings. I say little, but it was a full 15 miles, with some long and steep climbs. But as I stood at my own junction, five miles from the finish, down the hill they came, all smiles and worries as little terrors raced on ahead, fearless of the corner round which they must go, care-free, tiny wheels turning as they headed for the finish.
Many will benefit from their efforts, locally and abroad. Our Scouts and Guides were the original drivers for the event a dozen or so years ago. This year they may get involved as we extend the goodwill to Nepal, and the kids over there, schools destroyed earlier in the year.
It was a cracking day, and standing on duty, at junctions or parking, brought no pain at all, as I soaked up the atmosphere of hundreds of happy and well fed cyclists in the sun, having a tremendous day and raising money for others as they did. Our old chum the Queen of Hearts was out there, with her knave, pedalling this year instead of running. Oh yes, once again the local running club shared the route with us, pounding the roads for fun, all fifty miles of them.
In the days following, the signs all gathered and stored for next year, the roads were still carrying the fun of the day, as the regulars on the route stopped and blethered, waved and smiled. Perhaps they had all been reading the fantastic feedback from those who took part. It really does make it all the effort worthwhile.
My own favourite tale of the day comes from a rider, hammering along, five miles to go. He was there a good 20 minutes before expected, surely not possible.
Late start, trying to catch the ride, he gasped over his shoulder.
You’re going the wrong way then…
He stopped, turned and we had a blether. A quick check on the computer confirmed 20 miles under his belt, but he’d come from the wrong direction; wrong turn early, perhaps as some of the signs have to be changed for the home leg.
Anyway, he’d been on time, bike in back of car, everything in place. Then he realised he’d managed to leave his front wheel at home. Back he went. And that’s why he started late, with a hangover, no water on board. So I pointed him in another direction, gave him my map and some water and suggested a way getting a fifty mile ride to savour. He’ll be back next year, with both wheels. The sun may even shine.