Sunday, 3 May 2009

Good Days and Bad Days

Good days the climbs are a breeze of swift pedaling clearing any obstacle that is presented and the descents are mastered with the speed of Steve Peat chasing that world cup title. At the end of the ride you feel like you could go on and on, there is a smug self satisfied feeling that it has been a good day.

The Knlochleven trip had been a good day the SXC had been a relatively good day. Today was not a good day. There are times when a drunk at the end of the night and a cyclist have a lot in common. Both are on auto pilot with the goals of getting home and getting food. The world looks different from normal and when you move your head from side to side the world moves at a different speed. This was how I had felt tonight for the last part of my ride. Low blood sugar is very like being drunk just a lot more painful.

The plan was for Katy and I to cycle on the road from my home to my mum and dads where we were to have dinner at 7:30. The route was round Cademuir along to Innerleithen on the back road then over the granites to Goredbridge before taking the retun road over the moor past Roseberry estate then onto the A703 through Eddleston. Google maps said something like 45miles I can't remember exactly and I am still in recovery mode. In other words it wasn't that long a cycle for someone who is doing the Transalp in July.

The training schedule Stuart and I are following for the 11 week lead up to the race says vary the pace don't ride medium all the time. So with that in mind I would do some 3minute efforts during the ride.

We eventually got away from the house at 5:15 then we had some faffing with my seat and the Katys cleats on her new bling shoes on our way to Inners. The wind was right in our face and this continued the whole way round our circular route. It was sunny so our spirits were high and we swapped the lead working together to share the wind like a Tour de France break away going for the finish line. Cresting the climb up the granites from Inners was the signal to start the first effort. Katy would follow in my slip stream with her restricted youth gears making it difficult to keep up with me.......well that was the theory. I lasted about 30s then my engine spluttered and stalled I let Katy slip in front and I watched as she disappeared of in the distance. I didn't know it then but here was a perfect example of a good day(katy) mixed with a bad day(me). I caught up after the 3minutes had passed and she slowed down.

We had some climbing after this and the ever present wind meant we were that Tour de France breakaway again swapping the lead. Only this time I was the guy you see on the Tour who is struggling never quite doing enough work and you know he isn't going to be there to contest the win its just a matter of when. Over the top its 3minute effort time, Katy shoots off and I grit my teeth and give it everything to catch her slip stream clawing my way slowly forward into the relief from the wind. After I recover and can see straight I notice we are flying down the hill despite this damned wind. I take a short spell at the front but really there is nothing in the tank.

At this point I feel okay although I know I'm not in top form. We follow a network of back road with very few signs using the Pentlands and Arthurs seat as navigation aids. The wind is relentless sapping every pedal stroke and the cold is eking away any energy that is left. There is nothing for it but dig in and keep slogging away. When we hit a short downhill followed by a short steep uphill Katy comes flying past me powering up the climb and it hits me I am done in,my legs are like two pieces of lead, I creep up the hill after her. At the top we stop so I can text my parents to let them know we are okay, its 7:30 we will be late for dinner. I shake my head and know all is not right the world is moving much slow than it should, I feel slightly detached and my legs are fecked.

The road crossing the moor from Gore bridge to the Peebles/Edinburgh Road(A703) is a great cycling road. Its quiet, the scenery is fantastic and its interesting with lots of turns and undulations. I don't care, it feels like a Siberian wind is cutting into me, its pushing me backwards, I just want to get home and more than anything I want to eat.

Katy and I do some swapping of the lead but the reality is that I do about 10% on the front just to give her a bit of breather and she drags me along 90% of the time. My legs somehow keep going and finally I see Cowieslinn quarry in the distance which is the other side of the A703.

Down on the main road the wind is less than on the exposed moor road and its time for the final 3minute effort. The cereal bars I had 20 mins ago must be taking effect because I decide to follow Katy keeping in her slip stream for the effort. She sprints off and its agony getting out of the saddle straining my muscles to their limit to keep up and get into the treasured slipstream. 500metres later both my legs lock up with cramp and screaming in agony I skid to a halt unable to get off the road or get off my bike. Katy comes back to check on me and eventually I can make enough small movements without the extreme agony of cramping locked muscles to get off the road. Once I have recovered Katy heads off for her final 3minutes effort while I concentrate on the effort of turning one pedal after the other to get home.

The look on my mum and dads face when we arrive is like the time I broke my wrist or fell of the roof and cracked my heal bone or the time I came off my road bike outside the house and took all the skin off my forearm and had a large hole in my elbow. Well you get the idea I didn't look well. Lindy was less worried having seen me in much worse states. I sat down immediately and ate everything put in front of me thanking Katy for getting me home. It was 8:30 we had battled that damned wind for 3 hours and 7 minutes

A bad day I hope I don't have any of them during the Transalp................

No comments:

Post a comment