Dad, Imogen and I headed out to Cyprus for a week of warm, sunny miles. It didn’t quite work out as planned…
Prepare for some blood and gore: here is part one.
It all began so well.
Imo and I emerged from our first floor room onto the balcony to be greeted with warm sunshine and views up into the hills.
We shopped and breakfasted and assembled our bikes, and lunched and rode trials-style around our courtyard, and unpacked and snacked and drank very many brews, and finally headed out for a spin up the road and a little explore.
Aside from the fact that we all punctured several times, got lost and ended up arriving back in the dark, it was a highly successful ride: the roads were smooth and quiet, the scenery beautiful and opportunities for top riding abundant.
Sunday we did a couple of hours on roads and dirt roads and Monday we headed out with Borje from Cycle-in-Cyprus. He had recognised Imogen as ‘the chick who is dating that Rabobank rider’ (or something along those lines) and we’d got chatting and arranged a ride out off-road the following day. It was a cracking ride. Shorts and jersey, long climbs and fast descents, loose dry ground (skids!) and a rather tasty omelette for lunch. If you’re looking for some MTB guiding in Cyprus, Borje is the man! Check out the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Cycle.in.Cyprus
On Tuesday we indulged my historical passion by visiting the heritage sites of Kolossi Castle (built in 1454) and Kourion (a city which endured from antiquity until the early Middle Ages) . Dad was keen to see the sites he had visited as a child growing up in Cyprus (his father was in the RAF and stationed at Episkopi), Imogen did her best to look interested and I was like a pig in shit! The sophistication of the communities that patronised the site at Kourion is astonishing. Whilst I have always leaned towards modern history and its tangibility, the sense of society, the obvious remnants of trade, entertainment and cleanliness, indeed the general feeling of modernity, were really engaging. I wouldn’t mind betting that their sewerage system was altogether better than that of present-day Kalavasos where we were staying!
There is, however, only so much white rock you can look at. Wednesday was about getting some miles in.
And this is where things started going tits up. Or arse down, as the case may be…
Sometimes you deck it big time; riding technical descents, going fast and going big(ish). And you get up, brush yourself off and hope you’ll have a good bruise to prove the enormity and badassness of your spill. On other occasions you are pottering uphill and get your foot caught in the thorny shrub you were trying to avoid and topple sideways onto the side of the track. It is such a slow-speed affair that you shout “wait up Dad” as you are falling, followed by “aargh, dead leg, dead leg, DEAD LEG” because you think you’ve fallen on a rock. Then you try to get up. And you can’t. You slowly come to the realisation that you’ve fallen onto a stump of some description, and you are now attached to the side of the hill. Bugger.
I am pleased to report that I am not the sort of person who goes into panic at such a juncture. I was, if I may say so myself, remarkably calm and compos metis throughout the whole episode.
It became clear that I was going to have to be sawn off the mountain and get to A&E tout suite. Thankfully Dad had signal and managed to get hold of Imogen who was out training alone. He explained to Imogen that we had “a bit of an emergency” and she was deployed back to Kalavasos to try and find Borje. Meanwhile I was propping myself up on my arms and trying to stay as still as possible. My right foot was resting on a pile of stones to stop the stump going any further into my leg, and Dad made me as comfortable as possible by helping me support my weight and lying clothes under my hands. I was awkwardly twisted and my back was getting very cramped and my arms were getting pins-and-needles. I tried to transfer my weight a little but any movement was more than a little painful.
Borje called and Dad was able to explain where we were, which was, essentially, the arse end of nowhere. Unbeknownst to Dad and I, Borje and Imogen were on their way in our hire car. The Toyota Voxy (affectionately known as Foxy) was making its way along tracks that you would think twice about taking a Land Rover over! Still, the sound of its undercarriage crunching over rocks and the screech of thorns down the chassis was very welcome.
The saw was wielded and my leg and the stump were held as still as possible. Thankfully the saw was sharp, but I could still feel the vibrations running through my whole upper leg, and my facial expressions were altogether more impressive than Beyonce’s at the Superbowl! Imogen bravely offered up her small and delicate hand for me to crush and, finally, I was no longer skewered to the hillside. I was carried into the mighty Foxy where I lay on my left side across the back seats with my head on Imo’s lap.
And so began the trip to Larnaca General Hospital.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Pretty rad operations, Cypriots in a right royal flap, and going to the toilet when you can’t bend your right leg or sit down…