Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Might just as well had been a 100...

Can I, Can't I? Should I, Shouldn't I?

I look at the clubs route (North Cheshire Clarion) for the coming Sundays club run, it's a flat 43 miler and I'm wondering if this ride is where I make my comeback club ride on. I'm thinking back to last weeks ride where I manage 20 miles and felt a lot stronger than previous attempts for a road ride and I wonder if 43 miles is 'doable' for me. I know I'm no-where near as fit or as strong or as healed as I want to be but I'm not one to give in to illness or injury and constantly try to push myself. One day I will give up and take up crown green bowling but that time is not now. I'm still in rehabilitation mode and as my physio and Consultant have said, cycling is good for that but my cycling so far has consisted of static training in the confines of my garage on my turbo or when the suns out, on my lawn - there have been exploratory forays on the road and these tell me I've got a long way to go...   

So I study the route in detail and look back to my blog to the last time I rode that route back in 2009 and see that we rode an up hill off road section and that put me right off because I'm not yet confident on loose surfaces and up hill hurts my hip. Sooo what to do? I do want to get out and it is much nicer with company so I decide to do what I did last week and ride out to meet them. 3 hours was the time it took last time so lets see, 3 1/2 hours (half hour to allow for cafe stop) so that means that the ride should finish at approx 12:30. Count back 2 hrs - 2 hrs for a slow 15 mph average to give a 30 mile total gave me a 10:30 start.

With a 10:30 start in mind I set out but I'm early at Stretton and actually set off at 10. I'm riding the reverse route and head out east through Appleton but I make a huge navigational blunder and head south far too early heading towards Arley Hall instead of riding a couple of miles further east and then south. This puts me on a more or less parallel route but I didn't actually realise I was on the wrong route at that time. I'm looking down at my Garmin and can't find the big pink line I'm supposed to following and I'm cursing my Garmin thinking that it's the much complained about 3.30 firmware, I stop and let it recalculate but still no pink line, darn it...

The fool that I am

It never dawned on me that it could be rider error and I continue southwards, eventually the pink line appears on the screen and I'm puzzled how this can be, I'm thinking I must have programmed it wrongly cos I'm now approaching the actual route whereas I thought I was on it and obviously I'm not. So now I'm on the actual route riding at a steady 15+ mph and in front of me travelling fairly slowly is a small bunch of Liverpool Century riders riding at around 13 mph, as I approach I see that there are a handful of kids in the group and catching them I have a friendly chat with the elders who tell me that the fast kid on the front is a young racer all of 9 years of age and that they are from the Warrington area and the Warrington Road club. Apparently WRC being a race club farm out the kids with LC until they are old enough to race with the WRC.

I'm just not fit enough

They are travelling at a very sociable pace so I stick with them for a couple of miles until we reach the crossroads where I'm 15 miles into my ride and the point where I want to catch the North Cheshire Clarion on the return leg, we say our tata's, they carry on across the crossroads and I sit and wait in the glorious sunshine. 15 minutes go by and no Clarion, I will give them until 11:30 seeing as I bolloxed my route up I may have missed them. 11:30 comes and goes, I slowly get back on my bike have another drink, clean my glasses again and it's 11:35, I have to be on my way so off I set looking back over my shoulder, no Clarion. I'm trundling along for 10 minutes or so when a solo non Clarion rider comes past me and says 'here come the cavalry', I look behind and yup here comes the Clarion with Giles on the front, I tag on the back, had a quick chat with David but had to drop off as the pace was just too fast at 17 - 19 mph, I lasted for all of 10 minutes at the most as I'm not fit enough to keep that pace up. I ride on at a slower pace solo again awaiting the arrival of the main NCC peloton, a little while later here they come and once again I tag on chatting with Pablo, Martin, John etc and I'm OK with the slightly slower pace of this group but at 25 miles I'm shattered and once again I drop off the back as I didn't want to slow them up. I'm really knackered now, my hip is complaining and my arm is moaning. My legs want to go home the easy way via the car which is parked at Stretton. I have to stop a couple of times, I'm not feeling too good and crawl that last mile at 10mph. It's over now, I'm back at the car and soon on my way home.

Felt like I had done a hundred miles...

Today I thought that 30 miles was achievable seeing as I managed 20 easily last week but the way it worked out for 30 miles it might well have been a 100 miles as at the end that was the way it felt; as though I had actually ridden a century ride, my legs were drained and I had clearly over-reached myself, 25 miles was OK, 30 was not. Next time out I will aim for 25/26/27 miles and build up from there. A disappointing day, I pushed myself and hit my limit and clearly I have a lot of fitness work and healing to do, I'm only 16 weeks post break so I suppose 30 miles is good going considering where I'm at with my rehabilitation...

My Stats
30.6 miles, 2hrs 9mins, Av speed 14.2mph, 718 ft climbing (Garmin)


  1. Great effort Mark - keep it up mate

  2. Great ride Mark. Nice write up and I could feel your discomfort ;). Hope to see you out soon.