Straight on at roundabout


Struggling around
January 23, 2011, 7:37 pm
Filed under: 200, Rides

In anticipation of Saturday’s Willy Warmer 200 I spent all week monitoring weather forecasts and with growing alarm saw the risk of icy conditions get stronger and stronger.  So by the time the big day came around I had all but decided not to start.

You see I am of the belief that cycling and ice don’t mix.  I was converted to this view on a cold December day when my front wheel disappeared from under me twice in a matter of few hundred metres.  Even if you’re rolling slowly because someone has warned you about the black Ice ahead it’s an unnerving experience that I have no intention of repeating.

But I’d promised Paul the organiser that I’d make tea and toast at the start (Pictures from Els here)so I was always going to turn up at the start…and on Friday night, as I froze on my homeward commute, I reasoned I might as well load the bike in the Landie in case it wasn’t as dire.

So, at 6 am there wasn’t any ice – and despite the fact that the heating in the Landie has taken an extended sabbatical/left the country to visit relatives I was thinking a 200 might be on the cards.

But this is where the psychological bit gets interesting.

I’d already told myself I’d be at home in the afternoon to get my hair cut and do a few jobs.  And at the start a couple of old friends were doing the shorter 125 course…which Paul has adapted a bit…

So before I knew it I’d switched to the shorter event and later start.  And I’d grabbed a card for on of the non-starters and I was off up the road with Ian Oliver.

The funny thing though I how the mind works when it comes to thinking about distances.

125 km is not really very far – it should be relatively easy in between five and six hours.  And Paul had laid on a course that managed to avoid any significant hills or climbing apart from a few road hums around Maidenhead.  It’s an easy ride.

It’s 50km to the first control at Pangbourne – you share the control with riders on the longer 200km ride (it’s the point where the two rides split).  For them it’s the first quarter done – for us it’s coming up to the half way point.  And we arrived there quickly – there were still plenty of the slower 200km riders in the café when we got there.

Over the years I have become convinced that how tired you feel is a function of how far you still have to go.  I am sure that those riders on the 200 looked like they had done a quarter of a ride – the rest of us looked like we’d done nearly double that.

Later on, as we rolled through Winnerish past the Sainsbury’s that is the final control for the 200 riders I felt as spent as if I’d ridden 160 km – not the 85km or so that I had managed.

Perhaps this is one of the secrets to long-distance riding – not to focus on how far you have travelled or what proportion of the ride you have to go.

The ride did have a couple of high points.

The Non-starter, whose card I’d grabbed at the last minute when I set off, turned up in the Pangbourne control.  I’ve known him for years through swimming and this was his first Audax.  Chris is giving Audax a try as part of his preparation for Lands End To John O’Groats in August.

And I discovered a new climb out of Maidenhead via Mill Lane – which I used again today after I’d dropped the Landie off at the garage (they are going to start a hunt for the missing heating).

Paul is asking me if I fancy trying the 200 again next weekend – I am tempted, Els’ blog post here suggests that it might not be a waste of time!

Liam

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Interesting comment on Landie heating as the aircon also packs up on mine in the tropics and started blowing hot air! A real endurance test!

Comment by Paddy




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