If, between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I don’t make the full distance for the Festive 500 then the fault lies squarely with the parent of one of my daughter’s school friends. Why, because thanks to chatting with him for a couple of hours in the inescapable confines of a children’s birthday party I was laid up in bed for two days with virus gifting heavy sinuses, fever and a wracking cough. It took me the best part of the weekend to fully get over. It even put my wife in bed for a day – that’s how bad it was.
So, not the best preparation for trying to cram 500km into the Christmas holidays, but since I’ll be combining it with copious amounts of food, mostly not especially healthy, plus a fair bit of alcohol, perhaps I shouldn’t worry too much about it.
I got my campaign off to an early start today. The dawn was still an hour away by the time I was on the road and I headed north, for the quiet lanes parcelled between the A roads and the M roads.
An hour into the ride I saw my first Barn Owl. It ghosted along silently then flew off across the fields. I saw the second one five minutes later at Hammerton. It was followed almost immediately by a Red Kite circling over Hammerton Zoo’s Cheetah enclosure. No doubt waiting for an early breakfast.
The dawn was slow coming, the sun hidden by the remnants of the night’s rain clouds as they retreated into the east. In their wake, the sky was clear and bright. When the sun finally did break through I was heading back south. The bright sunlight strobed through the hedgerows; the morning was shaping up well for a beautiful winter day.
I arrived home refreshed with 80km under my belt. I polished off last nights kedgeree for breakfast, showered, then was ready to face Christmas Eve and hours and hours of festive preparations ahead…