Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Gotta start somewhere.
A pre-Christmas ride, the official start of Transalp 2009 training. I'm just getting over the cold and Dave's on antibiotics.
We're in tip-top condition.
I drive down to Dave's house and spend a valuable half hour of precious daylight admiring his shed. The plan is to ride from his house to Megget Reservoir and back via Dollar Law and the Thieves Road. The wind is almost blowing us to a standstill on the road up the glen, but we find shelter on the ascent. It's pretty steep and there's not much chance to rest, but it's all rideable despite 4 weeks off the bike. Well OK, I walked some of it. Dave did too, I imagine.
We exercise mountaineering judgement at a gate where we stop to look at the map and have a ham sandwich. Even though we're sheltered now, it'll be savagely windy over the tops so we take a traversing line onto the homebound trail, missing out the descent to Megget. Soon we're on the tops. It's savagely windy.
A wee bit of navigating and some more pushing and we finally get to a descent. Dave disappears into the gloom and I pick my way down as if I'd only learned to ride a bike for the first time last week. "Yeah, those German boys'll fly past us on the uphills, but we'll cane them on the downhills. Pussies!", I'd asserted confidently earlier.
The Thieves Road has a lot of ups and downs over jarring terrain and I'm having to dig deep to find the joy. We stop for bananas but it's too cold to hang around in the wind. Eventually we reach the trig point on Pykestone Hill and it's all downhill. Dave's looking cold. He's still faster than me. My front tyre erupts sealant and goes flat. I can't feel my feet.
We get to a fence and cross into the trees and out of the wind. Dave's got the hot aches and runs off to cry while I make an arse of fixing my front tyre which goes flat again within 5 minutes as we speed down the fireroad to the valley floor and warmth and soup. If the weather is really cold and it blows a hooley for the eight days of the race, Dave and I will win. FACT.
My bike feels strange.