On Sunday I rode a 105 mile sportive with a few friends. It included over 3000 metres (almost 10,000 feet) of climbing and part of me was looking forward to the hard work. As it turned out, the day was pretty much all hard work, with a reasonable amount of satisfaction at the end, but to be honest quite minimal enjoyment levels. Having worked 6 days this week, setting the alarm for 4.15am on a Sunday was not the most enjoyable start.
I had been hoping to take lots of photos for the blog. I had also been hoping to ride with Andy all day. Unfortunately a tyre sidewall blow out on a descent at 6 miles ended both of those plans. It was the front tyre and I was lucky to stay on the bike as I lost control at a fair speed. By the time I’d stopped the tyre had half come off the rim. Luckily Andy was carrying a spare piece of tyre which he handed over before I told him to carry on. I put the piece of tyre inside the damaged tyre and replaced the punctured inner tube before setting off again.
Basically my day consisted of:
6 – 16 miles – thrashing it up endless hills trying to catch up with Andy but overcooking it and suffering badly
16 – 30 miles – fighting up more hills alone into headwinds, sidewinds and rain. Lots of rain.
30 – 60 miles – quick feed stop and then as per 16 – 30 miles
60 – 70 miles – finally found somebody going at a similar speed and teamed up. This helped in fighting the wind, but I was starting to notice a constant d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d from my repaired front wheel.
70 miles – stopped at feed station and inspected the front wheel. The repair was starting to bulge out of the split but luckily there was a mechanic at the feed zone who replaced my tyre for a small fee.
70 – 104 miles – after the stop, the weather and my mood seemed to change and everything improved to the point where I was finally enjoying myself. I crossed the line in just under 7 hours which felt good for all the hills and mechanical issues.
At the finish I found out that one of our friends had fallen and had been taken to hospital with a broken femur and possibly damaged her hip too. All in all it wasn’t a great day and there were certainly some lessons in suffering all around – some unfortunately far more serious than for others.
The event was however extremely well organised and maybe in a few days I’ll do it justice with a more positive write-up.