Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Kiss me or would you rather, live in a land where the soap won't lather? Dartmoor Classic 2012

Somewhere in the journey home on Sunday afternoon, on the M5, between Exeter and Wellington, Mendip Mackem asked me if I do a recovery ride after a big ride, like Sunday's. "Oh no", I breezily replied, "I go and play 7 a side football on AstroTurf for an hour, that sorts me out."

Didn't it just. Any regular readers will remember I had some knee cartilage issues in January after I twisted my right knee falling off the bike on the Turkey Teaser. For the last two weeks I have been getting similar issues in the other knee, probably brought on by some over-enthusiastic twisting and turning on the football pitch.

So I can cycle for the best part of seven and a half hours across the wilds of Dartmoor, but an hour running about with a football not only does the knee in, but has also drained me of any energy I had left. Fortunately I have had to change my commuting plans tomorrow so will be clogging up the roads with my environment-polluting bike -carrying machine again.

I'm running out of things to say about the Dartmoor classic, it's the third time I have ridden it, and this year I did my best official time of 7 hours 37 minutes, despite the tough weather conditions, and a fair degree of stopping and admiring the views. As well as cycling and admiring the views.

Skip does the descriptive stuff very well on her blog, and you can read it here.  She also takes lots of fantastic pictures, and I'm only sorry that my Devon jersey didn't get more of an outing because of the weather.  If you should browse sportivephoto site , Dartmoor classic page and search rider number 1164 you will see a few pictures of me there too. I apologise for having my rain jacket slightly open on a couple of them, it was a slight climb and I was a bit hot, although I know that is no excuse. Truth is i didn't see the photographer in time to look spick and span.

I am also delighted to see me at the front of a group as we pulled across the plain towards Princeton into a horrible squally headwind. The bloke from the Yogi club kept banging on about Belgian circles, and tried to organise things in a way that was a tad too complicated when you are having your eardrums sand-blasted by the wind and rain.

I also decided to salute the cameras as often as I could. No idea why, seemed like a good idea at the time. I think it was because I had been watching Band of Brothers on Friday night. Now that's leadership.

There is also lots of good stuff on cyclosport including my review:

GuyBuckland wrote:
I have ridden lots of UK sportives and this one is the best by a long way. I have ridden it 3 times, and no matter what is thrown at the organisers they respond brilliantly. This year a tree had blocked the route the night before, which meant a very last minute route change. Not only did they do that, but they also managed to keep the high standard in the re-route.
Marshaling, organisation and sheer friendliness is the best, and the course is tough, technical &
beautiful. They proudly and very correctly say that this is Britain's best sportive. I will be back, if I can get a place!

That just about sums it up I think. Oh, apart from this wonderful picture (below), taken by Peter Foubister, of me and Skip climbing out of Merrivale. In the sunshine, prior to the blast back to HQ that was the last 35 miles. That I did in 1 hour 58. In fact, here are the full breakdowns of my relative performances over the 3 years:

Year     Total time        To Feedstop 1            Back to stop                To home
2010    7-44-09                      2-32                    3-06                         2-06
2011    8-04-54                      2-38                    3-22                         2-03
2012    7-37-35                      2-28                    3-15                         1-55
I don't know what it all means either, and there are so many variables, that the statistics become pointless after a while. I wonder why I do actually record and track them all, perhaps I should stop. 
Of course Devon holds a really special place in my heart. The best years of my childhood were there, and I still go on holiday there on a regular basis. So yes, I was born in Forest Gate a mile from the Boleyn Ground, but if I come from anywhere it's Devon.
Last year I really struggled up that hill, and my face indicates it wasn't exactly easy on Sunday. And yet, I have been more planned and deliberate in my training this year (thank you Rick Jones for that unknown inspiration) and losing a half stone and being more disciplined about my use of my asthma preventative inhaler has all helped.
But this picture just makes me feel so happy when I look at it. I am alive, really alive, doing something that may not be world-beating, but it's pushing me, stretching my capability, and doing so in a very simple way.
I eat, I breathe, I drink, I pedal. Is there anything else?  

1 comment:

  1. The Dartmoor Classic was really tough for me too. But I'd never have contemplated playing footie the next day. Just walking was a challenge in itself! Fair play to you.