Tuesday, 13 May 2014

As Beautiful and Terrible as the Dawn...

... More Treacherous than the Sea!
Stronger than the foundations of the Earth!!!

I'm just generally ace me.  Because *FANFARE*

Check that time People!

Just in case you missed it:

Started in:Pitlochry, Scotland, GB
Distance:80.9 mi
Elevation:3875 / - 3870 ft
Moving Time:05:23:29

That would have me beating both, BOTH, my target time (less than 6 hours, and forty four minutes quicker than last year) and my Wave time by 7 minutes.  That is also my official time - I started Garry Garmin just before we entered the starting gate - and we didn't stop once.  

We (me and the Gids) probably could have got under 5hrs 20 but we lost each other at the top of Schiehallion.  On most hills he waits at the top, I see him and he moves off again and I catch up but he went straight through to the feed station a couple of miles away and waited there.  I thought I'd perhaps missed him at the top when he moved off but I couldn't find him as I'm usually only a couple of minutes behind, and when I couldn't see him on the road ahead I thought I'd gone passed him so slowed down.  I really didn't want to stop because when you stop it's so much difficult to get started again, it really is horrendous, so I slowed down for a bit.  In the end I ended up asking a Red Van Man at the top of Schiehallion, as darling boyfriend does like to cut a dash in a German Commander style helmet and board shorts, which was one of the highlights of the trip.  Red Van Man was getting ready to say 'No' when I started with 'Have you seen...' but then there's that recognition that folk have when they know an answer and say to themselves 'No wait, I have actually.'  The Red Van Man was so pleased with himself he even pointed in the direction the Gids was heading (which incidentally was the way all the cyclists were heading, it being a race and all).    

Another kind of highlight - it also doesn't really show me in a good light - was actually going up on the  climb itself.  I passed a lady who was having a hard time of it and I accidentally said 'Nearly there!' and she was like 'Really!?  I haven't done this in a couple of years, I can't remember!'  And I had to go 'No, actually, we're about half way.'  I was so ashamed of myself I couldn't stay behind and try to draft or pace her.  So.  Bad Jakky.

What else.... The weather was pretty spot on.  Cloudy, with a very slight cooling wind for the most part, and dry.   By my reaconing it's probably a pretty fast average time for the sportive generally this year because of the conditions.  Going round we did notice a lot more groups and 'cycle friends' all drafting each other, though that could have been because we were managing to keep up in our 'wave' as it were.  There were also one or two very serious lone wolves.  Particuarly in the last 30 or so miles of the race.   We - and this is in no way a boast because we were over taken by a fair few - over took a couple of single riders who would make a point of over taking us (or me rather, the Gids seemed to think one particular man was concerned with overtaking me) then drop off again, and we'd have to go round them.  Me and the gids don't always draft, and tend to cycle all over the place, as I can go faster than what he manages to draft at (some times), so the gids would move forward, I'd catch up with the gids - mostly cycling in two across style, and then the lone wolf would overtake us and slow down. We'd have to slow down, overtake him then it'd all start again for another four miles.  I don't think he was drafting or anything, because you'd say wouldn't you?  If you wanted to.   As we were going marginally faster we'd drop them eventually but if they were drafting it would have been easier for them to just sit behind us for a while.  In sportives like these there's no point in cycling to someone elses race really.  We overtook some proper knackered looking Freds on the last couple of miles also, so I'm sure there's a fair few have at it at KOM and the sprint, and probably a few of the down hill sections as well.   There were also some interesting cycling styles.  Particuarly that of the knees pedal outside the elbows.  I can't decide if it's because their bike seats not high enough, they're worried they'll squash their balls or if their vanity would be crushed by sitting more up right as that would get their bellies out the way and be better for their knees all round.  There were quite a few mountain bikes this year, who'd overtake me on the hills then we'd pass them going down the way and on the flats, as well as shit a more girls which was ace.  The first year I did it there was only a handful, same the second year again, but this year I'd not be surprised if it was close to 50/50 which is quite heartening to see.

On my performance:  Really quite pleased.  Obviously the time speaks for itself. I've been having a weird left hip thing when using my Muddyfox shoes - I've been interchanging between the muddyfox cycling shoes which are more like racing shoes, and the (I want to say they're Giro but I don't think so) which are 2.5 sizes to long for me.  When I'm in my muddy fox shoes after wearing the Giro ones I get sore hips which seem to alternate depending on which side was sore last time.  The Giro ones I don't like wearing because whilst they are more comfortable to walk in, on long journeys my feet begin to slip inside them.  On the muddy fox ones my feet are secure and I feel like I get a better grip on the pedals as I push and pull.  On Sunday my hip started to niggle about 30 miles in, then in the last 20 miles I couldn't stop peddaling because every time I did my hip would scream and I'd feel sick up my back.  I was both dreading and desprate to finish physically.  I was sure I was not going to be able to get off the bike without crying.  The last 20 miles were the worst mentally.  We averaged 15.5 miles an hour which is a fair lick for me, most of my training rides have been around 13ish.  But despite the mph we were showing (17-18 on some stretches) the miles felt longer but the minutes faster and then that half mile slow drag into town to the end....  Ughhhhh.  In saying that, overall it's not the most unpleasant I've felt (Ullapool is my Nemesis) and it's my best race so far in terms of goal reaching, general enjoyability, discomfort and cycling.

  One thing we did do this year was get a High5 Race Packs and generally followed the instructions which was rather good.  I intend to go into this in more detail as it probably deserves some attention.  Incidentally, their sportive, triathlon, and mountain bike instructions are all the same.

I really am very pleased with this.  I'm finding it hard to believe as I was expecting to 'just' get under the 6 hours, or just miss it.  I'm also finding myself a little saddened not having that to aim for.  It sounds bizzare to say but I'm, I don't know.  I'm normally a bit bereft after this particular race, feeling melancholy and post christmas bluesy as it's noloner there to shoot for.  But this is especially so since I said I'd keep going until I hit under 6 hours for my time.  I'm about to pre register for next year, and we've already pre booked the hotel we stay at but I'm not warming to 'Under 5 hours'.  I know it is more impressive than under  6, but I just don't feel the magic.  It's not tantalising.  It doesn't sparkle.  Now is that because I'm that much of a masochist, and the under 6 has been difficult and now under five seems like a breeze since it is only 23 minutes difference (my ego may have exploded a bit here, I'll admit that).  On the flip side this downward feeling could be especially accute since it has been such a triumph this year, and it'll be difficult to top next year.

I don't know.  I just don't know.  I do wish I'd got one of those sticky engraving tabs you could put on your medal now though.



Follow by Email