Thursday, 28 April 2011

Well that went quite well

107 miles in 6:14 (official time, including feed station stops), 39th out of 253 people doing the long route. Not bad considering that I've missed a couple of months worth of training, and I've not ridden more than four and a half hours since... let me think... August?

The preparation was pretty much perfect - a week of rest and eating, culminating in a magic pasta followed by rice pudding at Jon's, courtesy of Jem. Staying over gave me the chance to meet little Esme, reaquaint myself with slightly bigger Tom, and meant I didn't have to get up at 6am. Easter Monday morning came and a light breakfast, a gentle roll to the start and we were off...

Light winds, sunshine and Jon and pal pulling on the front for the first ten miles. Then some more pulling on the front by Jon, interspersed with me trying to get him to slow slightly on the flat and hoping he'd wait for me at the top of every climb. This continued for about 50 miles, until the first couple of real climbs... the kind where people were walking... but somehow I wasn't. Somehow, all those intense turbo sessions had done something. Somehow the training had worked.

We rolled through the 100km in about three and a quarter hours. A brief calculation gave me similar to complete the remaining 70km and finish in a Gold standard time. How hard could that be?

Well, then came the hills. The gut busting knee wrenching teeth clenching real hills. Some I remembered from last year, some were new or maybe blanked out. I rode them all though, even though I was sub-walking pace for parts. Being able to trackstand is a handy skill.

And finally - the last 30km. At this point I was confident I'd finish so I was able to put a bit more work in on the front. Handily this coincided with a drop in energy from Jon (who later turned out to be incubating a nasty stomach bug) so I was able to pay back the earlier favours a little. A group gathered behind as we swept up slower people who'd started before us.

Then the last 5km. A main road, flatish and fast. I thought I'd sit on the front and time-trial to the finish, towing the group home. Three others in Performance Cycles jerseys had similar thoughts though, so I ended up four back.

500m to go. A rise in the road - not a hill, just a kicker. So I kicked, sprinting into the climb, breaking away from the group. Then a black a white rocket, who had the same idea, came past me. Ah, Jon's back. One other rider came too, and when I looked back we were 50m ahead of the bunch. Childish I know, but I'm really a big kid.

The finish line. The Easter Egg. The food, coffee, stretch, bimble back to Jon's for more food, water, tea and cake. Home.

Slump on sofa.... a nagging feeling I've forgotten something...

Recovery Tights!
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