I have been out and about the last few weeks ringing my cowbell for cyclists trying to go as fast as possible up very steep hills. The most important hill climb of the year is the National, which took place up a very steep hill in Stocksbridge. We arrived the day before as Stocksbridge is 190 miles away from Bristol. On checking out the hill we found many cyclists doing the same. I concluded that the hill is too steep for bears.The resting place for the night was the Dog & Partridge Inn, though oddly no dogs were allowed inside. There were no specific rules regarding partridges or bears, so I went inside.After a long journey I was quiet tired so after finding my room I climbed up onto the bed for a nap.Twenty minutes later I was woken by someone else being shown into my room. Unfortunately it turned out not to be my room; I was in the wrong one, which was rather embarrassing. After a toddle down the corridor I found the right room where I later settled down for the night.Prior to a day of mascot duties it is important to have a good breakfast. I had to be carried up the hill by my human as there was no way that my little legs could manage the climb. Here I am watching some of the young riders. Another spectator spoke to my human and said she had thought at first that I was a human baby being shaken about. I guess sometimes babies wear furry babygrows.As cyclists reached the finish line at the top of the hill they all looked very tired indeed. Fortunately there were people in yellow jackets catching them and helping them safely get off their bikes.The other spectators were all very friendly.I cheer and ring my bell for everyone as they are all amazing being able to cycle up steep hills. My human’s son gets and extra big cheer – here he is whizzing off into the distance.
Here’s a video clip – I am briefly in it at the start and end.
The weather was very cold and for about 10 minutes or so sleet started to fall. I had to climb into a plastic carrier bag to protect my fur. The cyclists had to battle the sleet as well as the steep gradient. (Not a good quality photo – my human’s hand were freezing cold)Due to humans with freezing hands we made our way down the hill, still ringing cowbells to support competitors on the way up. At the bottom we found a little tearoom, Samuel’s Kitchen, which was warm and dry. The race headquarters was situated in the Trek shop; a huge shop full of shiny new bicycles. I tried out a few and thought this one would be good for bears if it came in a slightly smaller size.I could see myself in the big silver trophy!
All the riders names were displayed on big white boards and people were sticking their times next to them. They all looked to have done very well.Here are the three women that went up the hill fastest. The one in the middle got first prize and received a special jersey.After watching the presentations it was time for a curry with a group of cyclists from the Bristol Area. I discovered that bears like curry.
A great weekend though somewhat tiring for a small bear. I was glad to get home and tucked into my own bed.
Back to being just a normal Alresford Bear now for the winter.
Horace the Alresford Bear 29/10/18