So last Sunday (I'm publishing this late, so sunday 14th) saw me embark on what should have been a 50 miler, out through the rolling hills of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, hitting lovely villages such as Wymondley, Offley, Lilley, Barton , Shillington and Meppershall. I say should have!
Sunday saw me end an 11 days without a day off stint and boy did it show. I didn't feel too bad when I woke up, felt fairly fresh after a good sleep. My body had different ideas.
The legs felt a little stiff in the first 15 mins which isn't unusual. I'd had 3 personal training sessions and 2 gym sessions in that 11 days, so body had done some work, so didn't expect anything different. Slowly warmed up and the legs got going.
I headed out into Willian and up the hill in Wymondley , past the woods and bang..... chain comes off. I mamage to glide up the remaining part of the hill to find a safe place to stop and replace the chain, with the buzz of the electricity pylon to ensure I didn't take too long!
Back on it, i cycled on into Hitchin, past the busy Sunday market and up a slight hill. This is where I hit another little snag. That lovely toothache nag started to reappear in my right calf. This was soul destroying!
After thinking that this had been sorted after the bike fit and had done a fair few miles without any discomfort this was a major blow to my morale. On top of this just as I reach the top of hill, bang..... chain comes off.
So within a few miles of home, 2 chain mishaps and calf pain it's all going well!
It's at the point of putting on my chain for the second time that I realise, I have entered into this whole new world. The world of road cycling!
This world is one in which as you are cycling, and if you pass another cyclist you are to nod politely and knowingly, alternatively you may brave it and push yourself, (usually dependent on how out of breath you are at the time) to go for a "hi there", "morning", "afternoon". There is also this courtesy of checking that others are ok. So as I annoyingly put my chain back on for the second time, a gentleman easily 20 years my senior, lycra-ed up and resembling a bean pole, cycled past, said his good morning but also asked if all was ok! Having always played team sports I've never really come across this before and felt nicely included in this little group of nutters who dodge pot holes, put up with near death experiences with every ride and put up with a numb buttocks!
Anyways, back to the route! I headed on witth the intention of heading out towards Barton however for third time bang.....chain comes off. At this point I've had enough, coasted to a safe spot and replaced the chain......again.
Alongside the chain annoyance, my body started to really suffer, the pain in my calf was nagging more and my body felt as if it had nothing in the tank, having cycled for less than an hour I wasn't impressed but thought it best to listen. So I cancelled my plans of the villages Barton way and pushed forward through Hitchin towards Ickleford.
Bang...... for the fourth and final time, just after Ickleford chain comes off!
If I hadn't spent a small fortune fitting my bike and getting some new parts because of the fit, I would've kicked it!
I put the chain back on and carried on. Another nod with a fellow cyclist and I was on my way towards Henlow. I was struggling. Legs felt like lead and my pace had really dropped, no matter how much I tried to maintain it.
The quickest way home was to jump on the A507 all the way back from Henlow.
Until you cycle the roads, I don't think you can complain about the state of them, pot hole dodging and constantly shaking from the uneven surface, really takes its toll. And the A507 is not smooth!
I ploughed on, and longed to see the sign for Norton which I knew was my final leg for home. I pulled off at Stotfold to head into Norton and just couldn't wait to be home, but didn't have anything left in the legs. I chucked the bike into a low gear and just focused on turning the pedals. All thoughts of speed went out of the window. It wasjust a case of just keep swimming..... or cycling in this case.
I arrived home having done about 22 miles in 2 hours. Which was unimpressive by my standards.
11 days work without rest
Upping my gym training
I had also changed my diet for 2 weeks as completely carb free
These all combined led to a disaster of a ride for me. I should in my professional capacity have thought that going out for a cycle wasn't a good idea. However, I didn't quite expect it to have that much of an effect.
With about 6 weeks to go, I'll keep ploughing on as the end result is an accomplishment for me, but more importantly raising some money for the Alzheimer's Society.