Monday, 9 May 2011

Jurassic Sportive 2011

After weeks of being spoilt with glorious sunshine, the heavens opened and torrents of rain stormed down, washing vast amounts of muck into the roads just in time for a blinkin' hard 100 miler. As a result, there were more punctures than there is in our bathroom after Liz has been having a DIY session. This meant that each downhill and potential speed gain was scuppered by fear of blowouts or just losing grip on all the mud and gravel that was littering the tarmac. 


Whilst I can't complain too much about the weather - as we didn't see a drop of rain for the whole ride - the breeze was something else. Every now and again in moments of sheer brilliance the wind would get behind you and you'd have a mile or two of pure tailwind utopia, then out of nowhere an enormous gust would take you by surprise, thrusting you into the middle of the road or into the nearest hedge. The vast majority of the ride was spent fighting some sort of angle of wind, but you were so busy panting your way up really big hills that you are beyond caring.



At one point we'd started a bit of an ascent, a gradual one, and I heard Sarah shouting something behind me. I thought she was shouting "PUNCTURE!".. so I halted my nice, steady rhythm, stopped and looked back. What she was actually shouting was "Look up!" and when I did I could not believe what I saw. Way up above were very tiny cyclists grinding up an absolutely epic hill. I was half filled with excitement and half filled with dread, especially as I now had to get going again.


There were several moments like this throughout the day, where you look ahead, squint a bit and see specks of colour vaguely resembling cyclists. Each time you think to yourself "are they really going to send us up that hill??" and each time the answer is a resounding yes.


The most brilliant thing about the event (after the signage which was absolutely spot on) were the feed stops. Tasty slabs of flapjack, scones (and believe it or not, jam!), freshly cooked biscuits, swiss rolls and jelly beans were laid out and ready to be scoffed whilst cereal bars and gels were available to take with you. I definitely made the most of these stops and filled my pockets with jelly beans to munch on my way around. Tip for anyone who does this in the future: eat them quickly otherwise you end up with a very colourful, but very congealed and sticky mess in your jersey pocket.


After the third feed station I was absolutely knackered and my knee was hurting, so I just got my head down and limped to the finish. So exhausted I was that I didn't even look at my time or have any clue what sort of time I had done. I gave the bike a good wash with the very handy pressure washers, had a massage and gave Sarah a cheer as she cycled in. To the horror of many a rugged cyclist and the huge admiration of myself, she went to the van, changed into her trainers and went for a little run! I was very impressed, I was so tired I could barely even form sentences let alone anything else.


Whilst having celebratory cups of tea and chatting to other cyclists, I realised how lucky I had been not to have had a single puncture, must have been those marvellous new tyres! A very enjoyable, but really tough day. 

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