The only way I’m going to pass people on hills is if they are walking, and even then it’ll be a long, drawn-out affair. I’m stuck at the back on the January training rides and it’s starting to annoy me. Actually, it’s not even “the back” it’s more “off the back and then a couple of hundred metres past the broom wagon”.
Sunday was spent some way back, but not as far back as the week before, with Craig shepherding me round the Surrey Hills. Apparently I talk too much for someone who is struggling. While this is probably true, it does mean I’m not so cooked as to be in that horrible silent world of suffering that every cyclist discovers from time to time.
It’s the one where all you can see is a small hazy spot of ashpalt creeping towards your front wheel, your ears feel like the whole world is trying to get through them and into your mushy brains and every other bodily function comes in uneven gasps of effort. That was the Sunday before that as Rusty and Paul humoured me as I suffered in the grim damp of the first long ride of the year.
Why is it so frustrating at the moment? Because I know that last summer I had got near to being able to stick with at least the back of the bunch up the hills and, in my mind at least, I can physically do it. The frustration springs from this disparity between my own expectations of how I should be going and the reality of what my body will allow.
When the former gets the better of me, which it frequently does, I stubbornly try to push on rather than sitting in and staying within my limits. See, I’ve still not learnt to obey the golden rule of the hills which is to ride within your limits, not everyone else’s. And then I blow up again and spend the next couple of hours in misery…