.. or maybe the other way round? Our Cycletta training this year is pretty non existent. An array of reasons – or excuses have filled our lives, the weather, major work changes and related stress, the odd holiday and major bike rack issues have all conspired to prevent the same level of pedal pushing as last year.
One thing we are agreed on though, is that if we are to stand any chance of getting round the course we have to be able to get up the hills. We have been avoiding our nemesis, The Hill of Doom for some time, but today it was do or die. The Hill of Doom is an old railway track which rises 84 metres over 2 miles which to an accomplished Lycra warrior is easy peasy but to us it is the equivalent of Mount Ventoux.
So gritting teeth and girding loins we set off – and had an eventful journey. Following a major revelation that air in tyres is in fact a big help in this cycling malarky I had, thanks to the helpful assistant at the local cycle shop, two rock hard pieces of rubber to bounce along. I was also fully equipped with a new bike pump complete with pressure gauge However having the equipment and knowing how to use it are two different things . The helpful assistant assured me this pump would do ‘both’ types of valves… another revelation… there are two types? Oh yes there are and our two bikes have one of each, but never fear this pump will sort it… alas the hieroglyphics on the packaging were clearly written by an ex Ikea employee and consequently incomprehensible to us. We therefore set off on a set of hards and softs and fortunately on encountering two fellow cyclists negotiating one of those horrible metal gate things we politely requested help with inflating my companions tyres. They immediately sprang into action and examined the pump – and tyres – they did not match – and they too could not work out how to change the pump – undeterred they ransacked their cycle bags to find suitable equipment. As we considered the options we were joined by a sprightly pedalling pensioner out with his grandchildren who instantly produced a proper pump – one we would remember from childhood… that didn’t fit either. Perseverance paid off and eventually the correct fitting was found from the array of technology stashed in various saddle bags and we were on our way.
Having a near miss with what appeared to be a male urinating in bushes we set off up the slope – the first 100 metres were the worst – that bit when you think your heart will explode before it finds its rhythm and settles…. then another near miss with a resting male cyclist divesting himself of his track pants as a female companion checked for saddle sores…. were we in a parallel universe of naked rear ends I wondered as we ploughed ever upwards.
And yes we made it, with only a couple of issues as a result of gear technique (or lack of it) and arriving at the summit we felt rightly proud of ourselves, a small triumph may be but a big step forward, and boy is it better going back down!