Today I woke up still feeling yesterday\’s ride. And that\’s a first. The last two weekends had been taken slightly easy by doing 30 and then 35 miles on the indoor bike. Without a headwind, bumpy roads, traffic etc it\’s a much easier session – with the added bonus of being close to home at all times. Yesterday was on the road, and I know it.
The plan was for a 10 mile figure of eight to be taken 4 times to hit my 40 mile goal. Wanting to make things optimal (in my head, if not reality!), I checked wind speed and direction and choose the direction I would take. About 2 miles west, 1 mile south, 4 miles east (with a near perfect following wind), and then the final 3 miles in a loop back to the start.
Carbed up, the Camelbak loaded to the brim, and sufficient Lucozade gels on board (or so I thought) I set out.
The first loop went well, a niggling pinch on my left ankle resolved by loosening the overshoes, and I completed it feeling reasonable strong and stopped for a bit of fuel and set off again.
The second loop was reasonably OK and improved by the thought that the next time I was passing any point it would be the penultimate time – spot the headology!). But it was spoiled a tad by some bright thing whizz in past on his lightweight road bike at nearly twice the speed I was making.
During the third circuit it started to get tough, especially when the consequences of drinking so much became obvious – but more importantly I was beginning to feel I might not make it. Contingency planning began in earnest, and I resolved to do the final 3 mile loop twice and return home for a quick break before finishing the task. Those last 6 miles really dragged out and the option to reverse one loop really played badly as the winds picked up to boot. But I got home and grabbed some more carbs and set off in a glum mood.
The next seven miles were hellish. I felt a spent force and even with the wind behind me at times at times I could not summon the effort to pedal. Simply standing up in the pedals and freewheeling felt a blesséd relief. Twice I just had to pull over and take a breather. I wasn\’t out of breath, indeed if you had come up to me for a chat I would probably have seemed fine. I just had nothing in my body to propel me.
But I made it home, and watched some rugby. That evening we formed a quiz team with our neighbours and came a creditable joint 4th (John Galsworthy and Mount McKinley the \”where did they come from answers\”). Returning home I ended the day with a long hot soak for my back.
Since finishing yesterday I\’ve had a bit of a thick head, and despite drinking loads (thinking it was dehydration) have only just realised it\’s probably my neck overly stiff from the chill (despite the lovely day it was a bit fresh out) . Next time I\’ll wear the neck roll that keeps the chill out. A legacy from 5 rear end collisions with whiplash.
As Mrs B points out, only a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty knackered after half such a distances, and the previous two weeks were indoors.
But after all of those I did at least feel a few hours later I could have managed them again. Twenty-fours later I still don\’t feel that today.
But, then again I did at least do this (pretty much) in one fell swoop. Only another 10 miles would have completed the first day of the ride, and without a proper pause for a meal or something at midday.
Lastly, I do have to remember that I still have 3 months to go, having only been back on a bike for about 2 months after a gap of nearly 3 decades. Maybe I shouldn\’t beat myself up too much. But I\’m most definitely not looking forward to next week\’s 50 miler. But at least that is split in half by the charity lunch at the rugby club!