It was the 4th July on a sunny Monday morning and I was about to go off to the west country for a two week cycling holiday with my son (Craig), from Land’s End to John O’Groats .
It was the moment that I had been dreading for the last three months.
I had no previous experience of long distance cycling, no training and definitely no masochistic tendencies.
None of this had mattered in the preceding weeks. I was going to find a good excuse and worm my way out of it – wasn’t I? But of course when you want an honourable minor affliction to nip problems like this firmly in the bud, they never materialise.
The week before the trip I even resorted to honesty – “I was old, lazy and incapable – this might be the last thing that I ever did”. My son and wife just ignored me.
“Oh you will be alright” came the response – “You will enjoy it”. My daughter was even worse – she stuck up for me – “He will do it – my Dad’s not a quitter”. That put paid to the dishonourable outlets that had been brewing up in the depths of my mind – I was going to have to go now.
The holiday went ahead and although there were a few good moments it was swamped by the Cornish hills and heavy down pours.
However, I needn’t have worried – relief was just around the corner. We were just outside Monmouth when Craig unexpectedly slowed down and stopped. He announced that he couldn’t go on – his knee and ankle were ‘shot’.