Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tour of Wessex 2011

My first sportive.  I have never ridden over 57.2 miles to be exact so I was thinking this was going to be one LONG day.  I decided to take Whoopie as she fits me like a comfy old slipper but has turbo power.

Stu, Fluff and Roo all waited nervously at the start line, there was loads of cyclists and I have never ridden in a group larger than 6.  When we were told to go it was really daunting and you had to really keep your wits about you.  We rode down out of Somerton and onto the main road.  As we turned left into Castle Cary we approached the first hill.  I kept checking that they were all behind me and then WHOOSH the big boys start flying by, not just one but like 15 to 20 bikers speeding past.  I kept looking round but by this time I couldn't see Fluff or Roo.  I tried to concentrate on the forthcoming hill and tried not to feel intimated by all the people overtaking me.  The ride was good, we were on roads that I cycle all the time and I knew them well which made it better. I had decided to wear my coat but by the time we got to the gorge I was regretting it. 

The gorge was the worst hill that I knew of and I tried to smile for the camera man perched on the bend of the hill but I think he probably got more of a grimace.  The first feed station was at the top of the gorge.  Lots of goodies so I filled my pockets.  It got really cold quick once you  stopped so we didn't stay long and we were up and away.  This was when I decided that I wasn't going to be overtaken anymore and I was going to play with the big boys.  A group came whizzing past and I decided to get down on the aero bars and tuck in behind them.  Once I'm down on the aero bars I seem to power up. I stayed with these guys for a while and one bloke did turn around and see me tucked in and had to look twice it was quite funny. I stayed with them as long as I could but once we got on an incline I lost the pack...... but it was good whilst it lasted.

The second feed station was a total surprise and we nearly went straight past it.  Here we could have hot tea which was nice and lots rolls and sausage rolls and a toilet break.  They had loads jelly beans so between me and Stu we got enough jelly beans to fill my nutrition bag.  WE started off again and was short lived as within 2 metres I had my first puncture.  Good ole Stu he fixed it for me in double quick time ( I would have taken ages to do it) whilst I stood at the side of the road watching all the bikes go by.  Those little C02 gas canisters are brill and they certainly go pop when you take the adapter off..... I thought that for a split second Stu had been shot!!

Off we went again.... I was feeling quite good we had gone past the point of 57.2 miles and the rolls and hot tea had made me feel human again.  This is where I started popping those magic jelly beans.  They were lush and I got hit by a massive sugar rush.  I couldn't help myself and I was cycling down the road with one arm extended super hero style shouting I am the JELLY BEAN HERO OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!

This high was to be short lived because with about 15 miles to go I started to get very grumpy.  Weather it was a come down of those jelly beans or tiredness I couldn't tell but I was started to wish it was all over.  We had 9 miles to go and the wind was awful.  It battered you relentlessly and even though I have started to embrace the wind lately this was getting to me. 
I must take this moment to apologise to Stu for the last 5 miles where I totally threw my toys outta the pram and I was very close to throwing my bike into the ditch and running off in a sulk.  I was swearing alot at everything, everyone who went past me, cars, bikes, leaves..... I was MAD!!! I swore at the wind and how much I hated cycling.  That last hill into Somerton seemed like an eternity but there it was the FINISH LINE.  I decided I wanted the finishing photo with my hands extended punching the air but instead I side swiped Stu and nearly took us both out....... OOOOPSIE. 

Yay it was over, thew swearing could stop. My quads were pretty sore. The first 50 miles I had properly caned it and I think that by the end that started to show.  I couldn't maintain the speed that I had and our average speed went right down.

So 75.53 miles in 5 hours and 17 minutes and 4 seconds.  Average speed 14.29

I nearly had a fatal meeting with the recovery soup and luckily I found out it had mushrooms in it before I ate any.

I was impressed with the food and the service at the feed stations and everyone was really friendly.  I did enjoy it really!!!!

1 comment:

Lena said...

Sounds like a great challenge. Well done. A lovely account. I have walked up Cheddar Gorge an it was a killer. Well done cycking it.