Etape Du Dales

photo courtesy of Sportsunday

I knew deep down when Shaun somehow talked me into entering this event that it was going to be a mistake. A very hilly 110 mile road sportive in the Yorkshire Dales, a week after a 24 hour solo race, was never going to be a picnic was it? It was certainly never going to be my most glorious day in the saddle anyway.

Despite last weekend’s efforts though I was feeling ok (I thought) and I was well up for it. I met up with Chris and Shaun and off we went, the pace immediately quite fast.

I was still feeling ok after a while –  a bit slower than usual on the climbs but not too bad. Coping. Weird pain in the back of my calf and my scabby hip was aching a bit but nothing too surprising so I pressed on. The weather wasn’t brilliant and we were riding into a headwind mostly – there were a few rain showers but nothing too bad.

At around 60 miles I got a puncture. I stopped to fix it but the other 2 carried on, unaware that I’d stopped. Once the bike was sorted, I started to feel weak, you know, like I was tired for some reason….

At the 70 mile feed station I was really feeling it, fatigue had crept up on me from behind…and then BLAM it hit me. Things were all different now. I was getting knackered, basically.

So rather than press on and smash myself to bits (and probably delay the planned start of my Mountain Mayhem training a bit further) I decided to stop for a bit and eat some of the corned beed sandwiches on offer. Then I dropped my pace quite a bit, riding all the climbs but not caning it.

The weather by now was getting pretty horrendous – gusting winds and horizontal, persistent rain. I carried on for ages and ages and eventually it was all over. I crossed the line about 7 and a half hours (!) after I’d set off, my average speed dropping so much in the final 40ish miles that I’d ‘achieved’ a rather ponderous 15 mph over the whole route. No matter, I’ve kick-started my Mayhem training now, all that I need is for summer to get it’s arse back into gear.