Rough Ride – I can vouch for that !

23 06 2008

Planned for ages, Ollie, Sally, Rick and I were looking forward to the Marin Rough Ride around the Wales / Hereford borders of Radnorshire. 

Got there early the night before, after a very interesting sat nav scenic detour of 50miles, sun was blazing, Ollie and Sally chillin by their tent.  The field was filling nicely, the forecast for tomorrow hot, hot, hot ! 

Up early, ready to go nice and early (I usually hate early), quick chat with an old mate doing the 75k route and it was off for our race numbers and join the other 800 MTB’ers excitedly waiting the off.  It already felt like 25 degrees and it was only 9am.  The route was open, no tree cover and had some of the steepest hills I have seen in a long time.  The Downs being no race prep for these babies.

Through the barriers, regroup, and off up the first long climb out of the town, tarmac giving way to moorland trail.  48k was the aim of the day and 1500mtrs climbing.  The first hill saw people pushing, what had we let ourselves in for ?

“Spin it to win” that’s my mantra for any killer hill and it came in handy today.  Over and over again.  These hills were mean !  About 12 mile in, with no warning, bang, can’t see out of one eye, kaleidoscopes mixed with tunnel vision …I’m hit by a migraine and had to pull off the course.  Damn it.  We find shade under the only tree for miles, beg some painkillers off a kind passerby (thank you Mr Orange Top with the huge first aid kit in your rucksak), we sit out 1/2hr and decide what to do.  There’s no way I can continue as the pain starts to kick in.  Double damn it we’ve got to pull out the emergency map and make our way back via the road.

The hills were just too severe for me to ride and pushing just wasn’t an option, I needed to get back PDQ.  Ollie and Sally continued to complete the full 48k (well done to you both) and Rick and I slowly made our way back.  Still 10 miles on the road and me being pushed up most of the hills, slowly dying with each pedal stroke.  Digging deep but seething inside at having to DNF.

Once back at camp though that turned into relief as I heard what I would’ve ridden, those hills were killers on a good day, but in today’s heat people were flaking left right and centre.  Me included, there’s no way I would have finished.  Big shame but there’s always next year and I did at least have the rest of the week in North Wales to make up for it.  Celebrating my birthday with a week riding Penmachno loops 1 and 2, the Marin Trail,the Cli-Max Trail and a hike or two round Snowdon.  And the sun continued to shine, how lucky were we ?






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