Day 224 – Final Cut

Posted: August 29, 2012 in August
Tags: , , , , ,

Seeing as the spin we did over The Cut on Thursday was as close to the cycle for GFW as I was going to get around here (same distance as first bike leg, similar overall amount of climb and descent) I decided to bring Benny up there today to get some more preparation. While I had absolutely no doubt that Benny would get round the GFW course, despite his recent brush with face death, he hadn’t done a huge amount of cycling, only the spin we went on last week and that was pancake flat.

We followed the same route as I had on Thursday evening – park at the church in Rosenallis, easy few km’s out the road, then turn up The Cut. A big difference between today and Thursday was we were doing it at lunch time, as opposed to evening, and the sun was absolutely beating down on us. Another difference between now and then was on Thursday I didn’t have my Garmin with me, so was cycling along in blissful ignorance. Today I did and I was sitting there, sweating, looking at the numbers moving very slowly indeed. The chat between Benny and I had ground to a halt after about one kilometre of climbing and now the only sound coming from either of us was some slightly strained breathing.

The increased heat was definitely making a big difference today, but my legs felt nowhere near as fresh as they did on Thursday. Apart from one or two mini bursts to get ahead when there was a car or something coming I remained resolutely in the saddle, grinding away at a steady pace. Benny had no choice but to do that as due to the compact gearing on my cyclocross bike he was in the lowest gear almost immediately. This was cause for a little bit of concern for Benny, but I reckoned he’d be fine with it. He was managing this climb just fine, and there was nothing on the GFW course as long as this.

Both of us were hoping that the weather at GFW wouldn’t be quite as sunny as it was now. Any time the hedges fell away to leave us without shade climbing seemed to get a whole lot harder. With the sun bearing right down on us the air seemed that much thinner and hotter and felt like it was providing us with less and less fuel to get up that hill. Eventually though I saw the little memorial that meant we were only about a kilometre from the top, and a few minutes later, with one last effort to get up that sneaky bastard of a climb that hides just round the corner, we were there.

After a quick turnaround at the top it was time to practice descending. Well for me anyway. Benny’s descending consists of going hell for leather and not touching the brakes. The only thing he needs to practice is giving people a shout when he’s going past them and not frightening the shite out of his poor friends. We did manage to make it down to the bottom in one piece though and then it was back out on to the main road.

I noticed Benny’s pace had dropped a bit so, cogniscent of the fact that it wasn’t that long ago he was in hospital, asked how he was feeling. He replied that overall he was fine, but his stomach was “in bits from that fizzy Lucozade yack”. I had warned him about the potential issues in using that to fuel the ride, but only laughed and said “I told you so” a couple of times because I’m nice like that.

We turned to do the last section with the additional climb then, which seemed considerably steeper than on Thursday and which necessitated me just getting my head down and grinding. I got to the top and turned around to see Benny was nowhere near me. It took him a couple of minutes to catch up and when he did he looked like crap, which had me really worried. I asked again was he alright and his reply didn’t really reassure me – “had to puke a couple of times back there”. I was hoping that there wasn’t some hangover from his recent ailment but he put my mind at rest by blurting out “fucking fizzy yack” once more just before puking again, an amount of which I noticed went over my lovely bike.

To be fair to Benny, he’s an absolute trooper and barely stopped pedalling to rid his stomach of the aforementioned fucking fizzy yack. A couple more kilometres, and one slightly hairy descent, after that and we were done, back at the car and attempting to rinse Luco-puke of my bike. After today I knew that there was no way just getting round the GFW course was going to be an issue for Benny, and so did he. He’d passed his last test with flying colours, well flying orange stuff anyway, and now it was just a matter of gathering gear together and putting a plan in place.

Game on.

31.28km in 1:21:46

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