Middlesbrough To London

What a ride I had on Tuesday. I’d decided I would cycle home from my mums in North Yorkshire over two days. I stay in a lovely B&B near Louth, north east of Lincoln on the eastern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. The owner very kindly did me a full English breakfast at 6.15am. This meant I was on the road by 7.15am. The route ahead would be rolling for, at most, the first 30 miles and then pan flat for the best part of 100 before becoming rolling again for the final section into London. Should be a nice long fast day in the saddle.

  

It started pissing down and a headwind. On a point to point route a headwind at the start isn’t the best omen since it probably means a headwind all day. I made good progress initially and as I approached Boston had a 6 mile stretch on a pan flat arrow straight road. Looking ahead the road just disappeared into the horizon, when I got to that point I looked ahead and it still just disappeared into the horizon. There was something perversely exciting about battling along this road into the wind struggling to maintain even 15 mph.

In Boston I treated myself to a sit down and a Costa coffee. I’d managed 35 miles in the rain and felt quite pleased with myself. Within an hour of getting going again, after battling in to the wind and seeing my average speed slowly drop below 15 mph I started doing some mental arithmetic. No way could I be stopping for coffee — at this rate I’d be lucky to get back in time. Fingers crossed my estimate of 180 miles was wrong. I convinced myself that since I was only going to Jo’s my estimate should be 175 miles. I dreamed of even a couple of hours of no wind as I knew I could be belting along at 20 mph easily rather than this sub 15 mph effort. I screamed at the wind but to no avail. It just didn’t let up … in fact it got worse.

When there were trees by the road I could creap up to 16 or 17 mph but when there were none and the full force of the wind hit I was lucky to be doing 11 or 12 mph. It was brutal and exhausting. Only stops were to quickly grab food / drink and hop back on the saddle. The rain kept coming and going – spells of dry (too brief), spells of  drizzle and big spells of heavy downpours. At least I wasn’t cold.

I got to Ashwell and was hopeful. This is on my regular weekend rides. I thought “nearly home” then I thought a little more and realised this was far from the truth. Ashwell is a point only on my longer rides. Still no time to dilly dally – pushed on.

By the time I was coming in to London from Epping it was getting dark. If felt like a wet autumn evening not summer. I quite liked it. Having been in the saddle for 11 hours I was now buzzing at the final bit into London. It was also the fastest I’d ridden all day. I finally got to Jo’s at about 8.30pm just in time to shower before dinner – delicious Thai Chicken curry. I flopped on the sofa unable to contribute much to any conversation – I felt very content.

Since the last entry I’ve still been struggling with my right ankle / calf. Virtually no running last week. I did do the National Relays on Saturday. Again we put out a strong mixed team and we managed 3rd place. Less than a minute separated the first three. We were pretty pleased with this though not happy with the progression: 2004 1st Mens, 2005 1st Mixed, 2006 2nd Mixed, 2007 3rd Mixed. We may have to give it a miss next year. I ran well but my ankle ached like you wouldn’t believe afterwards.

Continued high bike mileage in the absence of running. On Sunday Jo and I did a great ride in the Yorkshire Dales. We crossed the Wensleydale Tri course and managed to go over Buttertubs as the leaders came the other way. Awesome fun screaming encouragement at the racers. Monday saw me complete a pretty leisurely 130 miles down to Louth.

I ran on Wednesday lunchtime and didn’t feel too bad considering but the calf tightened up significantly. I saw the physio Thursday morning and after 30 minutes of squealing I felt a lot better and left with some exercises to self inflict equivalent pain. I ran that lunchtime and it didn’t tighten so much. Since then I’ve done the exercises a couple of times and the calf is feeling better. Taking a rest day today and from tomorrow am going to try to hit a big weeks training. Will be the first since pre Lanzarote. I’m certainly feeling more positive about Kona now. If the calf holds out I’ve got the opportunity for 5 weeks hard training. The bike and swim are where they need to be. If I can get some half decent running in and shed the pounds I should be reasonably prepared.

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