It was a dark but clear night, The call from Captain Leggy came that the Big Cheese was again peddling out the 'fat stuff' to potential Couch Potatoes. He was spotted in Brighton, along the sea front. It was going to be a tough job tonight, there is of course Turners Hill to get over, and Bitchling Deacon! The 'Fat Stuff' is such an addictive substance, turning normal human beings into Couch Potatoes. Its the Job of the 'Fridays' to gather a group of specialists together to stop the 'The Big Cheese' inflicting the 'The fat stuff' on them.
And so the gathering started, from as far away as Leeds and Portsmouth, the specialists, and me and the Old Boy, made our way to Headquarters, the Arch at Hyde Park Corner. The specialists are a dedicated group of people. By day ordinary beings, going about their business. Some are even fortunate to be able to use the 'Specialists transport' for commuting to work. The transport of course are bikes! All sorts of shapes and styles are here for todays mission. We even have a trike!
This is only my second mission. There were some other brave souls that are going out tonight for the first time! Ready to battle with 'The Big Cheese'
"Right, I'm going to do the roll call' Said Captain Leggy. He started to read the names out!
"Yes I'm here"
"Here" Captain Leggy, continued until all was ticked off, then the mission was read out to us.
"Tonights mission, men and ladies, is to get to Brighton, all of us. According to intelligence received, there is going to be a very big drop off of the fat stuff tonight, at a cafe along the sea front" There was a murmur around the gathered troops.
"Not only that, but we also have to go and destroy a micro mini factory en route. It's going to be tough, but you have all done your training"
Another murmur through the eager crowd. I was excited to be going out again to fight for fitness and Health!
"Just to recap, and to let the new recruits know the signals, what do we say when we see a hole?"
"HOLE" shouted out the regulars,
What do we say when we see glass?" he continued
"What do we do when we see bumps"
"When we turn left?"
"and when we turn right?"
"RIGHT" By now even the newbies were joining in
"Now what else was there"
|The Old Boy|
|Some of the Specialists|
The posts of the 'tail end charlies' and the 'pointers' were delegated by Captain Leggy. And we were ready for the off. We gathered at the road side ready to hit the roads and head on for our important mission. The night was perfect for the new 'specialists' the moon was bright in the sky, not cloudy, and the rain is not expected to be on any part of tonights route.
We slowly snaked our way through the busy traffic of London Town. We looked so graceful, a glittering stream of twinkling lights, silently threading through the noisy pollution making cars and taxis.The occasional "Hole" was heard from the head of the trail of bikes, and it quickly filtered through to the back. Cars, taxis and Bus drivers all, of course, are in cahoots with the big cheese, to make Couch Potatoes of us all! Some even tried, in vain to stop us in our mission. On our way to HPC a car driver tried to take out Big E.
"Sorry guv, I didn't see you"
Didn't see him! Big E's lights on his bike wouldn't look out of place on a Boeing 747!
So far so good. The route was flat, just how I remembered it when I rode the charity event back in June. Back then there were thousands of bikes, and some of the roads were shut off, or made one way only. Then it seemed such an easy ride to Brighton, stopping every few minutes with just the sheer volume of cyclists. Not really really a true ride to Brighton as we kept stopping, for tea and cakes!
Through the traffic we rode, some deep in thought, others chatting away, even more just taking in the great sites of this fine metropolis we live in.
"This is a nice conversational speed" I said to Big E,
"Yes, its nice pace." he replied. I carried on pedalling my bike, looking forward to seeing what the night will bring. We crossed over Chelsea Bridge, all lit up! Hundreds of bright shining lights that look as if the bridge has been made of strands of diamonds. An Awesome site.
We carried on our journey, heading south, towards Brighton, the last known whereabouts of the 'Big Cheese'. The Old Boy rode up beside me,
"That's where I dropped you off the first time you did the charity ride" He informed me.
In the dark it looked so different, and of course there was no marquees or tents pitched up. The only cyclists about were the 100 riding out now, with the odd commuter, (potential specialist maybe!) riding home, from a long day at the office, or a just a night out.
