The London in question is this coming weekend’s delayed 40th London Marathon 2020, well lets forget that a few ‘slightly’ faster runners were allowed to run it last Autumn, this is the 40th race for the ‘also rans’! It would be my First.
I began my specific prep in early August putting in a few ‘fast’ tarmac runs between a mixture of the Crimea, Betws, Swallow Falls & the Café before the wheels fell off my training as the Cafe’s daily demands took priority. A total of 10 miles in 3 weeks soon followed, not good at all, things needed to change but would the Café allow it? Dorina said yes so I took up a long standing invite by Iain & Andy to join them & their friends for a week in a luxurious chalet in Les Coches in the French Rhone Alps. After a pleasant Sunday evening with Iain & Andy we awoke on Monday morning where Iain duly became my new IT Deputy & proceeded to do all the Covid paraphernalia on-line before (back at home) I booked the Eurotunnel & Ashford hotel, departure date was just 4 days away on Friday 10th September.
I packed on Thursday & then headed off to the Café for a late afternoon shift & to spend the night there with Dorina to cross the i’s & dot the t’s. Friday itself was another busy day so I delayed my departure for a final shift on the pots before saying goodbye to Angel at 4:35 pm. The initial journey along the A5 was very slow & laborious but thankfully things picked up past Oswestry & I arrived at the Ashford Travelodge for my overnight stop a little after 10:00 pm. Sleep I did not (well I did for 2 to 3 hours but not great with a 9 hour journey ahead of me) before the dual alarms of my watch & new phone ‘woke’ me at 3:45 to spur me onto my Eurotunnel train which would depart at 5:52. The banked on caffeinated coffee at the terminal failed to materialize as all outlets were closed, quite simply NOT GOOD ENOUGTH!! Otherwise things went O.K. & my Covid docs were accepted (thanks Iain), I was in France by 7:25 their time. Iain & Andy (together with their friends Ian & Dev) had set off a day earlier & had spent their second night just south of Troyes (pronounced Trois) some 200 or so miles ahead of me we planned to rendezvous at the chalet late afternoon all going well, which indeed it did. Despite me failing to drink (busy service station….) until I too was South of Troyes I managed to keep the feared yawns at bay (well mostly) & was alive enough to see the flash of a camera with no fear as I’d set my cruise control on the speed limit or as close to it to make no difference safe in the knowledge that it had flashed at either the Belgian or French cars that were going past me at the time.
The final couple of hours were a bit of a concern with my Sat Nav taking me on what logically (to me at least) seemed to be a circuitous route (a later map consultation proved this idiots concern to be unjustified) before its soothing female voice went stum, can you believe that? Road works & diversions then meant the driver had to self navigate & thankfully his ability at this is one thing that hasn’t waned with age although it was a bit touch & go at one point. At shortly after 5:00 pm I arrived at the Chalet just minutes after Iain & Andy’s gang (Andy by the way is female & also known as Iain’s better half, well not hard to be fair) whom were being shown around by the owner, a very pleasant John (also a client of Iain & Andy’s ‘North Wales Spine Clinic’). John had given us a sizeable discount of approximately 70% per head, the 5 of us in a Chalet that could easily sleep 14 on proper beds were about to be spoiled.
John advised that the Supermarket in nearby Bourg St. Martin would close at 7:00 pm sharp & not be open on Sunday so we quickly piled into Iain’s VW van to provision up for the night & day ahead. At the supermarket we re-split into our journey teams, my job was to seek all the ingredients for an evening meal of Pasta & Tuna (more ingredients than you may think but surprisingly I found them all). Their job (here I’ll start to refer to them as ‘the Cyclists’) was to procure basics like water, cheese, cured meats, eggs & fruit etc. etc. The cyclists did this with relish allowing us to take a reasonable quantity back to the UK more than a week later.
Soon we were relaxing in the supermarket’s Café feeling rather smug although Andy had had to help me display my Double jab Passport on my new phone (which is another story altogether) for the waitress to photograph, a French stipulation if you want to lead a normal life. I had also managed to procure a couple of paper maps of our surroundings from an adjacent Outdoor store in an attempt to convince Iain ‘whatever you do don’t think I’m going to let you update your ‘boy’ map app onto my phone, ‘what’s app’ I’ll grant you but your IT role stops just there!
Back at the ranch we un-packed before Andy & I took up our other persona’s her sous-chef to my Head Chef (later in the week we would reverse these roles for breakfast). Coming to terms with a new Kitchen, it’s tools & only two very blunt knives is never easy but although I say it myself I was just a tad proud with the Pasta & Tuna we dished up to the boys whom I guess had been playing with each other on their phones as all ‘grown’ men do. Wine was on the menu too as indeed it would be all week.
Apologies I’m going on but in my defense I haven’t blogged for a while, Covid has seen my Karokoram trip postponed twice & mine & Judy’s consolation prize of a week with Tim in The Alps in early August had been cancelled due to the at the time ’10 Day return Quarantine’ requirement. Ironically that requirement was later done away with & Judy & I could have stuck to trip, I seem to remember a few expletive’s accompanied that bit of crap!!
So I’ll leave it there for now other than to state the whole point of my signing up for the trip was to switch my mind off, switch my running legs on & put some prep in for he London Marathon where I’m also hoping to raise £2,500 for Tim Watson’s charity which raises money for the North Wales Cancer Fund.
The second & final part will follow shortly.