Climb

Machen (1 of 1)

The road jacks up, piling contour onto contour onto contour. A disused Victorian railway arch beckons you forward.

Jules is parallel to my handlebars.

Past one gate, then another. There used to be a little dog here, yapping at your feet, trying to bite your legs.

The sun pounds on my helmet. Heat reflected from the road.

Jules is parallel to my handlebars.

A small false plateu. The farm. The road twists and winds. Occasional brambles lasso my sleeve.

An avenue of trees. Relief from the sun. My breathing is laboured. The pace has not changed since the village a mile behind us. Can we keep this up?

The road jacks and turns a corner.

Then jacks and turns a corner.

Then jacks and turns another.

Jules is parallel to my handlebars.

The estate entrance. I think its an estate. I mean, I don’t know for sure. It’s got a big gatepost and everything. Very ornat… STOP. Your mind. Wandering.

I drop a gear and up the cadence.

Jules is parallel to my handlebars.

The top is near now. You can sense it. Feel it. Nearly touch it. There’s blue skies through the forest canopy and not green fields.

There’s the fence. Another 200m.

Jules is parallel to my handlebars.

A superb, hard, grinding effort over the Ridgeway, Machen Mountain, along the ramparts of a 12th century Motte and Bailey castle, through the bomb holes and ruts of the 400 year old Cromwell Road. Climbing hills with Jules is like racing your shadow. Two months to the three Peaks.

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