Today was going to be a tall order from the onset. I'd planned on doing a long brick session for training and it turned out that there was a Sportive event going on just up the road (literally) so a whole bunch of us entered this and I was going to do a 10 mile run after.
Running club were a man down on the annual Ridgeway relay so i offered to do the last leg of the run which was funnily enough 10 miles. I did it last year and fricking loved it. But warned the guys i was doing a cycle event during the day and would be using it as a brick session so taking it steady.
The plan was 8 am kick off for the sportive, get up to barbury castle for the last leg for 5pm. I'd hoped to do the bike ride in 6hr30 to acheive the gold standard, this in itself knowing some of the hills which were involved was going to be a push, but i'd been feeling fairly strong until Thursdays Time trial ((when the wheels fell off)
A bunch of the Ironman crew and the swindon to paris guys were all doing it, and going for gold too, so we planned to stick together as best we could - knowing that i'd get dropped pretty much at the first climb Gareth and Nathan said theyd stick with me. I had thought i'd keep up with them ok.
After 3 miles the first massive climb was upon us, i was out the back door of the pelaton faster than you could say Lance armstrong. I caught up with Gareth and Nathan (who i think were holding back) and Ali (another Ironman lady) caught us up to. For the first 25 miles or so we stuck together. Ali and I got dropped on another long drag and when we got to the top Gaterh and Nathan had waited. I told them they neednt wait - after all it was their ride too, and they could still stand a chance at getting a gold standard. But they stuck with us a bit longer.
After another mamoth climb up hackpen hill was an aid station where they were once more stopped, we discussed what to do and i told them to kick on, me and Ali were goin much the same pace so would stick together.
I'm pretty scarred from todays ride, i hated most of it, the hills were so tough, it was nothing like the cheshire twat ride in that there was hills but big flat patches, on this, there were hills, drags and when we got flat bits there was a horrid head wind.
I nearlty cried several times, had it not been for Ali i would have rung my dad to get me. we ploughed through the big hills like the air was made of syrup - up snap whcih snuck from nowhere,
We went through 50 miles in 3 hours so were still in with a chance of getting the 6.30 gold time. But i was battered already, from 50 - 80 miles we seemed to make no progress. I wanted to scream at the wind, the hills the potholes. About 10 miles from the end Ali pushed on a bit, and i was alone trying not to cry - just ten more miles i told myself. piece of piss. yeah right. I had heard rumours of "Foxhill" but this was a bitch. so near to the end, it made me nearly grind to a halt. i just had to keep that front wheel turning and on the ground. I finally reached the top and had a brief decnet down. Then shortly after another virtical climb! I had been worrying for the last 30 miles about a) getting to the relay in time (given that it was getting on a bit now!) and b) that mmy legs would be any kind of state to even run!
I finally got back to the race HQ in about 7.5 dismal hours. But what made me smile was Gary, Ali, Gareth and Nathan all at the finish line cheering for me, they'd waited around for ages for me. It was really sweet of them and i was so grateful to them.
Stats of Ride
I didnt have time to hang around as i had to now get my bike inthe car and head up to barbury castle to run my leg of the relay.
I boshed some painkillers downed some energy drink and wnet ot eat some haribo but theyd all melted into one big lump :(
I spoke to Tony en route and the team were doing well, they'd not had to use any mass starts so far and Martin was due at the last leg in about an hour so i had a little bit of time to warm up (not that i wasnt warm) quick wetwipe wash, change and prepare myself.
The run was the same 10 mile leg i did last year and i loved it. I knew i wouldnt do it in the same time or near (of 1hr09) but decided to do what i could without blowing myself up.
I got off 5 mins before the mass start so had the first couple of miles running alone. I had forgotten how much up there was on this leg, the trail was fairly firm under foot, with some moguls and pot holes from mountain bikes, so you had to keep watch of where you were going constantly.
After 20 mins or so the first person from the mass start overtook me, i was feeling ok, but i couldntg have done much more withoutt risking the wheels falling off, so i just maintained the pace i was doing, and got myself into a rhythm as a few more people overtook. I had to remember this was ironman prep, iim not going to do an all out race, and how many of these guys have just got off a 107 mile hilly bike course?!
After about 7 miles the course starts to descent into Marlborough, so my legs got a rest and i got a chance to get my breath back. I hit the road which i remember from before but i knew i had to get back onto the ridgeway at some [point to go up a grassy hill then back out into the town and through the finish
I never found that bit back on to the ridgeway i found myself with another lady in the town, runing the wrong way off course. I knew the finish was somewhere near the leisure centre so headed in that direction.
I ran towards the finish (from the wrong side) and my team mates were all looking the other way so i ran past, did an about turn and ran through the finish again! I'd added a mile to my leg to make it 11 miles but felt ok, and completed it in 1hr 22 which i was pretty happy with to say the least!
Not sure where we came yet - TBC but it was a nice end to a shit day!