Holy fuckballs that hurt.
9:21:47 of running up and down. More to follow
After the long ride of the Etape De Yorkshire I was feeling hopeful about getting a good ride in at my second attendance at ride London. However I still wasn’t 100% happy with how I was feeling on the bike especially with Midnightman just two weeks later. As per normal with London based events I headed down and stayed with a friend in Shireditch, a few beers and a big pasta dinner before finally getting round to putting the numbers on my bike.
A 6:15 start time meant I had to be up at 4:45 and I was still very bleary eyed on my ride to the start line. Upon arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park it seemed that all 27,000 participants where already there and trying to drop off their bags. Carnage! Still I made my way to my start pen and had a short while to chat to some of those around me.
Off we went! As with last time the first few kilometres was a mix of people trying to get warmed up and get going, and some people who were clearly on a mission and smashing it from the get go. In concentrated on staying out of trouble, and trying to enjoy the closed London roads. Going wheel to wheel and trying to find groups to ride with, often a little tricky given the mix of people, I was soon at the 20mile mark in Richmond park where I saw my sister-in-law, who managed to see me smiling in amongst the thousands of other cyclists.
As you can see, the sun hadn’t been up very long. At this point I was 8 minutes up on where I was last year, things where going good. The next 30 miles rolled by and where pretty uneventful, rolling through the countryside, going from group to group making good time.
The first hill came and went, there was a lot of grumbling from people around me, but it was nothing compared to the Yorkshire countryside.
Leith hill came at about 55 miles. Although not as notorious as Box hill it is the bigger, harder hill with a bit of a kick in it’s tail. As per usual the going up went quite well, it was the coming down which was the problem. Once again my inability to decend cost me time as all the people I had blasted past on the way up came hammering past me on the way down. I do descend like a granny.
More smooth riding until box hill. Part of the notoriety came from its inclusion in the 2012 Olymic road race, where the loops took them up it 9 times. We were doing one ascent. Turns out that it was a piece of piss. I flew up it making great time and only with minimal (for me) swearing at my legs. It’s hard and pretty but has nothing from the Côte de Buttertubbs of a few few weeks ago. I may be biased but Yorkshire kicks Surreys ass in the beauty stakes.
After Box Hill it was a fairly flat run in back to London (apart from the small lump at Wimbledone, but more about that shortly)
Here was where I stated making good time. I lucked upon a few god riders who we’re going hard, and we formed a bit of a pace line. Everyone was taking turns on the from before pulling off and we were flying. The miles were going down and it was all good. Until Wimbledone hill. The group were working hard and I was at my limit, not a problem on the flat but on this hill, which isn’t huge my legs went and I lost contact with the group. The biggest issue was that I then couldn’t get back into the big ring on the front and chase down the group. After working hard I could only watch as they disappeared into the distance. Bummer.
However once I was back in the big ring and was going properly again I was back to making good time and managed to catch another group and recover my legs a bit. I followed them in until the last 5km whereby I opened up with everything and pushed hard. This is the pout where the course follows the embankment of the Thames so is flat and straight. Once again I was able to catch groups, recover and push on. Coming through the last mile upto and through Marble Arch and along the Mall I emptied myself, giving it everything I had. Gunning for the line my finally sprint was not pretty, but quicker than last time!
If we can just pretend for a moment that this was posed a month ago…
The start of the marathon comprised of a train journey from Bergamot into Milan at some silly time on the morning, giving me a chance to eat my chocolate spread filled rolls and drink my coke, not my first choice breakfast but I couldn’t find any muesli. It was already starting to get warm so it was quite nice strolling from the station to the start area.
As always I made plenty of time to kill one at the start area, being constantly fearful of being late and rushing my final prep. This gave me time to have a coffee and then queue for the not quite numerous enough portaloos. And then to stow my stuff on the baggage trucks before making my way to the start pens.
Having originally been shooting for a sub3 time I was right at the front of the race, and there were some very serious looking athletes around me as we waited and warmed upping the sun tonth deafening sounds of the Italian DJ on the PA system. I’ve been studying Italian, but what he was saying was just noise!
