Ups and Downs

Photo: The weekend’s bottle count before taking them down to the bottle bank.

The last few days were full of ups and downs, both physically and mentally.

My first up was the honour of choosing the Saturday club ride.  I chose to climb the Alce Nero, a 400m climb over 7km so nothing too taxing. A coffee in Urbino then back down to the bar for birthday cake and prosecco. Another high as the Pansèrs sang “Happy Birthday” in English – fitting for their English teacher.

Once home I posted on the Islington Cycling Club Forum about the Club Ride Grand Tour for the first time. Within minutes I had offers of help and even one rider suggesting she might like to do the whole Tour with me. Quite a high, especially the wonderful words from our Chair, Jonny.

The next up was when our great friends Gerben and Jeanne, the inspiration for the Tour, arrived from The Netherlands. As usual it turned out to be a boozy first night meaning that by the time we got up on Sunday the morning was nearly over.

A birthday lunch at Da Gustin. Carpaccio, crostuovo, passatelli, ravioli, mixed grill, dolce and morette. As usual, it was a wonderful lunch. We sat down for five hours.


More up and down action on Monday afternoon climbing the hills of Marche in search of wine for G&J to take back to the Netherlands. Another heart warming moment in Italy when two workmen saw Gerben being unloaded from the van in his wheelchair and immediately gave up their seats outside the cafe for us all. They were even more surprised when we all had a chat with them in Italian. Such a wonderful moment of simple courtesy and thinking of others.

Monday night I showed the Club Ride Club Tour presentation to my fellow cycling club Directors. I was touched by their support. They began thinking of fund raising ideas immediately. Another high. It was an emotional night as one of the Pansèrs told me her cousin had been diagnosed with SLA (as they call MND/ALS here) a month ago. She is only 43, so sad. By the time I got home Gerben and Jeanne were in bed so I told them all about it over coffee this morning. As you can imagine it got quite emotional. I suspect we’ll have more of those moments in the future.

It was sad to see them leave this morning but hopefully they had more ups than downs this weekend. It’s a real privilege to host Gerben and Jeanne as we know they have to make the most of every day they have left together.


Year to date

5,195km / 49 rides / 106km average per ride

49,647m elevation gain (5.6 Everests)

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