The MS bike ride I mentioned before fell on the Sunday in the middle of the diving course. I hauled myself out of bed at an ungodly hour that morning (that’s one aspect of Vanouver’s outdoor fetish I could do without) to an uncharacteristically grey sky and spent a while swithering over whether to go for a rain jacket or not, one of the few bits of cycling gear I’d brought with me and not yet had occasion to use. A few drops came down as I watched and I went for the jacket.

By the time I got to the starting line a mile or so away at Science World, the rain was belting down, and it continued to do so solidly for the next four hours. I met up with Monica & Pete, grabbed a free coffee and waited for our turn to start. We were off! The three of us stuck together for the first few kilometres, but Monica & Pete were only planning to do the 30-kilometre course (Pete had, of course, already cycled 80 kilometres that day before I’d even crawled out of bed) and so I made an effort to speed up and latch onto some semi-serious looking roadies who I presumed were going for the 60k.

The ride went by surprisingly quickly: I crossed the 30k mark thinking I’d done only half that, and my adopted peloton of roadies were dropping off faster than people wearing replica Team Astana kit had any right to do so. “Eat my single gear ratio,” I crowed to myself, although my triumph was short lived as I dropped my water bottle and had to U-turn to pick it up. I passed most of that same group again a few kilometres later and settled down to keep pace with a middle aged guy who seemed to be going at a reasonable rate. We blethered for a bit, out on our own now, and pushed on through the gritty rain.

We heard the finish before we saw it, with lots of volunteers and spectators clapping, whooping and clanging cowbells as people crossed the line. Now having just watched the final few stages of the Tour de France, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to top things off with a little Cav-esque dash to the finish.

“Mind if I go for it?” I nodded at the line to my companion.

“Be my guest!” he replied, and I got up on the pedals for the last hundred metres or so, grunting and gurning across the line in a pale imitation of a sprint finish. One of the clapping ladies shook her head sadly, clearly disappointed by my perversion of this charity ride into a solo TdF reenactment. “Young people today,” I could hear her think. “What a bunch of tools.”

Monica & Pete turned up a few minutes later, Monica having caught a flat tire soon after I’d left them. We wolfed down burgers at the free barbeque as the rain continued and then went our separate ways. By the time I stepped out of the shower at the flat an hour later, it had stopped raining and the sun came out. My sopping clothes were steaming themselves dry in the sun on the balcony.

Thank you all for sponsoring me! It was a great day despite the pouring rain, and doing it for a good cause made it that much more worthwhile.