Always one for putting pressure on myself, I had only left myself one day to unpack and sort my stuff from the Masters champs at Newport and repack for my six week summer holiday bike racing adventure. I am ambitious, if nothing else. The last thing I really needed when I got back from Newport was for the car to die. Hamilton services: that’s what happened.
Cue one panicked call to the garage. A massive “thanks” must go out to the guys at D&G Autos in Springherse, Stirling; they told me to take the car straight to them and they’d have a look at it then and there. Thankfully, the car was driveable, just. The power steering had completely failed. I must also say that William did a fantastic job of keeping calm and nursing the poorly beast back up the road. I did my best not to completely freak out but even the most optimistic body could see my Tuesday evening ferry crossing slipping away.
Budgets are always tight around holiday time and I didn’t know how I’d cope with the garage bill and having to pay for a new ferry crossing. I’d booked the ferry through my bank so I gave them a quick call. To my delighted surprise, to change the date of my crossing I only had to pay £20 admin fee. Phew. I was left praying that my good luck would hold and that the car was not terminal.
If I’m honest, having the extra day to pack was probably a blessing. I’m not sure how I’d have managed as I was still scrabbling around, packing things right up until the minute I left.
£300 lighter, and one day later than planned, the car and I were ready to return to the heart land of women’s bike racing. The nerves kicked in and I made two pee stops before I even got to the motorway!
(May I just take a moment to recommend the ferry crossing from Hull to Rotterdam? The cabin was clean, the crossing smooth and a wee trip to the cinema made the time pass quickly. It worked out about the same price as driving down to Calais, and then from Dunkirk to Gouda. I am not on commission, it’s just one of those practical things for anyone considering coming to race in Holland!)
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