Finally after an age the countdown started and a canon fired to set the 5000 runners off. There would be a further 5000 relay runners setting off half hour later. Cautious of my various injuries I set off at a pace which felt good. Not too fast, but likewise not too slow.
We jostled along the first km and I checked my watch, “4:20, a little quick”, so I needed to slow down touch to finish and not die. Next km “4:00, balls too fast” and that was when I decided to notepad any attention to my watch as much as possible. I knew I was going quite well over the first 5km as I was pretty much between the 3hr and 3:15 pacing groups, easily seen by the balloons they carried and the out and back on some of the avenues meant I could see both groups.
I passed the 10k mark in just under 45mins and then the halfway mark in just over 1:35. Things were looking good. I was feeling good, I might do well here…
Spoke too soon!
Just after the halfway point we were running round the industrial part of Milan (next to the San Siro for you footie fans) and I was looking at my watch trying to work out if I’d finish in time to see my wife at the finish line before she had to head to the airport and fly to the states for business, when I stepped into a dip in the road. My body dropped half an inch more than it was expecting and to compensate everything tensed up, tightened and that was that.
My time got slower and slower, I had to have small walk breaks due to the cramp in my thighs until I ended up having to walk the last 2.5km. Bugger.
I staggered to the finish, vaguly managing what some might try and claim was a sprint finish, in a time of 3:49. Far from a great time. Still a time a lot of people would kill to have but for me it was an utter failure. There was nothing left to do but stagger to a bar and drink many recovery beers.
You can see both how flat it was (also check out the elevation changes in the table above! Pan flat!) and how my pace nose dived after 24k. Note the ‘sprint finish’
It’s taken a while to get round to talking about this, not cos it was a distaster, mostly as I’ve just been too busy, but it was a disaster.
In the few weeks before the marathon I had developed a hip issue which put a stop to all running for the four weeks before. I rested and tested and then rested some more but it was clear that my training was finished. With weeks left I turned to my bike to at least keep some fitness up. That and some Physio exercises. Just before we left I managed to get una couple of 10k runs. They were not quick, but they where pain free. However my sub3 goal was shot.
Then came my next injury.
Where my main goal was out of the question I decided that what I should do was learn to ski. While we were in Italy we were going to take the boys skiing with my sister in law, and while they can ski I can not (still can’t really). Without having to worry about getting injured and thus missing that sub3 goal I went and did a ‘learn to ski in a day’ trip to xscape on Good Friday, 9 days before race day, where over the course of the day I learnt to ski. Mostly. However the next day I found that I had twisted my knee. Waking hurt and so it was back to the resting.
The flight out to Bergomot did no help. Nor did having to walk up and down the big hill to get dinner each evening. But gradually it got better and I felt that although I would not be quick I would definitely be able to get round…
Bugger burger bugger. Remember that little cross county race I did on Sunday? Well turns out it kippered my left hip a bit, which I found out on Mondays run session. Could only manage 5k at 10km/h and 2 at 12km/h before I decided to pack it in. The following days long run (20miles) got canned after less than 1km… And then I rested for the rest of the week.
The post came yesterday and I got a letter, well magazine I’d pretty much forgotten about
Whoooo! I didn’t get in last year, but I did get in for its first year. You can read about my past experience here.
This is two weeks before mother Midnight Man iron distance race so will be my last big ride and a good tester or where the legs are at. I felt like I could run off he bike having smashed myself to a fraction under 5hrs last time so hopefully it’ll be all good this time round.
The next few weeks might be a little light on the training front. BOOOO!
I’m going on holiday. YAY!!!
Have packed running gear and swim stuff for my trip to Reykjavik, San Francisco, Vegas and Edmonton and hope to get some sort of exercise in, though doubt it will be anything more than fun stuff.
Going to be in Edmonton for the ITU Grand Final and the Age Grouper world Championships. Sadly I won’t be racing, instead I’ll be cheering on my little brother who gets to don a Team GB trisuit. Git. SO I’ll be watching lots of racing, and hopefully manage to get a good run in there with some of the other AG’s.
I’m really going to miss my bike, might have to go out on it tonight, just one last time.
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