Blossoms should have been flowering on the trees and sheep skipping in grassy fields, but this week’s training was still snowy, albeit sunny and beautiful. I was in my home city of Leeds visiting the family and in between, getting some serious cycle training for the forthcoming Eurovision ride. It was cold, it was windy and by-gum, was it hilly!
As most of my friends will testify, I was very excited when they announced that the 2014 Grand Depart will take place in Leeds. I was therefore keen to try and ride some of the route. Only problem was, I realise now that my Sat Nav didn't take me the exact route. . . hmmm. Nevermind, it was a good one none the less. Here it is:
There are plenty of pubs along the way and lovely little villages, but what was amazing for me was that I’d forgotten how vast and epic Yorkshire can be. Climbing up to Ben Rhydding was tough, but in ‘Granny Gear’ with my legs spinning like crazy, I managed to get to the top. Sir Bradley et al, my hat/helmet goes off to you with admiration. In a fraction of the time though, I found myself whizzing down a very steep hill on the other side and in to Ilkley for a well-earned cuppa.
The next day I did a shorter ride in to Wetherby.
Again, picturesque villages, sheep, hills, the river Wharfe and a great deli on arrival in to Wetherby. (North Street Deli) From north Leeds and back, it was only 20 miles, but it’s a good solid ride and with the sun shining, it was beautiful. I highly recommend it.
If you're from Yorkshire, you'll like the ginnel photo. My friends down south just don't get it.
And here are some other random things I discovered whilst cycling around Leeds.
(From left to right: Altus Equus by Andy Scott, crocus peeping through the snow in Roundhay park and Trinity Owl by Antonia Stowe)
The little owl in the right hand photo is one of many. The Owl is on the Leeds coat of arms and there is an Owl trail you can do which will take you around interesting nooks and crannies of the city.
I think therefore, that the Eurovision song for this week should be one of my favourites from this years competition. It’s vast, it’s epic and well, it’s not about owls, but it is about ‘Birds’. This is the Dutch entry for 2013.
On the 27th April, I will be cycling with my friend Siobhan from London to Malmo for the Eurovision Song Contest. I will be raising money for a charity close to my heart – Special Olympics GB. Any donations big or small, will be really appreciated.
READ MORE ABOUT THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS:
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE LEEDS OWL TRAIL:
FIND OUT MORE INFO ON LE GRAND DEPART 2014: