I am old

To celebrate me reaching The Big 4-0, a week off was planned. We were going to have a family holiday that for a change, didn’t involve a 24 hour bicycle race. I had an idea that we were going to Scotland but apart from that the whole week was a mystery.

We arrived at our cottage in the grounds of Threave Castle (surprise number 1) – handily just 7 miles from the trails at Dalbeattie. Not long after we’d arrived, Phil, Jacqui, their kids and their bikes arrived (surprise number 2). They were going to stay in the adjoining cottage for the weekend. Ace.

Then Lee, Rachael and their little one arrived (surprise number 3). Lee had his bike ready and his helmet on so off we went for a blast around the harder-than-I-remember Dalbeattie red trail.

The next day, Phil and I set off again for Dalbeattie but had a much bigger ride planned. Two-thirds of the red trail, drop down to the road then a climb over Little Hard Hill (it’s not little), eventually arriving at nearby Mabie Forest. We were supposed to be meeting Lee there but arrived an hour later than expected. Waiting for us were Dave, Wayne and Michael – more bikes and more surprises (number 4 in fact).

A ride around the Mabie red trail began, good laughs, good company and some pretty spectacular crashes. Back to ‘our place’ for home-made soup and then a few beers and The Longest 40th Birthday Celebration Ever rumbled on…

Eventually the party came to an end, friends went home, leaving Debbie, the girls, Michael and I to spend the rest of the week sightseeing and riding bikes some more…I even managed to get a few early-morning rides in at Dalbeattie too – despite the beer and cake consumption, I think I made a good job of making sure my fitness didn’t suffer too much. Which is lucky, because the next few weeks are MENTAL with the number of big races I’m lining up at.

We even came back with a kitten! We’ve called him ‘Archibald The Grim’ (I’m sure you can work it out).