We went through the common, and stopped briefly to regroup, traffic lights has a way of trying to separate us all. But Big Leggy will need us all in Brighton in the morning, or should I say later today, and he will not leave a man behind!
The pace through to Croydon was just about perfect for me. I was busy over taking a few people, The Old Boy, close by me chatting away. And then the first hill. Something I didn't remember on the first ride to Brighton, or even the second ride to Brighton, with the Charity Event.
"This is only just the start of the hills" the Old Boy said
"No, there is only Turners, and, and that.....other hill" I said.
No, this is a hilly ride, I told you before"
"But I don't remember tough hills like this I said" as I puffed and pushed up the hill the people I over took were now catching up to me. Maybe I was too eager to be a specialist. Maybe I should have just opted for the new recruits 'Training grounds' , the FNRttC Genteel rides Southend.
No! I can do this, the Old Boy has been busy searching hills in our area to give me some tough hill training. The Big Cheese now has another nemesis to deal with, and that's me! This tiny little hill is not going to get the better of me! We were only in Coulsdon, 26 miles from when me and the Old Boy had left home! This was the first challenge. I didn't want to let Big Leggy down, or the other Fridays, or the specialists that had turned up for tonights mission. The Old Boy just stayed by me, telling me to take it easy, as we had quite a way to go, and he didn't want me to burn out just yet.
The down hill towards Chipstead was a great relief, but over all too soon. There was another hill, even steep and higher than the one I just rode up.
"I don't remember these hills" I said, whining to the Old Boy.
"I told you before, it's a hilly ride, it was when we did it with the charity, its just that we had stop, start, stop, start all the way." he continued, as I puffed up the hill again, "Now we are riding non stop, this is serious riding" he said.
I rode up the hill, silently, well, my heavy breathing could be heard, letting everyone know that I am, normally, a hill dodger!
The Bad LandsIt was nice to get out of the traffic. The country side was such a better part of our ride. I was looking forward to this section. The weather was still such perfect conditions for us. Then the Old Boy heard someone mention that we were going through the BAD LANDS. I wasn't sure what this was. Considering our mission, I was expecting tons of Kebab shops, and Burgers joints, or worse, KFC's on every corner. What I wasn't expecting was to go through some dark road, full of potholes and bumps!
Has the Big Cheese set up some traps to take out a few of our guys and girls? Who knows. We carefully picked our way through.
The calls came thick and fast, alerting everyone of the dangers. Like a perfectly oiled machine, we kept riding through the Bad lands, avoiding all the pitfalls. There were a few shouts of anger, as some of us hit a bump too hard, or went down a missed hole. We managed to get through, we had made it. All of us.
Easy RidersThe contours of the land had become flat again. Everyone was riding along silently, lost in their own thoughts. What is going to be next. It was obvious what was next, as we rode on down the road I saw the front runners all stopping at a building, pulling up in side the opened gates. The Big Cheese had already dropped off a load of his 'gear, this was his micro mini factory. The scout hut, at the Edifice in Horley, a very inconspicuous and very clever cover. We were all ready to deal with the mini mission! This was the real first test! Can we get in there and and deal with the 'Fat Stuff'.
|The Old Girl|
|The Old Boy|
We waited a little while longer, to help digest all of the Fat Stuff, then we filed out of the Scout hut, with a big cheerio to the Scout leaders and parents, the poor unsuspecting souls, safe in the knowledge that none of the 'Big Cheese's Fat Stuff' will hit the streets.
Work The Fat Stuff!The next part of the journey was a nice flat route. Just what we needed after the Horley experience. It felt great. But it was still a way to go before we get to the really heavy stuff. The stuff that can make couch potatoes out of any hardened sporties. You need to be a specialist to be able to handle the Fat Stuff. You need to be a dedicated sportie. Get in there, eat the Fat Stuff, and then work it off. It's all too easy to just sit on the couch and let the 'Fat Stuff' work its....well stuff into your body, building up the pockets of fat around us all, turning us into, dare I say, blobs!
Silently, the twinkling lights of the specialists, snaked through the dark lanes.
"Look at the stars" said Big E, as he pulled up along side me.
