5 things I learned during yesterday’s shambolic ride:
- Always carry a spare inner tube and appropriate tools!
- A loose fitting cotton t-shirt will not keep you warm on a cold, windy day
- A waterproof layer would be useful
- The hills still have the better of me
- My wine theory needs fine tuning
When I said I wanted some hill training, I hadn’t properly thought it through. Good job then that our 70 mile ride was cut short at 15 miles by a puncture in the middle of nowhere on the first hill. What lay ahead was a hill of vomit inducing proportions, somewhere around a white horse which, had we attempted it, might have caused a variety of symptoms of ill health.
It had been slow going to that point, a combination of several stops to identify and fix the source of rattling coming from Rusty Bob (my faithful steed); the bracing wind; and a hangover.
Fifteen miles in we tackled the first big hill. After about a week, or so it felt, I rounded a corner and through the sweat dripping into my eyes saw Dad beside his bike looking a bit wobbly. “Shit he’s having a coronary”, I thought, but no. He had stopped to wait for me and seen a speed bollard to lean on; only they’re not solid like they used to be so he, bike and bollard fell unceremoniously into a thistle. Whether it was thistle or bramble that caused the puncture we don’t know, but as he set off again that front tyre was flat as a pancake.
It took us a good ten minutes to figure out what to do, what with dithering being a family trait. Being technically unsophisticated in the gear department has its benefits and I could have walked, but Dad with his cleats on could not. Not that there was anywhere nearby to walk to. We called in the cavalry, and in the 50 minutes it took Andy to find someone to sit with the kids, remove the back row of seats from the Pointy Love Bus to accommodate 2 bikes and get to us, we amused ourselves with silliness, admired the view, decided we would have a pint with lunch and watched as our extremities turned blue.
It was cold. It was windy. Hypothermia was setting in and the rain was on its way. Upon our request Andy drove us to Marlborough with the intention of getting Dad’s puncture fixed in the bike shop there and continuing on our way (cleverly missing out aforementioned white horse hill), after a warm and a feed in a local hostelry.
By the time the bikes were fully functioning again, and spare tubes had been purchased, it was 2pm, we still had at least 50 miles to go, the rain had set in and the blue tingling extremities were no less blue. So as any sane person would, we bailed out and went home to warm baths and cups of tea.
A tad disappointing, as despite the very late night (1am), the 2 bottles of red wine, the wind and the cold, I was in the zone and I am running short of training opportunities. We’ll chalk that one up to experience. I’ll get Rusty Bob serviced (the gears are very temperamental) and get the computer fixed (the source of the rattling) as I’m sure I wasn’t doing 20 miles per hour up that hill! And, in future, I’ll be properly prepared before I go out and might also stick to 2 glasses, rather than 2 bottles of wine.