Day 162 – Blazing Saddles II: Blaze Harder

Posted: June 13, 2012 in June
Tags: , , ,

Ah the perils of being easily led. As I’d said yesterday was my first time doing any sort of reasonable distance on the bike in ages, so surely the sensible thing then would be to either rest or swim today, particularly as I’m still dealing with my various left leg woes. However, yesterday evening I got a message from Rory asking me whether I’d be interested in doing the club cycle in the morning? Just a gentle 100km over one of the toughest climbs in the vicinity. Like I said, the sensible thing to do would be rest, so naturally (after a little coercion) I agreed to the cycle.

I was in bed at ten last night to make sure I could get up in time to get a decent breakfast this morning before meeting Rory at nine. I’ve been out for long runs or cycles without sufficient fuel in me and it sucks balls. There was no way I was attempting The Cut (the climb we were doing today) without a belly full of food in me, so at seven I dragged myself out of bed for a massive bowl of porridge, toast with peanut butter and jam, coffee and lots of water. Not long after nine I was parking up at Rory’s before heading off to meet the rest of the group. The plan had initially been to cycle part of the way there to meet a crew from Trilogy (our triathlon club), but now we were heading off to do essentially the same cycle but with a group from a different club in Port. We met another three guys in the square and set off towards Mountmellick on what was already, at half nine in the morning, a hot and sunny day.

This was the first time I’d cycled in a group of any size. In fact it was the first time I’d cycled in a group outside of a race as I (one or two occasions apart) invariably cycle alone. The group cycle was good though. I didn’t know any of the guys other than Rory but we moved around, swapping positions, chatting away and holding a steady 30km/h or so. After about 20km we turned down a lovely quiet country road headed back towards Port but as we came around a bend we saw one of the guys who had pushed on a little bit (Alan) lying on the ground in obvious pain and no longer connected to his bike. Alan had come out with multiple layers on him but from early on was shedding them due to the heat. I’d seen him take off his jacket and struggle to fit it into one of his back pockets and it transpired that, unable to get it into one of the pockets, he’d tied it around the handlebars of his bike. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened next. One of the sleeves came loose, dropped down into the front wheel, locked it up and suddenly Alan was airborne. Luckily, a few minor bumps and scrapes aside, both he and his bike were alright. He managed to gather himself after a while and was able to remount and carry on.

We went back into Port to meet up with the rest of the group, but it turned out that most of them were heading on a different route anyway. We lost one of the group, gained one and then set off for Mountmellick again. The route was the same as before, and the pace likewise was about the same. This time though with about two km to go into Mountmellick Rory gave a shout to up the pace and I just sat and watched the rest of the lads come past. My legs said “thank you very much for a lovely morning, we’ve really enjoyed it but there’s absolutely no way we’re going any faster”. It was like sitting on the motorway at 50mph in 5th gear in a 1 litre car and stamping your foot on the accelerator – no response, no discernible change in speed and utterly powerless as you watch everyone go steaming past you. It was at that point in time I began to have my doubts about the remainder of the cycle.

The next 15km or so were a struggle as any time we came to even a slight incline the other lads would pull away from me, then I’d have to pedal like hell to catch up with them, before repeating the process all over again. After the third time this happened I knew there was no way I’d be able for another 50 or so km, especially with the climb in the middle of it. I could possibly have done it, but it would have taken me the rest of the day, so I made one more effort to catch up with the group, told Rory I was done and then turned around to head for home. I stopped for a couple of minutes to eat a breakfast bar and get some more fluids into me, then set off on the 23km back to Port. I stuck the bike in a baby gear, then just kept those pedals turning over at a nice and easy 25km/h or so all the way back. When I eventually got home my legs didn’t actually feel as bad as I’d thought they would, most likely because I had a 23km cool down on my way back to Port.



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