Last week has been a frantic time in preparing Mr JCR for his fantastic 2,000+km ride in the Giro Di Muscoli. This has been at least three years in the making, a ride to mark Mr JCR’s 60th birthday and in support of our very dear friend Gerben who has ALS or MND as it’s known in the UK.
Do you remember the ice bucket challenge – and the answer is probably yes. Do you remember what it was for, other than going viral on YouTube – chances are the answer is no. The IBC was to get funds and global awareness up for the horrid, horrid disease that strikes down people in their prime. The Giro Di Muscoli is a ride encompassing UK, Holland and Italy, to provide funds for all three of the ALS/MND charities in those countries.
Gerben was the inspiration behind the challenge and we were going to see him and Jeanne in Arnhem prior to the big launch of GDM.
Mr JCR was riding, JCR was merely the back up car/humping luggage/hotel room setting up person. Friday was the big drive to Holland, followed by a rather tasty Thai meal, socially distanced of course with Jeanne and Gerben. Saturday Mr JCR rode to Hook of Holland and I followed lazily behind in the car to our hotel in The Hague. Saturday night a lovely meal with our friends Gerard and Bernadette, eating at their house, another socially distanced engagement, with glorious food and company.
Sunday, Mr JCR riding back to Arnhem from Hook of Holland, with a whole host of riders all wanting to support their dear friends Gerben and Jeanne. Again social distance rules maintained with plenty of hand sanitiser and masks around and Covid tracking forms filled in. Oh and a small matter of having raised over 91,000 euros at the end of the ride. Sunday evening a beer in the garden with Gerben and Jeanne, just basking in the glory of the moment and the achievement. Now let’s be clear, the glory and achievement are not mine, they belong to everybody else, but it was fantastic to sit and mull over how a rather vague idea of a 60th birthday challenge had morphed into a European Grand Tour of amateur cyclists, some of whom last sat on bikes when they were kids.
Monday, Mr JCR riding to Maastricht, where we hope Boris might sign a ‘we are not leaving the EU’ treaty. Fat chance of that occurring, but a dead certainty that the Giro Di Muscoli riders would get there, continuing their efforts to complete the Giro. Another evening, another meal – Mr JCR can afford the calories, JCR however cannot… Time to start running once more.
Tuesday, Mr and Mrs JCR driving home from Maastricht. Arrive home, pizza, unpack, realise washbag left at hotel in Maastricht, swear a lot, sleep.
Wednesday, Mr JCR riding to San Marino, Mrs JCR washing, more unpacking, shopping, admin
Thursday, Mr JCR riding to Ancona. JCR doing a fish run, about time too!
I left a little later than I ought to, but it was low 20s temperature wise and not too bad. The plan was to ease my legs back into running by running to collect fish and walking back up those pesky hills once more. That’s about 3.5km running downhill/on the flat and about 4k return journey (because I always start my run with a warm up walk, which is never measured on the MMR app.
I winded my way towards Mill Lane, taking it nice and easy, heading towards the road leading to Royston Vasey. No-one around, but that is quite normal in September, when the children are back at work and the long lazy holiday days of August are over, Le Marche goes back to being Sleepyville. I was wondering who I’d see en-route when a car pulled up alongside, it was our friend J who wanted to know how the Giro Di Muscoli weekend had gone, and how were Gerben and Jeanne, and did we have a nice time in Den Haag. A very pleasant chat all in all, punctuated by what now seemed to be a stream of traffic diverted from the Milano tangenziale road. I’ve never seen so many cars, some were okay passing J, others a little tetchier. Our friend F passed by in his wonky number plate Land Rover, now we’d got traffic coming the other way. Time to give up the chat and to carry on running. I had forgotten MMR was running and Mechanical Voice Lady told me I’d managed 0.6 of a km in about 28 minutes, maybe this is not the run to monitor my pace!
J was shopping for guests and buying bread from the bakery in Royston Vasey. The bakery was definitely just for ‘local people’ in its old building as you could never, ever tell when it was open. They didn’t seem to like having an opening hours board and the door was a big wooden ‘portone’ with no windows. Many was the time I had the embarrassment of pushing at a locked door, or worse the door opening, going in and being told that the bakery was closed for cleaning.
