One wet Sunday I rode around most of the hills in the Lake District. It was horrible, it was brilliant. 112 miles and around 13,000 feet of climbing with all your old favourites – Kirkstone Pass, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Cold Fell, Hard Knott (spit), Wrynose.
Even the hills that don’t get a billing are way bigger than anything we have around here. Billed as “Britain’s hardest sportive”, we shared the road with around 2000 other cyclists through some pretty foul weather.
Back at the start of the year I said to James: "do you fancy a bike ride?" Almost immediately: "Yes, what is it?".
We both entered the ballot and got a place, only I forgot to get mine back in time like some kind of b*ll-end, leaving James high and dry. Basically a non-cyclist was aiming to get round the toughest non-race race the UK could offer. Big ask.
Undeterred we cracked on with the training, and countless laps of Frodsham Hill followed, along with Kelsall's German Walls and whatever other pimples our corner of North Cheshire could muster. In the process ultra-James turning himself from a downhill princess to a nimble, swift descender. Fair play. I managed to get a cancellation place a few days before. Back on.
Special mention also to my 'retired' running club mate Adair – finally persuaded him to have a crack the day before - woke up 3am, drove up, bashed both our times, quick pie and peas, home again that afternoon. Esprit de VeloCake.
The cakes were good too.