Ouch. That hurt. Another 200km+ day but more hurt than I've ever experienced on a bike...
It started with Carla talking with pride about the Tour Rides she organises and how much more value for money they are than triathlons (not hard to agree there...). So I decided to do one for the fun of it (and brownie points). But then it escalated; I get free accommodation, paid for by the charity so it would be nice to raise some money for them. I wondered who would give me money for something I do most weekends anyway, so I upped the game for my donors and for me. A guy who also works at the charity wanted to race me (and who am I to turn it down?) so I agreed that I would double my donations if I lost this 'race'. We had never ridden with each other so this was a big risk on both our parts.
The power was on from the outset and at 99kms I bonked. Completely ran out of fuel and couldn't hold the pace any longer. From there on it was a lonely 88kms through the finest, windiest, most energy sapping hills Wales had to offer. While I struggled between 100 and 150kms I kept pushing as hard as I could (mostly so I could get some food as soon as possible) and then started to feel good, in a strange ability-to-suffer kind of way. I powered through from 150 to 180kms and recorded my fastest 180kms ever in 6 hours 35 minutes.
Unfortunately for all involved, it wasn't over there. I could see Caerphilly Castle (the finish line) having done 181kms and was then forced to turn left. Given the density of Chavs in this town I thought someone had changed the signs but then I saw someone ahead so I tried to pick them off. It wasn't until I got 200m up that I realised this was the killer hill you can see in the profile.
"It's just a blip compared to the others" you say. Nuh ahhhh. I have never ridden anything as steep as this monster. Even the 70km/hr I hit on the downhill on the other side didn't make this climb 'okay'. ...and I love climbing.
Crossing the line I struggled to make any expression. I think that's a look of disdain at what I'd put my body through (much like the look of disdain when I saw that it would cost me £9 to buy this photo). I lay down while Carla asked me questions I couldn't physically answer! Now that I've recovered I'm glad I'm still saying it was the toughest ride I've ever done- mostly due to the rapid pace from the outset. The Pro's race this course on 14th September and I can't wait to see it.
I lost so will be paying up £150 to the Prostate Cancer Charity. If you would like to donate to a great cause, please do so below: