All the best plans are made spur of the moment.
On Friday afternoon Pan and Helen decided to head out of London to Milton Keynes (Super)bowl for a race. I don’t know why they call it a bowl, if you put your cornflakes in something that shaped you’d get a soggy lap, anyway let’s just go with it.
It was an adventure remarkable in many ways: I was on time at the station (gasp), Pan didn’t get lost on the way (gasp again), it was Pan’s first train ride in the UK (bar going to Jo’s) and she was excited, it may have been a first for the train too (it was a Virgin), it was a sunny day (a first for a long time).
We did predictably get lost trying to find the bowl despite the easy to follow cycle routes, but at each moment of loss a helpful person would appear as if by magic to guide us on our way. It was destiny. Or maybe it was one of the fantasy books were you roll a dice and then a elf asks you a riddle which you must answer before he tells you which path to follow.
On entering the sign on building we were faced with a good V evil choice: to the right an array of cakes and tea, to the left a sign-in sheet and numbers. We faltered and then chose the route to pain and suffering (left), partly made worse by shoving down flapjacks.
We rolled, sightly nauseously to the line, only to be separated. We were not to see each other until the end, feeling even more nauseous than before.
Cat 3s and 4s were set off a minute ahead of the Cat 2s. Cat 2s numbered 3, so this is a Minority Report (nod to Tom).
I spent the race doing through and off with Tour de Malta winner 2010, Iona from Squadra Donne. We managed to catch the main peloton with about 4 laps to go. This meant was in a bunch sprint for the line – I sprinted! Out the saddle and everything. Overtook a couple of girls, finished 11. I’m just chuffed I did a sprint.
Pan, however, had made it over from the main peloton to a break of 3 Amazon-like women. According to Pan they were so fit and so fast she struggled to stay with them.
Heart pounding* and on the vomit threshold, she held on. Rounding the last bend part of her brain saying sprint, and part saying 4th is fine, she realised that she was in the ideal position, so she gave it everything she had and hammered it to the line. Reader, she won! She got it! Pan Pan Fan-tastic!
Somewhere in North London I am told there was air punching and whooping, and in South London huge ‘horray!’s and big smiles.
Well done Pan! Great race, well deserved win.
We did get lost on the way back, but that is another story.
*Apparently Pan saw 224 bpm, so Lydia still holds the “HR through the ceiling award”. What is wrong with us?