Instead of racing I had been on a 4 hour training ride in preparation for the National Marathon Championships, which take place at Selkirk in the Scottish borders on the 10th May. A date that suddenly seems alarmingly close! The entry list includes ex-Olympians and multiple national champions, so there is considerable incentive not to embarrass myself!
I have ridden more miles, and spent more time in the saddle over the first 3 months of 2014 than any previous year, but after my holiday I was conscious that I hadn’t completed a long ride for a couple of weeks. So instead of packing the car for the New Forest, I was out the door and spinning my way towards a South Downs swathed in mist and cloud.
Showers were forecast, and it started to rain almost the instant I settled into the saddle. Unfortunately this particular shower lasted for 4 hours, just varying occasionally in intensity. The first off-road section of my ride took me up through the stunning Bluebells of the Rewell Wood. In the sunshine it would have been worthy of a postcard. Unfortunately the rainwater had already started to puddle and turn the surface of the trails into a glossy emulsion. At this point not being too dirty I was still bothering to avoid the puddles.
|All it needed was some sunshine!|
Back home I resorted to the hose to remove the mud from tired legs and clothing, before my wife would even entertain letting me near the house. I also had to chisel the chalky residue from what, before today, had still been my shiny new bike. With perfect timing the rain immediately ceased, the sun broke through and shone for the rest of the afternoon!
My final training ride next week will be in a race environment. I’ll be tackling 5 laps of the 10 mile Gorrick Enduro course, which will give me chance to practice the necessary eating, and hydration techniques before travelling to Scotland. Stay tuned to see how it goes!