A week seems like along time. This time last weekend I was in the Kirklees countryside spectating at the National Hill Climb. It’s the first time I’ve been to the event and not ridden. It’s much easier. The Hill Climb is a fantastic event, but i’d be lying if I said it wasn’t stressful as a competitor. It’s the last race of the season and can define the off-season in many ways. I have horrible memories of sitting in the back of my Mum’s car on the way back from the Stang, being really grumpy and obnoxious for about an hour because I’d had a rubbish day and hoped to do much better. I snapped out of the slough of despond by the time we got to the Kashmir for a curry. The day of the National is also the day the clocks go back; it’s great for the morning but the early onset of darkness tells you that there will be no more racing until the Stygian gloom lifts.
I spent pretty much the whole day at the HQ, which meant I had lots of opportunities to sell books and talk to people. The CTT committee were lovely and very positive about the book. I spoke with the competitors and reflected on their different approaches. Tejvan Pettinger was calm and ready for the challenge despite the wheels coming off his wagon, literally, the night before in Holmfirth. Jim Henderson had a steely determination and was frequently accosted by well-wishers, all excited to see him back in action at the race he defined spectacularly for so many years. There were also other well-known figures in attendance, including David Taylor, a journalist for the Comic who was very kind about the book.
In a sense, the race signalled and end of another chapter, insofar as I’ve finished promoting the book. I now can sit back and wait for the royalty cheques to flood in. Or more accurately, turn my attention to another literary project, now that my mind is beginning to move away from topographical matters. I know it will be about cycling, that much is hard to avoid, but I am unsure of the precise direction. I have two ideas kicking around and may have to pursue both. It depends on other commitments, namely work and family, but I’m going to start soon.
In the meantime, I’m going to ride my bike and try and update things here more regularly.