It started as many things seem to around here as one of those throwaway comments. Must stop throwing those around. Shona and I worked all day Saturday while our mates were starting their racing at Sleepless in the Saddle down in sunny south Derbyshire – about 75 miles away. Harsh meanwhile was driving up to the Howgills to run around a bit for a couple of hours. He got back to Manchester at 4 and we finished work at 6. Rendevouz at his place at 7-ish, he thought it might be a good idea to finish getting his stuff together, then we left.
Somehow the mis-communication went around that it was about 50 miles to our beds, oops. Our merry, at some points not so merry, band pedalled our way thru Macclesfield, Leek, Ashbourne and finally hit Catton Park at around 00.30 Sunday morning. ‘Funny’ points, depending on your perspective, included two of us colliding tyre with bladed spoke – you couldn’t puncture that way again if you tried…
Walking into Catton Park was weird. We all knew where we were as we’d been here before under racing orders. Seeing the lights of riders whizzing around the hillsides was a familiar and comforting sight. As we hopped off our bikes and wandered thru the campsite looking for familiar tents and vehicles it seemed a little odd to be asked by a resident camper where the nearest standpipe was, dunno mate we really have just stepped into the arena.
Three of us headed straight for the food tent of course. We were all starving and it’s the most likely place to hook up with the straggly racers we were looking for. Sure enough pretty soon we’d scoffed baked potatoes, pasta, coffee and flapjacks and *bonus points* found some familiar faces. We followed back to the friendly village of tents and popped ours up ready for later.
After confusing some with our sudden appearance we headed off to heckle nightime encouragement at some bike riders, mostly team players though as the soloists seemed to be in their own special place, caves or something. I don’t pretend to understand.
After a few hours sleep we hit the food tent again, heckled a bit more and said our goodbyes. Throwing our excess gear at Sherpa Dave we headed North and were home in time for tea in Manchester, cheers Harsh ;o) The funnest 24hrs we’ve had in a while.
Well done to everyone who raced, everyone we know placed well.
You stand on the start line, you’re already a winner.