Saturday, December 01, 2007

Saturday bloody Saturday

Fortunately, it didn't end up too bloody here in the south west tropics of England. But it was an eventful day.

I'm talking, of course, about the Chippenham club run. Conditions: cold, windy, some rain and lots of puddles on the roads.

I was running a little late and the cemetery gates were deserted at 9:35. Another guy rolled up and said that we would never catch them, but I knew it couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes and I've had plenty of practice in doing that on the Schelde ride.

I felt fine, despite a slow leak in the back tyre and trying not to drop the other guy, and caught the group after about 10km. But a few minutes later, there was an accident as the bunch tried to get around two cars that were parked on a blind corner while another car was coming the other way. Ben S didn't see the second parked car and went through the back windscreen, Davis Phinney style. Fortunately it was a low speed crash and he and his bike were completely unscathed - one of the advantages of wearing so many clothes during winter. The people who had foolishly parked their cars there were of Eastern European origin and a bit confused about what had happened. It took some time to exchange details before we got under way again. Ben had to report it to the police afterwards.

5km later, I decided that my rear tyre wasn't going to make it another 60km and stopped to change the tube, telling the rest to keep going. Luckily it started to rain again at that moment, otherwise there was the danger of me going soft. While pumping up the tyre in what felt like sleet, I did receive an offer of a free cup of tea from a real estate agent who was setting up for an inspection, but I declined, pleading insanity.

I didn't fancy my chances of catching up 12 minutes so I was surprised when I rejoined the bunch 25km later. It turned out the guy who I'd started with had also punctured, and they waited for him. Club president Andy Cook was also there, following us in the Everyday Cycling car to give us a bit more security. Andy's coming back from a broken collarbone that he sustained on the club run a few weeks back. Be careful, folks!

It was a headwind all the way back and everyone was a bit shattered by the time we got to Corsham. I foolishly followed windscreen Ben when he went hard with 2km to go and although I had the legs, it cost me dearly later on. I rode back to Bath with another guy, Pete, who had blown and I had to go fairly slowly to avoid leaving him. But as we went down Kingsdown I felt my own reserves run completely dry and within a kilometre, I was history. Normally I would have eaten something but there were only 4km to go so I thought I'd wait.

I was a shaking wreck by the time I got home. Significant quantities of food had to be ingested, followed by an hour and a half of quality time on the couch. To make matters worse, I then had to go shopping at Morrisons. But I made a curry, so it wasn't all bad.

Even better, I leave this rain sodden part of the world for a three week sojourn in Sunny Australia in a week. That'll be well good, innit.

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