Trough of Bowland behind me I hammered, wind-assisted, in the direction of Whitewell.
You might know the place. This hamlet, and its Inn, having found (something approaching) fame and (judging by the food prices almost certainly) fortune as the star of Episode 1, Season 1, of The Trip, with Coogan and Brydon.
Opposite the Inn is a left turn.
It’s called Hall Hill; a three quarter mile 10% stretch of Tarmac.
Short in length but unrelenting in gradient.
I spot a woman riding towards me, arm outstretched, to take the right turn to my left. She too choosing Hall Hill over the temptation to sample something from the Inn’s luncheon Menu.
I’ll be the gentleman, I think, because I’m an idiot.
Accelerating slightly, I embark on the climb ten metres before she does. I wouldn’t want to pressure her. Breathe down her neck. Better that I ride my climb and she ride hers.
Because, as we’ve established, I’m an idiot.
Within thirty seconds I hear the tell-tale swish of expensive wheels propelled by strong legs. Who’s this? I wonder, like an idiot. To say she overtook me would be to underplay it. She floated by, chomping up the slope like a patron of the Inn going at the bar snacks after a long journey in the Range Rover.
I made no attempt to latch on to her wheel.
Not necessarily by choice.
And I know what you’re thinking: would I have made the assumption that I was the quicker rider had I been sharing this climb with a man?
My idiocy, you’ll be pleased to hear, is gender neutral.