Well that was a brutal 68 miler, so much so it’s taken me two days since the pedal on Saturday to build up the energy to write this blog and delete the mental and physical pain from my memory!
It all started with a guy called Gilly, who suggested we get a decent mileage in our legs, 40-60 miles. Not a problem I thought, it would be good to get a decent distance in as with the recent bout of snow and ice very little time has been spent out on the road, it’s been mostly gym work.
Forecast was looking dire, nearly as dire as the number of bodies accompanying us, oh that will be none! Just Gilly and myself spreading the name of the Warriors, heading into battle against the elements, a battle that would test us to the limits! Would we come out unscathed? Would we even make it out alive? Read on and you’ll find out.
So the day started with a banana and pear smoothie, made in my recently purchased Nutribullet. It was now time get kitted up and head over to Gilly’s in Hamilton, a gauntlet I’ve ran on several occasions, not that that meant it would be a safe crossing over the border into no man’s land. The forecast was for torrential rain around 1pm so the plan was to leave Gilly’s at 9am and head to Livingston and back.
I set off at 8:40am and with only a few pedal strokes hit the Newhousemill Road climb, the nasty wee bugger that creeps up on you before the legs have warmed up! I cross the bridge and start the climb, my legs are screaming at me, nothing new at this stage, they usually do so early on in a ride when faced with a hill to climb, literally. I really struggled up the climb, it was a sign of what was to come!
Arriving at Gilly’s he was surprised to see me so soon as I was 10 mins early, “you must be flying today” was his comment, he couldn’t be further from the truth!
Heading off in the direction of Livingston we had a get out cause, an escape route so to speak, a point where the 60 miler could be cut to 40 miles if required. Arriving at the first climb and my legs just weren’t playing ball, as Gilly left me for dead, it wasn’t going to be a good day, it was going to hurt, that much I did know!
Along the way, or at least on the way out towards Livingston I managed a couple of wee turns on the front, but not many.
The cut off point, the escape route, was now upon us, Gilly asked if I wanted to continue to Livingston or turn back…… I decided to continue, what’s the worst that could happen!?
Plodding on we arrived at Livingston and with a couple circles of the shopping centre and a peek at Google maps we managed to find our way back out, homeward bound. If I thought the way out was tough I was in for a nasty shock as we turned into a brick wall in the shape of a strong headwind! Just what I needed when my legs basically just came along for the ride but weren’t willing to contribute anything! We had averaged a respectable 17.2mph average on the way out but that would drop to 14.2mph by the time I returned home.
Plodding along Gilly did a mountain of work without respite and tried to pull me along, but I just couldn’t hold onto his wheel, I was well and truly done! We stopped at a newsagents to top up our water bottles and devour a snickers bar, in the attempt to pull on my energy reserves.
Arriving back in Blantyre Gilly swung a left at Carrigan’s Pub while I headed right, onto Stoneymeadow road towards the Whirlies and back home. It was a long and slow slog back home, I was physically and mentally drained! When you become mentally drained it becomes dangerous as you’re not concentrating as well as you should. I literally rolled into my street and into the house, my wife has never seen me so gubbed after a bike ride before!
I ain’t going to lie, that was a long, hard, draining day in the saddle! No Pain No Gain and all that jazz!
So what keeps you going when you have nothing left in the tank? Well in my case I remind myself of the battles and struggles those fighting cancer go through, a fight that they give their all, a fight that drains every bit of energy out of them. With that in mind it powers me on, reminds me how greatful I am for my health and reminds me of my purpose with cycling…… to get fit and more importantly to raise money for the wonderful charity that is the Beatson Cancer Charity. So looking back, the pain and suffering I went through is nothing compared to those facing their own battle with cancer.
So there you have it, a brutal 68 miler in the legs, one that totally drained me at the time but glad I completed, glad I carried on and didn’t give up.
The bad drivers were out in force, an example of which you can see in the video below: