The day after the night before… I awoke in the 6th bed in 6 days, a delightful pull down number squeezed into the corner of a double room. It had been a relatively late night and promised to be a very slow start to the day.
We had the morning to ourselves. The only deadline was to get ourselves to the Train Station by mid-afternoon. It was relaxed. For once there was no-one to giving us orders. There was no-one to follow. We were alone.
After four days riding across Northern Europe blindly following a man with an iPad we had been given control back. The Guides had travelled ahead with the bikes. We were left to look after ourselves. Without any counselling we had been abandoned, left to re-integrate into society. Alone.
I felt a strange sense of freedom… a day without Lycra. I was able to walk normally, without cleats, able to put my feet flat on the floor. I was without bike, able to sit inside and watch the rain rather than being out in it. I had nowhere in particular to go.
Generally I felt more “normal” than I have in a long time:
The previous night’s beer didn’t seem to do me any immediate damage, I hadn’t fallen over or experienced any side-effects, and I woke up feeling fine.
Possibly more importantly the Euro City Cycle is behind me. It has been a real focus for me for the past 10 months; the end of a key recovery phase? I can now look forward with a little more comfort, a touch more relaxed. It feels good!
After a relaxing two-hour journey we arrived at London St Pancras. The Guides were waiting for us: We were instructed to follow them to an unknown destination.
We blindly followed them; winding our way across the station concourse in a chain which gradually fragmented as people lost contact.
We emerged into a light drizzle… normal business had been resumed!