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Cotswolds Cycling

Supermodel Sunday

I have finally gotten serious about training for our upcoming London to Paris charity bicycle ride. I think it was seeing that thermometer on my fundraising web page exceed 100% that made me realize in 3 months I really am going to have ride 95 miles then get up and do most of it again the next day. And the next day. And the one after that.

So on a recent Saturday morning, helped out by an appearance from the sun, husband and I roused ourselves for a 25 mile expedition down through the Coln Valley. The next day we got up and did most of the distance again, but this time heading north into Farmington and Sherborne and nearly Burford before we looped back. It was on this second day where we were rewarded with the kind of serendipity that cycling affords and that gives me hope for what small pleasures might accompany an awful lot of saddle soreness come May.

First, we saw a sign for the rural cinema which was showing a film we both want to see on an upcoming Saturday night at the Windrush Village Hall. The sign asked viewers to bring a cushion and a log for the fire, the kind of thing that two years into our rural adventure I still find endearing. Then we stumbled on a full English breakfast service in progress (and every second Sunday of the month) at the local social club. Despite having already eaten breakfast, we stopped in so husband could replenish himself with just a wee plate of hash browns, fried bread, beans, mushrooms, and fried eggs. I had a cup of tea and, feeling pious from my 25 miles the previous day, a slice of fried bread.

The next weekend serendipity turned surreal when, in the midst of a pub lunch break from our training ride (we take the eating as seriously as the cycling), Kate Moss and her entourage decamped to the picnic table behind ours. Their hips were accessorized with either cardies sporting a stylized assortment of mud splotches or boho babies and, on their feet, the inevitable Hunter wellies (never mind it was a perfect, sunny day). They were a self-conscious crew who seemed to find reasons to say “Kate” aloud often. It wasn’t necessary as most of the pub had already clocked the celebrity arrival and, for those who hadn’t, Kate honked her horn and waved out the rolled down window of her vintage Roller when she left 30 minutes later.

On today’s training ride there were no celebrity sightings. But there were daffodil sightings and what seemed to me more uphill than down. With the onset of spring the palette of those hills has brightened into plusher greens and browns flecked through with the orange of our Cotswold stone, ploughed up and strewn about like rubble in the fields. Despite the climbs, I think I still have enough energy left to stay awake during tonite’s outing to the rural cinema at the Windrush Village Hall.

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