Truly I suffered like a nag ready for the knacker’s yard today. I drifted to the front again and may have accidently pushed the pace a bit on the way out to the hills but that doesn’t explain why I was going up hills with all the pace of a hearse.
Leith Hill turned into a season of pain as we managed to get a bit lost and carried on right up and over it. Luckily Brendan was chivvying me along up there as I ground it out in 30/25 and eventually 30/27 when I remembered to check if I had any more gears left.
My reasoning is that I’ve been pushing the commutes to hard this week and haven’t really recovered properly from sprinting up and down a bit of next year’s TDF Prologue. Or that I was just having one of those really off days.
Still, I managed to fit in 138.6km at an average of 25.4km/h. Admittedly I had wanted to do at least 160km but there was the small matter of an England game to get home for. Yes, I was hurting like hell when I got to my front door but I did feel like I could have plodded on a bit further and that I wasn’t totally done in. Sitting here typing this my legs don’t feel too much like planks so it can’t be that bad.
Today’s ride was really enjoyable and there was plenty of chatter and excitement among the group about the Etape Du Tour and La Marmotte, which runs a few days before and does five climbs before finishing at Alpe D’Huez. It’s probably tougher than the Etape so you won’t catch me doing it in a hurry.
There was a real sense of excitement as it’s only a fortnight away now. One last Sunday ride next week and about 120km perhaps then it’s relax and stay off the bike for a few days, clean it and pack it in my massive new monoc hardcase along with all my other bits as there should be plenty of space.
I really can’t wait now – I’m a strange mix of trepidation and nervous excitement. I know the Izoard is going to be a real challenge for me but I feel that if I can just get up and over it in a good time then I might just be alright for the distance.
So in a fortnight’s time I’ll probably be enduring a nervous sleep before an early start to get on a coach down to the start for the ride of a lifetime.