*Actually the weekend just gone after the delay publishing the last post*
**Pretty picture…. (forgot to take any)**
This weekend saw the summer solstice, now this is a time of year that call out to all the crazies: the hill loving hippies, the druids, the white witches…. and the cyclist. A solstice ride is to ride through the night from sunset until sun rise to meet the dawn sun of the longest day of the year, a common tradition that is silly…. as a result of succeeding in this ride (assuming the longest day of the year is a nice one) you spend the longest day of the year a zombie either napping throughout the day too out of sync to function or staying active and generally making a mess of the simplest tasks… i suggest it should be changed too sun rise untill sun set of the longest day! EXCEPT I don’t I loved the night I had and wouldn’t change it at all.
Stanley and Fussball planned and arranged the route, so all there was for me to do was get there and ride (after working from 9.30 until 3*). this was a century Ride and the groups fitness ranged immensely, taking myself as a benchmark, happy to cycle 100 miles with plenty of hill. we had Stanley, she rides in London and mostly on the flat but was with gears and very determined to reach her first century. Then Fussball a man who wont be hurried or held up and will ride forever, don’t get me wrong he looked tired at the finish, we all did , we had been up all night. However, you could see that he would easily do it again and possibly once more just to make the point if needed.
An interesting fact about night riding, it’s hard, alot harder than day riding. You are trapped in a cone of high intensity light with no depth but equally embraced by darkness and isolated from all the normal distractions associated with cycling, pot holes are now deadly and are invisible until the light from your bike catches the edge and casts a shadow. But by far the worst thing is your body… humans (unless conditioned by night-shifts and sleeping all day) shut down at night,. the body relaxes and doesn’t want to exert itself. 10 miles feels like 20 and 40 miles feels like 100. My drive through the night was that I knew i could do the distance and the climbing so I had no reason to fail and i repeatedly told myself this until my body responded.
A couple of wrong turns were the only negitives to mention (side roads and hedgerows look he same unless you turn towards them/ know their there) but the things to remember are listless, the cool air meant that it wasn’t a sweaty summer ride but more a fresh spring ride and the stars were stunning. And it was fun, talking rubbish and telling joke/ puns etc to stay awake and focused were not only enjoyable but needed and this meant that when things got tense or hard, the atmosphere would pass quickly and the pressure would fade.
We saw bats deer and foxes and even chased a badger, it was on the roadgoing the same way as us so we slowed down until it turned off, Fussball nearly crashing into everyone and everything trying to keep it in his light. Which Stanley and myself repeated reminded ourselves about 🙂 lol.
Finally dawn broke and our bodys stopped resisting our every action, the 10-15 miles in day light were easier by far than the previous in the dark although there was no denying that we had been up all night and were sore and tired, the daylight still renewed us somewhat. and so mission completed we went home.
On a personal note: I feel a strong attachment to people I do activities with, akin to band of brothers or the people who shared a trauma, so I have to be careful around new friends as I can become rapidly overbearing, its not intentional and I try to resist it but I know it happens. I have few close friends as I mentioned in the Good bye Mr Ben post and so for me all friends are worth cultivating not to expand the short list, I’m happy with how it is, just to not miss the opportunity to have a new member of the trusted few as each one hold the value of all the mates and pals combined.
*which is a late start for me so… Win!