Monday, 30 May 2011

Tour of We

Or 2/3rds of Tour of Wessex.

Yes, I wimped out on day three. Tired legs (from about 20 miles in on day 2) and a forecast for persistent rain swung the will-I-enjoy-this-ometer firmly into the "Hell No" zone. Having spent most of the day sleeping and eating pizza and cake I think I made the right choice.

Day one was windy, showery, hilly, occasionally picturesque and windy. Did I mention windy? I rode most of the way round with Darren, having let Jon, Phill and Phill's friend Chris escape into the distance. I remember the climb up Cheddar Gorge, the second feed station (with little old ladies serving tea and coffee in china cups!), Darren chatting to a young lady for 30 miles (she kept trying to get away but she just wasn't quick enough), the climb up to King Alfred's Tower (ouchy) and Darren's dodgy knee making an appearance again. I also remember Becky (of the Brownies) arriving back at the campsite after getting round the 73 mile route - an amazing achievement when her longest previous ride was about 25 miles.

Day two was hilly, often picturesque, occasionally sunny, windy and hilly. Did I mention hilly? Darren had to turn back after the first 2km - broken knee - and there was a resolution from the team to "take it easy". To be fair, I managed to stay with the others for most of the first section, only to lose them after the feed station and have to ride most of the next 30 miles solo, into the wind. Still - it was pretty - Lulworth Cove, Corfe Castle, some other rolling hills covered in green stuff. I think I saw the sea, but I was concentrating on not crashing on a steep descent so paid it little attention.

Ah, descents. 70kph/43mph on one, narrow and twisty through the trees. I was back with Phill and Jon at that point; I'd caught up at the second feed stop and sat behind the pair of them as they towed a group along, into the wind. I managed to hang on for most of the way back, before blowing up in impressive fashion 10km from the end. I even needed a caffiene gel with 2km to go - I was never going to make it otherwise.

So, 363km/227m in two days, lots of up, lots of down and lots of wind. I don't think I'd do the event again - the whole concept of multiple daily loops from one place gave the feeling of not really getting anywhere. The camping facilities were poor, the "event village" more of a hamlet and it wasn't great value either. Compared to something like TwentyFour12 it was a bit disappointing - I guess it goes to show that mountain bikers party better than roadies.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Something truely momentus has happened

The recipe for "Becky's Brownies" has escaped, and ended up in our house. It came with a full set of ingredients (estimated value: £341.56) and a brownie tray. They were a very kind present for Pie on her birthday and yesterday they transmutated from blocks of calorie laden individuals into blocks of calorie laden combinations.

Each block: 840kcals
This has happened at a very convenient time - carbo loading day. As everyone knows, chocolate is a carbohydrate, as is butter. I'm not so sure about sugar and marshmallows but I'll tolerate them. They also come in handy chunks, much like Clif Shot Bloks, and I can eat around 15 in a sitting. I'm excellent at eating.

Carbo loading day inevitably precedes some kind of exercise - in this case three 100 mile rides on consecutive days. After last year this should hold no fear, however the combination of breakages, no real base training and recalcitrant back muscles might come together to make things a little tricky. Not to mention a forecast for rain - the first real rain for two months.

Still, if it all goes wrong I can kick back at the campsite with a beer, some brownies and work on my stomach.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Wow, three weeks

That's a bit of a gap since the last post. It's not that I've not been doing stuff, but it hasn't seemed interesting or exciting enough to mention. OK, I've bought a car (therefore completing part two of my shopping list). I eventually let practicality get the better of me and ended up with an estate, although it does have 414 BHP.

What else? I've learnt to drive a Land Rover Discovery (old model) very slowly. Low range box, diff locks, chunky chunky tyes... "let's off-road!". Great fun. Almost as much fun as taking a 414 BHP estate car onto a runway and being coached in how to drive it properly by Don Palmer, all thanks to a 40th birthday present. I just wish the present had included a new set of tyres too. I did this with my friend Chris, who also has a 414 BHP car (saloon version) and curiously also received a driving course for his 40th birthday.

That's enough about cars. On to bikes. Remember those pics of me in Cycling Weekly last year? Here and here? Fuzzy, but definitely me. Well, they've got a better photographer. I don't even need to annotate the new picture.

If you click on it you'll see that's me at the front and Jon behind (as ever...!). Somehow they've made me look fat, which is quite an achievement.

Next weekend is the Tour of Wessex. Hopefully I'll be in good shape - I've certainly got back to reasonable fitness - but I annoying managed to tweek my back while fiddling with a bike after my ride last night. I'm currently lurching around the house like... um, House really. I'm sure I'll be fine. Really.

I'm not just getting my excuses in early. Honest.