It's been a month since my confession - according to Rob.... !
So... on that note - yesterday was the day of the aptly renamed "Twat Ride" - otherwise known as the "Cheshire Cat" sportive. I suggested this to a group of friends a few months back, my ulterior motive being that it was to form a milestone in my IronMan training plan - my first century ride (as it happens, this ended up being last week for my birthday) but it was my first sportive so still ad day for firsts.
Originally Penny and Kerry were going to do the 67 mile route, Mike, David and I the 100 mile route. Penny fell down a cliff and smashed her shoulder (apparently - i think the xray/mri look a bit photoshopped to me and I'm almost certain the bruises were painted on with make-up) and David decided to do the 67 mile instead - because Penny had tired him out making her do all her errands - she has "a broken shoulder" you see! Kerry got herself a brand new shiny cycling type boyfriend so he also joined up - to the 100 miler.
The drive down was loooong! Made longer still by Mike having an anecdote for everything..... ever. Even buildings..... "did I tell you about the Fort Dunlop building?" I'm sure the feeling was mutual with my constant pointing out of signs such a "oh..look... jisborough", "shagborough" still travelling that fast in a Ford is quite a novelty for me, so i shan't complain any more.
After some issues trying to check in at the travel lodge - "no i'm not kerry, i'm having her room but she's now sharing with someone else" to the Neanderthal at the front desk (which looked more like a cupboard) Unpacked car, found room.... Penny and David were on the road still, trying to find the other Travelodge in Knutsford. Finally they arrive, shortly followed by Kerry and James - this was the first time i'd met the two fo them. I ahd gifts for everyone - Kerry - some Haribo as wiggle keep forgetting to send her some, Creme eggs for James - he likes the Jizzy centre, Wine gums for David as i noticed this to be his riding nutrition, some "Wank Party" tights for Penny, and a bumper pot of Sudacream for Mike's arse - they didnt have any giant Compede.
As always happens in the Company of Penny and David, i got lead firmly astray with the lure of lager and wine. Obviously being stuck in a car with Mike for most of the day meant I really *needed* a pint...... the bigger problem is my inability to know my limit - usually this is about a glass of wine before i stop drinking. Combine this with losing an hour's sleep to the age old thing of daylight saving time or whatever, this meant not the best night's sleep.
After requesting "lots of food" at breakfast, a couple of coffees, the hangover starting to subside, we finally got off to the start. We parked a 5 min ride from the start and when we got there, were about to join the queue, but soon realised the queue did a total lap of the carpark - so turned out being quite a wait, luckily the facilities on site were pretty decent so took it in turns to go for last minute wee stops. Anyone who's read previous posts will know of my penchant for boys in lycra - the day did not disappoint.... cycling is quite a handy sport to fulfill this simple requirement.
So we finally set off, the roads were a bit pot holey to begin, Kerry was having issues with her new pedals - bit tight apparently, James was having troubles with his bum - bit tight apparently. Nothing much momentous happened for the first 10 miles or so, until Mike decided to push me off my bike... ok so maybe he didn't really push me (so he says) neither of us seemed to know we were going to turn left, and somehow we got tangled up, (he pushed me) and i ended up in a pile on the floor. Luckily i wear a helmet - it's now cracked through - as i told my mate the other day when he turned up for a ride with a beanie on "that's not going to hold your brains in when you fall off"
No major injuries, a grazed elbow and bruised thigh we got off again, the first of the big hills came up much sooner than we expected, we had all thought there was a feed station prior so whilst bimbling along in the wrong gear for a big hill, i ended up stalling and having to half walk up a bit of it til i could find somewhere not quite as verticle to restart, during this time passed by Kerry and David - James and Mike were already gone. It then occured to me that this was the infamous "Mow Cop" hill, the pics on the website didn't do it justice and at 26% it was going to be a biggun! i rounded the corner and in front was just this wall of tarmac - iv'e previously written about "Snap" hill and "my hill" round my way, but they are gentle slopes by comparison!
