|Me and Mark trotting up to Two Lads with the Lostock lot on their mince pie run 2015|
I didn't really do many events last year, other things in my life took over. I got the hump with the Ben Nevis race since they spurned my usual advances, it had become a yearly ritual sending my form off on the day they were released - last year would have been my tenth consecutive race. I was a bit upset when I checked the entries ready for booking what has become our annual weekend away in Fort William to discover I hadn't got in.
I mailed the organiser during that week only to receive a somewhat curt response telling me I was on the reserve list; I didn't hear from him again. I doubt they'll miss me being there from now on.
I fancied a go at the Fred Whitton again, it being long enough since the last time I did it for the memories of how punishing it is to have faded. I didn't get into that either! Beginning to feel a bit paranoid I had one last try at entering an event and got in the Etape Du Dales instead which is the weekend after the Fred. So early last year most of my spare time was mainly spent spinning on the turbo trainer and cycling progressively longer routes around Hertfordshire in sometimes dire weather.
A couple of weeks after getting the Etape entry the Fred Whitton organiser mailed me to say they had a place for me if I wanted it! I now had the tough decision over whether to do the Fred, Etape or both. I decided to do the Fred Whitton then see how I felt during the following week.
|On the climb in the Causey Pike race. Paul Dobson was hiding with his camera (thanks Paul!)|
|Great fun on the descent, this was what destroyed my legs|
|After the race I rode the loop over Whinlatter and Newlands in the late afternoon sunshine|
I felt ok during that week so the following Sunday saw me in the Yorkshire Dales for what ended up being a much better ride than the week before. I loved it; though again there were a few descents where I just couldn't descend like I usually do. The road was bad in a few places with road closures but it was a great route overall and showed me a few places in the Dales I hadn't seen before, finishing much stronger than the previous week.
My only other trip to the lakes was with Mark for a trot round the Langdale route towards the end of May. This was a good day out and a nice short break from all the diy I was deeply engrossed in.
|Mark just after we left the car|
|Posing looking over the Scafell range|
We stayed in a nice part of Scotland towards the end of last year; in the Cairngorms where I hadn't been before. Had a few good runs there and was really pleased to get out with my eldest son plus my eldest daughter's boyfriend who seemed to enjoy themselves and once or twice had me feeling like an old goat trying to keep up!
|The boys on their way up Cairngorm mountain|
|On top of Cairngorm. It was quite cold up there, not somewhere for hanging around too long|