The Ride of Our Lives

Monday, 26 March 2012

Oh .. it was a BIG weekend

Yes .. the first of the "week 10 onwards" training programme - two days back to back and bigger and bigger mileage weekends.  So the girl from Kings Cross took one last look at the Harry Potter platform and realised the only magic at play here was doing the hard yards or miles. I organised to go for a 60 miler around Richmond park with David (remember him - a kiwifruit - he nearly froze me to death the first time around Richmond Park!!). David did the mileage in the park a few weeks earlier as a recon, so he was ready to go and guide me though it (read drive me like a merciless personal trainer!!!).

Being a little behind in the "miles in the seat stakes",  Pomme Anglais decided she would accompany us for at least half of the journey.  We had a plan, and an organised meet up spot. David and I duly hit the park at about 7:45 am and no sign of her??. We eventually saw Pomme Anglais going the other way around the circuit and I waved and said cheerily "I'll meet you in the car park in 10 minutes". She hissed back (politely cos she is English after all) .. "I have been here since 6:45 am when you said we were meeting up at Roehampton Gate and I am freezing and going home". Umm err ... oh shite ... ok ok .. I admit I completely screwed it up (yeah lap it up you won't see it in print often). I blame the clock forward thing that happened the next day.

So how was it ... in a word HARD!!  I tried to convince David when we stopped for a drink and energy bar in-take that it wouldn't matter really if I only did 40 miles.  But he wasn't having a bar of it (no pun intended) and told me that as a treat we would go the short steep hill way as the last circuit!!!.  This is as opposed to the long, never ending undulating hill way!!  We did the 60 miles in 4:10 hours in actual "on the bike" time, as opposed to elapsed time. Kiwi's - that's 100 km!!! and all with no giving way on a left turn any longer.

I thought this was pretty good going but I do realise it will not be the sustained pace I will be capable of, or that we will travel at on the actual L to P ride (multiple toilet stops, me holding 3 bikes etc ... see earlier posts). The best part of the day came later when post shower we went with Gill and David to a little known (outside of Putney locals) fab Italian enoteca for lunch and a tiny dip into the 300 bin plus wine list as part of a belated celebration of Mo's birthday.

How was it afterwards.  Funny sensation, muscles etc all fine (lots of stretching before the hot bath and after), but wildly tired and almost dyslexic when trying to speak. Rehydration and refuelling with all the right stuff being paramount to recovery. Nothing a good nights sleep can't fix and so the next day (clocks forward and all) up early for a 40 miler.  Pomme Anglais was almost speaking to me again so we organised a foolproof meeting place and time and then did a Cycle Super Highway almost all the way to Barking (she said everyone was mad out there so I decided to turn around and come back to the city, where everyone is of course totally sane). Everything worked, and the legs were fine.  Thanks to Sudocreme other bits were fine too.  Upper body and arms/hands/fingers are proving to be much more problematic than legs or what you might think would be the most at risk areas.

It was all made much easier by the weather ... wonderful, sunny, warm and just so good for improving even the grumpiest of human nature.  The Thames sparkles, aided and abetted by the reflections of all the tourists smiles as they gaze down upon her as they enjoy London, doing things like staring up in awe at Big Ben. Their "ah Londres est tres manifique" idyllic bliss only momentarily shattered by a tired sweaty cyclist coming around the corner at speed shouting at them " get out of the middle of the road you morons - do you know how far I have ridden today".

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