I caught up with James, and could see Mike half way up the steepest bit, then i realised he was on the floor (it later transpired Karma came about and someone pushed him off)
So i slowly slowly catchy monkey slogged up the tarmac mountain, making slow steady progress. Passing people defeated and walking, trying to keep the front wheel on the floor, pretty much hacking up my uterus by this point, i was caught up to where Mike had been picked off the floor and about 2 wheel turns from the point where stewards were giving prizes for people getting up the steepest bit (rumoured to be 32%!!) and i ground to a halt, my wheel stopped and i just fell over sideways. (i'm certain Mike pushed me again as he was right there)
I laid on the side of the road giggling, still attached to both pedals and wasted Mike pulled off my shoe so i could get up and we walked the rest of the way to the top, whilst a few people nipped up like rats up drain pipes!
We got to the top and saw that James had made it the whole way! King of the hill. Fair play fella. We waited for everyone else to get to the top and refuelled with jiz gels n the like. After that we set off again.... round the corner the hill continued!! For approximately 40 miles. I love hills, but seriously these were ridiculous!!
There were feed stations about every 25 miles, which we could stock up on bananas, (i think i ate about 10 that day), drinks and biscuits/cakes - wee stops and reapply lube!
After the hills were out of the way David and I decided it was actually "quite pleasant" riding, despite the now wasted legs, there were some great decents but i'm a big wimp and hang off my brakes a lot of the time on the bigguns, when David said "i've not touched my brakes yet" I wasn't surprised as i've ridden with him before and him slalomming down massive hills make my stomach churn. We managed to get into a fairly decent pace for a while, taking it in turns to ride the front.
After the 2nd feed station we split off into our two groups, safe in the knowledge that we were *almost* half way! fuck me. Luckily we'd read the profile map so knew there were no more hills.... (well almost no more). I think Mike and I said something to upset James cos he belted off on his own. There were phases in the last 30 miles where nothing was said for miles, endurance is a funny thing, one minute you can be full of it, the next in a trance like state just trying to maintain your existence. I didnt have any real bad moments, but it was a real eye opener to the nutrition plan i need to adopt for the iron man as for a while, i could hardly keep up with my body's demands for energy and maintaining the same level was tricky for a while, so almost force feeding myself to keep level, but i think it worked.
The last feed station was an eerie place... there was tumbleweed rolling by, someone walking round with a sandwich board saying "the end is nigh" ok i made that up but it felt a bit like that... the end was nigh in fact... just 25 miles to go! So quick refuel, and back on... "ouch" not the worst case of saddle sore, but a definite bit of chaffing!
We picked up the pace a bit for the last stretch and a few more words were exchanged... "I fucking hate you Mike" and various mean comments about my fat arse. Standard really.
The last few miles, we chased down a few people in front of us, the last 2 not letting us win, they knew our game! Finally cross the finish line (2 seconds ahead of Mike) hoppped off feeling pretty decnet actually - definitley could ahve done a run after (which is just as well as in a few months i need to ride on a further 12 miles and run 26.2... !)
Went inside and found kerry and james - Penny and David had left, but Penny had left us a banana cake - I fucking love Penny! xx (not just for her cakes you realise)
Kerry and james left, Mike spent about an hour doing his make up for the journey home, and we set about on the longest car journey in history..... where the following things were learnt 1) scav nav is a bit wank, 2) you can't follow the north star if there's clouds 3) Mike's a shit navigator 4) i'm a shit driver 5) Clash rocked the Casbah 6) "did I tell you about the Fort Dunlop building?"
All in all a pretty great weekend really, fucking nackered now, and i've got whiplash, bruised elbows, and a sore knee. But i feel pretty prepared for my next adventure... 7 weeks until Florida Half Ironman!! Eek.
Hopefully next year Penny can ride too! x