Dulwhich Paragon 2/3 – Bletchingley

31 Mar

An eventful week really. I was away last weekend, and after a good training ride on Saturday morning, my plan was to go away for two days to Cotswolds to relax, come back and do some good training and some commutes etc to get me ready for what would obviously be the hardest race I’ve entered. That was the plan…

What actually happened is I caught something whilst in the Wolds and didn’t sleep Saturday or Sunday night, and felt terrible till Tuesday, then the sleeping came back but my stiff neck, and kidney pain didn’t go away untill Yesterday really. I managed to ride in twice, and despite feeling ok, it was clear my neck wasn’t enjoying it, so not sure what virus it could have been that leaves you with aching kidneys and neck. Very odd.

Anyway, that’s the excuses out the way 😉 got to the course quite early, signed on etc etc, saw a couple of the other guys, two of which I know are fantastic climbers, and there’s plenty of names on the startlist that ring a bell too from results they have had and what not. The course is touted as one of, if not the toughest in the Surrey league, with one side of it being mostly downhill at 40mph + and the other having three nasty little climbs before a long drag back to the downhills again.

So we set off and by fiddling around with the garmin I find myself at the back of the pack from the start (idiot!) but make it back and am feeling OK by the time we come round to the climbs the first time, we go up the first which is just a short punchy thing, HR goes sky high, and seems not to come down for a while which is worrying, we go up the second and third and I’m feeling it, we actually stopped dead on the last climb on the first lap for some reason, and a gap opened up, so myself and 4/5 others had to get back on which actually was more effort than it should have been, this meant that when we were coming through the HQ after the first lap I was blowing, and was off the back by a few bikes, thankfully due to being fat and having a very aero bike I managed to get back on to the bunch  on the downhills (doing 50 mph in the process).

Second round up the hills and its apparent I’m not going to finish in the bunch, if at all, my back is cramping very badly and although my HR has settled, power to the pedals wasn’t coming due to the aching back. So I hope this is an after effect of this illness, otherwise its clear my position is totally wrong, but although I had some slight twinges on my last race, it was NOTHING like this. Think I might raise the bars a tiny bit to see what happens… Anyway, this time is the same, I fight hard to stay in touch, and I’m in touch (just) till we come up through the HQ up the long false flat (well, its a hill, no false about it!) and I can feel the power ebbing away and the group pulling ahead, I want to try and get back on but its not happening. I think possibly I can get back on on the downhill, but this time I had become too distant, and that, 20 miles in was the end of that. I then did a lap on my own, and even at a fairly sedate pace the aches are pretty bad, so instead of doing another couple of laps, as I really didn’t want to drive all the way out there to do 30 miles I had to cal it a day and rolled back into the HQ and drove home. Pretty pissed off as I’d like to think on a normal day I’d at least have had a bunch finish on that course (I’ll never win there, its not for sprinters, that’s for sure), but today wasn’t that day.

Some positives to take from it I guess were that I now know where Godstone Shell is, and they have fuel, but only at pumps 7/8…mums the word 😉

Next race is a 3rd only down in Petersfield Hants, nice course, 25% wall at the finish…joy, that’s next weekend, so will report back.

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