Saturday dawned fair & full of promise-the forecast dry and warm. We 3, we band of brothers headed out into the Essex sunshine loaded with lunch, snacks, drinks & a wallet of cash. Well, it was 2 brothers and a Dad actually but today we were 3 cycling brothers, hitting the trails and country lanes with a shared intent to make the most of this window of summer.
4km in we stopped to meet the family of ducks at a pond in Canfield that has been a feature of my work commutes over spring and summer. Not there-had they fledged we wondered? Further along at 13km we rested for a snack, fruit juice and a lager of the tour leader’s choice. A shorter ride to Matching Green, past farmland that was once a WW2 USAAF base saw us stop for peanut butter and jam sanwiches on the village green. There we made friends with a persistent duck who we called “Ruby”. She liked the taste of our crusts but we out stayed our welcome once she discovered that there was no more so we hauled ourselves down the road to the next liquid refreshment stop.
Here there was a large garden with plenty of room for off road time trials while the tour leader enjoyed his Danish fluid replacement protocol. However once the fun of the perimeter circuit was over, I was told,”I really don’t want to ride anymore. Can we get Mummy to pick us up?”
I was prepared for this eventuality.”Well Leo, Mummy’s had her operation and isn’t allowed to drive for 2 weeks so there’s only one way to get back and that’s on our bikes”. I had cunningly mentioned the option of a ride to the train station and riding the 7km home at the other end. However this alternative would be longer in both time and distance which I explained. It was either another 90 minutes minimum choosing the cycle-train-cycle-option or 60 minutes cycling back home with the offer of a chocolate bar and lucozade thrown in as an incentive.
I should mention here that we rubbish every mention of lucozade when it comes to requesting a drink at the shops. “No Leo, that sort of thing is for athletes who exercise vigorously for at least an hour and even then there are better things to put into your body for fluid/mineral/sugar replacement”.
Given this argument, he was happy with that suggestion. After all he had been exercising vigorously for 90 minutes, hauling around a heavy kids MTB with only 6 working gears on the small chain ring. So we headed the 5km up to the heath and splashed out on a “sports drink”.
Was it really the drink or the thought of it that made Leo motor the following 8km home? I can’t really say although suspect that his comment of it “making him go faster” is doubtful. What it did do was help make the last 8km feel really quick. In a nice way. There was no moaning about how far to go and a surprising amount of co-operation on who would take the lead.
So we completed our 35km ride with enough time to have a nap & rest the weary legs before the onslaught of the school leavers disco that evening.
What fun, what a day! No tired legs the following day, just sore bums and a request. “That was great Daddy! Can we do that every week?”. My heart continues to be jelly at that question. Yes son, my diary has an opening on Sunday after your cricket training…