With a very clear night, and hardly any light pollution you could see bright sparkling stars in abundance. Now this is one of the beautiful moments that missions like this has. A fantastic sight! I was feeling really good. In fact so good, that after all the times Big E kept urging me to overtake some of the specialists I thought I would 'Buzz' him. The Old Boy and Big E were chatting away in front of me, and to cheer myself up I suddenly put on a bit of speed and flew past them, leaving them in my dust as they wondered who that pink flash was that passed them by!
The next hill was one that I was really dreading. Big E and the Old Boy had caught up with me.
"You're going to do this one" Said Big E
"You can do it" echoed the Old Boy.
I, on the other hand, had doubts.
I was hoping that I was just going to find myself at the top of it, I was hoping to miss the sign that said 'Turners Hill'. That was my plan. But then Big E went and let the cat out of the back.
"There's the sign for Turners"
Right then, this is it. My nemesis. Get up Turners in one go. The Old Boy and Big E was right behind me. I started the climb, a nice steady pace.
"Try and spin the pedals" said Big E, something that I have head from the Old Boy and read in the cyclists book. Also something I couldn't quite grasp as my pedals were spinning anyway!
But sure enough, slowly, slowly I was going up the hill. I was hurting, I wanted to stop but the encouragement from the boys kept me going. I was doing it! I was slowly beating Turners Hill! I couldn't believe it when I saw the Gathering of the specialists at the top of the hill! I had done it! I conquered Turners. I had congratulations all round! I was feeling pretty good.
After a break to get our legs back, we continued on our journey.
Lindy HopAfter the fantastic down hill section, which felt so good after Turners, there was another tiny hill, but a steep one. We arrived at Lindfield, which when we did the charity event the whole village turned out to welcome us.Now it lays in darkness, the residents sleeping peacefully in the beds. As the specialists go unnoticed, saving the nations expanding waist bands. But just after this was Scaynes Hill. I was tired now. But again I managed to get up the hill in one go! The training is paying off.
From here until Ditchling Beacon there were a series of little humps and bumps. That is how the Old Boy described them. I, on the other hand, would have described them as nasty little blighters, trying to foil our mission. I again, said to the Old Boy
"I don't remember all these hills last time"
"I told you it was going to be hilly, but you can do this, just take it steady, Ditchling will be here soon"
I rode through in silence. In my own struggle with the little blighters, zapping all the precious energy from my legs.
Ditchling!Ditchling made its ugly yet beautiful appearance. You can not help but stand back and take in the full magnificence of this great country we live in. We had made it to the bottom of that hill. Only a couple of mechanical, punctures, and chains, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. But we all made it. Also waiting for us was 'AFOTF', A Friend Of The Fridays. He was there with his family and several thermos of hot strong coffee! How cool is that! Not only that but there were some energy giving chocolate cornflakes! Just what you need to get up the Bitchling, I mean Ditchling.
"You're going to ride up here" said Big E confidently.
"No I'm not" I said back, just as confidently. This is one hell of a hill! Just totally energy zapping, even if you walk it!
With the Old Boy and Big E by me we made our way to the beginning of the hill.
"Just take it stead" said the Old Boy, "Don't over do"
"Look for the flat bits, and rest your thighs" Said Big E.
I started the ascent. Slowly up the hill. Even at the beginning I could feel my legs starting to hurt. But I kept going. I got to the first flat bit, and maybe the next flat bit. My legs were feeling like jelly. I was struggling now, but I realised that I had done more this time round than I had the two times before. I had to stop though.
I took a breather, and then started again. The two guys with me, encouraging every single turn of the pedals. I wasn't liking this, I wasn't liking this one little bit. It was hard. I really wanted to get off and walk.
"I can't do it any more" I whined
"Yes you can, get to the next flat bit"
At that moment there didn't seem to be any flat bits at all. At that moment it seemed to me as if the whole world was on a slope! Flat bits were a thing of the past. I stopped again, forgetting all my training, I should have said 'Stopping!' I had stopped on the non flat bit, I stopped on one of the hillier bits.
"I can't do it" I said again, "And I can't start off again on the hill"
"I will push you" said Big E, determined to get my ass up there.
