Polocini Winter Sprinter

A long, hilly ride the day before what was bound to be (based on the pace last year and the people I’d be riding with this year) a very fast 60 mile road ride should have been ok. A few hours in the hills, ride to Macclesfield, tea at mum-in-law’s, stay over then ride to the start 4 miles away in the morning. The weather was going to be pretty crappy but it didn’t matter.

Throwing in a few hill intervals at the halfway point of the ride the day before shouldn’t have been a big problem either. I might feel it a little bit on Sunday but that’s ok.

Doing all of this at the end of a pretty big training week was maybe pushing it a wee bit.

Forgetting to take more than two gels was going a bit beyond ‘pushing my luck a bit’ though. They weren’t even ‘strong’ gels either – they were those crappy watered-down ones. I only took them because they were out of date and needed using. I’m such a bloody a tightwad.

By the time I reached the final big climb, just a few miles from my mum-in-law’s, I was starting to have problems. Rapidly running out of energy, I was getting that weird floatiness…the start of the dreaded bonk.

What an idiot. I rode quite slowly for the final few miles and largely, I got away with it. I ate, massaged my legs and got a good night’s sleep and looked forward to a good ride the day after.

And it was great, as expected. I rode to the start, ate my free massive tub of porridge, collected my free pack of gels, energy bars and water bottle and met up with John and Phil. Despite the weather, 300 or so riders started the ride at 9am. Within a few miles the three of us set about dictating the pace at the front of an ever-decreasing group. Ticking off mile after mile of the (almost) flat route, our average speed increasing with each pedal stroke. Covered in grime and mud from the road, we kept things tight and were looking forward to being done and dusted in around 3 hours.

My legs felt pretty heavy but it wasn’t causing too many problems.

Things were going really well in fact, until we reached the ‘feature’ climb of Swiss Hill. A steep, cobbled climb that’s quite hard in the dry, but in the wet it’s a right bugger. Shifting down on the approach, I dropped my chain and had to stop to put it back on. The lads disappeared off into the distance as I attempted to get going again on the slippery surface. I ran to the top. They’d gone.

Ace. I attempted to catch them up but knew it was pretty futile. My average speed without the protection of the group would be no match for the Phil/John freight train, so I thought of a contingency plan. I’d go for a cup of tea instead 😉

A few miles later, I reached Prestbury (where my mother-in-law lives) and decided that my legs, by now pretty cooked, deserved a break. This was supposed to be an ‘easy ride day’ according to the training plan anyway!

And so it came to pass that with just 10 miles of the route left to go I succumbed to the lure of a warm shower and a warm drink, which is most unlike me but it seemed like the right thing to do. (I showed up later on at the finish to claim my free sausage and mash and cake though). I’m not completely stupid.

Another superbly organised and amazing value event from Polocini. How Allen manages to feed everyone before and after the ride AND  provide freebies AND feed stations is incredible really. The next Polocini event is the probably-aptly-named ‘Bastard’. Do it.