Sunday, 21 August 2011

Geoff Thomas Sportive

Entry on the line - I love it. It gives me chance to assess the weather and to pull out if anything unexpected turns up. After Saturdays ride where the PX brakes on Scottie failed again catastrophically with the same problem previously experienced ( plastic spring holder came off and lost, wheel jammed on hill and luckily came off without falling.) I had to hastily ready Jamis for an 86mile ride with 'only 5500ft' of climbing. Swapped chain with Scotties as it had stretched too much and gave her a good clean. If I had entered online it would have cost me £20 or an extra fiver on the day which is money well spent to guarentee an okish day.

Usual pre-sportive day ritual of packing my stuff (gels, drink with CNP and H5Zero and sweeties) and last minute' finding out where the bloody hell I'm driving to' routine. Gave myself plenty of time to get to Congleton High School but not too much so that I wasn't all alone.

Arrived massively early again! The organisers were just about setting up but I was able to sign up straight away and grab a few extra, complimentary gels. I had no idea of the route or what the terrain would be like. The disclaimer on the website said I should familiarise myself but I trusted the signposts which has been my downfall in the past leading to getting hopelessly lost. I didn't care too much, all part of the fun and intrigue. Jamis was then carefully taken out of the boot and my Soul S2.0 custom wheels attached. A quick once over gave the 'all clear'. There are quite a few non believers that I ride my bike how I do ( saddle pointy up and stem so far down) but it doesn't bother me.

Time passed really quickly and by the time I got to the start a small group were setting off already. Quickly clipping in I chased. My plan was to hang fire, wait for a few groups to form and go with the fastest. D'oh. Deja Vu? This time though I had my nutrition all planned out, water bottles on board and a pair of legs with all the confidence in the world. No more Deja Vu.

I had forgotton to set my GArmin off and I didn't input the course in this time just in case it fucked up again. Atfer 4-5 downhill miles travelling at an average of 22mph ish,  satellite reception was intercepted and all systems go. Five of us took it in turns to lead then a couple just sat at the back whilst the three of us paced them. The first 20 or so miles were flat and someone shouted the 'MOW COP' was upon us however the sign posts avoided that road. We weren't going particulary fast and when someone shouted for me to slow down whilst not overly exerting myself  I figured I would leave this group soon but see what would happen on the climbs. There were a few steep but short bits which I took easy but some other guy flew up as he'd leave my wheel at the last second and carry his momentum, but it was  all part of my plan.

There was a hill between 25 and 35miles (on my Garmin), just after the first feed station which I left them but waited at the top for a couple of minutes. 'Lance Armstrong' was muttered a few times and a congratulatory pat on the back but it wasn't much really. We stocked up on 'Accelerade'  and carried on after 3 minutes. I took a wrong turning but was put right quickly enough, thats why I wanted to stay with this group but although I was thoroughly enjoying their company but one by one they were being dropped.

Finally I left and that's when the hills started to appear in their droves. Smithy Lane to join on to Buxton Rd, down Wincle then up again somewhere more up and down.  Before and After  Thorncliffe was a long toughie which had me wincing. A lot of the descents were on thin, windy roads with a couple of switchbacks,  where speed was at a premium and cautiousness the order of the day, unfortunately. Telegraph Hill was another climb but no idea where that one was. Once past Macclesfield forrest it was a 15mile slow descent back to base. I say slow as the wind was in my face yet I was really going for it as I had loads of energy left over. My  ride feeding plan had worked a treat.

Got back to base, first to cross the line after 86miles, at 12.50, greeted my a lone elderly chap clapping furiously. That would put my ride time at about 4hrs 54 mins for 86miles. as I set off around 7.57 with a ride average of 17.5mph or a moving average of 17.9mph. There were a couple of junctions at major roads where I felt like I was waiting forever. I was a bit disappointed with my time but the air conditions weren't very good at all and I tried to ignore the wind and was a bit conservative up some of the climbs as I was unsure how my legs were going to cope.

I signed out and someone made me a nice cuppa and I picked up a drinks bottle. A guy came over to see what a strange position I had on my bike and heard that a few had to be picked up due to mechanicals but as I left an ambulance pulled in so hopefully as was well.

Garmin Data     Distance 81miles     Av Sp 17.8mph    Ascent 5600ft  Time 4hrs 32 moving (4hrs 42)

Big shout to the guy at for another set of great piccys.

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