Last Sunday, as the world's best women cyclists prepared for the Olympic Road Race, six somewhat slower cyclists set off for the lesser known, and much less arduous, Olympic sport of sausage sizzling. When I joined the Guides at the age of ten one of the first things we did was a 'cookout', cooking sausages and beans over an open fire. It was the highlight of my young life. Forty odd years on, the open fire has been replaced by a Trangia and my sausages are vegetarian, but the enjoyment remains undiminished.
We met at 8.30 and decided to head to the station at Wootton, the final stop on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, for a breakfast sizzle. Most people had Trangia's with nesting frying pan but Brian had purloined the frying pan from his kitchen and bungeed it onto the top of his rack. The handle protruded some distance and disaster nearly ensewed when he caught his leg on it while mounting his bike! It was an easy ride to Wootton where we established ourselves in the picnic area and settled down to some serious cooking and eating. Pans of bacon and sausage sizzled away while the 2 vegetarians prepared omelettes and veggie sausages. I never normally eat a cooked breakfast and I had already had my usual breakfast of muesli and banana before I came out but things always taste better in the open air and this went down a treat!
Suitably replete we settled down with large mugs of tea to await the arrival of the first train. We waited eagerly for the first glimpse of smoke and at 10.00 it steamed in to the station. We watched as it was uncoupled, the points switched and then the engine reattached to the other end of the train for the journey back.
The train chugged off and we resumed cycling at a leisurely pace, weighed down with all that food. An hour's ride brought us to our next stopping place, an idyllic spot above the cliffs on the south coast. A narrow track led to a gate and then we pushed our bikes across a field before settling down again in a sheltered dip full of wildflowers. Out came the stoves and those with hollow legs managed to put away further pans of bacon and sausage while others settled for tea and cake. I eventually dragged myself away to cycle home and watch the women's road race while the rest turned the sizzle into a sozzle and settled down in the sunshine with bottles of wine. A most enjoyable morning!