Sunday, 5 September 2010

Planning is overrated

A few weeks ago I outlined my plans for August and September. From what I remember, these were
  • Go to Afan with Jon and ride all the waymarked trails in a day
  • Ride the off-road coast to coast with Darren
  • Do a 12 hour solo at the Gorrick 12:12 Torq in Your Sleep
  • Ride the South Downs Way in a day, again with Darren
These have turned into
  • Fours hours of local biking, as Jon was ill
  • Tick (minus 30km in the middle. And lots was walking rather than riding)
  • Rode as part of the Torq Development four man team at the Gorrick 12:12 Torq in Your Sleep
  • 100km road ride
The last two probably need a little explaining. I was all set up to ride the 12 hour race - to the point of signing in and collecting my race numbers - when I was grabbed by one of the Torq riders to fill in a last minute gap. I didn't really have any expectations about the 12 hour solo (I only entered solo as I couldn't get a team together) so I accepted. There are a couple of differences between riding solo and riding with a team of fast people.
  • Solo: Ride slowly for 12 hours.
  • Team: Ride as fast as you can for 45 minutes, rest for two and a bit hours. Repeat four times. This hurts, especially when you haven't riden like this for about 18 months.
  • Solo: Be self suficient. Have 10 litres of energy drink made up, an organised box of food, a bike that is comfortable for 12 hours and plenty of tools and spares.
  • Team: Hang out at the team truck, under their gazebo, with all-you-can-eat energy bars, gels, drink and recovery. Watch the really good riders warming up on rollers and the mechanic fix all the bikes
  • Solo: Let almost everyone overtake. Only overtake other soloists. Be very keen on pulling over to let others past.
  • Team: Rarely get passed. Be accused of riding faster uphill than people ride downhill (hard to believe, but true). Be very very polite in asking people to make space where convenient.
  • Solo: Carry on through fatigue and finish sometime after midnight
  • Team: Finish your last lap at 1030, and be munching on a sausage, fried onion and brown sauce bap by 1045.
I could get used to it.

The South Downs Way ride has been postponed due to Darren's dodgy knee. If anyone has a spare (preferably right, but I'm sure we could make a left one fit) let me know.

So, various unexpected things have happened. One extremely positive one is that I've ended up with a new track bike - one that fits better, is a kilo lighter and has gold bits on it. All for not very much more money, thanks to Darren and Banjo Cycles. It's clearly way better than I am, and came with several warning stickers, two of which are now on my toolbox.

It also has a ma-hoosive chain, clearly needed to cope with the 35 watts of power I'll be putting through it.

Finally, in all its glory:

Overall, it's been an interesting month. I'm not planning anything for September. Let's see wht happens.
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