On Sunday 23rd September 2012 I did the Tour Ride starting and finishing at Trentham Gardens.
The route was supposed to be 105 miles with 2,000m of ascent. That proved to be a bit conservative. In fact it was 109.3 with over 2,400m of ascent - my Garmin didn't register ascent properly for the last 10 miles due to the rain.
I wasn't going to do it - not enough training and too much of a paunch. But hey, cometh the hour cometh the man. I couldn't pass up on what would turn out to be my longest ride EVER!
The day started very cold but dry with a moderate easterly wind and I managed to start out in the 2nd group, my hope was to beat the rain back. I nearly managed too.
The initial sections were described as rolling - it's not rolling over Cannock Chase, it's decidedly hilly. Several hundred meters of climbing later and we hit the rolling terrain up to Blithfield Reservoir, that is rolling but steep in a couple of places. I filmed up to Milford and for some reason made the foolish decision not to film until after Rocester (both were feed stops).
Tour Ride Video Part 1 - Trentham to Milford feed station
Tracey was acting as support for me on this ride - and she did a good job too. Always where I'd asked her to go, even though I actually told her the wrong place for the Milford feed stop. Water bottles and gels were always ready. I rode in a decent group up to Rocester but then the reast of the ride was done pretty much on my own.
Well, suffice to say that once I reached Alton and then Oakamore I realised just how little training I'd done. Oakamore was tough, I knew it would be, Andy Bentley and I rode it a few weeks ago and both suffered big style. Then came the unclassified climbs from Onecote to Warslow - all hard in themselves and they were topped off my the drag to the Morridge from Warslow.
Then a scary descent with strong cross winds and a max speed of 51.2 mph. Not fun with 50mm deep rims!
Gunn Hill followed and I even managed a smile at the top for the photographer from Sportive Photo. It was still hard but I was feeling quite good - even managed a couple of PB's on the climbs.
That was until I reached Rudyard! Then I died, big style. Talk about the bonk!!!! I began to feel sick, then really hungry and then the shakes came on and finally my legs told me that they were not going to pedal up the damn hill anymore! I told them, "Yes you bloody well will" but they only agreed to pedal slowly, very slowly! It nearly killed me to get to the feed station at Biddulph Moor but when I did I sat in the car with Trace and ate. I sat there for about 25 or 30 mins warming up and made the decision to carry on. Garmin said it was 19.5 miles to the finish - little did I know that they had mucked up the distance and it was in fact 25 miles to the finish.
Hey ho though, I set off and paced myself back onto the ridge. By the time I'd reached Dilhorne I'd got my 2nd wind and flew the last 10 miles back. But it decided to rain too. If I'd not bonked I'd have beaten the rain!
I reached the finish in the pouring rain but crossed the line in some semblance of a sprint, see the photo.
Ride time was 6:57 and the distance was 109.3 miles.
Well, I'm back from Mayrhofen and working on the GoPro video footage I produced. All the bike rides were videoed for Route Cam and the first is ready and uploaded onto YouTube and the route is on Bikely.
Here is the video:
And the route to go along with this video can be found at Bikely.
The descent from Astegg is shown in it's entirety so that anyone wishing to ride this route can see the dangers for themselves before heading down at breakneck speed.
Well, I've been on my holiday for a few days now and each one has had warmer - or should I say hotter - weather.
Today I decided to cycle to Astegg and then to Hintertux. Both hard climbs in their own right, but add them together and throw in a smattering of 33 degree sunshine and I was in for a whole can of whoop ass!
I grovelled up to Astegg - I did 800m of ascent in 7 miles and it was brutal. I only stopped once an that was to dip my bandanna into a waterfall. I stopped at Gasthoff Astegg and had a nice dinner and then headed out to Hintertux. That meant dropping back down an then a leg busting climb to the town. I was looking forward to the descent.
Well, the descent was a wash out - road works slowed me and so did the German car drivers. Only managed an average speed of 22mph on the descent - could have gone much faster as you'll see when I edit and add the video.
Well, I'm back blogging for a short while. Not much to talk about really other than the weather.
As a cyclist the weather matters - cold nasty days are for those hard people that do that racing thing. Nice warm days are for those like me, over weight and ageing.
Looks like those hard people are getting all their weather then! It's May, and it's cold (7.5 degrees) and it's very, very wet. Funny how it's so wet, and has been for a month, we have full reservoirs and still we have a drought?
Come on weather - it's May for goodness sake - start to bloody warm up!
On another note - one year ago in the Giro Wouter Weylandt tragically died while descending on Stage 3. A tragic loss to his young family and the wider cycling community. Spare a thought for him as you go about your business today.