There is just a possibility that I should have taken the after effects of the Etape a little more seriously and rested more afterwards. And hey, if I’d had Friday’s legs today, I expect I’d have kicked butt today. But that’s not the way life works. When you come to think about it, I’ve just done two sportives in the space of a week. If you count Friday’s ride that’s 183 miles this week alone. Possibly not my cleverest move. Apparently there’s just no telling me though 😉
So. Today was the Great Weston Ride. 56 miles for normal sensible people. A c.90 mile round trip for us. In fact considering the weather conditions I imagine a great many normal sensible people didn’t even turn up. By the time I met GB I was already pretty damp, and by the time we got to the start I was soaked to the skin. Not cold. Just wet. And having problems seeing where I was going because my sunglasses do not have windscreen wipers, and neither do my eyes if I don’t use the glasses. Rock, hard place.
We were supposed to meet up with GH, our ACG newbie, but he was running late, and hanging around and getting cold whilst wet didn’t seem like a good idea so we headed off, back the way we’d come, at around 8:20am. Now for some reason, possibly because I really enjoyed last year’s event, I’d managed to forget quite a lot of the latter part of the route. The first bit, Chew Valley, even Burrington Combe (after all, it’s not an Alpe *grin*), is fairly attractive and went really well. Well, if you don’t count GB demonstrating that although I may be better these days, I am still just good for me, not good per se. Maybe that should be my goal? I tried to keep up and, to be fair, he didn’t manage to make the gap between us as large as sometimes but…well, there’s only so much a girl can do.
However things went a little down hill from there. As they would…but not until we’d gone across the top of the Mendips in the kind of wind driven rain that could probably be used to strip paint if necessary. The descent from Priddy down to Rodney Stoke is also not nice at the best of times, and wet and covered in grit and debris is not the best of times. Luckily I appear not to have worn away all my brake pads by descending mountains ;).
Down on the Levels we headed across to the next food stop at Blackford, by which time I was feeling oddly sleepy. And I do mean sleepy, not just tired, if that makes any sense at all, which I doubt. How can you be feeling like falling asleep while riding a bike?! GB did try and make me eat, but I couldn’t face food, and was rescued by my Lucozade jelly beans – I can usually stomach them even when I’ve had enough of bars. And I’ve so had enough of bars.
From there it was a long and boring, straight into the considerable wind, slog through Mark to Highbridge. Straight, unforgiving, sapping… I did my best to take my turn at the front, aware of the fact that I was probably not doing my share, and not wanting that to be the case. But man it was monotonous! Burnham was even worse as the cross wind came straight off the coast and into us, and where the traffic was madly busy and hated us all immensely. Pleasant. At least from there the end was, if geography did not get in the way, in sight. There was a blissful wiggly bit where the wind was behind us, and I got to do a little of what I do best, but then it was more slog to the finish line on the lawns at Weston Super Mare. Having overtaken a great many people, there weren’t that many riders around, and though fish & chips were available, there was no way either of us fancied that this year.
Instead GB spent 10 minutes or so letting me get myself together again, since I was little use to anyone at that point, before we headed off for home again. As we neared home the rain set in again, bringing us full circle. I arrived home wet, filthy, and very aware of the fact that I have probably overdone it. I’ve just left what little energy I had remaining in the bath!
But there was a lot to be grateful for, if you have a warped sense of karma. On today’s ride I got soaked to the skin, blown across the road, got a stitch, my shoulder hurt, and my knee hurt, and I nearly fell asleep. All things which did NOT happen last Monday. Dues have to be paid.
Cycling time: 5:23:36 hrs
Distance: 86.62 miles
Avs: 16.0 mph
ODO: 9535 miles
Even though it felt like hard work, it was only, as it turns out, marginally slower than last year when there were three of us working together and the weather was considerably better. Think how good I’d have been if I’d done the recovery thing first? To be fair I don’t think I’d have been any faster, or any stronger but…I’d certainly be less tired now! *grin*. Chapeau to GB for putting up with a tired and distinctly irritable me too :).