Last weekend's Galloway Gallop was going to be my first adventure cross event and a pre peaks event to test Alistair's legs. We had booked it way back at the beginning of the year and were really quite excited about it.
All the plans were in place. It was going to be an early start because it takes a few hours to get down to Kirroughtree and the race was due to start at 8am. At 68 miles it was going to be my longest cross ride to date and although slightly apprehensive was excited, despite the early start on a Sunday.
Alistair (chief mechanic) had the bikes prepped and ready, all spare tubes etc packed in saddlebags. I organised food and water and made a carb loaded dinner.
The parentals/dogsitters had arrived safely, we were good to go, or so we thought as we headed upstairs for a early nights sleep.
As we were both just drifting off into the land of nod, I heard a few rumblings coming from downstairs followed by my Mum rattling at the bedroom door and shouting at us to get up. "There's water all over the kitchen!! Get up, quickly."
Stumbling out of bed I flew downstairs and into the kitchen to find the floor covered in steaming hot water and the sound of water pouring out of somewhere, but where was still the big question. Somewhere deep behind the corner cupboard was the answer. "Shite, shite shite, towels we need towels."
I luckily now know where the stopcock is as we are in the middle of getting heating and a new bathroom. I came to my senses quickly and turned it off in the wall. The gushing subsided but was still coming out.
A panic call to the plumber and some more quick thinking from Alistair we turned off the new boiler and luckily the flow was stemmed, but not before it had caused some damage to the shop below.
When the panic and adrenaline rush had passed, it was pretty clear that we could not leave my parents to dog sit and deal with the aftermath, so we decided not to go to the Gallop.
We did go out for our own wee trot round our local trails, which was lovely even with my puncture and thumb staving incident!
Oh well, these things happen we got over our disappointment and looked ahead to Alstairs 9th 3 Peaks cyclocross race the following Sunday.
Again this required a 4am start as it is in Yorkshire and was a 9.30am start. Alisatir has told me many 3 Peaks stories so was pleased that I could go and watch him doing a race he is truly passionate about and see for myself the pure grit and determination required to complete this gruelling 38 mile cyclocross race.
The morning was very very misty as we drove down the St Marys loch road but thankfully cleared by the time we hit the M74. We got to Hellwith Bridge without incident and in plenty of time to park up have breakfast and catch our breathe.
At sign on there were many shouts of "Hey Ali" as many folk from Alistairs Yorkshire past came over to say hello and wish him well.
The start line was a bit of a mix up as many people were refusing to listen to the marshals about where the start line actually began. Eventually they set off, one huge mass of crazy riders all heading for the hills.
Bodhi and I jumped back in the car and headed for the second hill of the day at the Ribblehead Viaduct. We followed a line of cars and support riders all heading in the same direction. Parking up at the side of the road, I was getting excited to see my boy coming over the hill. Bodhi and I were in plenty time and walked towards the viaduct to find our spot, where we could pass water and supplements if needed.
As we walked up the path towards where the riders would emerge I heard someone shout my name. Turning around we saw Alistair, not on his bike and walking towards me!!! Oh no, what the hell!
He has been having a few problems with his back the last few weeks and nothing we have done has eased it. It did not take kindly to carrying a bike up a steep hill and completely packed in. The disappointment was clearly written all over his wee face. The race he had been looking forward to for so long was over.
We stayed to watch more of the event and soak up the atmosphere of this hugely popular event. Thankfully it was a beautifully blue sunny day and we shouted on a few of our friends who were also taking part.
Our dive home was slightly subdued, but it was great to go and get a taste of an event that I have heard so much about. We he try again? He says no, but we have all said never again at least once or twice in our lives.
Balloon of Hope.
Ah Good boy.
Floating hope and power lines.
Where's Wally, sorry Ali?
Plant X man, Crawford.
It's a sign.
Dejected and Ooh where's the sheep.
Crawford the machine.
Maddy the machine.
Almost finished coming off Pen-Y-Ghent.
all photos by Caroline Harvey