The Skylark Sportive – A Poetic Journey

When we asked for riders to send us their accounts of their day in the saddle at the 2015 Skylark Sportive, we never expected anyone to turn to poetry to express their feelings about the day. But Becky Hamer did just that and we think it’s a wonderful expression of exactly why these experiences, which appear so unpleasant, can actually be inspirational. The poem neatly sums up why we cycle and why we push ourselves to do things that take us outside our normal lives. Over to Becky –

My journey began December ’14
When off went my entry to the Skylark Sportive

100k up hill and down dale
Including the tour climbs Holme Moss and Cragg Vale

Training was hard through the cold winter months
Spurred on by my pals, the Cycle Holme bunch

We clocked up the miles in frost, wind and rain
Fixing and mending tubes, gears and chains.

But something was bothering me
Something didn’t feel quite right
My bike was too heavy and small for my height

A new bike was the answer, full carbon, nice spec
So I took myself off to the shop Planet X

With my shiny new bike the rides became longer
My fitness increased and my legs grew much stronger

As event day approached I studied the weather
My hopes of sun faded, it did not look too clever

With gusts up to gale force and rain still expected
I tried to stay up-beat and not get dejected

When the day arrived finally, I was prepared as could be
There was just time for breakfast and one last cup if tea.

The day started well breezy but dry,
Legs felt tip top for the first of the climbs

Lancashire was lovely, not windy at all
This was, as they say, the calm before storm.

Cragg Vale quickly loomed and out of the blue
The wind became sideways; unforgiving, it grew

I pedalled like mad, but went no-where fast
I fought to stay upright with every new blast

The up hills were tough, but the downs just plain scary
A couple of moments were definitely hairy

Then came the point where a choice could be made
Do a hundred as planned or bail at 75k

Determined to finish what I’d set out to achieve
I fought the temptation of early pie and peas

The weather was, by no means, done with me yet
Rain came in torrents, I was soon soaking wet.

Only Holme Moss stood between the finish and me
But relief! A diversion, for safety you see

Onwards and upwards, 4 climbs left to go
The weather relentless, might it yet snow?

The final descent into Marsden was horrid
This journey of mine had been nothing but torrid

With the wind at it’s worst, the cold gripping tight
I finally knew the end was in sight

With my husband beside me, we fought the last hill
No energy now, it was all down to will

And so ‘cross the line, 7 hours on the clock
Filled with emotion and time to take stock

Proud of myself for taking on Mother Nature
A test of my strength that could not have been greater

But my journey, which had started not 5 months before
Had ended, let’s face it, with severe saddle sore!

Becky Hamer,
April 2015

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