As I breezed into the empty coffee shop at Alnmouth yesterday in my cycling gear, I announced to the bored looking young lady that 'I was Al and my buddy was Steve and we'd come to drink her tea shop dry. This kind of full on communication can result in two possible reactions: She smiles and engages in old time chat about where we've come from, where we're going and whats it like to ride in a club like SC Gothic...or ...she can smile and think 'what an
oddball'. I can't vouch for the girls thoughts, but the coffee and cake was good. As I sat over the low, slim and hot radiator
by the big window for the 20 minutes we were there surrounded by old pictures of times gone by and a big open range at one end of the room, I couldn't help thinking 'its good to talk'.
Forty five miles later on the bikes we got back into town. Pulling up at the side of the car in the slow traffic, I chatted to a well dressed bloke in tweed in his Merc. He leant across and wanted to know how he would go about getting a Gothic jersey. We held the traffic up twice as within perhaps 30 seconds, we found we had Dundee Uni in common. He asked me as he began to pull away 'Had I ever been to Thomson's Bar'. I can't rightly remember and I might never know where his examination was going. One google stop later and I can confirm, of course, that I have been (to said bar).
At the end of the day and in spite of all the distractions we construct, we only have ourselves and my biking companion observed as we rode off that 'I'd talk to anyone'. Well most folk at least.
Today was a 5k at Matfen, a village nestled in close to Hadrians Wall. There was a small field for this new race. Perhaps twenty percent of it was made up from our club.
We started on a hill and then, once it levelled off, the course wound its way around the damp lanes, slowly descending to the finish. It should have been fast. I found myself for the first 3k sitting a little way back from the leading group of four. With very little traffic around, I had plugged myself in to the old ipod to find a rhythm. The group in front gradually disappeared.
I was aware at around 4k of a small, potent charabang with 'ambush' on their minds...and I was their quarry They began to come past.
Regrettably this group of 4 included two club-mates. As I tried to keep up, even Kylies 'Timebomb' couldn't rouse the gazelle-like legs.
After 3 got past, I dug deep but the finish line was coming up fast. I heard another runner on my shoulder. Not another clubmate thinking of glory...Yes, but I had my pride to think of and managed to salvage ugly but effective from the reserves. There was a 10k on immediately afterwards so there was a good crowd at the end.
As we caught our breath's there was much talk about the course being much longer than 5k. This was a bit of a head-scratcher as it was also a regional Vets championship race. At least that would explain the crap time. Possibly the bike ride the day before didn't help, but it was a nice morning out. The young un' picked up 3rd place in the ladies race though, so all was not lost.
(Matfen 10k pictures on flickr)