Sunday, 7 September 2014

Tony Talbot's amazing challenge and another Gran Fondo completed

If my cycling was to feature on an episode of the fast show it would be in a sketch with the scientist.
"Dave and I wondered if a month of living it up in Australia followed by a 24 hour flight and a week of jet lag was good preparation for a bike ride?" The answer is no! I struggled today but I'm really pleased I did it. I'm even more pleased to have supported Tony, albeit I saw him at the shop and the tea stop, because he was way too good for me today.

The man of the day Tony Talbot

The support team assemble at the Death Star

This was a day of many plans which at time of writing is still very much underway. The first plan is Tony's incredible 150 mile challenge which he's doing in four 38 mile laps starting from C&DCYCLES. The rest of us joined him for part of his challenge whilst completing challenges of our own. Mine was two complete two laps and with the extra from and to home making up my 130km (the challenge is on km so I'm going to use those, it's not because it sounds more honest!) the rest of the team was Rich, Chris, Stuart, Steve, Alan, Neil and Nat. Rich did his two laps and then went on a personal quest to bag the 100 miles he was denied at Ride London, Alan and Stuart did one lap, Chris did the first and last time I saw him was setting off with Tony and Nat for the 3rd. Neil and Steve also did two with the plan to return for a fourth later and Nat who is becoming an amazing rider said she might do all four. I'm going back to the shop at 7ish to congratulate Tony and I'm hoping for a positive update to this blog later.

Tea break in Islip provided by Shelly

Getting stuck in

The route today was very well chosen and I was thrilled to make four visits to Raunds. The tea break was very welcome, great tea, lovely cakes (almost Lee standard but hey that's a very high bar,) and thanks for the use of the loo. The only downside being we didn't notice that Andy had provided tea and cakes after our first stop, so I wouldn't blame him for feeling a bit shunned. We still love you Andy! Also behaving itself was the weather and I would describe it as the quintessential English Summer Day. Our leafy lanes were showcased in sunlight but there was no time to take pictures.

Following Rich McNab...I needed his support

What really stunned me was the pace that Tony and the front runners set. I'm never going to be the quickest rider and I'm ok with that but I was going quick for me and they were gone! As I said at the start I haven't exactly had the best preparation for an 80 miler but even on top form I think they'd be too swift for me. One of the pace setters was Nat. In the same way that we pointed Tom in the racing direction I think we need to encourage Nat that way too. Also she's not on Strava! Every QOM in the county would be at risk! Not everyone tore off though and Steve in particular was supportive despite the fact he'd have easily kept up at the front. Of biggest help to me today was Rich McNab. It's a case of what goes around comes around as that newbie hanging out of his arse a few months ago is now becoming a good rider. Also helpful was the banter, I was in fits at times, so many thanks to the Prince of Profanity and his perverted apprentice.

At the shop it was nice to see Emma and Mark Nichols and then even nicer to catch up with that chap on the Dahon TT that I met after the squires and spires. The roll back to Rowell was hard work and those nasty pre-cramp twinges were warning me not to push it. Expect the dreaded leg lock later!

Ok then I will do a quick update blog this evening where I'm hoping to report a successful challenge. 

Happy pedalling 

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