Motherfucker. That was single handedly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
The first 34 miles was a breeze so much so there was a PB in the making for time over distance with me nudging on close to 17 miles an hour. Thats not bad for a fat lad who doesnt train or apply himself.
Those hills, how my legs kept turning I will never ever know. When you see yet another sign saying 20% gradient, other cyclists with all the gear stopping and walking theres a thing in my head that just wants to keep the bike going. There is no shame in stopping, nothign wrong with walking but to me its a sign of ME being weak, my failures. Id rather my heart rate top out at the max of 170 bpm than give up and there were points, emotional points where I wanted to.
The last 10 miles were interesting, a chap from the same cycling club as me got ahead of me, I over took and stayed ahead for many miles till about 5 from the end when he took me on a hill.
Im not a climber at all and to see him power past me was gutting, especially since fora couple of miles he tailed behind me and never once gave me a break by going in front.
3 miles from the end he said “lets roll over the start line..”
1.5 miles to go up a hill he starts pushing. Im thinking fuck im done for. All my fuel has been consumed, whatever is telling the legs to go is beyong my comprehension. Every single tactic I know is being used, efficient peddling, turning the gears and somehow just somehow I’m keeping up.
The second to final left turn beacons, Now we are off the bumpy roads onto smooth tarmac. Think of the nicest roast chicken you might have ever had and thats the joy of smooth, smooth road after 7 hours.
Out of nowhere the pace picks up, cogs start whirring, gears start getting lower and lower, before you know it full speed is achieved but this time im behing, getting waht breath I can from not having to deal with a head wind.
Half a mile down, half a mile to go, part of my head is prepared to let him go and just survive. Just.. Keep…. going.. At this stage the effort of cycling solo has taken a toll on me and his back wheel starts gaining a small amount of distance. You cant afford to drop off more than 1.5 meters from the person in front. if you do the effort needed to catch up takes some doing…
Up ahead the final left turn, 7 hours of saddle time can come to an end with one more turn to the end. Stil hot on the back wheel I’m planning one desperate last push. This isnt about winning or beating right now, its purely showing I’ve given my all. Granted I screwed up my eating, drinking and fuelling but surely theres a final effort.
We hit the last left, Andrew takes the inside which leaves me the outisde so i can swing around keep momentum. however… theres a twist.. he has a weakness.. family.
They wave to him and he slows down to say hi but then starts sprinting to the finish, side by side with 100 yards left the worst happens.
A woman crosses the road with a small child. Said small toddler drops a ball.. then falls over. on go the anchors to slow down obviously but andrew really has slammed them on.
Thankfully child and mother get out of the track in plenty of time. I head over the line, arms aloft like some fucking hero and looking like a twat.
I survived.. A week later i iknow ill stil lbe in pain and asking why. Why.. because why not….
Just to point out it wasnt abotu beating someone, it was purely about seeing how far I can do. My ass was severly kicked on the carten, I loved the comment about how long you been here i was met with the reply “I’ve been here long enough”. classy move I will admit.
I did it.. Normaly I hate writing the letter I, but in this case I did it.