I managed to get to one more 'flat bit' and then I said to the others,
"I'm done, I can't make it, go on, you got to go on, just leave me"
Reluctantly the two guys rode on up the hill, I watched as they disappeared up the hill. I was determined not to sit at the road side though. if I have to walk it I will walk it. I looked around now, filling my lungs with air and filling my vision with the most fantastic views! If I was cycling up here, I would have missed it! I would be watching the front tyre eat up the tarmac very slowly. I would have missed the rolling hills that was spread out before me, the way the early morning sunlight lit everything up, making it look golden. This truly is a rich land we live it. Diamonds in Chelsea and gold in Ditchling.
All of a sudden Big E came back down from the 'mountain'
"come on Old Girl I shall keep you company"
He rode slowly up the hill again as I walked next to my bike.
"Look there's the Horse sign" he pointed to a sign at the side of the road. "Just after that is one more bit of hill and then everyone is waiting for you" he said
From the sign of the horse I found myself mounting my bike.
"I am going to ride this last bit, I am going to ride to where everyone is waiting for me"
I started pedalling, very slowly, my legs burning, my lungs and chest hurting, I could see the next flat bit and just concentrated on that. As I got nearer I saw the first of the specialists waiting. I rode on a bit further, there were more of them.
"She did it, she rode on Ditchling!" shouted Big E.
Everyone started clapping and cheering.
|The Old Girl and Big E|
I rode on up to him, a big smile on my face. I did it! well almost! I did half of Ditchling, and I even rode up the most steepest part of it.
Big E had climbed it twice now!
BrightonThere was just one last hill to get up and over. I know we never did this one on the charity event! It was up and over the golf course. The Sun was up now and it was bright and promising a great morning and afternoon. The hill in the distance, where we were heading was bathed in sunlight.
"If I can do some of Ditchling, then I can do this" I thought to myself.
Me and the Old Boy cycled side by side, up the last of the hills. My legs were tired, they were hurting. My arms were aching, as were muscles in my back. But I kept up the pace. When we got to the top I just had to stop and look around. I smiled. Just then I felt like I was on top of the world
I gave Big E my phone so he could capture that moment, of me and the Old Boy on top of the last hill.
|Me and the Old Boy!|
The road down to Brighton. Now this is how I remembered it last time. No more hills, no more climbing. But not this time. There was just this one last small lump to deal with. Up by the Golf Course.
"If I can do the last bit of Ditchling Beacon, I can do this." I thought to myself.
I rode along side the Old Boy, talking about the Beacon, talking about Turners, feeling pretty good about it. At the top of the last hill I took a break, for a photo shoot! There I was, conquered all hills, (Ditchling in parts) and I was ready to do business with the Big Cheese!
Entering Brighton and my thoughts were flooded with the charity event. People around, cheering you through, hundreds of cyclists, but now there were just us, and the car drivers! Again, they had a last desperate attempt to foil our plan as one car driver pulled out nearly getting the Old Boy.
"Sorry" said the driver
"idiot" said his passenger! I can only believe that she is not a road user of any sort, as I know that if you approaching a round about you need to stop and let the people already on the roundabout can pass by safely, as was the Old Boy!
Down to the Fat Stuff making factory. Already there were the front runners, ordering a full English! I feel I could definitely handle a full English now. and do it justice! There were be no left overs!
|The Fat Stuff!|
Me and the Old Boy, joined a few more hardy souls at the pub for a celebratory drink before making our way home on the train. A great bunch of people, all dedicated to the cause! Another successful mission for Captain Leggy and his troops, and the Fridays. Thanks Captain Leggy for the experience!
Unfortunately, The Big Cheese had made his escape! Even as I write up my report, he is busy somewhere plotting out his next evil plan to turn humans into blobs. The job of the Fridays is not over!
Photograph of Specialists in Scout hut and Ditchling Beacon courtesy of Mice.
Remember blog lovers, if you ever are tempted by the fat stuff, make sure that you have the knowledge and the training to be able to deal with your hit of fat stuff. Run, power walk, cycle, swim. Anything that is a fat burner!
Stay safe and healthy out there!