Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sense of Achievement (2)

....promised to be breezy but thankfully dry. That's how part one ended.

I could have posted about the return journey on Sunday night but I wouldn't have done it justice. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done in my life - and did you see that jigsaw I did the other week? Seriously, at times I was questioning my intelligence, judgement, existence even. Why am I doing this? Why did we come this way? Where is this wind coming from? Why didn't that van stop and offer to take me home? Why did I have so much to drink last night?

It was downhill from Guiseley at first and we made decent progress. Then the hills started. They probably weren't that bad but the wind made each uphill stretch longer and steeper and there was no rest on the downhill parts. If you stopped pedalling you simply stopped moving. George had a puncture in Ilkley and another in Skipton. We were stopping frequently and not feeling like we were making progress. I have done half marathons years ago and a full marathon once, and have felt bad at stages but you know that if you put one foot in front of the other you will get there in the end and you can see the miles disappearing behind you. The lack of progress on this ride was demoralising. We went up a hill in East Marton and it seemed like years later we were going up another one in West Marton and they were only about 2km apart. It was potentially soul-destroying and I even said at one resting place the I would be going into the train station if we passed one at Clitheroe. George was bearing up well and he almost smiled when we found Everton were 2-0 up at half time. When we eventually got to Clitheroe there was actually a bypass so we didn't get near a station, thankfully. The bypass had a pleasant downward slope and there appeared to be shelter of some sort so we cracked on a bit and started to believe we would make it home that day. There was a mad hailstorm at Osbaldeston and we were out in the open. It was about 4.30 and almost pitch black. We just had to dismount and turn our backs until it stopped. Soon after there the sky brightened and we parted just before Preston. The rest of the ride was almost a dream. I had eaten as much as I could but there was nothing left in the tank. I got home slowly but I got home and that was the main thing. It was 7.20. Yes, it was an achievement but I was questioning at times whether or not I really had any sense.

After a couple of days off I removed the bags and did a swift 20 odd miles today (Tuesday). It was breezy but I've been through worse.

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