The new premises are much better, a glass door so you can see whether they are open or closed. What you can’t do however is necessarily buy the bread you want. They have a multi grain bread called Pan De Sole, Bread of the Sun, literally. This bread is popular, so popular that they always sell out by about 10am, and even though the oven is still on at that time, they don’t bake any more. We like this bread, but with my ever present failure to get up early enough, generally the closest we get to it, is to be told the last loaf went half an hour ago. J was probably buying that loaf as I was running. I’m trying to work out what’s worse – (1) knowing they’ve always sold out of that nice bread, or (2)knowing that dear friends are eating that loaf with friends who aren’t you!
I continued through Royston Vasey, to be overtaken once more by my friend J – looking very happy, I was certain she’d bagged that last loaf. The sun had risen quite a bit by now and there wasn’t so much shade to be had, but I continued shade-hopping on my run to get to the fish shop. My plan was to buy fish (in ice) and the by the time I’d walked it back home, the ice would have melted, but the fish would remain cool. I was working out what else I had to do, and ran past the Covid testing clinic with oodles of people queuing to beat the 10am deadline for the blood tests. I gave the queue a wide berth as I wasn’t running in a mask (tried it once, never again). Crossing the road for more shade, I sidestepped a man wielding a hedge trimmer that was at least the size of him, and it was definitely getting the better of him. Being somewhat attached to my legs both emotionally and physically, I skipped into the road to avoid his arcing sweep at the hedge. At last I espied the Fish Shop, owned by our friends G&P.
P asked me what I wanted , all the usual stuff really and had we decided when we would be returning to the UK? Of course, with all this lockdown and Covid quarantine shambles, we don’t really know. I mentioned that we’d probably be in Italy for Christmas at this rate, but that we’d be flexible about going back as we do have some stuff to do there.
Fish in hand, (no ice) and P telling me I’d better run home otherwise the fish would cook in the bag en route, I started my return journey home, walking with purpose and hunting for shade, to keep the fish as fresh as I might. On the way back through Royston Vasey, I saw a topless runner coming towards me. We don’t get that many runners around here, let alone topless ones. He had a dad bod, and it was very nicely tanned. Not as much as his face – I reckon his face was 50, but his bod 40. Dad bod man – or DBM for short, was running at quite a lick, and yes it was downhill but even so he was very fast, and no sign of a drop of sweat. Curses – why can’t I look like that? Although I am not running topless if that is the secret, it’d frighten the horses! 😂
With a sense of impending doom, I thought I’d ask at the bakers for any Pan De Sole, and Hallebloodylujah, they actually had the last loaf available. It was the teeniest, tiniest loaf, but still I’d scored, it was like Christmas arriving. With that thought I was planning what we’d do for Christmas – Terry’s Chocolate Oranges are obligatory in our house for Christmas. It’s a tradition and they don’t have them in Italy. I may have to resort to bribery and corruption to get hold of some. So here goes, anyone who knows me – fancy a mini break in Italy sometime? – price of stay equals some Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, prior to Christmas. Post Christmas TCOs bought cheaply in Sainsbury’s in January don’t cut the mustard.
The thought of Christmas stayed with me when I got home, and Mr JCR benefitted from my new version of flapjacks made in homage to Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, with dark chocolate and marmalade. I thought they were fab, if a bit sweet, as I was tasting during the chopping up but I reckon bitter Oxford marmalade would make them better.
Mr JCR needs the calories, I definitely do not, then if I ran a bit more, I could justify the occasional Terry’s Choc Orange flapjack.
p.s. a day later I asked MR JCR what he thought of the new flapjack, to be honest he’s not impressed, so that is one cooking experiment not be repeated, which is just as well, as if he won’t eat them I’ll have to and as the saying goes you can’t out-run your mouth.
Pace 11.15 minutes a km – I was chatting for quite a long time!
Walk back home – 4.08km
I Pan De Sole
Jump Rope – I forgot
Physio – Nope.
Playlist – no idea, too preoccupied with chatting and Christmas