Today went something like:
Hours 1-2: Smashy, smashy along some lovely fast fire roads.
“Oh this is fun – I like going fast”
Hours 3-4: Slog up rocky, lumpy hills. Plod along muddy singletrack trying not to fall into the odd lake that the off camber trail heads towards. Go up a hill, then straight back down again. Walk up a crazy steep and loose climb that goes straight up the fall line.
“Right that’s it. I’m getting rid of my elite licence and racing masters. I’d be on the podium in masters and it would be much less stressful. Wonder if I can just trade in my UCI points. Damn this bike, I want my 29er. That would be much better for this climb.”
Hours 4-6: Smashy, smashy along some lovely smooth tarmac, with the odd bit of fire track. Flowy, rooty singletrack. Crazy steep descents, off the back of the saddle (bum on tyre territory).
“Oh, I’m catching people. Yay. This is so fun. Are we nearly finished already. Holy moly that was steep – I really don’t seem to care about that anymore though how interesting. Finished. Coke and crisps, the best things ever.”
Adventures of Dr. Shambles. (aka Chris Pedder)
The subtitle I picked reflects the imagined title of the cartoon version of my life. It’s almost certainly too boring to sell any copies, but mountain biking would definitely feature heavily.
Albert Einstein once said that “insanity is doing the same experiment and expecting different results”. We all assume that this was a refutation of quantum mechanics, which tells you only that there are only certain probabilities of a particular outcome, rather than one definite one. In fact, he was talking about race pacing tactics, and they were wise words I would have done well to heed as I found myself on the wheel of Women’s race leader, Githa Michiels. “I feel great, I could do this all day”. The first hour optimism.
Then I got a proper lesson in Belgian racing tactics, in what felt to my tired, dieselly legs like a full-on Kermesse on mountain bikes. Then I blew. Damned Einstein…
Today’s course had a definite low point between feeds two and three, where the kms just seemed to take an eternity to pass, and the backdrop looked all a bit samey. Then we hit the final section, some fantastic singletrack and my smile returned. We humans are simple creatures – we doggedly refuse to learn from our errors, I told myself this morning that a stage that was longer, and with the same amount of climbing would be somehow easier. Luckily I know that I’m a dirty, rotten liar, and didn’t believe my own untruths. But somehow, I think that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be ok…