This was the hardest bike ride and probably the hardest physical event I have ever done in my life. I wanted a tough test and I certainly got one. Sadly I wasn’t quite up to it and was swept up by the broom wagon after 70 miles but I am not too down beat about that, I’m pretty pleased with my efforts.
The ride itsself was not helped by some very dodgy guts. I am not sure what caused this I think probably an out of date energy drink I had but whatever the cause I spent the night before wide awake due to extreme gut ache and an inability to poo! (it would be wednesday before this finally went away!) I think I had a total of about 3 hours sleep; not ideal preparation for an endurance event!
But still I arose out of bed and set off to take part in the event and I had every intention of giving it my all. It was a bloody cold morning though and a tough start with the hill climb out of Bath being absolutely evil! I thought it was the hardest hill I’d ever done, i’d be re-evaluating this view a bit later!
So I was going noticably slower than usual, this being a combination of tiredness, pain from the guts, and the demands of the ride. It was frustrating as there was no question this was a tough ride, but I couldn’t help feel that if I was in better nick i would give it a better go. However the scenary was breath taking at times and it was a gorgeous day.
The climb out to Alfreds tower in particular was breath taking but I hated the hill, I was cursing out loud at times I must have looked like a right nutter, that is if anyone could have seen me! There wasn’t a soul in sight, I was well off the pace and felt so alone which didn’t help the mindset.
I had a strange expereince on this ride of feeling very emotional, I’ve no idea what brought it on, it could have been a combo of the tiredness etc but I thought of dad a lot on the ride and how much I wanted to do the challenges before me and how I worried if i had what it takes to do so… I may have shed a tear or two at certain times.
Then I go to the climb up to the top of the Westbury horse! Jesus christ that was the toughest experience on a bike I’ve ever endured, the hill went on and on and on. I gave it everything I had, but by the end I just had to admit defeat and had to walk the last bit of the hill. This made me angrier than anything else, its the first time in a long time something has beaten me. It will be only a temporary defeat though, i’ll be seeing that hill again.
It was worth it when I got to the top of the hill though the scenary was spectatular. However the hill took it out of me, I had no energy left and at lunch had no appetitite; i was unable to get any food on board and it was not long after that, when I needed to admit defeat and stop.
So I am not too downbeat, I believe that had I been 100% I would have given a much better account of myself and finished, however I didn’t. The hills were a good test and I came through it well. Its comparable to the distance I will have to do on the tougher days of Lejog so I now have a reminder of just what I have to face. I reminded myself how important the nutrition is and how I need to get it right and was reminded of my limitations.
The night sucked, I was in bed by 6. I had heat stroke and no apetite. The ride really had broken me it would take the best part of the week to recover.
The picture at the top was taken just after I climbed Westbury hill you can see the spectatular views behind me. And yes I do feel as miserable as I look!